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.




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Project 2 Tearing & Cutting – Exercises 4 & 5, cutting holes and creating flaps

Sharon Arnold

During my research, Sharon Arnold’s Nixe and Chimaera, from her Nixe, Chimaera, Muff series, enthralled me.

Chimaera, in greek mythology is a fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail (, 2015),  

The piece is cut from a Strathmore drawing roll (130gsm)  4 feet high, 8 1/2 feet wide and curling flames lick, flit and dance across the paper in whorls, the shadows created by the paper flaps adding to the energy and movement.


Quick sketch of Sharon Arnold’s ‘Chimaera 2010’


My version, cut from 150gsm cartridge paper, photographed on a flat red surface, against the window and on white.  Cutting this was really enjoyable, reminiscent of the pleasure I get from carving into easy-cut lino.  I love the sweep of the scalpel as it creates curves.  Although quite pleased with the outcome, I think more texture and movement could be achieved with added, finer cuts and would definitely develop this further to incorporate my own style.


Quick Sketch of  Sharon Arnold’s ‘Nixe 2010’

Nixe, defined as ‘a water fairy, usually one who is at least party human’
(,2015) cascades down the wall like a waterfall, tumbling in all directions and splashing onto the floor below.  Nixe, also cut from a Strathmore drawing roll, is 8 feet tall


My attempt at a similar style, photographed on a white background above and from different angles on a grey background below.

As before, I enjoyed cutting this and am quite pleased with the texture achieved and the flexibility of being able to manipulate the paper to curl up the ends. In Sharon Arnold’s piece, the paper falls to the floor in generously curled ribbons, which I didn’t achieve on this occasion.  I found it a comfortable and enjoyable technique which I would happily develop.

Jaq Belcher

Jaq Belcher’s FIELDS series include a myriad of tiny, identical leaf shape flaps hand cut in different directions which catch the light, creating a delightful, almost whimsical texture.


Cutting holes and creating flaps in the style of Jaq Belcher on white 150gsm cartridge paper: Photographed on a hand-dyed fabric, red and blue paper.

This was interesting.  I enjoyed looking at Jak’s work and its uniformity, the delicate cuts and effect of light falling on the varying angles of the flaps.   I found it tedious to cut the small leaf-shaped holes and almost gave up, enjoying cutting the larger leaves more.  To achieve the same sense of cohesion and fragility as the artist, needs more precision than I have offered and I wonder if her shapes are printed by computer before hand cutting.   Contributing to the success of her pieces, I also see that the precision extends beyond the uniform shape of the cuts to the careful angling of leaves.   Looking at the cuts on a white background is more effective in creating delicacy and my preference:


although I also like it on grey:



Lorenzo M. Durán

Fabulous, delicate, detailed work, cutting into leaves. (accessed 29.12.15) (accessed 2.1.16)   (accessed 29.12.15)   (accessed 28.12.15) (accessed 29.12.15) 

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Project 2 – Tearing & Cutting – Exercise 4 Cutting holes & Exercise 5 creating Flaps

For the first sample, we are asked to start with a group of rectangles cut using a craft knife. This was a bit dull, but improved when laid on a piece of hand dyed fabric and became a little more interesting when a second sheet was cut and the two layered and backed with a piece of blue paper.

Inspired by the work of Kristiina Lahde, I cut into an old envelope using straight lines.  My cutting was unplanned, I didn’t work out the best spacing for maximum impact so it was largely unsuccessful. Laid on red fabric, photographed and two small sections cropped from the whole, it was somewhat redeemed.

Thinking about exploring the effect of light by creating shadows and holding up to window, a piece of packaging illustrated how the same cuts could produce different shadows depending on the angle of the light.

Cutting into another used envelope, I used more curved cuts and cut some holes and some flaps working intuitively.  With more thought given to design, this would be interesting to develop.  Contrast of the white inside of the envelope against the black sugar paper is striking and energetic although the black flaps are a little lost in the background.  The white on the red fabric gives an idea of how the flaps could be used as part of the design.

Added to that the curvaceous lines created lovely shadows.

Changing the shape of the cut to a triangle, I attempted to cut into the balsa wood of a cheese box, intending to create flaps.  The flaps snapped off on bending, but even the simplest design can be enhanced by lighting and it produced delicate flower shaped shadow.

Continuing with the triangle theme, flaps were cut into a small piece of origami paper and the shadow photographed. This bore resemblance to Mark Fornes & THEVERYMANY‘ structures, which create lacy patterns on the ground below, and could be developed by joining a series of squares cut with the same pattern.  The origami paper was too lightweight and needed a bulldog clip to help it stand up, but a heavier paper or light card would work well.

The square of paper was rolled into a cylinder and held with masking tape and lit from inside creating patterns.  The flaps enhance the interest by adding texture and the reflecting light off the white reverse of the paper.


To make a comparison the flaps were removed and the paper re-photographed. I prefer the cuts with the flaps as they add more detail.

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Project 2 – Tearing & Cutting – Research Exercises 4 & 5, cutting holes and creating flaps

Researching Tearing and Cutting I was fascinated by the variety of work achieved by cutting holes & creating flaps:

Marc Fornes

I was enthralled by Marc Fornes installations, in particular the colourful outdoor pavillions created with ‘perforated metal shingles’, in consideration with this exercise.   The structures are huge organic shapes in bright colours, wonderful for an area used by children.  The holes are cut into metal tiles and assembled, creating lovely repetitive patterns when looking through them to the sky above or area behind, but the added delight is the beautiful shadows created on the ground below, ever changing with the light.

Meredith Woolnough

Although Meredith Woolnough doesn’t cut holes she creates them with her incredibly detailed lacy embroideries and I was reminded of her work when looking at the ‘lacy shadows’ of Marc Fornes’ installations.

Peter Callesen

A paper cut artist who has created many pieces from a white sheet of A4 paper, whose cuts transform the paper into 3d art forms.

Can a plain A4 sheet of paper animate tragedies and comedies? Peter Callesen’s hands can. With his technical brilliance and his subtle instinct for the fragility and bewitching potential of human life as well as of the material, he carves meaningful stories out of something as ordinary as the white paper from the printer tray. (Mørch, 2015) (accessed 9.11.15)