Assignment Four: Reflections

What have I learnt over the duration of the two projects that made up Part 4 Yarn & Linear Exploration?

The most obvious skill I have learnt by working through part 4 is how to spin wool into yarn. Whilst I am by no means an expert spinner, I am finding that with practice I am able to produce more consistent yarns. It has also been enjoyable to look at unconventional materials for possible yarn samples. It did feel a bit awkward to start with but I soon found myself looking at anything and everything to work out if it could be used or deconstructed and used. It was fortuitous that we had a build ongoing during this part of my module as I had access to some materials such as cement and insulation that wouldn’t normally be around the house.

I am always hesitant to push my boundaries when creating work but I now feel that I would like to push some of the samples further for instance the delicate samples inspired by The Toilet of Venus or the watercolour stripes could be used to create a fabulous overskirt for a dress as they had a lot of movement when suspended.

I did find working with unusual materials more challenging as they were harder to store and present without damaging. There was also one complete disaster with a sample when I tried to suspend tiny pieces of concrete in PVA glue as it just fell apart when it dried. Looking at the aims for the assignment, I am trying to take heart in the fact that I have learnt as much from the failures as those that worked well.

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Review of assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills– materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skill (40%)

As with learning to use gouache in Part 3, I chose to learn to spin wool for this section and although some of my early attempts did not produce very balanced or interesting yarns, by Exercise 4.4 I was able to produce yarn that was more consistent than I expected. I would like to be able to practice more and attempt some of the more fancy yarn techniques but that will take a lot more time. I have been trying to focus on making conscious design and compositional decisions and have enjoyed the opportunity to push the projects in directions that interest me as they were so open ended.

Quality of outcome– content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%)

It was noted in my feedback from Part Three that the presentation of my physical work had drastically improved since Part Two. I wanted to continue this and aimed to use very similar presentation techniques with the intention that when the work is submitted for formal assessment there will be clear continuity.

It was suggested that I should try photographing my work against a white background to make it look more consistent and professional and I have done that in this Part of the course. The only exception to this was when I was photographing the relevant pages of my sketchbook. The reason I chose to have the odd snippet of mess behind was because I admit that that is how I work in reality. My sketchbook is always floating around on top of the mess so I can stick bits in or make notes as they occur to me!

Demonstration of creativity– imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (20%)

Some of the more successful pieces from Part Three were those that demonstrated a much stronger ‘personal voice’ and I enjoyed continuing to play with themes such as health and life changes in this section. As most of the yarn samples were based on the colour resource book from Assignment Three they were fairly cohesive and only needed minor tweaks to form a collection.

Context– reflection, research, critical thinking (20%)

In this part I tried to continue to play with the materials and see what evolved rather than have a preconceived idea of an outcome. This was particularly relevant in Exercises 4.1 and 4.2 as I found myself stuck creatively at a few points. Rather than force an outcome I decided to risk leaving the work as it was and reviewing it when I had finished all the other exercises. As I tend to want to finish work before moving on, this wasn’t the most natural decision for me. I feel that the final outcomes of the two yarns created whilst I pulled together the yarn collection were far more interesting and had more meaning to me than any yarn I would have created at the time. I probably still need to research more artists as I feel that in teaching myself spinning techniques (and having health problems) that was the main thing that was neglected in this section. I am eager to start Part Five: Building a Collection and can see that I will need to do a significant amount of research on artists to create my own collection.

[All links accessed on 10/06/19]

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