Category Archives: Research and Reflection

Part 4 Review

Looking over the work I have completed for this section of the course, I am firstly proud of how I have achieved in each section. I enjoy researching normally but to have to then thing further and deeper has allowed me to begin to look at work and artists in a more studied way. I have started to look at my feelings and reactions, as well as what the artist may have been wanting to say and how they have approached the work with that in mind.

I found being theoretical actually allowed me to get in touch with the artist more. Reading about the research they made in preparation for producing a body of work allowed me to see the subtleties that I would have ordinarily missed. In analysing Perry’s tapestry I learnt about the political connotations that were in the narrative, but I had either not realised or I had forgotten from my visit to the gallery. I am sure I never really looked that deeply at it.

I never found it boring, challenging it definitely was. The sheer volume of research was quite daunting at first and, I found my confidence wavered throughout. I went through feeling like I was actually able to read and analyse work better to feeling like I was not academically up to the job.

I was familiar with all of the listed designers and artists at a surface level. I hadn’t really studied them in such detail, nor had I read so much about artists in such a short length of time. I found I was ‘hot housing’ as the more I worked, the more I had questions to answer. I also was able to acknowledge my history with them. What I knew or perceived I knew, which also meant I was analysing my assumed knowledge with my new found education. This highlighted my need to read more about artists to see their methods of research and also to see what actually motivates them. I can see how gaining in-depth knowledge of an artist actually informs me, not just of techniques but it helps me develop an artistic vocabulary that enables me to see how other artists convey thoughts, perceptions, passions and the basic reason why they produce art.

I initially struggled with the questions offered, as it was so new to me to question work and artists in this way. By the time I got to Project 2 I was beginning to get into a rhythm. I found that they were excellent prompts and guided me to get much more form my research. I have them mounted on card and posted on my wall now for future reference.

I definitely see that an awareness of context in which work is produced will influence how I approach work. I have begun to develop samples that needed developing from part 3 and am now going to go back over the work with a new eye. I have not only read with a view to completing this section of work, I have found work that has begun to inform how I move forward with Part 5, My Own Project. Whilst I have no idea what I shall finally produce, I need now to study what I have, where I am before I do any more preparation.

I definitely feel stimulated to do more research work of this nature. I can see how informative and inspiring it is. I also am realising that I am actually developing a deeper awareness of my own motivation and reasons for producing works.


Part 3 Reveal and conceal. Research – artists and designers

I began my search using the names given in the OCA course folder, but soon found myself wandering around the internet finding an array of designers and artists.

Carloline Broadhead

I am interested in her double dresses piece as I have worked in part 1 and 2 of exploring ideas using clothing. In part 1 the Victorian mourning cape and the Victorian babies gown in part 2. Her drawing the dresses on the wall, creating a dress with shadow effect is inspiring. The piece I have noted in the hyperlink, shows this piece as a sale item by Barrett Marsden gallery, London, they note that ‘Broadhead uses garments to express ideas about personal identity and to reveal the characteristic feelings or emotions that a person may seek to conceal”. I touched on this subject in part 1, when looking at the life of my Great-grand Mother. I used muslin on which I printed images of women in the workhouse, darning over the face of one inmate to allude to her wishing to remove herself from being identified as living in the workhouse. Shame was the feeling my Paternal Grand-Mother expressed about this part of her life. In May I was developing this work further and I projected cine film from my childhood projected onto the wall of the workhouse my great-grand Mother and Grandmother were  inhabiting in the early 20th century, HERE. I was referencing how my childhood and relationship with my father was affected by the parenting he received form his Mother. I too suffered self imposed shame from a young age with regards to the relationship with my Father. It is interesting to see how another artist translates similar feelings, looking for the parallels and differences.

Looking at Broadheads work I see she was a jewellery designer initially and some of her peices reminded me of David Poston who’s exhibition I saw at the Harley Gallery, at the Wellbeck Estate on the 14th June 2015. As I was taking photographs of the exhibits I was struck how their shadows cast patterns beside them. I also like the methods and materials he uses. I can see also that the wearer would have changing shadows cast across their body and what ever is around them.









































I liked the methods he uses to produce jewellery and i would like to experiment with weavings of a similar nature at some time.

Whilst at the gallery I visited the studio of Laura Baxter a jeweller. In her studio, high up on the walls were two canvases on which she had placed metal that was shaped as the little ‘helicopters’ that were growing on the many trees that lined the way to her studio. Again I was struck with how they cast their shadows.






Tim Noble and Sue Webster

I came across Noble, and Webster’s work some years ago and also watched a recent documentary on Sue Webster as part of the ‘Artists what do they do all day?’ series. I love how they take random finds or, personal collections relevant to the piece, form a sculpture that looks abstract yet when light is shone onto it, a new shadow art appears which in many instances is a self-portrait. To use personal items that tell of some aspect of your nature and create a portrait with them is a magical idea. Again it touches on my interest in identity. Wiegman also uses this method in his sculptures.

Diet Wiegman

The link below takes you to designers who are using traditional materials to produce furniture. I like the tables which are made in crochet. To use a hard non malleable material such as steel and yet create something that when light passes though it, casts a delicate lace effect is an interesting concept. I suppose similar to Noble and Webster, they are creating an illusion from the material they use. I keep coming across works that are alchemic in their nature. This is something that continues to fascinate me, since viewing Cornelia Parker’s work at the Whitworth gallery in May. See notes HERE relating to the study day at Whitworth, Manchester.

Gunnlangsdottir, Gudrun. Hreinss, Jon


Annie Bascoul produces wonderful landscapes using mixed media through which when light is shone shadows form which are integral to the piece I feel. Her works often look like alien forms spreading out across the gallery space.

Annie Bascoul

Marcel Wanders is a designer who specialises in creating furniture for the domestic environment. The link below shows table he has created using crochet, and obviously some hardening material. It isn’t specified what he uses, but it may be sealed in acrylic. This is just supposition on my part.


Marcel Wanders

Demakersvan produce beautiful wore fencing that they have assembled using lace making skills. I like the oversized pieces of lace fencing, it plays well with illusion confusing the brains interpretation that this is fine lace, yet it is hard to process it’s size and material.



My love of all things Cornelia Parker is well documented on my blog. Her piece ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’ (1991) where pieces of wood are suspended from the ceiling, and when the light is shone through it looks like you are watching the still of a huge explosion. The shadows enfold you making you part of the instillation. I wonder if this aspect could be used in my own work as it captivates my imagination.


Picadilly postcards – Corrnelia Parker.

The link to Agano’s website shows her huge instillations which she creates by hand or finger knitting fishing wire and paper. The ability to use a material to create large pieces in this manner is quite mind boggling to me. My mind is brought to the task I have which is working with materials but allowing them to dictate the outcome. I can perhaps see how Agano may have produced the initial samples in her early explorations, just seeing where it goes.

Machiko Agano

Michiko Agano reminded me of the artist Ludwika Ogorezelec I met and the work she was installing in the streets  in Wroclaw, Poland in May 2015. I took photographs of her work and her as she pieced together the installations. I find her work magnificent in it’s size, the daring places she puts her instillations and also the intricate methodical way she produces her work.












I have some vague ideas of where I may be able to use some of the methods I have found during this research, but I want first to experiment using two particular workshops the Deconstruction and disintegration plus the Paper laminates. I have no idea how these will work out, but that is the whole reason for doing them.




Review of Part 2 Screen printing

I started this module full of gusto – as usual – I thought it was an easy brief working with pattern from a man-made landscape. I began using my photographs to produce resource materials and the patterns were easy to find and work with but, I had an empty feeling in my gut about what I was doing. I knew I wasn’t challenging myself with what I was doing. Unless I am grappling with something new I don’t feel I am doing my best. I’m not sure I want to ‘unpick’ this thought but, I am wanting to push myself completely with my studies and if I feel like I’m coasting I worry I am not investing in me enough. Anyway, I decided to look for the stretch which took me to looking at the extremes man goes to change their own personal landscape.   This took me through the tattoos, body piercings, cosmetic surgery and finally to female genital mutilation. An extremely challenging subject in itself but then I had to create some pattern so I would meet the brief.

What I have found is that my ease in finding patterns was challenged by the subject in a way I hadn’t envisaged. I found that it wasn’t the pattern that occupied my mind but the situation or place where the pattern would be. What would be the right place to put the images I had found and wished to use? They weren’t appropriate to use as a scarf, table linen or clothing. The print needed to be situated in the right place. This took me to thinking about relevance, reverence to the subject and appropriateness of the prints placing. Where I began with buildings, the print pattern could have gone anywhere, it was simply a pattern with no meaning. With this subject I had to place the pattern – though it was a simple pattern – in a location that was an intrinsic component of the piece.

I wrestled not only with this but also with my confidence at being able to handle this subject and tie it into the course brief. I often thought I should’ve stuck with the buildings and the patterns I had started to develop, but I knew for myself I had to work through the issues I had in order to feel that I had challenged myself.

I finally felt that a simple border on a simple christening gown should be how I presented the print. I felt it would support the work in 2 ways;

Firstly you see a small gown and think of innocence, purity and vulnerability juxtapose this with the pattern printed in blood, denoting the often hidden barbaric act of F.G.M which is often undertaken by babies who would be small enough to wear the gown.

Secondly the mix of a Victorian gown, alluding to British cultural/ceremonial history and the print of current cities in England where recent high incidents of reported F.G.M have been recorded, brings notice of the practice of F.G.M that has being introduced into our cities and the British citizens who have endured F.G.M.

I feel I have responded well to the challenge I presented myself and, I am satisfied with the result of my labours. I could’ve taken the route of presenting a variety of screen printed designs that would grace any manner of household linens or clothing, but instead I through ignorance, ended up down the route of exploring the relevance and importance of the space/place or item that a design may end up on. Thus I found I chanced on what was an incredibly important exercise.


I did also have a further idea of developing the idea by printing onto a white table runner on which I would embroider in white cotton the outlines of English cities, and the number of reported incidents of F.G.M. This idea has been marked for possible future development.

Part 1 review

Do your finished samples fulfill your expectations? To what extent do they reflect the initial research that you undertook for this assignment?

The finished samples were a complete surprise to me. I had no concept of what I would produce from the outset and was pleased I was able to surrender to the process. Even when the idea of producing a corset came to me I never envisaged that I would in fact be lead to another idea for a finished item. I was thrilled with the samples especially with the hanging panels which were a complete departure from anything I would have thought up. I think they conveyed the emotional connection and empathy I had discovered during my research. I feel that because the research was mostly words as in census forms etc. thus I had no obvious vehicle for producing something visual. This helped to push me towards an outcome without preconceived ideas. It was also a tussle for me mentally to get from research to visual piece because of this. I set out to explore what my tribe and cultural background was and I do know I managed to accomplish this. The process allowed me to then look for ways of expressing the emotions the research had stirred in me.


Can you see a clear line of progression from source material to preliminary ideas and finished samples or did you have to change direction at any point?

I personally feel you can see clearly my progression from the source material. I will obviously welcome any constructive thoughts on this point. I am uncertain as to whether it can be seen where I have changed direction or begun to explore new ideas as they came to me. I look for advice on this. My initial thoughts are that you can, but that is me looking at it all with additional knowledge of my work. The first place I had to change direction was in researching the Kitson arm of the family, when I could not get to any museums that had items related to their life as gypsies. I found this fundamental to me knowing how their lives must be. I then had to look to other branches of ancestry to research. I do have the beginnings of work I can pick up at any time though.



Did you make the right choices and decisions when selecting and developing your ideas? If not, what would you change and how might that alter the outcome?

The choices I made in selecting ideas I wanted to work on was completely organic and came from how and where I was stimulated to record my own feelings in response to my research. I am not sure I would change anything as it has been a wonderful exercise in not only getting lost in the process, it was because I was in completely new territory as far as research goes. Ordinarily I would start from something which is visual, an artefact or image, which brings initial thoughts also visual. With the type of research I undertook, I was starved of such stimulus from the outset. I now see another way of conducting research, one which causes me to react solely to emotions which have been stirred inside me. I am overjoyed that I have the experience of listening to my reactions and beginning to find ways of expressing them.

In choosing an idea from which I could design a product I was working towards the corset making. I had come to the idea even before I had gone back to the course to see what my next moves should be. It was something that I had begun to have a passion for so I was pleased I could utilise this idea and run with it.

The conceptual piece again I had stumbled upon whilst playing around with samples and images I had collected. I would never have thought of approaching such a method for expression as the hanging panels and also the work of darning out unpleasant life experiences. This took me again deep into the emotions that had been stirred because of the research. Part of me was unsure if I had done enough as the pieces had simple darning added into the piece. Had I done enough embroidery or applied myself enough. I feel I had many questions about its adequacy because it was a new process for me. Overall I am proud of the work as I know that if I had seen the work produced by someone else, I would be moved by it.


 How important was the choice of material in terms of determining the qualities that you achieved?

I feel that the choice of the loosely woven cotton, which had a transparency and delicacy to it was the best for both projects. It alluded to the fragility of life and also allowed me to work with the idea of having images or text beneath it to express the thoughts of secrecy and hidden taboos. I was able to use calico to give the cotton a firm basis for the corset but also to present a fabric that was basic a utilitarian again, I saw this as introducing the idea of being stripped to the basic needs in life’s circumstances with regards to Helena’s demise to the workhouse and into servitude.


 How did your choice of colours contribute to the overall results?

I chose the plain white fabric as not only did it prove the base vehicle for printing on but it also had the traditional thought of purity. Helena’s life was full of highs and lows and, the fact that she spent time in the workhouse through circumstances out of her control I felt the white expressed her innocence through her trials.



Did you try the brainstorming exercise? If so, did you find it useful?

I did try the brainstorming idea. I reached a point in my research when I was awash with words, facts and many printed documents and yet I had no ideas of any way I could create a piece of work from it. I then took a piece of paper and noted down all the information I had on Helena and kept reducing it until I got a few bullet points I wanted to express somehow. I would definitely use this method again if I found I was lost in the research or in fact stuck at any point.