Sunday, 8 July 2012

Assignment 1 - Tutor Report

Overall Comments
The work you have sent to me demonstrates that you are beginning the module with a sound skills base to draw upon. You have fully explored the potential of mark making as a drawing tool, showing a good level of visual awareness. You have also made good links between mark making and stitch and have demonstrated your ability to make an appropriate selection of materials and techniques to realize your aims. The quality of your work, even at this early stage is very much in evidence and the thoughtful presentation of your work indicates that you have an effective grasp of ideas together with an ability to communicate them in an effective manner.

An excellent start to the module, Donna.  I look forward to seeing assignment 2.

Assessment Potential (after Assignment 1)
“Formal Assessment: You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications.  Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit assignment 2.  I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.”

Feedback on assignment
Project 1: Making Marks
  • To help  you to explore simple and expressive approaches to drawing
  • To help you to build up confidence through using a wide range of drawing media.
You really explored the full potential of expressive mark making and I liked the way I which you varied both the medium and background surfaces to build up line and tonal ranges. You made good use of a number of techniques such as rubbings and wax resists and some of this experimental work e.g. bleaching and transfer printing will serve you well in your next assignment. Both of these techniques will work equally well with fabric. You achieved some good contrasts when you used the same starting point but explored the qualities of different media e.g. felt pen and charcoal.

In terms of visual texture, you made a good choice of imagery with both the mushroom gills and the turkey tail. Although your used pen for the former, it would be interesting to try out folding and pleating brown paper and tissue to create a deeper, more three dimensional surface. With the turkey tail, I think your drawing skills are also up to exaggerating the curves and fluted edges as a basis for future design work.

Your observational drawings allowed you to demonstrate the extent to which you recognized what might be an appropriate choice of media. I was also impressed by the way you recognized the importance of focusing on line and shape which is what this is all about at this stage.

Project 2: Developing marks into stitch/making textures
  • To help you to develop  your awareness of how fabric, stitch and thread can be manipulated to explore line and texture

Your first samples showed me that you had made very good links between mark making and stitch. You went beyond what was required and pushed your stitches to the limit e.g. the distorted chain stitch and working into your initial stitching as in the green sample. Further experimentation might include exploring ways of extending the cross hatching stitching to vary the tone and density of your stitch and looking at ways of building up your stitching by layering different colours. Cretan stitch is a good one for this. What really struck me was the extent to which you can exploit very basic stitches to serve your needs. The important issue here is the extent to which you are able to make appropriate choices to suit the task. I think you are already well on the way to achieving this.

You expressed some reservations about your leaf sample and I agree with your comments. I can see why you chose black initially but I think that the whole piece ended up being quite heavy. It might be worth giving some thought as to how you might deal with this. Would it have been better to use softer grey tones to build up the skeleton structure? How different and lighter in weight might this sample be if you had used dissolvable fabric? This piece was a good learning experience for you!

There was some good experimentation with regard to preparing to create texture. I think you could maybe make more use of say, couching, or backstitch as in the illustration of the blue mug. This would allow you to create finer lines and smaller shapes. I will send you an image to look at.

The other sample, where you layered and then stitched the fabric was beautiful. It worked so well against the background fabric. Keep this in mind for assignment 3!  I also liked the orange segment sample. You might consider adding to this by overlaying a slightly darker net and stitching some of the linear detail with a darker thread to give additional textural and tonal depth.Some of the stitches you used to create texture could also be linked to earlier work. I’m thinking here of the turkey tail image and the way you used blanket stitch as a holding stitch. Would this technique work for the edges of the tail feathers? It would make a lovely abstract image.

Your experimentation with a number of non-traditional textile materials and homemade threads will also be a valuable reference point for future assignments, particularly as you annotated the sheet. This is always a good idea as it’s very easy to forget just how you created a particular effect.

Your final samples, based on photographic collage were also very well considered pieces. You really exploited the potential of threads and yarns to build up surface texture. What did strike me was the extent to which you are able to make appropriate choices in terms of the relative weight of fabric, threads and stitch to create an overall harmonious effect. You realized the potential of changing stitch direction, as in your visual reference and this gave the design a nice edginess. The addition of nets allowed you to build up a subtle tonal range and the beads in this instance enhanced the surface by reflecting the light. A word of warning though. Always consider why you are adding decorative items such as beads, and ask yourself what contribution they are actually making. It is very easy to be seduced by their prettiness!

Learning Logs/Critical Essays
Your online blog is an impressive record of your learning to date. You have been diligent in recording your progress and honest in your evaluations of outcomes. There is a good coherence in your writing and you make relevant links between wider observations of other artists and potential future sources of inspiration.
SketchbookYou have really grasped the purpose of a sketchbook and this feels like a living evolving record of your observations. I was pleased to see you include some textile samples as a way of exploring drawing. You might like to have a look at the work of Gillian bates as inspiration for developing this aspect of your work further. I notice that you are doing an art workshop at the same time as this module. That is great, as it is clearly supporting the development of your technical and observational skills. Just bear in mind though, that work undertaken for assessment on a course other than your OCA module, cannot be submitted for assessment in this module. It is perhaps worth bearing this in mind when you are working in your sketchbook.

Suggested Reading/Viewing
See suggestions in report and images.
Pointers for the next assignmentThe next assignment focuses on colour and colour relationships as well as an exploration of the design process and working with paint and print techniques. It is quite a hefty assignment! I think some of the work you have already undertaken for this assignment will provide some good starting points, particularly in terms of using and further abstracting your sketchbook drawings.

The presentation of your work is exemplary. I like the landscape format and it works well for you. Your labeling is clear and easy to follow. Thank you so much for making my life easier!