Nina's Textile Trail 2

– Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles


Formative Feedback – Assignment 2

On Thursday 14th April, I had video feedback from my tutor, Rebecca Fairley, which was an enjoyable and positive experience, followed up by a summary of the conversation in writing.

We agreed that compiling a hard copy workbook and then blogging about it has worked for me.   She felt that the workbook was a good balance, professional but also creative and attractive but there was a distinction between the workbook which was more annotation and the online learning log which contained deeper reflection.   We agreed it could be less formal in its writing and that jottings, notes and bullet points which are expanded  upon in the online learning log would suffice but it was important to ensure that all research and critical thinking is included  in the online version which will be regarded as my learning log at Assessment.

The samples showed my willingness to be experimental especially attempting to use wax crayon and beeswax to fill holes from which I had learned.  There was a nice balance between craftsmanship and care in making and a tension between working within my comfort zone with materials I like and trying to push myself.

Research has paid off in the quality of my work.

There is a consideration to colour evident in joining where the restricted palette works well but even using bright colour I have responded to research.  Restrictive colour is a cohesive way of working.   My photographs show good compositional skills. I should follow ‘gut’ feelings of success or concern.

To connect with my feelings a bit more, write them down.  Having a good eye and understanding how things look is innate.   Its good to recognise and comment if you have that eye and understand composition and balance.  She commented on the sensitive use of materials in joining and could see that I understood the aesthetic of combining certain materials.

As I had observed, Rachel commented that I haven’t drawn enough.  I should draw an interesting sample as soon as I’ve finished it using blind continuous line drawing.   A You Tube clip was recommended to help with this.  Drawings should take between 5 seconds and two minutes.  Rebecca is not interested in my drawing but in my looking .  Blind continuous line drawing demonstrates that you’re looking carefully and is often very expressive.  Use variety of materials, pencil, charcoal, crayon and ink, even scissors, to cut out a version of what I’m looking at .  Do crazy things like pencil on stick, finger in sand or shaving foam and take a picture of it.  Have fun, loosen up and get away from pencil.  My drawings are fine but do 5 -10 more of my samples for Assignment 2 and add the drawings from workbook to blog if they’re not there already .

Make sure there’s progression in next assignment lots of sample drawing and say what I have learnt from the sample while I was drawing.  Using blind continuous line drawing to look closely at samples, say what’s learnt, eg. shape, pattern, colour, placement, composition.

USE drawing as a tool to do close study work of samples.

My research is good and broad minded,  I had looked at the recommended artists and found others.  Continue to talk about what’s valuable and important to me as I did with Ed Rossbach and Judith Scott, relating observations to my own work.

Learning log shows good, honest reflection which I should continue to build on, developing ways of saying things, bringing in how I feel.  I was reminded to use metaphors and recommended to look at an academic book, Visualising Research.

I need to add reflection on the Ted Talks recommended by Rebecca in my previous feedback to Assignment 2 which were viewed at the time but not noted in my learning log.

Formative Feedback summary sheet 


Student name Nina O’Conner Student number 513049
Course/Unit Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles Assignment number Two
Type of tutorial Video    


Feedback on assignment

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

This is a well-organised body of work demonstrating a professional and mature attitude to your studies. This is a summary of the video call we had this morning.

  • There is consideration to colour, texture and composition in your sampling. With a more restrained colour palette in your joining samples that works well. There is more freedom in colour with the wrapped samples that picks up the research material you have examined.
  • In the work there is evidence of risk taking, in particular with the samples using crayons and bees wax to fill holes and several items of your wrapped work.
  • The workbook is carefully organised and a pleasure to look at. As your online learning log develops keep the writing in your workbook to annotation and notes that you can discuss in depth on your blog.



Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

This assignment requires a bit more drawing of your samples as we discussed. Try to draw each interesting sample after you have made it as a way of learning about its properties. You do not need to make a complete study, pick an area or characteristic to observe. I suggest you start with blind continuous line drawing in a wide range of media. Add images of your drawings to your Learning Log and reflect on what you have learnt by closely observing the objects.


Blind continuous line drawing



Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

For this assignment you have found some interesting a relevant research material that demonstrates your broadminded approach. There is evidence that you are able to take what is important to you when looking at someone else’s work and translate this into your own creativity.


Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Your Learning Log is written articulately and with honesty. There is evidence you posses self-awareness and are able to recognise when you need to push yourself. I suggest you add your reflective thinking of the TED talks I recommended in my last feedback.


Suggested reading/viewing


Visualizing Research: A guide to the research process in art and design. Carol Gray and Julian Malins published by Ashgate.


Assignment 2 and 4 Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Textiles Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.  


Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log
  • Continue to take risks and be playful in your creativity
  • Draw your samples more regularly
  • Continue to be broadminded in your research investigation
  • Maintain the development of your language when discussing your own work and the work of others


Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment.   Written or video/audio


Well done Nina, I look forward to your next assignment.


Tutor name Rebecca Fairley
Date 14th April 2016
Next assignment due 13th June 2016

My Reflection:


Video feedback suits me better than a full written report which I might misinterpret or fret over.  On submitting this assignment, I felt I had raised my game, having put into practice what I thought was expected of me and was delighted with the comment that it was “a well-organised body of work demonstrating a professional and mature attitude to your studies”.

The confirmation that there is consideration to colour, texture and composition in my sampling is pleasing, and whilst I have always felt an affinity with colour, it was good to have demonstrated an eye for it here.   As previously mentioned, focusing on a paper compilation of my learning log really helped me to approach the choice of materials and overall presentation in a more discerning way and with more consideration for the detail. I felt that the aesthetic success of careful thought and sensitivity to colour, texture and composition inspired greater creativity.


Drawing has been my nemesis and I was aware that there needed to be more in this assignment. However, I do feel there has been a definite shift.  My attitude to drawing changed during the assignment and by the deadline, the lack of drawing was more to do with poor time management than fear, which is a step in the right direction.  I can see that close observation through drawing is a valuable means of studying a sample in detail and have moved away from the feeling/thought that my drawing needs to be a comprehensive rendition of the the object having taken an hour or more to complete!  I think I have developed a more confident and comfortable mindset to make drawing my focus throughout this assignment.

I will photograph and add the drawings already completed to my online log and draw a further 5-10 samples trying to restrict each sketch to less than 2 minutes as suggested in my video feedback.  A tough call which might be helped by thinking of drawing as a form of note taking.  I will reflect on the blind continuous line drawing youtube clip recommended.


During this assignment, I felt I had gained a more practical understanding of the relevance and benefits of pertinent research am pleased to have demonstrated evidence that I am able to take what is important when looking at someone else’s work and translate this into my own creativity. (Rebecca Fairley).

Learning Log

The positive comments on my learning log are welcome and I will add the reflective thinking of the TED talks recommended in the last feed back.

Suggested reading/viewing

Visualizing Research: a guide to the research process in art and design. Carole Gray and Julian Malins published by Ashgate was recommended  but that as it is aimed at Level 3 students, I need not buy it but look for excerpts on online.  It is available at the local UCA library so I will borrow it, (see if I can make sense of it!) and reflect accordingly.

Pointers for the next assignment

Glad that these are similar to the areas I had identified for development during the next assignment I will endeavour to draw more regularly, continue to take risks, be playful in my creativity, broadminded in in my research and continue to develop reflective language.

I would like video/audio feedback for my next assignment.

With thanks to my Tutor for the positive and helpful feedback and my peers for their support, I’m looking forward to moulding and casting.








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MMT Part 2 Joining and Wrapping REFLECTION

(Paper Learning Log Page 51)

This assignment has been approached in a more holistic manner.  I chose to compile a paper log and to blog its contents in full.  One is not a direct replica of the other, but in the main, both contain the same material.  It was valuable to be able to build a record of my work by adding and moving pages until it compiled a comprehensive record of my learning.  This was more time-consuming than focusing on the online log, but infinitely more creative and successful for me.

Using the assessment criteria first, I will reflect on the assignment and conclude with my overall thoughts.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I feel strongly that my visual awareness, observation, design and compositional skills have improved during this assignment.  This is as a result of careful consideration of the work of other artists, attention to detail in photographing my samples and more scrutiny when drawing.  The same level of analysis and investigation has refined my use of materials and techniques.

Quality of outcome

I questioned my initial results of the joining exercise considering them trite, but once I relaxed and combined the results of my research, materials and methods, the quality was evident.  Working in a paper log made it easier for me to make connections and I feel the coherent presentation of the work reflects and communicates a successful combination of research, drawing, outcome and thoughts.

Demonstration of Creativity

Working in this more ‘holistic’ way improved my creativity.  The regular revision of work sparked connections, with new research encouraging a more broad minded approach which fuelled my imagination and ideas were far more forthcoming than previously experienced.  This was helped by three one-day workshops at my local sixth form college in the Textile department which were hugely inspirational.  In particular the work and sketchbooks on display and the wealth and generosity of knowledge shared by the Tutors.  I have been more experimental and inventive, but appreciate that a bolder approach with unusual materials is expected.


I had difficulty relating some of my research on joining to my samples, but as I worked through the exercises and into wrapping, referencing more practitioners, the context became clearer and more habitual.  I feel I have gained a genuine understanding of the benefit and necessity of broad, considered research.

Observations in relation to formative feedback from Assignment 1

Belatedly referring to my feedback from Assignment 1 in the context of Assignment 2, I have acted on some of the pointers and there is room for more work on others.

Although I explored new materials, they were not as interesting and unusual as some I might have chosen. I found it difficult to chose and learn from materials I don’t like but have been more adventurous than previously and feel this style of course is ‘setting me free’, but its very much a work in progress.

Different media & methods have been used for drawing and I have a newfound confidence in this area which has developed throughout the assignment and during workshops so is a little late.  I have drawn more, but not enough, although I have used photography to ‘see’ in a way that drawing enables, so feel progress has been made.  I will work on drawing more regularly with ‘a loose expressive style’ and to experiment further with scale.

I have definitely been more analytical with my work and others and identified what I can learn from the experience.  There has been an increase in the range of words used to describe what I see, but I haven’t delved into how things make me feel.  I have thought about placement and composition in my work, which I think is illustrated but not documented in writing, nor have I commented on either in the work of others.

In addition to the above, I could improve my working methods to make more effective use of time.

In conclusion,  I feel this was a very successful assignment which I have enjoyed and can clearly see and feel my progress and growth in confidence.  I wasn’t always comfortable with the exercises or materials, but made it work for me.  The paper learning log encouraged a more cohesive approach and a satisfying outcome.  The research had a notable impact on my work and influenced creativity.

My aims for the next assignment are:

To draw my samples regularly using a variety of media and scale.

To extend the analysis of my work and others, including how it makes me feel.

To be more experimental with materials

To continue to develop organised working habits.




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MMT Part 2 Joining and Wrapping Stage 4 SORTING

This stage is to review samples and select those that stand out and might be developed further.

In the first section, Joining, I felt it took me a while to loosen up and be more exploratory. I tried to understand the concept of joining so initially was frustrated that the samples weren’t very exciting.

The first technique that surprised and interested me was using a hand held needle felting tool to join fibres. The looser weave fabrics were particularly appealing as there is great potential for creating different textures.

Both sides of the fabric offer different surfaces.  During this Assignment (February 2016) I following a second Dionne Swift online workshop Drawing for Textiles Online 2016.  This involved lots of monochrome drawing up to A2 using a variety of materials and then representing sections of the drawing with an embellishing machine and stitch.  With no embellisher to hand, this gave me the opportunity to explore the capabilities of my hand held needle felting tool and large ‘mat’ to match.


Above is a view from each side of needle felted wool flannel.   Materials used include black cotton scrim, acrylic felt, wool yarn and machine thread.   My success was definitely inspired by exploring the technique as a joining method, which has great potential.

The following series of samples were visually appealing, small, tactile, complementing one another.  The potential here lies in creating a group of samples in similar materials, and  a simple palette that can be viewed together.

The possibilities that wax offers for changing the surface quality of materials are enticing.  Crumpling after waxing produces lovely lines, on some papers and materials the wax creates a translucency which exaggerates the fibres or printed surface.   Lightweight papers can be layered, trapping petals or threads, cut up and re-joined with an iron.  Although fine papers are more suitable in this instance, the quality of heavier fabrics or papers can be enhanced.

Worthy of further development is the following sample, which used wax to join pine needles and fill a hole in khadi paper.  This is really ethereal and filled me with awe, if that doesn’t sound too pretentious.  The combination of the textures, lighting and photography have made this so successful.


Similarly, the effect of photographing waxed or stitched hydrangea petals against the light, which enhances their delicacy and fragility, is worthy of exploration.

The texture and properties of jute scrim become a valuable addition to my tools and the following simple combination brought me joy.


as did the joining of two pieces.  The lightness of the fibre, the undulating lines and curves of the weave and the shadows delight me.


The properties of the combination of materials below appealed, the monochrome palette, soft, sleek fibres of the merino wool tops and the coarser, hairy linen criss-crossing spoon, creating bumps, bulges and a crinkly shadow.

Wrapping natural materials gave me great pleasure and on reflection, has emotional connections or potential release relating to the recent death of my father.  I need to explore this to determine where the pleasure lies, merely in the beauty of the individual components, or even the comfort of familiar materials, the aesthetic outcome, the connection with nature, my father.


This exploration would not be complete if I didn’t include the greater challenge of adding less familiar materials.

Pot coiling holds the most exciting potential for me.  I loved the simplicity of exploring joining first, the tactility and character of my little pots.


and the more I researched, the more excited I became,  I read Ed Rossenbach’s ’40 years of Exploration and Innovation in Fiber Art’, he sounds like such a lovely man, who thoroughly immersed himself in the research and history of techniques, exploration of materials and then taught to share his immense knowledge and experience.   I’m not necessarily interested in baskets or weaving, but want to really explore the combination of materials that can be wrapped and then coiled into vessels, eg, spun paper, spun grasses, combinations of ephemera wrapped in clingfilm, recycled plastics, fabrics, wire, cable. Then make pots and maybe dip them in wax or paper slurry or something else – this is genuine excitement with the prospect of real thrills!

Within the wrapping exercise, my love of textural, loose weave materials kept coming to the fore and there is appeal in further developing the following samples where the wrapping conceals and reveals and object or contrasting layers.


Lastly, the second thrilling prospect was the idea of creating balls or packages of differing materials enclosed in a net like structure.


That concludes quite a pleasurable sorting exercise and seems to illustrate a successful Assignment 2!   It was good to be reminded of how much I have learned over the last few months.



MMT 2 – Project 2 Wrapping -Exercise 2 Wrapping with materials and threads & Exercise 3 Uneven Wrapping

(Paper Learning Log Pages 43-50)


A piece of crumpled white waxed tissue from Assignment 1 was wrapped around a small jug and bound with black embroidery thread and a finer machine thread.


Although the binding and small pleats in the paper are quite pleasing, the excess paper sprouting from the top of the wrapping was a distraction. The jug was re-wrapped with a smaller piece of softer white tissue paper.


The wrapping is quite effective but a bigger piece of tissue allowing more pleated texture, additional knotting and greater tension would increase interest.  An identical jug was wrapped in a mesh bag, secured with cotton perle.


I prefer this to the first wrapping.  The visual and actual texture of the bag is interesting, allowing the jug to show through the netting and the light bounce off the glazed surface.  The green of the mesh and the light transform the jug into more of a primrose yellow and the complementary burgundy thread stands out.  There is a little more interest in the knotted thread which is also bound around the neck and handle of the jug making the outline more visible.

Thinking about mesh-like fabric, jute scrim was used to wrap a third jug, bound with a warp thread of jute and some additional silk tussah.  This is my favourite so far, as it allows the gentle curve of the spout and handle to be visible.  The light reflecting off the glaze adds to the dynamic.



As a group, they complement one another:

In the bottom picture, the opaque tissue paper wrapped jug has been re-wrapped in cotton scrim, similar in style to the jute and green mesh, allowing a little more of the outline of the jug to show through.


A trio of green glass vases were wrapped in hand-dyed scrim.  The outline of the glass is attractive behind the scrim and the light bouncing off the glass adds interest.  The pattern created by the weave of the scrim is clearly visible as it curves around the bowl of the first vase and travels diagonally up the second. The third has been tied with a hand dyed silk thread emphasising the contours of the glass.

Re-wrapping the the first two above and adding thread, allowing the scrim to fall away to reveal the neck was effective, contrasting with the more mysterious smaller vase wrapped in navy scrim.


then revealing the neck of the third vase united them in another way.

Re-wrapped the same three vases, thinking about creating more texture through the tightness of the thread. The first wrapped in a silk and some plastic coated fishing line, the fabric was loosely pleated before winding around the vase which produced a different look. The second was wrapped in some linear crumpled tissue from Assignment 1 and then secured with raffia following the vertical lines of the tissue and emphasising the throat of the vase by wrapping around the neck. The third was wrapped in some vibrant packaging from tea bags and secured with black linen.  There was something irresistible about the shiny copper packaging with the contrasting black text, the multiple crumples and light reflection provided an intricate texture.


In this exercise the instruction is to use found objects with protrusions or a combination of objects and thinking about the work of Judith Scott to wrap in an experimental and playful way, using the shape of the object to trigger ideas.  The three small vases used in the last exercise were bound together and wrapping commenced.  It was quite time consuming and mostly absorbing, although on a number of occasions I questioned my sanity as it seemed an unusual way to occupy a Friday evening.  However I began to see the merit in thinking about the placement, composition, texture and colour and was prompted by the green cotton thread and gold cord to add some gold chenille yarn. It was a contrast in texture but not very interesting and I felt a complementary colour would add  some zing and chose to work with red rug wool, an acrylic, hairy yarn.  As I worked I thought about creating different textures with the direction of the winding or adding some criss-crossed weaving and constantly reviewed the colour until I felt I had an balanced and effective mix of green, gold and red.  I think I enjoyed the challenge of trying to produce something visually pleasing but I’m not sure I would rush to repeat the exercise.




Continuing to think about working in a more experimental way, I revisited my naturally wrapped pieces blogged earlier (28th March) as a friend had questioned my comment ‘It was an easy activity for me and rewarding but perhaps not really challenging’.  She suggested I asked myself why I felt that, that maybe the work hadn’t come from place of feeling and what might make it more challenging.

I considered it for a few days. I enjoyed wrapping the natural materials in the garden, it was a sunny afternoon, but I was thinking about my Dad, who recently died and how he loved to be outside, I tried not to think, my son and his girlfriend were in the garden too and I felt they were intruding on my space.  So on reflection, although discerning with my choice of materials and aiming for a pleasing aesthetic, I wrapped ‘mechanically’ on the surface, trying not to engage with my feelings.  I think I must have connected subconsciously as the samples were beautiful and appealing to me and did come from somewhere deep within that I didn’t or don’t want to examine.    In addition on a lighter note, the materials are familiar to me, I love the palette and the textures, so in that way they are less challenging. To raise the game, I revisited them considering items that have less affinity with natural materials.

Looking through my father’s fly tying yarn ‘stash’, the neon threads were asking to be used.  I started by adding the orange twine the top piece and as I worked dropped snippet of the yarn used onto sellotape which were enclosed with another piece of tape and used to wrap the aquilegia stems on the second sample.  The sellotape trapping would have been even more successful on this piece had the threads been more randomly scattered rather than linear. As it appears small here, the wooden slice wrapped in raffia and chenille yarn looks effective.  In practice, the chenille is a bit overpowering and the sample might be improved with a finer yarn.  The birch twigs are quite effective, (there is a pink and orange yarn included with the green and yellow but its difficult to discern here) and to my surprise, the contorted hazel with wire is definitely an improvement on the previous sample, which must have needed more twigs.

Overall, this was successful, although still small, neat and careful, it was more challenging to work with brightly coloured synthetic materials and combine them with the muted tones and textures of the natural samples.


Using a bit of recycled string a softer combination of colour and a sellotape wrapping with snippets of sisal, dried grass, blue thread and the paler recycled string, the following is quite appealing too (although more so than appears in the photograph).  I particularly like the colour combination.


Trying to be a little bolder, a handful of the remaining samples were wrapped together which was reasonably successful, inviting the eye in for a closer look.

and a bundle of twigs treated to a neon chenille outfit.  I wrapped and re-wrapped this a number of times to achieve a pleasing outcome.


Resorting to my comfort zone, two small pebbles were wrapped in hand dyed silk noil yarn and a silk, cashmere, cotton mix.

I love the nubby texture of the noil yarn and the softness in the palm of my hand.  I imaging a heavier pebble would be more satisfying, the weight of the stone contrasting with the softness of the fibre. The criss crossing of the other thread, the definition of the different fibres in the close up picture and the shininess of the polished pebble showing through is more effective than the left hand pebble.  Again this would benefit from being a larger sample. It was inspired by a woven covered pebble by Alice Fox so I can’t take credit for the idea!

During research, I looked closely at one of Judith Scott’s pieces, square in shape, measuring 14in x 14in x 4in.

As blogged earlier “Judith Scott’s work pulled me in to examine the detail, layers and texture created with fibre and found objects.  Her use of colour is quite striking and the more I look, the more I see.  Fabulous surface texture is created by intricate combinations of wrapping, stitching, knotting, weaving of fine, medium, thick yarns, smooth, fluffy, coarse, used singly, in groups, horizontally, vertically, diagonally, revealing and concealing the layers beneath.”

So in an endeavour to create some of these features, I wrapped a 10cm square of black mount board.  I started with brightly coloured variegated yarn and wrapped in all directions. Then stitched into the wrapping with a dark purple chenille to try and raise the edge, I resorted to herringbone and blanket stitch to get a bit of depth and added various wrappings and stitch to build up the sides.  I had difficulty replicating the technique employed by Judith Scott which resulted in repeated triangles, trapezium and trapezoid, but ploughed on thinking about a circle of colour created in one of her  other pieces and worked on revealing a circle of threads by creating the outline.  Although I didn’t achieve the more geometric shapes I was aiming for, which I may sample on wrapped card if I can squeeze it into the weekend, I am pleased with the sample.  It was more challenging than I expected to influence the direction of the yarn and create the areas of depth and shadow I was hoping for.



Lastly, I couldn’t resist trying out the following idea, inspired by Sheila Hicks.  During this assignment, I have particularly enjoyed the properties and mesh effect of fruit net and jute yarn and began to imagine all the things I could enclose in net to produce different textures.  My deadline is next week so I am running out of time and have only touched the surface, but think there is potential in exploring this concept.  Changing the tension of the wrapping affects the texture, using a combination of natural and man-made materials, a variety of soft ‘packages’ were made, including polystyrene beads in a florists’ netting, squishy polystyrene pellets in a black fruit net, cream merino wool in jute scrim, orange merino wool tops in green fruit netting and brown packaging and bubble wrap in jute scrim.