Nina's Textile Trail 2

– Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles

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Part one Surface Distortion – SORTING & Reflection

Having made samples in response to research and noted the outcomes, the most interesting or effective pieces and those with potential are identified for further development.  These observations are to be recorded and the outcomes and assignment reflected upon.

Project 4 – Scratching and Embossing

During this exercise I explored scraping into wet paint.  This suited me, with limited time available before the paint dried, I was forced to draw quickly and not spend too much time deliberating over my mark making, creating stronger, more confident lines.  As blogged at the time, I enjoyed the speed of drawing into the wet paint and felt freer and more expressive with a scraping or monoprint tool in my hand, than a pencil.  There is energy and movement in the lines and the contrast of the black paint against the silvery blue mottled background enhances the marks.  The two samples below were in response to Angie Lewin’s drawings, but a combination of the technique used and my own observational drawings of agapanthus seed heads has potential for development, if only as a method for recording observations.



I think this is my favourite outcome for further development.  Before choosing the hessian to emboss, I didn’t feel any connection or inspiration with my efforts but felt rewarded when the results of the hessian were revealed.  I love the organic nature of the marks and embossed texture, the way it can be faded out at the edges or highlighted with more pressure as in the centre square.  I am very keen to explore this further and to try embossing with a printing press and other found materials.  I also intend to emboss into paper pulp which I didn’t find time for during this assignment.  Paper making isn’t something I have tried before, but the potential textures, inclusions and feel of hand-made paper is so enticing, I shall have to experiment.



Project 1 – Folding and Crumpling

Surprised by the excitement crumpling of tissue created convinced me that this media has potential for further development.  The texture captivated me, the delicate lines and crevices, the play of light on the surface, creating different tones of colour.  The bronze tissue with a metallic but matt surface was delicious on early ‘crumples’ but lost its lustre with repeated use.  I only had one sheet, which was disappointing and haven’t found it since, but will continue to look.  The work using pink tissue was dramatic in A2 sheets and the rich pink increased the drama.  I could envisage huge flower shapes or multi cones joined to create a ball decorating a party venue with good impact.  The green and white was very effective too, with the shiny cellophane creating contrast to the white waxed tissue, with colours reflecting from the cellophane onto the tissue. The waxed tissue had a little more body and spikier forms held their shape well making it easier to create interesting placements by combining different forms.

Limiting the crumpling to linear was very effective, making strong lines in the gold tissue and lots of stretch, giving the single ribs below good height and shape. I absolutely loved the simplicity of cutting a rectangle across the diagonal, pinching the bottom and creating a beautifully curved organic leaf shape.  It was appealing in linear pleats, but using linear crumpled tissue took it to a whole new level for me. The leaf below is almost A3 sized but variations in scale are just as appealing.

The potential for colouring and crumpling or crumpling and colour is great and the following sample is included as a reminder that with consideration, crumpled or folded work could be greatly enhanced and personalised with the use of colour.


The music paper was so pleasing to use, the soft, creaminess of the paper, the added visual texture provided by the notes and is included as a reminder of the joy and pleasure that working with some papers give me and that found papers have lots to offer with the added patina of age.


Project 2 – Cutting and Tearing

During my research, I was truly enchanted by the shadows created by Marc Fornes’ installations and think there is potential in cutting holes or flaps with a view to creating shadows to present with a controlled or changing light source.


Interestingly, I think I produced less unsuccessful work during this assignment and feel I was more considered, benefitting from better research and stopping myself from developing things that seemed uninteresting from the outset.

I had more potential ideas than usual and ran out of time in some areas.  I was hoping to tie-dye and try some shibori techniques on paper, to emboss into paper pulp, make paper; explore puncturing and stitching, make holes in abaca tissue with a soldering iron, develop a crumpling idea that could be filmed and so on.

My working practice was more organised and focused, although, my time management could be improved upon.  I tried to record how long I worked to identify less productive behaviour which was useful.

I don’t think I was very adventurous at the beginning, when starting with scratching and embossing, but became more discerning as I got into crumpling, thinking more about the quality and visual appeal of the materials as I progressed through the other exercises.

One of my main achievements has been cementing my understanding of the context of research in relation to my studies.   I started to grasp this at the very end of A Creative Approach but feel I have really put in into practice during this assignment.

The course has been really enjoyable, much less prescriptive than A Creative Approach, during which I fretted and worried if I had interpreted the instructions correctly.   I feel I was able to be more creative, far less concerned with the outcome and more engaged in the process and following instinct.  I have developed my photography skills in considering how to  present the work and discovered the pleasures of grouping items.

I feel much more comfortable about the whole process of study and developing my creative side.  My mindset is different.  Previously I was concerned about proving what I could do in the eyes of others and sensitive to criticism, whereas this time, as I developed a way of working through the course, it became more about exploring creativity.  Also seeing feedback as a pointer for improved development, as constructive rather than personal criticism.

Thinking about the course in relation to the Assessment criteria:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills I think I have shown competent technical and visual skills.

Quality of Outcome I have continued to show competent exploration of ideas in this context, presenting samples well with discernment.

Demonstration of Creativity I think there has been a little more evidence of creativity and risk-taking, although I was so engaged in working with paper, I see I could have explored more unusual materials and taken more risks in that respect.  There has also been more evidence of the development of a personal voice.

Context  I have benefitted hugely from much wider research and have a much better understanding of the value and context of considered investigation of the work of others.  I am working on increasing my vocabulary for more effective analysis and reflection, trying to consider texture, colour, scale, line, placement and structure.

Comments from my first Assessment (A Creative Approach) indicate that one of my main strengths is the variety of potential ideas explored in research but that the outcomes are not as strong as the supporting work I produce.   Although I’m not really sure how to address this, overall, I have greater confidence in my ability to study to degree level and feel that the style of this course, better quality research and drawing from observation will help improve development and resolution of ideas.


I continue to be astounded by the resistance I encounter to draw.   Whilst I am aware that quick, loose sketches will suffice in many instances, I am still compelled to produce a ‘finished product’ and don’t naturally turn to sketching to record visual information.    When I’m not forcing/training myself to work digitally, I like to study with a pen in my hand and keep a notebook .  I think it would help my cause if I could convert my note taking habit to quick sketches and will add this to my strategy to make drawing habitual.

Future Aims

  • more drawing
  • more risk taking
  • increase analysis skills.





Project 1 – Folding & Crumpling – Exercise 2 – Rotational accordion pleats

Referring to the course notes and Paul Jackson’s Folding techniques for designers: from Sheet to Form, rotational accordion pleats were explored. The red origami paper is cut into a circle approximately 14cm diameter, the orange, an A4 sheet of copier paper. The pleating gives the paper strength and shape, the folds hold their structure well and the paper is transformed into a more dynamic form.

Following the above tutorial, the tree on the left below was folded from origami paper 15cm x 15cm and a second tree from a sheet of printer paper 21.5cm x 21.5cm

Thinking about how Paul Jackson colours his paper with dry pastels, starting with a square of rice paper 46cm x46cm, a further tree was folded, then crumpled, unravelled and coloured with green pastels, fixed with three sprays of Sennelier fixative for soft pastels:

and refolded and torn to finish the design. The rice paper is softer to work with than the origami and printer paper and is more difficult to crease sharply before it has been crumpled, but after crumpling the creases are softer.  The rice paper tree is less stable than the other two and whilst I prefer the crumpled texture and the potential for personalising with added colour, it hasn’t worked as well as I’d hoped.  It may be better in a smoother paper.


Quite interesting lit from within, even more so in real life, photography skills slightly lacking!



For interest, a piece of crumpled gold tissue from an earlier exercise was also folded in the same way.  It had lost more body than the rice paper and tore easily so was even less successful than the rice paper tree, but interesting to compare the forms.


V-Pleats demonstrated in the folding techniques video are illustrated below.  These were very satisfying to make and the lightweight origami paper was transformed into a striking structure with the ability to open and close.  Quite enlightened for a girl who was previously unattracted to pleats…





Jackson, P. (2011) Folding techniques for designers: From Sheet to Form. London: Laurence King

Japanese Rice paper



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Project 1 – Folding & Crumpling – Exercise 1 – Linear accordion pleats

I’m having to eat my words here – having rejected any form of geometric precision  and folding in favour of other exercises, I have realised that the process can help inform working with crumpled paper, so here I am creating accordion pleats.


I’m a bit impatient precisely folding from edge to fold, eager to move on to something less formal.  The paper is uninteresting in feel, look and colour.


The feel of the old music is warmer, softer, more pleasing.

Taking an idea from the Paper Sculpture scoring section of Paul Jackson’s book, an A4 sheet of copier paper was folded into accordion pleats, cut in half diagonally, glued and pinched at one end to create half leaf shapes.


I like the way a rectangle can be transformed into a curved shape with pleating and the play of light and shadow on folds.


The leaf shape above is pleasing but the contrast placing the second half the opposite way around is more lively.


A happy accident on the right, glued on one side at the base, on the way to a leaf shape, makes a lovely sculptural shape.  The music adds visual texture to the pieces.

The same technique was applied to the gold tissue paper used in the linear crumpling exercise in the previous post with fabulous results.



I love the texture and scale; the light reflecting off the multitude of ridges; the shadows in the depth of the creases; the strong lines and form in the previously fragile tissue; the papery rustle as you pick it up.

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Project 1 – Folding & Crumpling – Exercises 5 Crumpling, 6 & 7 Linear & Rotational Crumpling Techniques

Crumpling has captured my imagination so I have chosen to work on the other exercises to improve my understanding of the technique and different media.


Inspired by two items in Paul Jackson’s The Encyclopedia of origami and papercraft techniques and his suggestion that layout paper can be used, an A4 sheet of paper was glued to form a cylinder and crumpled. The intention was to add rib creases to create a spiral effect (centre bottom) but the crumpled cylinder was a bit small and difficult to crease.  I preferred the look of the right hand shaping.

The above are created with plain white layout paper.

In the ‘Organic Abstracts’ section of Paul Jackson’s website, he comments

… Controversially for many origami purists, the paper is coloured with charcoal or dry pastel and sealed to create a surface with a matt lustre. I do this because the simple truth is that for me, untreated paper doesn’t have the ‘presence’ of paper customised with pastel. This customisation of the surface somehow changes a model or a craft object into an art object.

Interested to investigate colouring the paper to make any outcome more personal to me, the following were coloured with oil pastels after the paper was crumpled. Although done quickly just for experimental purposes, I think this method emphasises the visual texture and has potential.

I wondered what he had ‘sealed’ his charcoal/dry pastel with and tried Winsor & Newton soft matt gel, which gave a matt lustre but smudged the charcoal.

Fixing the pastel with spray fixative before creasing proved to be a possibility.


However, the delicacy and nuance of colour achieved by Paul Jackson is far superior to my attempts and needs further investigation.

Another attempt at crumpling a cylinder and adding rib creases with an A2 gold metallic tissue showed potential as a technique but lacked the finesse and beauty of Paul Jackson’s sample.


It was interesting to compare scale, suggesting that a series of crumpled forms could be grouped to good effect.

Using the technique recommend in the course notes, Exercise 6 Linear crumpling technique, the paper was rolled into a narrow cylinder 4cm in diameter and the cylinder crushed in up an down movement.  This definitely increased and improved the vertical creases.

Gold tissue paper, linear crumpling long ribs and short scattered ribs.

Exercise 7 Rotational crumpling technique

Using silver tissue and drawing the creases downwards from a central point and then adding a ribbed spiral was reasonably successful but bore little resemblance to Paul Jackson’s sample.  I got a bit hot and bothered trying to persuade the paper into sharper ribs and a more conical form.  I’m not sure if the tissue paper or technique were to blame, but suspect both.

Whilst working on the above silver form, some of my frustration was eased when I realised that a good valley crease improved a peak crease, so in spite of my rather vehement opposition to pleats, I can see that an understanding of folding would increase the possibilities and success of crumpling samples.  So, I may have to consider doing the pleating exercises….

Jackson,  Paul (1991). The Encyclopedia of origami and papercraft techniques. London: Headline Book Publishing PLC pp136-137 5/12/15)

Thackeray, Beata (1997) Paper Making Decorating Designing Conran Octopus Limited



Project 1 – Folding & Crumpling – Exercise 5 Basic Crumpling Technique continued.

During my explorations on basic crumpling, some experiments were more successful than others.

My attempt at a crumpling technique, introduced by Paul Jackson but developed by Vincent Floderer and executed by Erik Gjerde in the following youtube video, didn’t display the same qualities.

The pink tissue began to hole towards the end.  By the final unravelling, it was floppy and difficult to reverse the peaks and folds as directed.  My creasing and folding was less careful and the tissue insubstantial.  I tried again with the white waxed tissue.  This held its form better but was harder to crumple, my technique and the paper contributing to the less than crisp outcome.

When exploring cellophane, I was keen to try the orange with the bronze tissue, but the bronze tissue was overworked by this point, (annoyingly I only had one sheet) and had lost some of its lustre and form.  No placement of the two materials resulted in anything dynamic enough to take forward at this point.

When moulding the rolls of masking tape, thinking about repetition and placement, a black tissue and a patterned tissue were introduced.  The form was lost with the patterned tissue, less pronounced with the black and the combination didn’t entice me to develop further.DSCF5025


Project 1 – Folding & Crumpling – Exercise 5 Basic Crumpling Technique


The instruction here is to start with a piece of paper, approximately A3 size, crumple it and pull it open repeatedly until it is a sixteenth of its original size.   Although I had read “It is best done in lightweight glossy paper of the sort used to wrap flowers or package delicate items of clothing”, for some reason, I began crumpling with a piece of brown parcel paper.


It was floppy, not holding the creases well and very dull.

Having just received my assessment results for my first level one course and trying to raise my game from “Some evidence of creativity, little evidence of risk-taking…”, I sought an alternative, attempting to find something more visually interesting.

Some tissue paper with a slightly ‘crisp’ finish in a metallic colour seemed like a good choice and showed much more potential.


The bronze paper crumpled easily showing a myriad of creases, tiny peaks and troughs and lots of elasticity.  The slightly metallic surface emphasised the light and shadow increasing the visual texture.  I was excited by the properties and eager to see how it could be manipulated.

The same piece of paper was then made into a series of surfaces.

A single rib:


Multiple ribs:

Ribs radiating from a single point:

which was quite striking when viewed from the other side:


DSCF5010Circular ribs:


and embossing by pushing the paper into the contours of a reel of masking tape:


We were asked to explore repeats, placement and effect of scale.

Thinking about scale and developing linear creasing as explored in the the ribs radiating from a single point, (three photographs above), three sheets of A2 pink tissue were crumpled from a single point, creating quite a dynamic form (bigger than it appears!).  I love the texture, especially the linear crumpling, the delicate lines and crevices reflect the light and beg to be examined more closely and the tissue holds its form well.  The pink tissue that had been crumpled randomly before linear creasing was softer and more difficult to manipulate.

Drawing A3 with charcoal and graphite sticks capturing the texture of the tissue paper and the shadows.


Drawing onto A3  paper – pencil, graphite, Faber-Castell Pitt Artists pens shades of grey, coloured pencils, some water soluble.  Pleased with the energy and suggestion of fragility conveyed.

Thinking about scale and interested to try cellophane the above were crumpled from a central point starting with a square approximately 2/3 of a sheet of A4.

A combination of 2 x A2 sheets of white waxed tissue and several of the smaller green cellophane peaks from above.



The papers all had slightly different qualities.  The metallic tissue showed lots of detail in small crisp crumples and with the reflection of light off the shiny surface, photographed well.  The brown kraft paper rejected at the beginning became soft with crumpling and would be good to sew into but not hold form in the same way as the lighter papers.  The pink tissue creased well and the detail looking into the centre was wonderfully textural.

DSCF5027The white waxed tissue was firmer to crumple but held its shape well and the cellophane added a different dimension reflecting the light more dramatically and casting pale yellow and lime green shadows.  It was possible to crumple but with less definition than the other materials. 5/12/15) 5/12/15)

Origami Seed You Tube (Accessed 9/12/15) 5/12/15)

You Tube Vissemanu (Accessed 9/12/15)