Assignment Four A Yarn Collection

Assignment Four requires me to address the presentation of my work from Projects 1 and 2 as a collection.  Whilst it is an opportunity to be creative and imaginative I also have to make sure it can travel successfully from Australia to the UK.  I was thinking that I would keep my presentation simple with clean lines.  I note in the description of the Assignment that white or very pale coloured backgrounds are the most effective and contemporary way to present colour and that good quality paper or lightweight card can also make a big difference.

I also note that considering the ordering of the exploratory samples and my evaluation of them and my evaluation of them through my method of presenting are important factors. I should also include copies of the imagery or paper work used to develop my yarns.  This is a major component of showing my ability to translate colour, composition, proportion, and qualities of Part Four.

I need to label the work and order it clearly.

I have thought about various ways to present my work within the constraints of overseas journeys and simplicity.  I have decided to try attaching to sketchbook paper, although I did consider thick tracing paper, and placing for extra protection within  a Clear Display Book with clearly marked labelling.  I had thought about colouring the sketchbook paper but I decided that will not show off the yarn compositions in the best light.

My work will now be posted with Australia Post to my Tutor.

Assign 4 Part 4 Review against Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skill (40%)

I think I have used a range of experimental materials in my approach to the yarn formation and that my colour approach has been good.  I have only touched the surface of knotted/macrame and found much to my surprise this really interesting and loads of potential for further textile work.  Drawing out examples of the type of yarn formation I could undertake certainly assisted me a lot. I can do more drawing though.

Quality of Outcomes – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%)

I think that my outcomes with the actually yarn compositions is satisfactory and a reasonable quality.  However, I can improve more on my written communication of my work. I am now working on my reflective thinking to assist in the development of my creative work.  I should reach the stage where I can use this approach in reviewing the work of others.

Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (20%)

I have used a varied range of techniques and materials and that this has stretched me and encouraged me to be more experimental.  I like my sea glass piece and my bark best because they incorporate the natural world.

Context – reflection, research, critical thinking (20%)

I have found that this Part has encouraged me to reflect more and reading Stella Cottrell’s book “Critical Thinking Skills” is giving me a framework to work through.

Part 4 Yarn and Linear Exploration Written Reflection

Undertaking Part 4 started off with me really questioning how I was going to design all the yarns and ended with me excited about the yarns I had created and the potential of these yarns.

I found that drawing examples of the types of yarns I could make in my sketchbook was really useful for freeing up my thinking for the exercises.

I felt along the way that a big light had come on and I could understand conceptually and in actual making how better to approach the work.  I became more open, freer, more experimental in my approach.  I wrote about this in my blog post “Development – Reflection”. My interest in repurposing materials and looking at the natural world for ideas seemed to flow in my work.

I love colour and that assisted me I think in my approach.  I could find a colour I wanted (something like a painter) and then particular texture (type of thread, wire etc) I was trying to create.  In the process I have used different materials like sea glass, bark, plastic foam, plastic sheeting, wire etc and felt good trying these materials.

I think my biggest challenge is managing and approaching my time given outside of study needs, and being able to complete my assignments much faster. In reflecting on this comment I think it is more than that I have begun to understand how better to engage in the tasks and reflect I hope more effectively.  I grappled with how to approach a series of exercises as opposed to other higher education study in the past where I had to do a major essay, research report.  I have had to retrain my approach. I have done this more recently by allocating blocks of time to my study rather than frequent small amounts of time and then distraction.  By focusing on larger blocks of time I can better assemble the materials and then think more creatively with the luxury of knowing I don’t have to finish in 30 minutes.

In addition, the approach I could take from now is to spend more time early on in a Project to elaborate  what I want to gain from critically reflection and the approach that will  best work for me in how to achieve that outcome.  I have identified one strategy and that is the clear allocation of blocks of time. Stella Cottrell (2011)provides a seven step framework for deciding further on an approach and I will work through these steps to assist me.

Reference:  Stella Cottrell, 2011, “Critical Thinking Skills, Palgrave Macmillan


Part Four Yarn and linear exploration Review Point: Demonstration of Creativity

Demonstration of creativity.  This criterion is defined in terms of ‘imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice’.

I feel that I am improving in the demonstration of my creativity. I am less rigid in my approach I think more now of my textile exercises in terms of a creative challenge to find materials I already have or have a different use for example.  To try to be inventive in my approach to try not to be influenced by other work I have seen or seen displayed in books or magazines. To strive to be original that does not mean I have achieved that but that is my aim now. To approach an exercise from the point of view that I can do this but what if I take the idea further how far can I stretch it.

The work of artists that I have been made aware of during the course (English painters I did not know before) and other famous painters whose work I have now examined in a more curious and thoughtful way is helping me to see or think more broadly.  Also traditional themes like Australian Aboriginal artists, Indonesian national artists, the Pacific artists and work by Indian artists now find their way into my book library.

Once I got going on Part 4 and did not constrain myself it was great.  As all my work is shown on my blog I think I could work on being more inventive with my photography. I also think my computer skills with WordPress need improvement and I keep delaying that so I can focus on my course.

I have been challenged by the difference of a textile degree level course and courses I have undertaken at at degree level or above in business and law.  I have had to come to terms with exercises and the ‘making’ I think I am getting better with that aspect.


Exercise 4.5 Collage-inspired Yarn

This exercise is aimed at finding ways to translate making techniques and approaches using collage work into yarn concepts with a focus on flat yarns.

I looked back at my work produced in Exercise 3.4 and selected some for inspiration. These were:

I let the colour and the materials on had on hand direct my approach to this exercise.

First I went to my wire which was orange and bent it around a round shaped bottle to achieve organic circles which I then threaded with silk hand dyed thread. This was influenced by my collage on the lefthand size with the orange and the blue overlay.


The next collage-inspired yarn was made using some florist ribbon and some dyed scrim.  This was attached using the sewing machine. Inspired again by my multi coloured collage.

img_8328The third piece was made up of neutral colours layered influenced by my collage in the bottom right hand corner above. There is hessian as the base with hand dyed blackish cotton fabric layered and cream tape placed on top.  Also secured by machine stitch.


img_8329Fourth I took a piece of my hand dyed orange primatex cotton and a piece of wrapping cord I made with turquoise scrap fabric very narrow and zigzagged this to the orange cotton by machine. The orange and blue combination like my collage piece.

img_8330The final piece I made was inspired by my blue collage in the top righthand corner above. I layered blue hand dyed tape followed by some of my hand dyed cotton fabric and finally a shiny ribbon type thread which I attached by using a large running stitch.


Overall, my focus was on a ‘ flat’ construction in the yarn designs.

Exercise 4.4 Deconstructing colour as yarn

This exercise aims to select and explore new and appropriate making and deconstructing techniques to translate lighter and more transparent qualities into my yarns.

I am going to revisit exercise 3.3. my semi-transparent still life colour stripes.  The exercise requires me to develop ideas from my strips and apply methods of deconstruction etc to capture the lightness, colour, energy of my stripes in a small series of yarn designs and yarn concepts.

For easy reference here is my exercise 3.3. stripes.  I think the colours are exaggerated and not pale enough for exercise I have done a new set of stripes.


The new painted exercise using the colours on the original exercise 3.3 on the right hand side above is shown below.

img_8310I collected some materials from around the house that reflected both the colour palettes and the qualities in my watercolour strips. I found this fun.

The first item I found was a packet of plastic shower caps which to me had the light and delicate colours of the watercolour strips.  I deconstructed the shower cap and cut it into strips.  I then knotted these and then I looked at the elastic part which had been cut off and decided to plait the two pieces together roughly.  The photo below shows the shower cap before I deconstructed it and the two yarn formations.


For more detail of the yarn pieces the photos below apply.  I like the way you get a transparency with the plastic on these pieces. First photo the knotted strips.


Second photo the elastic pieces around the shower cap.  The effect of these pieces is interesting because of the almost frill type edges.

img_8316Next I was looking for an open transparent effect and wove some orange wire using a rough lock stitch I had seen in Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn’s book “A Tale of Two Stitches”.

img_8317This has potential use for weaving or thread darning in a macro sense.

I carried on and looked at some hessian off cut I had and decided to deconstruct this by pulling out threads and fraying the edges.  I looked at the threads that had been removed and decided to do an elongated knotting.  I was trying to capture the openness and delicacy of the painted watercolour.  Did I succeed?  Well I like that I deconstructed the hessian but the delicateness of the watercolour is not really there.


To try to achieve the transparent and delicate effect I looked around and found some bubble wrap which I cut and using a cream (as in no colour) I did a large running stitch through the middle.  This has potential for threads being threaded crosswise as well as vertical.  I thought this achieved my attempt at delicacy.

img_8326Lastly I found some tape that had been wrapped around something that had come into our house it was painted with delicate wash of paint.

img_8323Next I tried to remove some of the painted colour with some very old colour remover and also decolourant (also very old at least five years) but I was only partially successful with the removal as you can see below.

img_8324Interesting how the same piece of tape can throw different shading on a black fabric as opposed to white paper!

Reflection – Development

I read Rebecca Fairley’s great article on “The Question of Development” this morning and I thought about the contents  in general and specifically.  I have undertaken several workshops with Nancy Crow a very important free form quilter from the USA who has worked in the area since the late 1970s.  Her work is displayed in Art Galleries and Museums in USA.  Nancy travelled to New Zealand where I was living until recent years for the workshops (Nancy loves New Zealand). She made us each do our designing directly on our own eight feet by eight feet design wall – auditioning fabrics, cutting out shapes, being aware of colour connections, lines and figure and ground.  Nancy sees “Art as a process of Discovery and not knowing ahead of time exactly what you are making”.

Reading Rebecca’s article and reflecting on my time with Nancy I can see more clearly the approach to development of my work.  How I should be approach the course – the wonder of discovery, playfulness, the energy this approach creates, the excitement. I need as Rebecca says the ‘space to think.’ I also need to get into the habit more of writing it down (as mentioned in a previous post in Part 3). I need to be mindful of  the point that the ‘form the development of your work takes will change from project to project.’


Exercise 4.3 Re-interpret, re-invent

This exercise looks challenging and is aimed to assist me in the employment of colour and mood translation in materials and yarn; re-invent and re-interpret an approach to building structures  and research and keep technical notes on my processes.

I will be developing a series of yarn designs and simple textile constructions in response to my colour work in Exercise 3.2.

In Exercise 3.2 my chosen image for my yarn wrap was a painting by Nicolas Poussin. The painting depicts a mother and father and seven young children.  I was attracted to the richness of the colours in the painting, particularly the beautiful blue and the dusty pinky colours.


First I looked in my thread box for inspiration.


I was mindful of the threads I had used in exercise 3.2 but thought I would experiment further with a thicker string thread and fine shiny threads (similar to some in exercise 3.2) for exercise 4.3.

So I looked at some of the colours in my exercise 3.2 and decided to plait using fine shiny threads. It is difficult to capture the work because it is fine I have used in the second photo a macro lens but this somehow distorted the colours!

The second piece I decided to go big and used a piece of large cotton string and covered it with embroidery thread in a organic way and then loosely plaited the three yarns. It is not even but paint on a surface is not always even distressed or weathered textiles is not always even I was looking for an interesting finish.


I was required as part of exercise 4.3 to research a means of working with yarns to create some simple textile or constructed forms.  I decided to look at macrame/knotting.  I researched some books on the subject (referenced below.  I  was interested in creating a constructed form that was interesting I did not want a ‘paint by numbers’ type approach.  I was trying to see how this would fit into innovative textile work in the future.

I started off using a fine width string and got hopelessly caught up in the knots!  I decided I had been too ambitious and so selected a much thicker piece of cotton string and took it more slowly whilst still trying to keep it interesting.  I thought if I wanted a precise piece of work it was more to me like doing a one day workshop and making a macrame pot hanging so I tried to be less precise.  This is my first piece.  It is based on an overhand knot and the shade is like that is my old Master’s painting.


My second piece is based on a flat knot using the shade of yellow in my Old Master’s image.  I could see this being used in textile pieces to add a three dimensional effect even like the suggestion of an insect. I used bamboo twine for this piece.


I have compiled the beginnings of a research file on knotting/macrame and will add articles that interest me.  I have found a fabulous online shop which happens to be in Queensland but has great Australian, UK and Japanese strings and threads.

I have also located a new magazine which is produced in Singapore which has all sorts of macrame and weaving type work.


From this exercise I tried to build on my experimental threads in Exercise 4.1 and 4.2 and to think of the yarns in some ways as texture and paint colour.  I think that I am developing.  In that I am attempting to unfold, grow the potential of yarns, to change the form or expression of the yarn  to unveil future treatments. I could spend enormous amounts of time working on just Part 4 of the Course.  I could really try to stretch it further but time is not on my side right now.  I think keeping the Research File has potential for me to dip back into this area to bring out further my ideas.

If I did Exercise 3.2 again I would try to find an Old Masters painting with less array of colours so I could focus more on just a few colours in my interpretations. I would also plan in advance and dye some of my string to give me more options for knotting work. I did not realise when I first read the Exercise 4.3 how many activities there were to be considered. I would like to explore some of the other ways of working with the yarns including braiding. I did not have a macrame board so found securing the top threads was difficult for the knotting/macrame work. I would also like to master the knotting  and use more unusual yarns like wire, natural vines and incorporate other items like shells and seaglass. I have investigated getting a small drill to enable me to thread or put wire through shells and seaglass. I find these items on different beaches on the Queensland and New South Wales east coast.


Rougerie C, “Amazing Macrame”, 2016, Search Press

Carey J, “200 Braids to twist, knot, loop, or weave”, 2007, Quartro Publishing

Book: Moments of Being


The Book “ Moments of Being” by Debbie Lyddon I purchased from Debbie’s website because I really like her textile work. In the book Debbie describes her relationship to Wells-next-the Sea on the North Norfolk coast and the context for the observations and memories that form the basis for her art practice.

The major part of the book shows photographs of 7 Sluice Creek Cloths made by Debbie and she has discussed the pierced cloth and the hole marks in the pieces. The holes are edged with thread bound iron wire and the pieces have been placed in the salt water to speed the change and the rusting from the iron rings. The work is beautiful rugged and to me raw.

There are a number of small works in the book including Salt Works; Liminal Objects and, my favourite, the Marshscape Collages. Debbie discusses how she records and documents the experience of her surroundings. She indicates that her sketchbook has “as many pages of writing as it has drawings”. The writings may be about the weather, the light, the sounds and the colours. She seldom makes work that comes directly from her recording but it increases her awareness of what she sees and experiences in the world around her.

I very much love this little book and living on the other side of the world I have not been able to see her art work but this book gives me insights into her approaches and photographs of her work.

Exercise 4.2 Experimental yarns and concepts (Exercise 4.2.3)

Exercise 4.2.3 Texture and tonal qualities

In this exercise I am going to look at neutral colour explorations from Exercise 3.1 to create two or three tonal yarn explorations based on the tonal colour palette I have chosen taking account of colour, proportion of colour and a sense of its translation from my original source.

I choose my neutral fabric colour piece from Exercise 3.1 using the gouache paints and I collected a range of materials to assist in translating the tonal qualities in the fabric. I made two tonal yarns exploring the tonal colour palette in my 3.1 exercise.  I decided to use conventional threads and string for these two tonal yarns.


The first yarn I made out of threads and it was made by wrapping over a wool string.  I found that the copper/gold colour in the textile piece was hard to match from my thread collection.  I had a shiny copper and a glittering gold but these did not match the tone of the fabric threads so I opted for a more matt thread which had copper gold.



For the second tonal yarn I wanted to use something different so chose sari silk and tape. The sari silk was more of a mid tone but seemed to work alright next was a cream tape with a slight fine gold thread and last I needed a deeper tone so I dyed the sari silk in strong coffee.  I mounted these strips on a piece of recycled cardboard.



I studied the piece and decided to draw some more designs that might be consistent with the fabric presented and the colour.  The page is shown below.



In terms of texture I produced two yarns. The fabric piece has predominately gold and cream colours and I thought that the gold could be represented in a harder way in contrast the delicateness of the fabric.  So I used gold eyelets in a piece of tape as the yarn in the first textural yarn.




The fabric has many holey pieces in the design and to represent this but in once again a more robust way I used cotton sash cord 7mm and practiced my knotting by using overhand knots to form soft loops in the second textural yarn.




It made me realise  doing Exercise 4.2 that there is just so much possibility in yarn making and its use in textile pieces particularly contemporary and experimental.