Project 10 A design project – Stage 4 Making your textile piece


By the time I got to this stage of the project I was quite confident that I had a much better idea of what I wanted to produce.  The computer manipulated versions of my collaged image had plenty of texture and the general proportions of the image seemed to work well.


I used this image, along with the original collage as my guide when placing the fabric and embroidering the final piece.  The piece is unfinished – I completed the “grandparents” and “me” layers, and the middle “doorway” layer is missing the right side of the door but I think there is enough here to get a good idea of the project.

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pleated resist-dyed cotton fabric, running stitch with machine sewing cotton thread

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kantha-style running stitches in machine cotton and couched embroidery silk

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resist-dyed dupion silk with couched lurex thread

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roughly tacked torn and folded voile

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couched embroidery silk produce the thicker lines

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I debated whether to cut the slits in the middle curtain

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trying to show the layers

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the sunlight from the window behind is a big part of how I wanted the final piece to look when on display – inspiration from the Lost in Lace exhibition, Birmingham Gas Hall

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For the last part of this stage we are asked to consider:

  • Can you see a continuous thread of development from your original drawings and samples to the final designs?

I was initially uncertain as to how to develop the ideas from my theme book into a more coherent idea for a textile.  This became easier as I forged on once I had focused on my final idea.  From then it was easier to produce specific drawings and samples as I had a definite idea of an end product.  I think there is definitely a thread of development from my initial theme to my final design.  It would have been easy, though, to be pulled off track as I found a lot of resources for further development once I had started.  I think I found once I had a personal connection with the project that made it much more enjoyable and easier to progress.

  • Do you feel you made the right decisions at each stage of the design process?  If not, what changes would you make?

I don’t believe there is a huge line between right or wrong when you are designing for a piece for yourself.  Obviously, if I had been given a detailed brief from a client then I would have had to be careful to make sure I produced everything that was asked for.  As it stands if I were to be critical it might be that I could have produced some more drawings and experimented with more different fabrics.  Also, I think I made a mistake with my measurements and the final piece isn’t quite in proportion with the original design but I do not think it impairs the result enough to be a huge problem.  I did debate whether to cut into the middle “doorway” curtain and make the slits either side of the opening.  I also pondered whether to cut the whole inside of the doorway away altogether but I decided not to as I wanted to have that extra layer of fabric to view the first layer through.  Looking at my photographs of the piece in situ I think I could have made more of the wall area outside the doorway denser and less transparent so that the focus was concentrated on the area inside the doorway lit by the natural light.

  • Were you able to interpret your ideas well within the techniques and materials you chose to work with?

I was concerned, initially, that I might try to incorporate too many techniques and materials in my final piece, in an effort to show all that I had learned during the course.  I managed to get around this early on by limiting myself to only a few fabrics and a neutral (on the whole) colour palette.  This worked well – knowing I had only one drawer from my thread collection to work with and a handful of fabrics meant I was careful to make the most of these, especially since I was some recycled fabrics and it would have been difficult to obtain more.  My intention was to use the separate layers of curtain as a way to interpret time, ageing, transition and movement from one state to another.  I love the way the transparency of the fabric works so well with the natural daylight behind it.

  • How successful is your final design in terms of being inventive within the medium and coherent as a whole?

I surprised myself, fixing on a curtain as a final piece.  Having done a lot of dressmaking  in the past it would have been very easy to stick with a garment or even a hat as a final piece.  I am very glad I pushed out of my comfort zone and got closer to my idea of textile art than I thought I would be able to.  I have not used novel materials or techniques but the way I have used them is a bit more unusual.   I definitely like the look of the result.  I believe it works as a hanging piece of textile and it has come together pretty much as I had hoped.  I would have finished it by hanging the curtains separately on either copper pipe or inch dowels, ideally in a window so that the light provides that extra dimension.   My photographs of the final piece probably could have been better.  I took them into the light of the east-facing window in the afternoon, supported by some filament lamps, when I might have got better shots in the morning.

We are also asked to look back at the notes we made on how we felt at the beginning of the course and reflect on the journey.

On re-reading my notes after having an initial look at the course materials and after the first assignment I notice that I was concerned that my lack of skills as an artist would be a big hurdle to overcome.  The other main worry was that I would find time management an issue.  Over the course I have begun to find ways to interpret my ideas with mark making but this often takes the form of a collage, simple diagram or manipulation of photographs and other images using computer software.  I would like to get some help with learning to draw and paint but finances do not permit at the moment.  I definitely need to do more sketchbook work and I am slowly overcoming my fears of putting pencil to paper but I feel this will be a particularly long journey for me.  When it comes to time management I have definitely found this difficult.  This has not been helped by my work commitments and I am trying to change that but again, that will take time.  I have got used to observing that I have periods where motivation to do even the smallest coursework task is severely lacking.  There are a combination of reasons for this but since we have re-arranged our dining room which has the benefit of light from 3 sides, and the weather has been much improved, I have not had to struggle quite so hard.

I have enjoyed the course immensely and am really looking forward to my next module.


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