Nina's Textile Trail 2

– Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles


Adding drawings to MMT 2

Following my tutor feedback, additional sketches and drawings not previously included in my blog have been photographed and added to the relevant sections.   These are also published below as a quick overview.




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 Part 2 Joining & Wrapping Further Research – Wrapping in Pot Coiling

(Paper Learning Log Page 39)


When researching for ‘wrapping’, my initial interest for coiled vessels was fuelled by the wealth of potential wrapping materials for consideration.  Examples made from wrapped fabric, plastic bags, recycled fishing nets, raffia and other materials were observed.  I was particularly intrigued by Jackie Abrams ‘Spirit Women’.  The exposed cores include recycled silk, cotton, linen and plastic bags.  Their shapes are organic, some include stones, or ‘windows’ to see into the centre.

The attributes of these vessels reflect women’s spirits – their strong inner cores as well as their sometimes frayed edges. The memories and stories of the previous owners are embedded in the used fabrics that compose each vessel.

My process and materials are simple. Each new piece tells me where to go and how to make it. Like women’s lives, each piece develops slowly as a spiral journey, requiring both patience and confidence. The small open spaces in the vessel walls lend a sense of depth and afford glimpses into the interior, like tiny bits of insight into the character of the imagined woman. (Jackie Abrams)

I like the coils twisting and curving, glimpses of the interior through small openings, the variety of materials chosen, the colours selected, the shape and construction of the pots but the reference to women makes me feel more considerate of what they represent . Jackie Abrams says they are reflecting women’ spirits as well as their sometimes frayed edges.  To me, they conjured thoughts of the stability, complexity, many facets and intricate thinking skills of women.

In addition to Jackie Abrams vessels, the bright colours and texture of the fishing nets, raffia and marine rope appealed in Mavis Ngallametta’s basket produced at the first Ghost Net Art Project Workshop organised by GhostNets, an organisation in Australia that brings together communities to work together to clear marine debris from the coastline.

My father died last month and beginning to sort his possessions has revealed a ‘stash’ of threads to rival my own, together with yarns, feathers & fishing lines from his fly tying hobby.   This is the tip of the iceberg, there are sheds and drawers full of tools, collections of recycled string, all manner of things hoarded from a lifetime of making, growing, mending, designing, engineering, shooting and fishing.  The qualities and recycling ethos of the GhostNet Art Projects weaving has prompted me to consider using an eclectic selection of string, nets, yarns etc from my Dad’s hoard to fashion a vessel or vessels.

The raffia, plastic bags and small spheres in Kathryn Hollingsworth’s green basket inspired by a reptile (two references to which are included in the Pinterest selection above) offer different textures and ideas.  In this sample, I like the round shape of the pot and the green tones of the raffia but am not sure about the protrusions.  Although this example and the splendid yellow basket sprouting dark purple raffia does illustrate how traditional techniques can be adapted.


Joining methods for pot coiling

(Paper Learning Log Pages 40-41)

At the outset of this assignment, pot coiling appealed to me as a means of illustrating joining.  Throughout the project, techniques have been explored.

The pots are little but have given me great pleasure in the making, handling and combining for photography.  The first is constructed from purchased, rust coloured recycled t-short yarn and linen thread joined with buttonhole stitch.  It’s 8cm tall and 6cm in diameter.  The fabric yarn is soft and springy but has enough form to give the vessel character when handled or placed for display.  Whilst the stitching is not really regular and even, it is similar enough to give continuity and adds to its individuality.  The initial centre coil is a bit untidy but for a first attempt, the pot was successful.

Moving on to explore another technique, Doug Johnston’s sash cord vessels inspired me to recycle an odd piece of cotton cord & perle cotton thread following a ‘make rope coil vessels tutorial’ on The Red Thread Blog.  This shallow bowl is 9cm in diameter and 3cm tall using stitches which pass over one then two rows of cord, with the needle catching the cord of the row below not just inserting through the gap.  As with the above, the stitching is uneven adding to the character.  The cord is reasonably soft, closely joined and holds its shape well.

The third vessel is made with some burgundy recycled t-shirt yarn and rust stranded embroidery thread using a number of threads and a knotting technique. This was more challenging for me than stitch and fiddly on a small pot, only 5 cm tall and 4.5 cm in diameter. Its a lovely dinky little shaped pot, soft and a little stretchy to handle and just wonky enough to give it character.

The last pot in this collection is 6cm tall, 5cm in diameter at the neck with an 8cm base. Constructed with white cotton cord, burgundy shetland wool and a figure of eight stitch, it has a sturdy construction with sufficient character to join its peers!



Beginning to explore pot coiling has been enjoyable and will be developed, but even more enjoyment and pleasure was found in arranging the vessels to photograph them.

TUTORIAL :: How to make rope coil vessels

Tutorial: Make a coiled raffia basket

Draper, Jean (2013) Stitch and Structure: Design and Technique in two and three-dimensional textiles Batsford, London

Edmonds, Janet (2009) Three Dimensional Embroidery Batsford, London

Lee, Ruth (2010) Three Dimensional Textiles with coils loops knots and nets Batsford, London

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MMT Part 2 Joining & Wrapping Project 1 Joining

(Paper Learning Log Pages 28-29)

Exercise 3 Joining curved edges that both touch and leave gaps

This jute scrim lent itself well to joins which touched and left gaps.  I appreciate the shadows it creates, the curved lines of the warp and weft, the unruly edges.  Although the raffia is similarly rustic, a different colour or material, perhaps a hemp or linen thread, providing a contrast might have been more visually appealing.


Enjoying the properties of the jute hemp, some leaves were joined:


I really like the simplicity of this, probably inspired by my research into Andy Goldsworthy and Alice Fox’s work (illustrated below).


I chose the leaves for their differences in colour (not that there were many to choose from in the dead of winter).  The colours are striking, the properties I like about the scrim are emphasised, the lightness of the fibre, the lovely undulating lines and curves created by the loose weave.  Also the gentle shadows of the leaves.

The leaves were used to join some scrim together. A simple, ineffective join but an engaging composition.


Less attractive, hessian sacking and scrim joined with leaves, less successful, as the hessian seems too dense and heavy alongside the scrim and the airy-ness and fluidity of the above is lost below.


Brenda Mallory’s Capsules, 2006-2011 inspired me to produce a similar structure from leaves, which was largely successful.  Initially using stitching, I found it difficult to hold the leaves in place so resorted to staples which were quick and effective.  The success is in the shape, the colours and the effectiveness of the joining method.  However, I’m not sure that staples are the most attractive for a natural sculpture and I am troubled by the short life of making with materials that deteriorate so quickly.  Perhaps the pleasure is in the making and a successful photograph?