Sunday, January 29, 2012

Part One: Project 2 - What have I achieved?

I think I have achieved quite a lot!!

I am sitting with my work around me; some of it is mounted, some of it awaits that process so that I can display it easily in my workbook. is all finished. The next project looms!

Do I feel happy with the work?
We were asked at the start of project 2 to develop an awareness of how embroidery can be manipulated to give specific effects. Having worked through the exercises, I think that awareness is beginning to happen.

I have done a lot of machine embroidery over the years - but it has been a while since I sat and used hand embroidery as a medium. It was very satisfying to stitch and watch the layers of texture and colour build up.

Do I prefer working with stitch to drawing? Can I begin to see the relationship between the two?
I enjoy working with both stitch and drawing...I feel the two are compatible.

I found it really interesting to create the marks in a drawing and to get the same, but different, effect from using stitch.

I would, at this stage, still reach for a drawing tool first when sketching.... so I think it is the start of a challenging artistic period for me.

I found that the biggest challenge when drawing with stitch was getting used to the effect that each different type of thread had on the work; whether it was shiny or matt, thick or thin.
Another challenge was working with the restriction of the purchased thread colours.

I think, although a challenge to work primarily in stitch - it is the main reason I wanted to do this course - to see what would happen to my work when encouraged to try something new.
I also really enjoy the process of creating stitches.

I can begin to see the relationship between stitch and drawing, I think I always have - but having worked through the exercises, it begins to make sense!

The samples, once again, form a valuable "visual dictionary" of what happens when you stitch in a certain way, or use one type of thread next to another.

All the different stages, from the practice piece at the start of Project 2, right through to Stage 6, show the many different ways the threads, fabrics and stitches all work together.

Having worked through Stage 2, was I able to choose stitches which expressed the marks and lines of my drawings?
Yes I think I was able to choose stitches which expressed the marks and lines of my drawings.

The process got easier the more I worked, my main problem was "jumping" the design process before starting - having a definite idea of how I was going to start - rather than letting the piece develop naturally.
Like the earlier mixed media pieces depicting texture in Project 1 - the 2nd or 3rd "go" at a sketch was better than the first attempt.

I think the hardest part is to attach an emotion to a mark - once I started to think in this way, the mark-making became more natural, and the decision behind which stitches, threads and materials to use became more deliberate.

Did I feel that I chose the right source material to work from?
Yes I did. The source material I chose helped inspire the choices I made in stitch.

I think as I work through the projects my sketches will develop into pieces that will lend themselves to stitch more naturally.

It was at the last stage that I think I could have made a better choice of source material; the stitch sample worked as an interpretation of the sketch into stitch, but it took a lot of work to make the sample into a finished piece of work. The choice making, when selecting source material, will become easier the more samples I produce.

Although my current sketches provided good material to work from, when I see the sketches of Julia Caprara, Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn - their work, whether on paper or fabric, lends itself immediately to embroidery - all the marks and colours can be interpreted easily into stitch.

Do I think my sample works well irrespective of the drawing? Or is it just a good interpretation of my drawing and nothing more?
I like the samples that I produced, although they started off as "interpretations" they did begin to develop a life of their own the more I worked on them.

Often the view finder helped identify an area, once the stitching started, landscapes started to appear from some of the samples worked. This became something that was very different from the original sketch.

The texture of the samples really differentiated them from the original source material as well, the depth of the stitches can be built up much more easily than layers of pastel, paint or pencil.

Did I prefer working with stitch to create texture or working with yarns to make textures?
I enjoyed the process of working with stitch to create textures  - Stage 5, rather than working with yarns to make textures - Stage 6.

This may have been due to the break that happened in my work, which meant I lost the natural "flow" in the thought process.

But, I think I enjoyed the process of stitching more - it was an enjoyable exercise, to stitch and watch as the fabric was covered in the different textures. There were no hard and fast rules for an end product, just stitch and see what happens.

I think as the work progresses I may change how I feel about this - with each exercise new ideas and ways of working will develop.

Comments on individual techniques and sample pieces.
I feel that this project was the start of experimenting - so although I felt, at the time, that I had experimented probably isn't. As you work your way through each exercise, new ideas crop up.... all I can do at this stage is to make notes to try out in future exercises and experiments.

While working on the samples I felt inhibited by time - I enjoyed the stitching process, so I would stitch away, then I would look at my watch and realise hours had passed and all I had to show was a small sample of stitching!!

These are some of my favourite samples:

This was the sample that expressed "distressed and broken" - I really like the way the white stitching at the centre pulls the eye in. It was also my third attempt to create the effect I wanted.
From Project 2 - Stage 3

This was the sample that described the word "crunchy", I like the texture of the piece, both to feel and to look at. The colours also worked really well.
Project 2 - Stage 4

I liked the optical illusion created by this sample; dark areas appear when the stitches are close together, lighter areas when the stitches are further apart. The sample also appears to 'come towards' the viewer, the edges recede away from the centre. 
Project 2 - Stage 5

This was the sample that depicted the word calm. This example was developed from a picture of a tree trunk.
I liked the way a landscape appeared from the stitches - I enjoyed the way the work differed from it's starting point. 
Project 2 - Stage 3

What is my preferred way to work?
I enjoyed working from drawings, I liked the way the sample developed. I also felt that I had to work harder at the design and development level to achieve a good result.

Having said that - I really liked the samples that were created by playing with materials and yarns to create effects.

From all the work created in Project 2 I think the most interesting work was created by "playing". This may change as I work through the next few projects!!

Are there any other techniques I would like to try? Are there any samples I would like to do in a different way?
I don't think I need to try out other techniques........ yet. As long as I use new techniques in the forthcoming projects, or regularly update my sketchbook to keep a log of different ways of working.

I am also happy with my samples at this stage in the course... I may look back on these later and wished I had done them differently. But I can always redo them later and add any amendments to the sketchbook.

Would I like to change anything in my work?
At some point in the future I may re-visit Stage 6. 

At the moment, although I like the sample produced, I feel I would like to either:

Create some more stitching on the sample - to add even more texture and interest to it,
 Make a new sample based on the other pictures I shortlisted for this stage.

I also intend in future projects to try and incorporate more varieties of yarns and threads, to be a little more inventive.


I have enjoyed working through Project 2, it is just that a lot of personal issues got in the way.
I am going to try harder to keep focused on the course, and to work harder on time management.

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