Nina's Textile Trail

My OCA Textile Tales

Textiles 1 A Creative Approach – Assignment 3 Feedback – Reflection & Comment

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Tutor report

Student name Nina O’Connor Student number 513049
Course/Module Textiles 1 : A creative approach Assignment number three

Overall Comments

First, congratulations on completing this assignment, which asks you to undertake a good many ‘mini’ practical and research projects’, which obviously leaves you little time for ‘in depth’ development of ideas.

One of your strengths is that you can clearly see where you need to improve. You also have some well developed technical skills with stitch and fabric. You show that you are learning fast to follow a clear line of enquiry through experiment with materials, letting several options and designs develop from your original source material. Where you need to improve is to spend more time extracting and developing visual information from actual objects and organic material.

 Response: Thank you and note areas for improvement

Note: You did not receive the following advice with Part 2

 Assignment potential (after Assignments 2 and 4)

I understand your aim is to go for the Textiles Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.


Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills,  Quality of Outcome,  Demonstration of Creativity

Part three : Creating shapes and three dimensional forms

In this assignment, You are asked to manipulate fabric in different ways :

In Stage 2 you were asked to work from your own source material, abstract out colours, patterns textures and shapes; radically develop these through cutting, cropping, collage into designs. In Stage 3 and 4 you were asked to amass a quantity of experimental samples- the final sample developed from drawings

Response: I am interested to note that my interpretation of Stage 2 Developing ideas didn’t match yours.   I didn’t grasp that I was being asked to abstract out colours, patterns, textures and shapes and radically develop these through cutting, cropping and collaging into designs. I thought I was merely being asked to consider how I might develop or change them and to choose from my drawings bearing the contrasts in shape, proportion, colour and texture etc. in mind.

Experimental samples

There were a great many thoughtful explorations of all the techniques. I particularly liked the presentation of the first group (stage 3) in booklet form. They were easy to look through, and created a good resource for yourself. They also indicate that they are simply explorations in process and technique. I think it is appropriate to keep them separate. The second group (stage 4) were equally effective in showing how meticulous your investigation of technique is, but less successful in presentation. (See suggestions for presentation below)

Source Material/development work:

I can see, from reports from your former tutor, that you are making great efforts to improve the quality of your developmental work.

There was a real sense of investigation in solving practical problems – e.g. Sheet 20, you show that you are learning how to let several designs evolve from one drawing, and that you are researching in books to find solutions and to help you develop your creativity. However, source material – one drawing from a photo, from one angle – seems thin. Through the 10 sheets of development through stitch, the drawing is little changed.

Similarly, e.g. sheet 33 : In many ways it was much looser and experimental in the small sample scraps. You combined your colours and materials thoughtfully through these small samples, adding unusual materials using ‘scribbly stitches’ – with an effective final outcome. I would have liked to see some more paper trials, rather than you going straight away to stitch.


Try to draw more from actual objects and, organic material. e.g.

  • visual analysis/matching of colours;
  • suface texture – drawings which are suggestive of the surface – also try to re-create actual surfaces
  • the pattern of lines; underlying linear structure of a plant.
  • Try to verbalise what is happening with the marks in drawings. (ask why you like an effect). I saw some interesting textural effects through your use of marks; also directional lines which can create dynamic energy in a piece. (sheet 16). Build on these and add more – see what happens. Don’t limit yourself to photos. Go to the source. )
  • If you are using photos as source material, take several photos, from different viewpoints, different sides, close ups, etc., then jot down the colours you see. This will begin the translation on to the 2d surface
  • Do more in the development stage before reaching for a needle – e.g. paper collage or cropping into an image.
  • Think about scale. Could any of the samples be developed larger

Response: I agree with your comments regarding more drawing and more paper trials and thank you for the drawing suggestions, which are very helpful.

Suggestions for presentation:

Presentation was clear, (groups of pages temporarily clipped together) although I assume you will find a more permanent solution before assessment.

The pins you use for attaching to the paper sheets are fine as a temporary measure – and for sending to me. Thinking about assessment – Have you tried sewing, or knotting items to the paper. It is a more permanent way of attaching textiles to paper and cloth. It is particularly good when the textile is highly textured, and for more resolved mounted samples.


1) When the work is presented for assessment, are there any recommendations on how it should be presented?

2) Should each assessment be presented in a similar style?

3) Does a creative approach like making booklets affect the mark? (on the understanding that the work is still presented clearly).

Project 7 : Your theme book is a book of visual information based around a theme of your choice which will provide you with the starting point for part 5 of the module, in which you will design and make a piece of your own.


You have chosen a theme of ‘flowers’. You are right – it could be seen as a bit safe. The thing is to show any alternative, subversive side of a theme like this. You watch the way flowers open, blook, die.(E.g. Sam Taylor Wood’s video of fruit putrifing.

Look at how flowers have been used – and subverted in art in the past. The sensuality of Georgia O Keefe paintings; What about Blake’s ‘Oh Rose Thou art Sick’ poem ; and Orphelia, drowning in flowers!…/flowers-as-art-historys-messengers…/the-language-of-flowers-in-art

Thinking about your final ‘piece of your own’ – forget what you want to make and concentrate on the theme book – let the theme dictate what you make – and it need not be an object. It could be a wall based piece or sculpture.

Response: I was looking at the Theme book as a drawing opportunity but is the learning objective of creating the theme book to research something inspiring? If that is the case, I should consider another theme. – I have looked at the recommended links, which were interesting, but the ‘subversive side’ of flowers doesn’t inspire me at all and I would have difficulty responding with excitement and involvement as suggested in the course notes.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills,  Demonstration of Creativity

Don’t forget, you need to be regularly collecting, drawing, reflecting on your source material in a location sketchbook and using your A3 workbook to develop your ideas and samples of work.

You should also show in your workbook, location sketchbook – or in your log – that you are looking regularly at the work of textile designers and artists – referencing and using visuals where appropriate..

One of the things you say in your blog under ‘Sketchbooks’ was Textile workers sketchbooks are to accumulate material for potential use in textiles so they focus on texture, colour and structure.

What do you think about this statement? What about line! Line is how we create movement in an image Your eye always follows a line, whether it is a stitched line or drawn line, or gesture in the air. And one definition of ‘texture’ is ‘small marks (or lines) massed together’

Response: I think you have a valid point and that was a broad statement made out of context as part of an attempt to find the motivation to work confidently and regularly in a sketchbook, an area I’m still struggling with.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays       Context

As a background to the work in this assignment you were asked in Research point 1 to start a collection of examples of furnishing or fashion fabrics of any technique to illustrate diversity of fabrics which are popular and available – contemporary or traditional.

I liked the way you created two separate ‘book’ resources for this.

In Research point 2 You were asked to survey craft based techniques – from individual designer makers who concentrating on small production runs to those who make art based textiles. You are also asked to look at the the relationship of the crafts to industry – consider how new technology has influenced the crafts, and how crafts have inspired those designing for industry.

You researched this adequately, but could have gone further – questioned more. You might also think about whether those making craft based textiles are earning a living; How have they fared in the recession? Can people afford the premium for the ‘hand made’.

What about new technologies such as digital and 3d printing. How have they affected the hand made market?

Response: Noted. This highlights oversight in my interpretation of the question. I considered the first two paragraphs as background information and the question to be “Consider why craft- produced textiles maintain a place in our society”.

Suggested reading/viewing                                                      


 Check out Susie Freeman, who weaves and traps objects between translucent fabric.

Dorothy Cauldwell : in good repair

Also…/index.htm have a look at Roanna Wells in particular and her online portfolio,above. Prize winning artist in the Jerwood Makers Prize – her embroideries were also accepted into the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Stunning translation of mark to stitch on transparent textiles.

Response: These are very interesting recommendations which I will follow up in my learning log. I am particularly excited by Roanna Wells’ work, thank you.

Pointers for the next assignment

The next assignment is about combining fibres, colours and textures to create tactile surfaces. The accent is on experimental construction forms using processes such as interlacing, weaving, plaiting and or knotting of yarns, ribbons, torn strips of paper or fabric, plant fibre, wire, etc.

Project 9 in particular is important and involves developing visual design ideas into sample pieces with the objective of reinforcing good practice in working method, enable you to develop personal design ideas around organization and colour.

 Noted, thank you.


Tutor name: Pat Hodson
Date 06/02/2015
Next assignment due 06/04/2015

Thank you for your review, which is very helpful


One thought on “Textiles 1 A Creative Approach – Assignment 3 Feedback – Reflection & Comment

  1. wow lots of really good comment. Hoping it doesn’t feel too overwhelming but I guess in a way degree level work is overwhelming in its demand as it pushes you to depth of enquiry/exploration. You have worked so hard. It will continue to be a great journey.

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