Final Evaluation

I chose “Growth” as the theme for my final project as I thought it would be an interesting subject which would allow me to explore different materials and could potentially give a lot of different outcomes. I worked towards my proposal at the beginning of my project by researching artists that I could connect to growth. I started my project by taking my own photographs of my local woodland as I have always been interested in nature and the local environment. From previous projects I have found success in textiles and I knew I wanted to create a textiles based piece and remain in the textiles pathway.

 

I originally planned to contrast our built environment to the natural world. I wanted to showcase the difference between a townscape and my local woodland. But as the project developed I became more interested in the natural world and how I could reflect my interests in a final piece. The photographs I have taken have influenced my final outcome. Through researching a variety of materials and exploring different techniques I felt I was achieving textiles pieces that had a clear connection to growth.

 

My focus became clear on natural forms. I found fascination in the natural world because it is forever changing, organic and evolving.  I am interested in how it manipulates structures.

I began the project by researching honey comb and the hexagonal shape due to my dad being a bee keeper. I found that hexagons are one of the strongest sustaining shapes in nature. I then begun to look at the Giant’s Causeway which was formed by a volcanic eruption and subsequently left behind hexagon columns. Over time the sea and landscape had caused the columns to weather and change adding new textures and surfaces.

 

After reading the book “Land” by Antony Gormley and narrated by Jeanette Winterson I was intrigued how his iron figures are forever changing through weathering and erosion. I am interested in how temporary structures are in the world compared to the never dying growth. I have looked at a variety of artists who cover all pathways to gain a better understanding of how other artists chose to reflect the natural world within their practice.

 

At the beginning of my project I explored printing processes and digital drawings however from these findings I felt that the results were too flat and I didn’t feel that they reflected the organic, natural world realistically. I became disappointed in the results so I began to explore new techniques. I was much more excited by physical scale, shape and form and creating something that would cross between sculpture and textiles.

 

I then began to explore with yarns and latex to try and make something more three dimensional but again I didn’t feel that this gave the best natural effect. I then tested weave because I could include different textures, colours, materials and I would be able to add wire to shape and manipulate it. I also tried felt making which was very successful as the wool was very malleable and could be manipulated.  Felt making worked in harmony with my ideas and I was now able to successfully create pieces that represented natural growth such as lichen, mould or fungi.  With felting and weaving I was able to combine different textures, colours and surfaces which would achieve my desired outcome. Dallinga uses felt as her main media when creating artwork. She has heavily influenced me she makes three dimensional pieces that have been inspired by her surroundings.  Through exploration and experimentation of these mediums I have developed my skills and technical capability. The process has also given me more of an understanding of time scales.  Felt making is a very time consuming process so working towards targets and deadlines that are self-set is essential.

 

I did a great deal of research and experimentation into the potential of materials to see which would be best for creating a final outcome. Dallinga’s pieces have been photographed in a woodland space and I think it makes the pieces look more effective by placing them directly into context. If I was to develop this project further I would have explored different compositions and placed my experiments in the local environment and recorded the changes the natural world made to my artwork over a period of time.

 

For my final piece I created my own hexagonal prism plinths. I made them from MDF wood and painted them white to sit in a gallery setting. My hexagon plinths were inspired by my research into the columns of the Giant’s Causeway. Each plinth is a different height to give the appearance of stepping but also the idea of growing upwards. I placed my felted three dimensional pieces over the top of the columns to express my idea of the natural world attaching itself to structures, be them built or natural.

 

I used felt and weave as the main media in my final piece. I chose felt because of its ability to be manipulated due to the fibre structure of wool. I could create pieces that reflected three dimensional forms in nature. A lot of the artists I researched had created pieces from felt and I was inspired to challenge myself to create three dimensional forms in this way. I also used weave as it allowed me to showcase natural colours. By adding wire to the weave it allowed me to make the weave a growth in its own right. I am really pleased with how I have combined the two main mediums. I added a muslin piece above the plinths which I attached felt to and embellished. This adds another dimension to the piece by creating height. I think I have successfully managed to represent growth in nature and natural organic forms.

 

The main messages I wanted to convey in my work was the idea of something growing and slowly evolving. I have been fascinated through this project by growths in our world which often go ignored by walkers. I wanted to create something that would create impact. I wanted to create the sense of growth. Personally, I think I have achieved this by starting my piece on the floor and working upwards. Additionally, when setting my space in the exhibition. Other students where commenting on my work saying that it reminded them of forests, swamps and woodland.

 

Overall I am pleased with my final outcome I think my favourite part is one of the side walls on the biggest plinth. As my piece is centred in the room it meant then when making the piece I had to consider it from all angles. This was difficult as it was hard to work on different areas and see the piece at the same time. However, I am really pleased with how it looks. I attached flat felt pieces to the walls that I had gathered. I added wire to them and made the effect of stacked fungi. I think this looks really effective and that is the area I am most pleased with. I additionally like the felt vessels as they add height to the piece and create the look of growth. I think where I have added felt beading and yarns spilling out of felt look effective and they represent nature well. By adding felt beads it has added different shape and texture to the piece and areas of brighter colour which will make a viewer look around the piece.  My weave has created a foundation for the piece. The colours pull the story together and provide visual harmony.

 

If I could change anything I would have made more felt to cover more of the floor area leading up to the plinths. Additionally, with more time I would have taken the piece outdoors and photographed it in different environments. I think it would have been interesting to take photographs of it in my local woodland as it would put the piece in context. It would have also been interesting to see if nature changed the piece over time and I could have possibly done a time lapse video. However, this shows there is more potential in the piece and something I will explore further.

 

I chose to present my final piece on the floor and have a hanging element above the piece. I think this has been successful as it relates to my idea of the Giant’s Causeway. Plus, by starting from the floor it has allowed me to work upwards creating height and the appearance of growth. I think my final piece and research throughout the project has fulfilled my initial proposal as I have created a textiles based outcome. I have changed direction slightly as I didn’t focus on the build environment. However, I do not regret this decision as my work evolved I became more focused on the natural world and I am happy with the outcome. I think I have explored growth throughout my project and through the mediums I have chosen I have successfully created a piece which demonstrates my findings.

 

 

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Facebook feedback

Throughout FMP I have posted these about my own work and contributed to comments on other peoples art work.

Its a really good way of showing students work and getting feedback from students and tutors outside of college. I received likes and comments suggesting ideas on taking photos of the honey comb at the beginning of the project. I also received comments on my plinths that they was looking good.

Setting up my exhibition

 

Setting up the show I tried many different arrangements I wasn’t happy with the first arrangement I tried as the sides of the plinths were too bare and I didn’t feel like it looked that effective. Also working and setting up in the studio was quite challenging due to other students setting up at times I didn’t feel as though I had the space to work effectively and do my piece justice. I waited at times for the studio to become quieter in order for me to work more effectively by having the space to be able to look and reflect on my work. By reflecting on my work it allowed me to see that the positioning wasn’t doing my piece justice.

I then explored with moving the plinths and creating smaller & and bigger spacing in between. After trying out different compositions I decided to place the plinths closer together like the giants causeway were each hexagon column is next to each other. I then decided with working on the left section and building it up. I put all the felt pieces in colour order I wanted to show the contrast between the colours starting from brown and blending to green. As I started building up areas of felt I took photos and stepped away from the piece to see what was working effectively. I used masking tape to attach the felt to begin with this allowed me to easy manipulate the piece and change the placement of the individual pieces. I then added the weave to the plinth and by adding wire it allowed me to easily change the shape of the piece allowing it to look more natural. I placed felt pieces over parts of the weave in order for the separate textile pieces to work in harmony together. I think this worked really effectively as the two do work together due to the carefully selected colours and shape I chose when making the pieces.

The felt pieces that I had made that where 3D I stuffed with bubble wrap and carded wool so that they hold their shape more. I then added yarns to this when I was happy with their positioning and made it look as though they were spilling out. By using brightly coloured yarns in some of the 3D pieces it allows the viewers eye to be attracted to different areas of the piece.

I then using filament wire hung my muslin piece above the tallest plinth and manipulated into looking as if it was coming out of the piece.

Once I was happy with the full piece I added felt beads to areas as decoration but also to look at though they where growing out of sections. Some of the larger felt beads I stitched to felt pieces to lee them in place. Others I used velcro in order to keep the beads in place but also make it discrete to give a high finish for the exhibition.

After much manipulation and experimentation with composition I am really happy with the final outcome. Seeing it in the exhibition space gives the piece the space it needs to be understood and looked at. If there was more time I still feel that the piece has a lot of potential to be explored in different environments , I feel although my project is coming to an end it still has potential and over summer I plan to try out the ideas I have.

Final Touches to Final Piece

Embellishing Muslin

Using muslin as part of my final piece , I decided to buy a meter of muslin from college for £2 it’s fine fabric and therefore perfect for embellishing. I decided in my final piece when designing the set up that it would look more interesting to have a hanging element to give the viewer the idea of my felt / weave piece starting from the floor and growing upwards. This would add height and create another dimension to the piece.

With the muslin being a fine fabric it allowed me to distress the material quite easily so I burnt some of the fabric and ripped it in places as well. I did this because then it could become a growth in its own right I didn’t want it to just look like a meter of fabric hung above my piece. To the piece I embellished carded wool of the colours used in my piece again with areas of brighter colour. I then attached felt beads which I made to the piece. This is so it connects with my final piece visually. But also because the felt beads add a 3D texture to the fabric making it look like there is areas of growing form coming out of it. Although the images are shown on a mannequin this piece will be hung above my plinths , this was to show development of the piece and how it could potentially be used. The mannequin also allows you to see how and where the piece has been embellished.

To hang the muslin I used filament wire this is so the viewer will not be able to see this creating more drama to the piece.

Overall I am really happy with the way the muslin worked. I chose to buy the cream muslin over the white muslin as I felt it fit more with the colours within my piece.

Before hanging in my exhibition I thought that the piece could be used as a garment I explored this idea on the mannequin to experiment with this. I think it looked really effective my wrapping it and draping it around the mannequin it added layers. I used pins to create folds and rippled areas. I think this looked really effective. However I didn’t want to create a fashion outcome this could be something I come back to in the future. I still think there is still potential within some of the elements to my final piece.

Upscaling felt for final piece

For my final piece I am using felt as my main material which I have bought online from World of Wool. I have bought different amounts of the different colours my main colour is a cream for the base layer I have 800g of this colour I have bought a 100g of shades of greens , browns and greys. I have also bought yarns and Saari silk from etsy and ebay. All my receipts are in the back of my sketchbook.

I am making my own felt pieces that I will construct from mohair wool fiber and will assemble them over the plinths to make them appear as if they are growing. I have been mainly inspired to make this piece by my interest in the natural world and how the natural world grows all around us without us really noticing.

I have been inspired by Antony Gormley after reading the book LAND his figures each day are ever changing due to weathering, erosion, the sea etc. I am fascinated by the way our natural world attacks what we put out there. I am interested in moss and lichen and the ever changing woodlands and this is mainly what my piece will be about. I have sampled some small 3d felt pieces and some flat pieces they will be attached to larger pieces and I will build layers in order to create the look I am desiring. However, in order to complete this look I need to go bigger and work bigger. Felt when making it naturally shrinks it is a quite unpredictable material to work with and you can never guarantee  the size it will be after wet felting.

The process

Making felt is time consuming firstly you use hot soapy water this is so the felt fibres attach together it makes the bonds strong. You need bubble wrap a woven cloth and towel. I start by selecting the colours used for the chosen piece I have used a lot of materials to mould around such as bottles, cups bowls to create shape. I have been working on my felt pieces for 2 weeks. I start by laying the fibers down over the shape and then adding yarns and materials to add additional colour and texture. Then adding soapy water and then you start by rubbing the felt using the cloth once it begins to mould you then roll and apply harder pressure to the felt so it “felts up”. Each piece roughly takes between 15-20 minutes.

Adding to the process

I plan to manipulate the felt after using the embellishing machine to add fibers and yarns to the felt. Also I plan to gather some of the felt adding pleats and folds. At the beginning of the project I looked at Issy Miyake the designer uses pleates and folds and you can see the correlation in the garments and the natural world. By adding pleats and folds to some of my felt pieces it will add more texture a better surface quality and give the effect of underneath a mushroom / tree bark.

What problems have I faced?

When making the felt it can be really tiring as you have to use a lot of pressure and rubbing of the felt to make it work. Additionally, some of the pieces have not held in position of a 3d form this is because I did not felt it correctly by molding it round the shape at the beginning. To rectify this, I have added starch by making a starch solution with my technician using a powder and adding water by putting the felt piece back around the shape it was meant to be and wetting with the solution. The starch has made the felt solid so that it stays in shape and holds and looks really effective.

Fabric Manipulation for final piece

FELTING MANIPULATION

With some of my felt pieces being quite flat for my final piece. I thought I would need to experiment with them more by adding more texture. With some pieces I embellished them together embellishing in carded wool and yarns to add texture and colour to make the piece look more interesting and to add different surfaces. By doing this it has made the piece look more like a growth by adding in organic shapes and surfaces.  I have added “pockets” of bright colour to suggest areas of vivid colour found in nature amongst vast tertiary colours. These bright colours where found and I recorded them in my sketchbook as a series of photographs they are also recorded on my blog.

I also made some beads out of felt which I added yarns to. This is to use as almost decoration to add areas of still pieces to the larger felt pieces. These I will stitch to or lay on to areas of my final piece.

With some of the felt pieces I have moulded the felt around shapes to make them more three dimensional. This will add to the overall look of my final piece by adding height and different surfaces. I think this will help me to achieve the appearance of growth.

Using stitch I have manipulated some of the felts adding gathering and pleating to show more organic texture this emphasises the shapes and lines found under mushrooms. I was inspired to do this by designer Issues Miyake who I researched at the beginning of my project in the garments there are areas of fabric manipulation through folding and pleating to add a more natural look.  Some of the gathered flat pieces I have created I plan to lay above each other to create layers and the look of something  growing and evolving like when you see layers of mushrooms growing up the side of a tree. I used a cream thread so In the gathering the viewer won’t be able to see the thread.

Designing for screen

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Designing for screen I am unsure about these designs I don’t think they fit the purpose of what my samples have shown  me , my strengths have lied in this project within weave and felt making and I really like the textured effect felt making gives.

Although this print is a illustration of the growths I think it is more interesting replicating this concept with physical material such as felt / weave. I have explored 3d felting which is referenced in my visual notebook and earlier on my blog and I think it was more successful then a print outcome, as it allows me to manipulate an change the material more.

I have tried this print and explored my mushroom print for the garments in the festival of making and I feel it is more successful for that outcome. Whereas, for my final piece after trying and sampling different methods and materials to achieve something that is more textiles based I feel felt will achieve a better outcome, especially after looking at the work of Sue Hotkis.