Nina's Textile Trail

My OCA Textile Tales

Textiles 1 A Creative Approach – Assignment 2 Feedback – Reflection & Comment

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Overall Comments – Tutor

Well done, you have created a good body of work for this assignment that shows understanding and application of colour theory and some very nice and successful experimentation using paper based and textile printing processes. Some nice sampling of different techniques, your hand stitch samples are lovely but there is a lack of development of your drawings through to designs. I’d like to see you developing your drawings and designs further through the process of experimentation, reflecting on a work/samples and using this to inform decisions. Good development of your sketchbook work and much clearer organization and presentation. Lots here to develop and build on; feedback below indicates areas to improve and gives suggestions on how you might develop this through later assignments.

I’m pleased with the overall comments.  Following receipt of the feedback, I revisited Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists by Kay Greenlees and looked at the link recommended at the end of this document. I agree that there is a lack of development of my drawings through to designs.  I don’t think I fully understood the creative process and have a better idea now.

Feedback on assignment. Project 3. Stage 1-3:

Some lovely work in this early section, you have succeeded in accurately matching the colours of your fabric samples, lovely preparation, observation, testing and mixing of colours. Some good attempts at exercise 4 but I would like to have seen you explore the grouping of objects and making more observation through colour rather than form and to take this observational part of the exercise further.

I find it difficult to explain why I couldn’t and still can’t grasp how to record the colours as brushstokes of colour without painting the objects as things, and in relation to the comment about exploring the grouping of objects, why is the grouping of objects important if I’m not painting them as objects.  I spent a long time reading and re-reading this section and missing the point so I think it would have be useful to me if a picture had illustrated what was required.  

Stage 4: It would have been useful to bring this section together. I think your exploration of word opposites, through mark-making and colour could have been taken further.

I note that I could have taken this section further, although I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘bring this section together’.  I find expressing feeling with marks difficult and think I spent the suggested half hour on it and moved on as quickly as possible!

Stage 5/6: Very nice exploration of colour through hand stitch. This must have taken a lot of time but really worthwhile as you have developed some really interesting and bold samples. Consider the fabric ground: how this affects the design and the stitches effect and change the ground. Consider the placement of the stitch, how does it arrive on (doesn’t have to be place centrally) and travel across the fabric.

I note the above comments and will enjoy exploring hand stitch further.   

Project 4: Stage 2: project 1-4.

It would have been better to present your sources of inspiration alongside this developmental stage of your work so the journey of your designs was more evident. Looking at the initial viewfinder drawings and then the postcard in you colour book, the colours in your paintings are not as well matched or the drawings/marks as considered as your earlier work. Some nice moments but this section of your work appears to be a little rushed. I would have liked to see more exploration, decision making and development of both the black and white and colour studies drawings within task/exercises 2-4 and throughout stages 3 and 4.

Noted.  This is the area where I don’t think I fully understood the creative process and the need to really focus on a small area and develop that particular drawing in different ways.  I can see it is explained in the course manual, but at the time the angst surrounding the drawing interfered with my understanding.

Experiments with printing and painting

Some lovely exploration and application of paper based and textile printing processes, different papers, processes and medias. It looks like you have enjoyed exploring these processes. Try to get this same playful experimentation into the earlier stages of your work, developing your drawings and designs. How you could begin to use these works to inform more development? Try working on larger paper and fabric, explore scale, composition and placement through the layering marks, drawings, designs and printing techniques. I’d like to have seen more focused experimentation, development and thinking around an idea creating more connection between the samples rather than seeing each work as separate.

Thank you and note comments regarding developing ideas and connecting samples.

Developing a larger design.

Some lovely textures in this printed samples and a good attempt at embellishing the design with machine stitch but they feel a little separate and are not quite working together as design. There needed more experimentation, possible exploring an additional abstract design from one of your drawing to compliment of offset the background. Colour could also have been explored further and layering.

Agree.  I wasn’t entirely happy with the final piece and it was rushed to meet the deadline.

I’m also taking on your sketchbook cover of your large sample book as a larger design as it has it show good use of colour and the layering printed marks to create texture. To build on this, you could extend the printed design with stitch and used this to join the two half’s of the design/fabric in a more creative way than just a zig-zag, e.g. the black crosses could move across the different sides of the work so the two pieces feel more connected. Think about proportion, space, composition (project 4) and the cut line between the shapes of fabric: how might you have used this design or drawn on earlier samples/experiments to inform this shape? As you have joined three samples, you could consider using applique to balance the overall work e.g. cutting some of the yellow or orange circles to apply to the pink side and in doing so creating a hole which reveals the pink fabric or another beneath. Some lovely earlier hand-stitch work, these techniques might be used to create areas of more focus and detail.

Noted with interest.  This piece was quickly put together with scraps to cover the cardboard and although considered, it didn’t occur to me to give it more thought and attention at the time.  I can see now that the potential for exploring this is more exciting to me than the ‘Developing a larger design’ sample in Stage 4.


Good use of your sketchbook, you’ve developed your work here and have started to make these a helpful resource for you. Some nice drawing, mark-making and stitch work and exploration of collage. When working on the sewing machine, try developing your use of the different stitches and feet rather than just free-hand embroidery, explore what happens when you change the width or length of the stitch, loosen or tighten the tension on the top of the machine or bobbin underneath.

I’d like to see you developing your research of an area to help create more focus to your work and development of your designs. Gather research inspired by your theme: work by artists, designers, historical and present day, writing, poetry, sketches, drawing, photos etc. Refer back to my previous feedback here.


Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Research point: Interesting story around the embroidered work but I would liked to have seen more in depth research here. Nice study, a colour photo and a close up would have been helpful.

Some good ongoing refection of your work, start to apply this evaluation as you are actually creating the work, thinking and reflecting as you work and using this to inform decisions on where you might go next with a process or design.

Suggested reading/viewing

Machine stitch perspectives. – Jane McKeating, Alice Kettle Matthew Harris:

Thank you for the suggestions.  Machine and Hand stitch Perspectives are on my Christmas list so look forward to reading them.  I enjoyed Penni Redding’s work.  I have seen it before but the fact that it was illustrating a point relevant to me made it more meaningful this time. Matthew Harris’s work was interesting.

Pointers for the next assignment

Thinking through process: more experimentation and process led development. More decision making and considered reflection and refinement of drawing through to designs. Develop your theme and be more ambitious with your choices of inspiration, start to create more meaning and depth to your work.

Thank you for the constructive feedback.  I found it interesting to note that the areas highlighted for further exploration were  aspects I didn’t feel comfortable with at the time and wished I was in a classroom situation to clarify what was required.  However, as mentioned, I think I have a better idea now and should be able to act on your pointers.


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