Assignment 5 – Tutor feedback for part 5 – PERSONAL PROJECT

Textiles 2: Contemporary Practice

Assigment 5 Personal project – Tutor feedback – Rebecca Fairley

Overall Comments

Penni this is a well organised and thought through project. There is evidence of

testing design ideas, working through creative problems and making appropriate

decisions on what works. There is structure and flow to the work – you have started

with a seed of an idea taking it through a number of processes to explore what works

best both visually and intellectually.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of


Your loose-leaf sketchbook demonstrates how you have approached the design

problem of creating a site-specific piece of textile artwork appropriate for the Bodleian

Library. The work shows you to operate in a methodical and open manner with an

eye for fresh creative possibilities.

The project has been very well researched. Your chosen space has been

considered in relation to current trends in the presentation of textile artwork. By

collecting imagery from leaflets and postcards, and taking photos of interiors in close

proximity to the room you intended your work to be in you got round the problem of

not being able to take photographs. My suggestion when you are unable to take

photos or in fact when you can but need to collect and remember particular details, is

to do some quick pencil drawings. These don’t need to be perfect but are a reminder

or prompt when designing back at home/studio.

You have used drawing and annotation effectively to work through design ideas.

The discussion, along with the drawing and reference material is an important

demonstration of how you approach your creative process as well as assisting you

to take the project through all the stages to completion. There is effective use of

multiple sampling to work out which designs work best, sorting the strongest designs

from the rest. These have been annotated, discussing the appropriateness or not

of each sample. There has been effective use of Computer Aided Design to explore

colour and texture in your sampling. This is a quick and lively way to explore a

number of possibilities. I get the sense you are comfortable playing with ideas and

being creative with the imagery. You have used folding techniques to find interesting

shapes and form. The testing of a number of materials including fabrics and papers

has been investigated for their suitability. These samples along with your analysis

have helped you to make decisions about how to present the final pieces. My only

suggestion with your sampling is that you could have looked at many more colour

palettes. Possibly bringing in some stronger accent colours. You may have still

come to the same decisions as you have here but it would have made it a more

complete set of samples. The final work represents your idea well in relation to scale

and design outcomes. I would suggest you consider the finish of the tessellated

piece; the hand stitch looks a bit too much like tacking.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

For this project you have used the sourced imagery to create the designs and

repeats used in the final textile hangings. In the sketchbook you have shown

yourself to use these in a creative manner by manipulating them in CAD, using

folding techniques, using multiples and by cutting through the images. In this way

you have explored the possible design possibilities for the final pieces. There is

some experimental stitch work worked into the paper samples. Drawing has been

used to work through ideas relating to size, shape and construction of the final

pieces. My advice would be that you could have included a number of observational

drawings. These could have come from your visit to the Bodleian Library, drawn

either during the visit or from the images at home. This way of capturing what

you see assists you in seeing what you find interesting and provides you with the

fundamental building blocks of your own design. Looking at your project I would say

this is an important gap to an otherwise very good body of work. I suggest that in

future projects and courses you spend some time developing your drawing skills and

applying them to your design work. If you do this you will find the work you create is

far more personal and in the end more satisfying.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays


Learning Log/Blog

The learning log shows you to be very articulate and self-aware. You have used

this space to further work through design ideas and discuss the possible outcomes

of your design work. The research you have included is varied and relevant to this

project. It has been presented in a file along with printed pages from your blog. I

would suggest that the research and the learning log work should be presented

together illustrating the order in which your research and analysis of you work

occurred. This will help ‘tell the story’ of your creative process.

Critical Essay

Your critical essay reads well, is appropriately structured and researched with some

interesting conclusions. The topic you have chosen is a broad enough subject with

links to current trends in textile design thinking. I have a few pointers you may find

helpful in improving your essay.

The introduction states your chosen subject and the material you are going to cover.

This could have been done more explicitly by introducing some of the artists you

would later be discussing and outlining your final conclusions. When you introduce

Boro to the reader on page one the writing lacks references to where you have

gained this information. Be clear where you have used someone’s opinion and which

are your own opinions. For example write, “It so and so’s belief that Boro is now

recognised and appreciated for its artistic appeal.” Or “Looking at the evidence it is

my opinion that Boro is now recognised and appreciated for its appeal” and go on to

state your evidence. The first two introductory pages feel a little repetitive and that

you are not wholly clear in what you are saying. I would not start a paragraph with

“And so.” Be precise about what background information the reader needs before

you tackle the main body of the essay. It is all there but it needs firming up in your

writing style and with references.

Once you have got onto discussing the artists who use a Boro style the essay

improves in structure. The work is well researched with appropriate use of

referencing. The essay includes good use of imagery. The personal contact you had

with artists adds strength and valuable research to your work. I would suggest that

you could have made more of it. For example what is your opinion the way Jacy Wall

cuts up her own work to construct something new? Does the artwork say something

to you as a designer? Do you see the same eroticism that Fiona Robinson writes

about? Don’t take it for granted that either the artist or writers have the final say on

a piece of artwork. It is possible that each of us can bring some new and relevant

understanding to the art. This critical thinking and analysis is a vital part of working

towards an academic understanding of your chosen subject.

During your conclusion there are a number of elements that need referencing or

could be included. References are needed for

  • “The throw away society” – what is your evidence for this?
  • Sustainable crops – who is using them and what is their reasoning?
  • Who are the designers offering ethical fashion and in what way? What is the

proof they are ethical and sustainable? Tesco’s went ethical a number of

years ago using off cuts from the textile factory to create hand crafted fashion

pieces. All looked great until it was found that the clothes were almost

entirely made by unpaid fashion interns. Always question and look below the


  • “Today we recognise and promote hand craft” – where is your evidence for

this statement?

Some points you could include

  • A definition/s of sustainability and ethical fashion
  • The difference and links between different textile disciplines. You’ve included

fashion, textile production and textile art without being explicate about their

different areas.

  • The slow textile movement
  • Make do and Mend during the Second World War and its reemergence in

recent years

The essay has made some interesting points about using the knowledge of the past

to inform contemporary life. And you have included an interesting analysis of your

own work in relation to the artists discussed.

Suggested reading/viewing


Books you may find useful to continue to develop your drawing skills.

  • Draw to Stitch: line, drawing and mark-making in textile art. Gwen Hedley
  1. Batsford. London
  • Henry Moore textiles. Anita Feldmen. 2008. Lund Humphries. Aldershot.
  • The encyclopedia of drawing techniques. Hazel Harrison. 2004. Search.

Tunbridge Wells.

Books you may find useful for exploring folding and material manipulation.

  • Folding techniques for designers. From sheet to form. Paul Jackson. 2011.

Laurence King Publishing. London

Supersurfaces. Folding as a method of generating forms for architecture,

products and fashion. Sophia Vyzoviti. 2010. BIS Publishing. Amsterdam.

  • Folding Architecture. Spatial, structural and organizational Diagrams. 2010.

BIS Publishing. Amsterdam.

Student blogs you may find helpful

Websites where you can follow trends in design

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Continue to be experimental and taking risks in your design work
  • Think about using observational drawing as part of your design process.
  • Maintain you good working practices.

Well done Penni, I look forward to your next assignment

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