As Part 4 finishes, we are asked to review the work we have done. I am not sure how this differs from the instruction in Stage 4 to reflect on our work as a whole (and then mark ourselves according to the Assessment Criteria). So I am going to combine this task.
The main thing I began to experience during Part 4 was frustration because – apart from stencilling – I couldn’t see what was being applied onto the print surface, in particular while making actual images rather than random marks (eg Project 1, Ex. 2). It’s not just about control and knowledge of materials and equipment, I would like to watch the paint/ink going onto a surface – I wanted to just paint the images on! Consider this sample from Part 3, a ‘drawing’ of one of my plaster molds.
Derwent Inktense drawn onto polycotton and then painted, to blend. It works very well for me. Presumably a print would also have worked well, but why place printing plates upside down and out of sight when you can watch and control how the image is applied by painting directly! To be honest I am surprised I feel like this, so these printing exercises have been very useful. I have learned something about how I like to work.
I do need to do more, especially with the collotyping. I feel I haven’t explored this technique enough, but feel the printing process itself would be disappointing. I can’t make more than vague patterns, which are useful as a base for further work but that’s all. Further explorations could include using natural objects and some of the clay impressions made at the end of Part 3. I am also thinking about using embroidery itself as a printing tool, especially stitches made with materials such as string into acetate, pelmet vilene or a similar tough material. I have explored baseball stitching in various ways, but not like this. My tutor noted that perhaps I hadn’t used research material from other artists as much as I could have done, and I still haven’t … this is something I’ve really got to get down to in my Final Project. Alexander McQueen and Anselm Kiefer are two major artists to help explore my ideas about images of clothing, but also various Pinterest artists I’ve noted but not paid deep attention to. Most certainly I would find printing a useful sketchbook tool, to help explore ideas – the randomness of print sparks the imagination.
So, specific answers to the Questions in Stage 3 of our Coursebook (which I noted in my sketchbook about two thirds of the way through, but these are my final thoughts):
- Unfortunately the artists I research, for example Laurie Rudling, impressed me but did not actually influence the direction I took. For example, instead of using collatypes for printing, I have found them far more intriguing as objects in their own right. I feel this is a very good discovery, but perhaps not very much to do with textiles.
- How did printmaking go for me? It was more of a challenge than I expected. I suspect others might say I am being too fussy, not free enough with the process ….
- Ideas for the future: I definitely try out printing from embroidery, possibility for interesting marks.
- Any ideas for using these printing methods in combination with other sample-making exercises in this course? The monoprints make good backgrounds for stitch, and also blend well with infused plaster (the blouse front, for example). They are excellent for collage but, I suspect, the collage I have handed in for the Assignment has been painted over so much that the original monoprints are almost invisible (red collage).
- Would I consider using printing as mark-making exercises to develop ideas in my sketchbook. Yes, certainly.
Assessment Criteria: As usual, it is almost impossible for me to mark myself, as requested in the Coursebook. My feeling, since the last Assessment, that I have such little insight into my own Textiles work (compared to Drawing 1) makes me realise that a Textiles Degree is not the path for me, I am drawn more and more to mixed media work which includes a textiles component. However, I shall have a go.
- Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skill: well, I have had good ideas about materials (e.g. embroidery) but not always used them. My techniques haven’t been skillful – below average. Design and compositional skill – a good average.
- Quality of outcome – I’ve labelled every page in my sketchbook and tried to keep things in chronological order – so presentation in a coherent manner is improving. I hope my large red collage has communicated ideas/conceptualizes thoughts but I am not sure it is specifically relevant to Part 4 work – so I would lose marks for that. I think the blouse front is also quite good at doing the above and is also relevant to Part 4 work, even though it combines techniques from other Parts of the Course (but this demonstrates application of knowledge). I would give myself a good average mark here, but not convinced an Assessor would. (Not that the Assessor is “wrong”, but it shows I am not suited to a Textiles course).
- Demonstration of creativity: experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice. Yes – I have confidence in these abilities. My personal voice is developing. I experiment and I invent. If something doesn’t work one way, I will try to make it work another way (e.g.collatypes make their own artwork, even if they don’t print successfully. Incorporating prints into a large collage – I was able to put my imagination into practice).
- Context: reflection, research, critical thinking. I could have done more research. I am learning to reflect.