Category Archives: Assignment 3

Part 3 Tutors report and my responses




I agree, I got ignited by looking at the result on the fabric of all those months stagnating in a bowl of rust and fungus. I do have it earmarked for experimenting with  to see what I can develop in Part 5.


I agree completely with my tutors comments about being constrained with expected outcomes. I really struggled with just playing with some aspects of this work. I had lost my confidence in rolling with the process. I found I was having problems relaxing into just playing with the materials. I knew why this was happening at the time and I was looking subconsciously for something familiar I could hook my mind onto. I returned to using the materials I wanted to develop from part 1, hoping that I would pick up some momentum. The residue from working on the Printing course has been that I have become constrained and focussed on the end result. I have been working hard to get out of this but I am still struggling from adopting those habits. I am hoping that I can relax into my personal project for Part 5.


Without my tutors comments I would not have seen the distemper and fabric in this light. I was then reminded of Cornelia Parker’s Exhaled Cocaine (Lima). Parker acquired some cocaine from Cardiff Customs and Excise, which they had burnt to cinders. I saw this at the exhibition in Manchester in 2015 and it is one of several ‘Exhaled’ works by Parker. Iwona Blaswick the curator of the Manchester exhibition suggests ‘that in her re-purposing of found materials in ways that reflect on an object’s former purpose and meaning, Parker’s work offers a new definition of abstraction, one that involves ‘the use of something that already exists in the world (not its representation) and the substitution of its original nature or function with another, contrasting and even absurd mode of being’ (Blazwick 2013, p.108).’ I was intrigued by this alchemy mode of thinking at the exhibition.

I also am drawn to use ‘site specific’ materials as my tutor says. I have a collection of roofing slates, grate covers and distemper from the workhouse site that I am hoping to further develop samples. I had hoped there would be brick-dust also as the buildings were scheduled for demolition last year, but are still standing.

I have begun experimenting as suggested by printing many pages of text onto paper and fabric and playing with them with no outcome in mind. I think it will help me become free in my experimenting.

Stage four  ‘Unable to construct ideas that take shape and move these forward.’ That is exactly what happened. I simply halted and could not see where I could go or even how to move forward. here it wasn’t because I didn’t want to work on it, I was simply lost. I can’t explain it any other way. My tutor reminds me what I was required to do, but whilst I was aware of this and was incredibly frustrated at my inability to do this, I can recall being sat and my mind being completely blank.


My tutor can read me extremely well, and her insight into me working with metaphors is enlightening. I don’t think I had realised this. Ii am now aware of how I could have progressed those early samples. I am hoping I can hold this in my mind moving forward, especially with the comments below, where suggestions are offered as to what I could have – and should have – done. I also need to discuss the use of ‘metaphors’ with my tutor to see if she can help me shift away from falling back into this mind-set. I don’t want it to limit my progress and development.


I had hoped that picking up the pianola sheet would shift my thinking at the time and it did lead me to using plastic and then the cine film and negatives. I agree I stopped short of taking this work further and I had in mind that they would be samples I could develop and use in Part 5. I now realise I should have concluded their experimenting here and then picked the end results up later if I so desired. Fool that I am and now frustrated with myself even more.

Again my tutor picks up on my subconscious behaviour ‘you rely on representation, the image, the metaphor…’. I admire Cornelia Parker and how her work poses questions and invites the viewer to look as deeply as they wish. I need to bring to mind what I enjoy or am challenged by with other people’s art. How do I move forward?


From the comments about being restrained by my sketchbook I have been working on A2 sheets of paper this past few weeks. I do prefer larger format work but realise I am scaling down in order for my work to fit into the postal folder. How utterly idiotic. I find that I am constantly frustrated and angry at myself over how I have moved back into working on Exploring Ideas. I have been limiting myself for stupid reasons, and many subconscious thoughts have clipped my scope of working. I normally submit several sketchbooks with each part of the courses but I have again lost my way with this.


I am encouraged by this section of the report. I am getting into the stride of working through my thoughts and gaining insight into my way processes and ways of working. Even if it is quite painful at times to see my many shortcomings.


I have this book on order from the library.


I have a copy of Cas Holmes book The Found Object in Textile Art, in it she has a series of ‘loosening up’ exercises that I am working on.  I am doing some simple mark making and using a variety of mediums before I do any ‘proper’ work in order to engage my brain and also creativity. I am enjoying doing this as it is not pressurised, result oriented and it allows me freedom within what I have become to perceive a tightly regimented process of the course. I know that this is the legacy from working on the printing course.  Whilst I hated very much the Printing course,how I struggled with it every step of the way and how it has affected my personal working style and thinking, I can also see that in doing it and it being on initial thoughts an error in choosing it, it has thrown up and uncovered a new level of awareness about myself. I am reminded of a quote: ‘Mistakes are not tattoos to wear for ever but bruises that will fade’. I am still very bruised by the printing course. I don’t see that as an excuse, just an awareness.

I love the passage highlighted by my tutor above: ‘Collections of work which evoke moments in our lives. Here are people and glimpses of stories marking themes of our very existence. Reminiscent works which reference mythology and storytelling, using the line of thread to connect relationships and define emotions such as suffering, hope and renewal.
These are the punctuations which reveal the sense of self and identity, the making of connections between the touching and tactile quality of textile, and the expression of feelings.’

I have this printed out and I am going to use it as a starting point for my work in Part 5.





Part 3 Stage 5 Translating ideas into samples.

In starting to look at producing samples I wanted to explore further distressing materials and began by burning. I continued the theme from earlier work about my tribe, my ancestors stories from part 1.

I printed out images of my ancestors and also burnt text from a census report giving details of them and began layering. I used as heat gun to apply the heat and in doing so I melted the heat gun. Not what I expected.  I am intrigued by the melting away of text on the silk screen fabric to reveal the underneath layers. I have no knowledge where this may take me and if I am on the right lines with my enquiry, but it is an itch I need to scratch.


In this sample I have burnt the muslin beneath. It strikes me as looking similar to the rust marks produced by soaking fabric and wrapping around the grate cover.



Stitching the fabric to paper doesn’t give me a flexible fabric to use, nor does it stimulate any further ideas of how I could use or develop the idea. I wonder if I have taken myself into a cul de sac with the subject as well as the approach?

One sample I did like was the burning of the negative print. It obliterated areas of the print, burning away faces or turning them unrecognisable. I keep being drawn to samples and experiments that act as metaphors. I need to be conscious of this as it may be the thing that is limiting the process of experimentation/exploring.


I am lost. I have no idea as to what to do next and thoughts of producing samples from what?

I need to produce samples, and I am thinking fabric samples but nothing I have done so far can I see me taking further. I can continue to burn and distress fabric but is that enough, do I need to produce samples towards producing a piece of work? Again I cannot see anything I have done so far  being taken further. I want to produce something that has more of a process to it that simply burning. I could layer the pieces I have but I am not sure that that is enough? I am feeing that I need to do something more involved again back to a process that has more components to it than simply burning and layering.

I have decided to play a little further with something that is abstract to begin with, and has no relation to what I have already been working with,  pianola scroll. I picked it up at a market a few years ago and for some reason it came to mind. It has a pattern on holes along its length which would dictate which hammer was lifted and dropped within the Pianola in order for a tune to be played. It has a kind of musical Morse code. I am hoping that by playing with something that has no relevance to my existing thoughts and which is also not of any definite form may jolt me forward. I have scanned some of its length and I shall recreate its pattern using a variety of materials. Hopefully this will take me to producing samples that will satisfy the OCA brief.



I puzzled how to attack this. Struggle is becoming synonymous with part 3. So looked for something that light would pass through and I found some flexi plastic and decided to transfer the markings on to it. I did so, and then baked the sheet in the oven to shrink and harden it. I did this to two sections of the pianola sheet. I then suspended the plastic from a dowel and allowed a spot light to shine through it. The reflections from the light plus the shadows it cast onto the white wall were pleasing.








The link below shows video of the sample installation.


From this I wanted to see how an image of a face would translate to this medium. I was drawn back to the work fro part 1 and I printed off onto the plastic a photograph of myself and baked it again to harden. I then stood it in front of an image of my Great Grandmother. The photograph of her was printed on to opaque plastic and hardened. I imagined that I could cast a shadow image of myself onto her image, blending the two.


Above my Ancestor printed onto opaque plastic which was hardened, and below the print of myself. It isn’t as pronounced as the previous print. The two images below are the image with a spot light shining through to cast a shadow on the wall.




Above the image is slightly clearer by looking at it from the side. The plastic is glossy and therefore creates a lot of refection off its surface which makes it difficult to photograph. I do like the distortion though and find it would be something that I would want to work with given this effect.



Moving the light to the side, the image is becoming clearer.


Below the two images with mine casting a shadow on the photograph of my Great Grand Mother. This works not because of the shadow but because of the placing. The two together in life, create an atmospheric installation and I can clearly see how I could use this moving forward. This is the kind of discovery that excites me and gives me impetus to develop the idea further and to also pay with scale. I would like to find a way of reproducing this but having the images life size. Walking through the plates would be quite emotional for me but would the viewer who didn’t know the relationship, have a similar or comparable emotion? I do feel the larger size of it would increase the impact.





The image above has some foxing on the front plastic. It gives the piece the feeling of looking at your reflection in an antique mirror. The foxing appeared because the gloss and shiny surface of the plastic resisted the inks from  my printer. The ink dried when it was in the oven baking. This would be easy to replicate should I wish to.

I think the main source of my frustration has been my inability to see how I could produce fabric samples. Though at this stage I have had a revelation about what a sample needs to be and I have made my peace with not producing a ‘fabric’ or fabrics with the samples. I feel that my samples for this section are looking at how I can use light not to just produce a 2 dimensional fabric but to explore a 3 dimensional piece of work. The nature of light reflecting or passing through something, already facilitates that you think of some supporting structure, in order for this to happen or at least to record and photograph how the material you use and light play together. I believe this also has knocked my judgement sideways when looking how to produce a sample.

In part 1 I produced many samples of prints onto fabric and using light to play with and through them, and in part this has been a stumbling block, as I feel I have already started the workshops in earlier parts of exploring ideas. This does not mean I think I have explored them thoroughly only that I stumbled with duplicating something I had already been working with, and didn’t feel my time would be best served doing this. I also thought getting to grips with new materials may help me get back into working with textiles.

Whilst I have been fretful in my inability to think and produce two-dimensional fabric samples, I now am at peace with it when I have seen where the stumbles and playing has taken me. I am quite relieved that the struggling through my insecurities and lack of vision has taken me to explore plastics. I had no notion this would happen. I must learn again to trust the process. This way of working has become lost during my time working on the Printing course, as the process there is learning the exacting methods of producing various prints. The reduction lino cutting especially  shaped a new way of working, where I needed to plan several moves in advance and precision was key. I found this drilled my thinking to a small space in which to work which I found restrictive. It also took away the ability to be experimental for me. Returning to textile work and a materials led approach has involved some unlearning of those habits and establishing a trust in working with the process again. I would imagine that this flux in process and methods will continue throughout my time working in textiles.

Given that I was now feeling confident about not producing the samples I initially thought I needed to make, I decided to stitch together the cine film that I used to create the video installation in part 1. I also decided to stitch some negatives I had from photographs of my wedding. I then took photographs of the shadows cast on the wall when light is shone through  them. All that wrangling in my brain to then decide to produce ‘fabrics’. I have just mentioned the flux of methods? I want to insert LOL here but I don’t think it’s appropriate.





I particularly like the textures the cine film casts juxtaposed by the actual film. The two meld together in a way that creates spectacular interplay of the shadow and film. The shadow is an integral part in the sample. I see the sample being the installation of the two together.








Above I placed the photograph of my Great Grand Mother behind the film as I wanted to impose the images onto her. Her image isn’t as clear on the above photograph as in life. I do like the ghostly apparition of her it does create.



At this angle the photograph below is more visible.


Above and below I replaced the photograph of my Ancestor with my own photograph that I had printed using a sepia colouring to mirror the previous photograph. My image was distorted enough for it not to be obvious behind the negatives. The reflection of the spot light also distorted the image behind. It made the whole thing look quite fluid. I took the spot off the image and just used ambient lighting to see if that would bring the photograph clearer. It did but also lost the movement the illusion the lights reflection gave.


At the end of this exercise I feel quite relieved at gaining a new level of understanding of myself, though the process. I had to keep pushing through doing the exercises and playing with materials in order to see that I didn’t necessarily need to produce what I deemed to be a sample. The formation of a two-dimensional fabric or material. I see that the samples I needed to make were in fact plastics, cine film and negatives used in a way they were not made for and also how they were formed for me to record them.

Taking this work a step further I wanted to see how I could burn the cine film and negatives. I didn’t want to simply scorch the film randomly I wanted to see if I could make an clear image. I am thinking of part 5 and my own project coming up and thought these samples could play an integral part in what and how I could produce something.

I stitched together the cine film and negatives as per the previous samples and then I printed out some photographs of myself and my Great Grand Mother. I wanted to use the   photographs as  an image to trace over using my soldering iron.I was pleasantly surprised at the result.




I then began to layer by placing cine film and negatives in front and shining the spot light through in order to see the effects.



I also cut into the film and negatives, creating a silhouette and used these to project onto the  photographs.






Again I am unsure where these samples will lead me, but I am sure they will inform how and what I begin to work on for Part 5.

My 3D viewer below.

3d viewer

3d viewer


I have had this little viewer for many years and whilst I have been looking for some way of finding a structure to support film and plastic recording layering of images. Fumbling around with cardboard that proved unsuccessful and then I tried to use a blank CD case. It worked to a degree but also cast the frame of the CD which was disappointing.



Where the magic happened. I say that in jest as the scene belies the amount of work that has gone into producing the samples.





Part 3 Stage 4 Researching source material.

In reviewing the materials I have created and found and looking back over the recorded experiments, I am led to see similarities in the shadows cast in my studio to effects out in nature. The crochet below left shadows that looked like light playing on water.

length of crochet in a simple shell pattern.

The actual crochet panel above and the resulting shadows below. The effect reminds me of the reflections water makes when light is refracted off it. I am thinking of the ripples on a pond, and in seeing this similarity I am left with a calm feeling when looking at the shadow.


the pond at Cresswell crags

the pond at Cresswell crags

cressy 1


The above image is a photograph taken of the inside of a tube of knitted wire. It shows shadows of a spine that runs through the length of the knit. It echoes the interior of the Winter Gardens structure in Sheffield. The photograph of the wire also is quite hypnotic as it draws you in towards its interior. Each material gives the impression of a sturdy, ribbed structure that also has the illusion of great size and strength. If I was to use the hessian I would need to add something to hold the shape, wither boning, wire stitched to form ribs or some clear material that wouldn’t show it’s involvement in keeping the shape in place?

winter gardens Sheffield

winter gardens Sheffield

Looking beneath the length of hessian has the same structural impression.


Below one of the photographs that I took of lace fabric draped over an empty Cd case reminds me of a clear night sky, with the constellations of start fanning out before me. The photograph below it I got from a stock photo site. I haven’t been able to take a suitable photograph myself unfortunately.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric lit with a candle

Image result for starry night sky

Above is some netting that surrounds a field near where I live. I was made to remember this when I had completed my large knitting sample.


The actual knitting above and the shadow it cast on the wall below.


Whilst I can see a relation to nature or objects in the shadows I have been working with , I cannot see a way to take this forward at all. I am completely stuck. maybe I need to play more in order to find a way forward?




Part 3 Stage 3 Reviewing materials and processes.

The later experiments where I have been burning away fabric to create holes, using text in order to shine light through haven’t given me crisp shadows to work with but the ghostly/ethereal effect shadows are something that I would like to explore further in conjunction with images I have of my Ancestors.


The more crisp, recognisable text was the result of writing on fabric using pva and shining the light through this. I think this may be the ideal method to layer with opposed to fabric that has the letters burned from it?


text written in pva onto silk screen fabric

text written in pva onto silk screen fabric

Marrying together samples from my experiments I could easily see how I could work with layering. especially the text overlaying photographs of my Great Grand Mother.


Above the photograph printed on to fabric has the shadow cast on to it. The shadow comes from text written onto an empty CD case. Below the text has been printed onto muslin and the light shone through. It is hard to see that it is text.





The 3 images above are taken using the photograph printed onto calico, with light shining through text which has been written on to silk screen fabric using pva. The result isn’t clear at all, even though I used a spot light then a candle to test how the strength of the light affect the intensity of the shadow.


Above I shone a light through text burnt out of the silk screen fabric.




Above the pva lettering on silk screen fabric is laid over the photograph. The photograph is obscured to much to be effectively shown on the photograph. In life I do quite like this effect.



The above 2 images show light being shone through text which is produced by burning away the silk screen fabric using a soldering iron. It is a clearer shadow. Below is the photograph shown through the burnt away text.



The 2 images below show the same burnt away text laid over the rust marked fabric. The fabric was marked after being wrapped around a grate cover from the workhouse that my Great Grand Mother lived in for a period of time. The photographs do not show clearly the effect. I do see this as being my favourite effect of all the experiments so far. I like how we need to peer through the burnt out names to the decay from the workhouse grate cover. It is a good metaphor for that whole period of her life, that your peer her Husbands name to see the damage done by the workhouse. It was because of the death of her Husband that they fell on hard times and ended up living in the workhouse. This is something that I would want to explore further.



I do feel that I can start to produce some actual samples from the layering I have done here in stage 3.




Part 3 Workshop 2 Knitted nets

I have had a set of huge knitting needles for several years and not found the opportunity or inclination to use them. So, given the workshop offered I decided to give them a whirl.  The results were obvious before even starting the exercise, but I was also understanding that many of the experiments I had already done on this section of work also yielded results I hadn’t anticipated. I used tapestry yarn used for making rugs, so it was a tough , course yarn to use and also proved quite heavy coupled with the large knitting needles.

I knitted a piece that measured 1m x 18″.IMG_5538





How I could develop this? I am intrigued as to what I could produce if I crochet in the spaces between the stitches. This could be something I do at stage 3. reviewing materials and processes.




Part 3, Workshop 4 Woven structures

Earlier in working on this workshop I had explored simple nets, using vegetable nets and hessian but I wanted to explore finer structures such as lace. I also wanted to try using a candle which would I imagined produce a subtle shadow.

I glued together 2 empty CD cases to form a cube. I lit a candle and placed that in the middle and used this structure to drape materials over. I recorded the shadows on the wall as well as the effect of the light coming towards me through the fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

I returned to using text. I have a real itch to scratch with text? It seems to be the hardest thing for me to get a comfortable result from. Why I am obsessed with this? I’m not sure. I do keep seeing a large piece of fabric with some story or poem upon it with light shining through. I am unsure why I am pursuing this as it isn’t related to part 1 of Exploring ideas, where I looked at my ancestors. I do think it would be a beautiful piece of work that I would like to produce at some stage.

text written onto an empty cd case with glue from a glue gun

text written onto an empty cd case with glue from a glue gun

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

I am finding it difficult to find a way that suitably applies text to fabric or other item in order to get a good shadow. No doubt this will be a feature for me until I do find the one thing that I can work with.

text written onto greaseproof paper using pva glue

text written onto greaseproof paper using pva glue

Above the light was shone from behind as the paper did not cast a shadow behind it. I then coloured the paper, rubbing ink onto the paper and allowed the light to shine forward again.


It did emphasise the lettering but how would I use this? Maybe I don’t need to think that far in front?

Part 3 Workshop 7 De-constructing and disintegration

I think I am drawn to disintegration and decay. It started back in part 1 with looking at my ancestors, my tribe and it has become a metaphor for my great Grandmother and Grandmothers experience of wealth turned to poverty due to my Great Grandfathers death. The soaking of fabric in rusted items from the same workhouse they lived in, and using distemper from the workhouse walls caked on fabric, to see how it would decay or wear were the first steps. I was also drawn to how the cine film threw its shadows onto the workhouse walls and, how the light played my memories against the backdrop of their lives long gone. In playing with materials I had around me, I started to de-construct/burn fabrics using devore acid and a soldering iron.

Shining a light at a distance through the fabrics created subtle shadows, some of the words were legible, others more muted. I decided to work using their names so I would have something recognisable to test the clarity of the shadows.

Linen acrylic mix using devore acid to write onto the fabric.

Linen acrylic mix using devore acid to write onto the fabric.

Tis produced a scorched effect but at no place did it burn away the fabric completely.

This produced a scorched effect but at no place did it burn away the fabric completely.

text written in pva onto silk screen fabric

text written in pva onto silk screen fabric

This proved to produce a nice clear shadow. It was optimised by the spot light being around 6 foot away. The closer the light got to the object there was a reduction in clarity.




silk screen fabric burned into using a soldering iron.

silk screen fabric burned into using a soldering iron.



This wasn’t a crisp shadow by any means. It was a struggle for the camera to pick it up. I would use this method as a fabric piece but not use it to cast shadows, as it is very effective as a material in its own right.

this is fine nylon curtain netting which has pva text on it.

this is fine nylon curtain netting which has pva text on it.

This produced a clear and crisp shadow. I like how it is almost invisible until you shine a light onto it. I am committing this to memory as it is intriguing. I am fascinated by being able to hide text or other information on a fabric for it to be revealed at some stage. maybe requesting the viewer to move the fabric or it being shifted by a breeze? I can see me somehow incorporating this in a piece to tell my ancestors story. No idea how as yet, but I am finding that some discoveries in doing this exercise I want to explore and expand.

linen/acrylic mix fabric bunt using a soldering iron.

linen/acrylic mix fabric bunt using a soldering iron.

I liked the brutality of this. It was crude, yet deliberate. The soldering iron burnt some of the threads so there were areas where you could see through the fabric. Again a good result for the fabric that didn’t cast a shadow but the effect of taking a  photograph with the light behind it was very effective.



shadow cast on the wall

shadow cast on the wall

Nylon net curtaining burn using a soldering ireon

Nylon net curtain burn using a soldering iron

This threw a reasonable shadow onto the wall but it is far more effective as a piece of fabric in itself. Unless I later see how I could use it in a different manner. I am aware that I am commenting on my initial thoughts about the samples, yet am expecting to revise my thoughts in future when I take my ideas further.



Nylon net curtaining burn using a soldering ireon

Nylon net curtain burnt using a soldering iron

Tick polystyrene packaging burnt through using a soldering iron.

Tick polystyrene packaging burnt through using a soldering iron.

This cast no shadows at all, though the light shining from the reverse was effective.

I began this exercise with few ideas of what the results would be. I am inspired by what I have found and am looking forward to seeing where I could take some of the samples.