Thursday 27 June 2019

Some differing approaches to design

There are many ways of approaching design work for textiles and mixed media pieces.  I thought we might look at the various ways I have tried in the past - often on workshops.

I attended a Gillian Travis workshop where we worked on counterchange. This is where you cut out shapes - in this example circles in paper squares - and exchange them so that the colours are in different places.  I continued with the large heart and then the small heart.

Working in fabric I only changed one heart with another but started with several different coloured squares.

In this version there were three different pear shapes.

Taking a shape
Another way to play with design is to take a shape and cut into it and expand it.

In the examples above the shapes cut out were glued down on the outside of the original shape.  In the example below the rectangle was cut into different shapes and glued down with different intervals to expand the shape.

You can see the quilts made by Claire Higgott using this method on her website.  Click on Split Shapes in her Portfolio.

You can take part of a photograph or part of your own drawing and make a physical stamp or digital stamp and produce various patterns.

This can lead to a piece of stitched textile.

I went on a Jean Draper workshop where we drew a small object and then expanded it on a photocopier.  This can inform structures, work on paper and fabric.  I wrote about this on my blog.

Non-visual inspiration for design
Not all inspiration has to be visual.  You could use a poem or a piece of music to inspire your work.  Earlier this year I used the poem 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost to produce a concertina book.  My starting point was the text and unusually for me through various stages of the design process I ended up with this:

Of course, there's always just letting the fabric 'speak' to you and coming up with a piece of work that results from playing with ideas without planning.  Just go with the flow and see where it takes you.

Some of my Venice pieces came from playing. I printed with stamps and thermofax screens randomly on a large piece of cotton using thickened dyes and fabric paints.

I played again with stencils and screens to make a further piece of fabric which eventually became this set of 9 Venice Tiles.

And finally in this post,  there's thinking!

Lots of textile artists use sketchbooks and workbooks, experiment and make samples, I tend to think.  Instead of making several samples I think through what each once might be, ask the 'what if ...' questions and then disregard the ideas.  I might write a list of all the possibilities so that I have the capacity to think through each option - rather than hold the list in my head.  Maybe I miss out on some ideas by not doing samples.  I don't know. What I do  know, is that I produce pieces that work for me and really that's all that counts.

How do you design your work?


Saturday 1 June 2019

Q&A with Vicki

Hi, it's Becca here. I've been looking back at the past Traverse blog posts and realised that besides my intro post in June 2018, there has been no post introducing any of the other members! We have a new member to the group and it seemed a really good opportunity to firstly introduce Vicki but also to do a post on every member of the group! So over the next few months, I will post a Question and Answer session with one of Traverse's members.


Vicki  joined Traverse earlier this year and despite the short time between joining the group and our first exhibition of 2019, she worked really hard to ensure she could exhibit with us. But let's find out a bit more..

Can you tell us about you? 

I’m Vicki. I'm trying to navigate through life’s complications whilst dipping into my accumulation of years worth of materials to make things. 

How did you get into textiles? 
As a child during the 1970’s, I attended what was quite a progressive primary school, where creativity was vastly important. We learned to sew - hand and machine, worked with clay, and looked at an array of creative practices. My home life also had an emphasis on making, traditional skills and thinking outside of the box in terms of gender roles.  

I have a BA(hons) in Art and Design.

What are your creative influences? 

Ooooo, where to start! Quite frequently anatomy features as starting point for any work I’m making, disease and mortality. Cliché to say Frida Kahlo but a definite influence there, but honestly, it’s a large sphere of influence including a variety of media. 

Bioscience, technology, nature and history. 

What inspires your work? 

I'm inspired by death quite a lot…


What are your favourite techniques to use?

I love stitch, the repetition, the rhythm, the history around different techniques. 
However, I do bore quite easily so I tend to have a few things on the go at once. Many unfinished paintings and small scale sculptures lurk around my work space.

How did find your creative style? 


Describe your style in 4 words 


How do you start a new project? 

Usually when I’m in a creative fug or bored with what I’m working on, I’ll find something else to do and experiment a bit.

What do you do if you hit a creative block?

1. Take some time away from what I’m working on. 
2. Try not to throw it in the bin or cover it in glitter!
3. I love books, so I’ll read or look through reference books for a few sparks.

Thank you Vicki, it has been great to find out more about you and your work!  Our next Q&A post will be with Bernice.