Assignment Five: My Capsule Collection – Reflections

I have found Part 5 of A Textile Vocabulary to be the most exciting and liberating of the module.

I found Part 5 to be the most exciting and liberating of the A Textile Vocabulary module. I chose plants based on the fact that they had medicinal properties in Project 1 as it was a simple way of narrowing down the nearly infinite number of plants available. I had not intended for my collection to be so intimately linked to the medical effects and pharmaceuticals. On reflection, this project timed with a large deterioration in my health where I have gradually and intermittently been losing the ability to speak. Subconsciously I think this project was a way of me processing the drastic change in my physical ability to advocate and express myself.

Within this project I found myself moving backwards and forwards between sketching, linear textiles (yarns) and other textile and/or stitching work in a more fluid way which felt more natural. I was able to experiment and play with ideas as they came to me and I felt less restricted than I had been in earlier modules. The most difficult part of this section was probably knowing when to stop and submit my work to my tutor as I had more ideas than time to attempt them all. I suspect that many of these ideas may be taken forward with the participants of Purple Iris as it will also be a way for other people to learn new sewing techniques. 

I can see that there has been a large step forward in the quality of my work when I compare the capsule collection from Assignment 5 (shown below) and that of Assignment 2 (shown in the gallery).

Assignment 5 capsule collection

As I intend to put my work forward for formal assessment in January I aim to drastically rethink my approach to that earlier assignment. I still think that three dimensional textile work is one of my weaknesses and whether I overcome this weakness when I rework the assignments for this module or not, I hope to continue to challenge myself in this direction with my future textile work.

Comparing my work to the assessment criteria, I believe my strength and weaknesses are as follows:

Assessment Criteria

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

In Assignment 5 I probably reverted back to the use of more conventional textiles. I think some of this was because of my ongoing work with Purple Iris where much of my time is taken up with how to make accessible and yet beautiful garments. I had intended to use more unconventional materials such as the willow (seen below in the still life image) but I found that my work naturally progressed in another direction. It also would have been harder to submit any larger bulkier works and for a similar reason I did not submit the original sketches from Part 5 as they wouldn’t fit in the postal bag with the subsequent textile work. 

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

I am concerned that the content that I created for this part of the module may come across as less coherent. Mostly this was because my thought processes were less linear than in previous sections. When I submitted my textile experiments to my tutor I tended to group them by theme or the thought process rather than technique such as yarn/linear translation. I also tried to select what I felt were the more successful experiments with the earlier iterations placed in my sketchbooks. I chose to do this as when I reflected on the entire collection of work from this section, there was far more than I had anticipated and so had to select the most developed pieces for presentation. The downside of this was method of organisation is that it was not obvious what I should title the interim work. I came up with names for the final textile samples but may need to rethink the presentation of the interim samples before the final assessment.

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

A few of the fabric samples in the final collection took a fair amount of experimentation to be achieve a result that I was aiming for such as the “Support Network” sample. On reflection, a lot of my subconscious thought processes and feelings over my condition and the deterioration in my health have been influencing my work and it was only when I looked at my work as a collection that I realised this. 

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

Another of my weaknesses throughout this course has been that I have not researched other artists very much. I tried much harder to research what contemporary artists are doing to put my work into context. I have also tried to be inspired by artists such as Susie Freeman and experiment with similar techniques and methods used in their work.

I am aware that in my intention to submit as much of my work, including the sketchbooks that I had so far been unable to include due to postage restrictions etc, the blue postal bag used was packed snugly to say the least. On the one hand it is possible that some of the work may be slightly crushed on arrival but as I was packing up my work to send to my tutor, the difficultly my tutor may experience attempting to remove the work will be reminiscent of the difficulty that I (and many other patients) often face trying to remove required medication from sealed boxes, pill strips and medical bottles with “childproof caps”.

[All links accessed on 10/9/19]

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