Yes, I've done these exercises before but as the course material suggested, I used this project as an opportunity to generate new ideas. After reading Gwen Hedley's book 'Drawn to Stitch' on holiday, there were a few things I really wanted to try, like tea bags, insides of envelopes and using pins to make holes in paper.
|Bleach dripped onto tea-bags, rubbed when wet to distress. Reminds me of brown and white cattle.|
Were you able to be inventive about the range of marks you made?
I think so. I struggled at bit when limited to pencil but once I could use a broader range of materials, I found it much easier.
|Tea bag stuck over painted envelope and rubbed when wet to peel back and reveal surface below.|
Did you explore a wide range of media?
Yes, including pencils, acrylics, lots of different papers, wax, ink, pastels, bleach, oil pastels, fabric paint, PVA, Pearl Ex pigment, water colours, salt and tea.
Are you pleased with what you have done? Will it help you to approach drawing more confidently?
Yes, I'm pleased. Though I have done the exercises in the past, I like what I have done now better. I don't mind if things go wrong and I've learned that if something doesn't initially work, I can come back to it later and work into it or use it as a background for something later. Some of my worst attempts ended up being my favourites. Being very out of practise in drawing, it took me a while to get the confidence to pull out a sketchbook in public. Doing it on holiday where no-one knows me anyway and finding quieter museums where I could sketch in relative peace was a good start.
|The background to this was originally supposed to be lichen. It was rubbish but recycled to become the perfect background for printing on for my melon. I was so pleased with how it turned out.|
Which exercise did you most enjoy? Why?
Stage 3, Exercise 2 - Making marks in relation to objects. It took me a while to get started on these. The items sat on the table for a few days before I got round to the mark making as I wasn't sure where to start. I enjoyed having the thinking time though and every time I came in the room, I'd look at them, pick them up and I really got to understand the construction and texture from being able to touch. I used Gwen Hedley's tip of using a magnifying glass and this was particularly useful with the butterfly wing. The wing magnified looked very different and showed up holes and ridges I hadn't noticed and gave me ideas for different techniques. I was pleased that although each butterfly drawing is different, each one expresses something of the texture.
|When I went looking round the garden for objects to draw, was so lucky to find this poor dead butterfly caught up in a web.|
I loved using magazine pages to collage. I like that it is already coloured and sometimes patterned in a way that is reminiscent of what you are drawing and how you can adjust the subtlety of the image by adding layers on top. I liked the effects I could get by scoring, folding or crumpling it and the way torn edges and distressed parts take up more colour when you work onto it. As it was thin, it was good for layering and it's really cheap and accessible.
|Torn edges and creases take up paint at different rate.|
What other forms of mark-making could you try?
There's a few things I'd like to try soon including printing with painted clingfilm, blow painting, experimenting with the watercolours and the new inks I've bought on wet and dry papers.
How will these exercises enrich your textile work in the future?
I've been starting to imagine comparable threads and fabrics so I can see what a helpful process it is to make marks. As working on paper is relatively quick, it's a good way to see what designs will work before spending many hours stitching. There's parts of my work that I particularly like and can see potential in for further design. I think this project has got me into a good habit of looking at things deeply.