Category Archives: Research and Reflection

Research point – Textile artists

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The Work of The Textile Artist

I feel that textile artists and designers/craft-people approach a piece with a different outcome in mind. For example, when making a quilt to go on a bed, historically the quilt would’ve been a functional piece to keep people warm. The craftsperson would’ve used whatever materials were available to them, finding pieces of fabric and holding them together in layers for extra warmth. To prolong the life of these early pre-industrial fabrics which were very labour intensive to produce, they would’ve been patched and repaired, hence creating a more decorative patchwork quilt. The main function of the piece though would’ve still been to keep people warm. Even after people started designing simple geometric decorative patterns for the quilts, and using them to make their surrounding more beautiful or show off their wealth, the people making them never considered themselves to be artists and the items they made were still functional. Read the rest of this entry

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Research point – craft-produced textiles

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I believe that craft-produced (or hand-crafted) textiles still maintain a place in modern society as they are a way for people to express themselves, their thoughts, feelings, emotions and sense of individuality. I know from personal experience the feeling of accomplishment when finishing a project, and even greater joy if other people praise it. If it happens to be something like a dress, then I can walk out proudly knowing  that no one else has the exact same one, and that my choices in fabric and construction techniques say a lot about who I am, what I like and how skilled I am at making something. Even a simple drawing gives you the freedom to express how you’re feeling inside, so every piece produced by a crafts person has a story to go with it, something a mass produced item doesn’t. Read the rest of this entry

Research: A visit to Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings

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This weekend I went to visit Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, for me one of the most iconic buildings there is the windmill pictured above. This photo was taken when we first arrived, but we were lucky enough to see them rotating the windmill to catch the wind and unfurling the sails later on in the day. The sails were huge pieces of what looks like a heavyweight cotton calico, firmly tied down to the wooden frame, and it was certainly effective at getting the mill working, but I do wonder how they stop them from going moldy being outside in all weathers! Read the rest of this entry

Research point – Ethical Fabric

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In recent years I’ve noticed there are more fabrics available that are ethically made, eg. Fair Trade, organic or produced in an environmentally sustainable way. Many major retailers now stock organic ranges of clothing, for example Marks and Spencers stock mens’ suits made from pure organic Yorkshire wool, or there are companies like People Tree whose entire range is made with ‘respect to the planet’.

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Research Point: Medallion Quilt

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This is a quilt I started making as part of a ‘Hand-stitched Class’ from a blog called ‘Stitched in Color’ when I was in the dark depths of post-natal depression. The colours feel rich, warm and jewel-like to me which I find rather comforting. It is roughly a square shape, about 60in sq. Not only is it made from beautifully patterned fabrics but it also has plenty of hand embroidery and quilting to add to the decorative effect. Read the rest of this entry

Research: Gustav Klimt – pattern focus

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Klimt is one of my favorite artists so I’ve been taking this opportunity to study his work further. This time I took some of the patterns and paintings I’d identified previously (here), and tried working up something similar myself. I noticed that Klimt’s patterns feel some how organic, they resemble fish scales, eyes and wildly growing plants. Personally I think the second one – semi circles on a cream background – looks especially effective and striking, even more so in real life. I also found that I managed to make all of these studies using only a small range of acrylic paints. These were White, Black, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Crimson, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber – I later also added in some Gold as Klimt is well known for his ‘Golden Phase’, although I believe he actually used Gold Leaf, whereas I only had paint!
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Book Review: Colour: A Workshop for Artists and Designers – Part 1

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Colour: A workshop for artists and designers by David Hornung.

This book is one of the set texts for my current OCA course so I decided to work my way through it to try and gain as much knowledge as I could from it. In places it overlaps with some of my set work, so I’ve followed my course text instead of the book, but these areas are very similar so I’ll include them anyway. Read the rest of this entry

Project 3 Colour : Using Notan to look at Tone (Value)

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Tone, or value as I prefer to think of it as, is how light or dark a colour is. Depending on the colour sometimes this can be very difficult to work out so taking a photo and turning it black and white can help to work out relative values.

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Research: Gustav Klimt

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Ever since I was at school trudging my way through an art GCSE the artist Gustav Klimt has always interested me. There’s something about his bold use of gold and repeating patterns that just jumps out and grabs me! I’ve been doing a lot of work on mark making and the use of colour in my sketchbook recently and this is an area where I can find a lot of inspiration in his work. Read the rest of this entry

Book review: Drawn to Stitch by Gwen Hedley

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I borrowed the book Drawn to Stitch by Gwen Hedley from the library recently as it seemed to fit in with the things I’ve been experimenting with whilst learning about making marks. The beginning of the book covers many of the areas that I’ve been studying lately, refering to different ways to draw and mark lines and then progresses on to the different background’s you can create to put these markings on.

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