Category Archives: Assignment 1

Introductory Assignment One






This is a bit messy but I found brainstorming and jotting down a “mind map” really helped me to stay focused on my theme. I kept this taped above my art table so I could keep referring to my thoughts especially if I was getting frustrated and starting to veer away from my theme.

‘Tropical Tourist’

I chose five items to portray my chosen theme of ‘Tropical Tourist’:-

1.Ethnic Scarf

2.Sea Shells

3.Lava Stone Buddha

4.Tropical Flower




I arranged the chosen items several times and took lots of photographs at different angles and in different lights. I first tried to photograph in bright sunlight to convey the heat of the day, however, I didn’t feel that this was quite right and the items appeared too washed out and lacked ambience. So I re photographed at night with the lantern lit in the foreground and I felt that this arrangement gave a perfect portrayal of a balmy tropical night with the items silhouetted against the candle light. Next I produced a mood board for a further more detailed look at the theme and each individual item.

Serene is the overall feel that I wanted for my theme. Within that calmness and tranquillity I found many textures which where actually contradictory to this, jagged edges of shells, rough stone of the Buddha and the ironwork of the lantern, are all quite harsh to the touch, however placed together along side the delicacy of the flower and fluid lines of the scarf the whole mood changed and serenity was found.





Everything bar the kitchen sink got used here, I just gathered together anything I could lay my hands on that I felt would, once covered in paint, be good to experiment with to make  marks onto paper. Cork, sponge, combs, toothbrush, bottle tops, cotton buds, salt sprinkled onto watercolour paint, ends of pencil rubbers. I used pastels in different shades of grey, watercolour paint, acrylic paint , graphite, black marker pens, white marker pens. For the paper I found 300gsm watercolour gave a good example of the feel of stone when drawn onto with pastels, and tracing paper was good for the quick sketch of the flower to portray delicacy. I used digital media a lot to look close up at items chosen for this theme and also to manipulate the size. I attempted a little go at repeat pattern, this was done freehand so not particularly good or accurate but did give me an idea of how my flower would look if put into repeat design for an Hawaiian shirt.




1 Ethnic Scarf Quick no detail sketch with graphite pencil 3b, plain white 80gsm paper


2 Ethnic Scarf Repeat pattern, white acrylic paint onto black 220gsm paper. Design created using rubber pencil end and small circular bottle top.


3 Ethnic Scarf Detailed sketch with graphite pencil 2b, acrylic paint paper 235gsm


4 Ethnic Scarf Detailed line drawing of scarf edge with black line pen, plain white 135gsm sketch paper.


5 Sea Shell Jagged line sketch, graphite pencil 3b, acrylic paint paper 235gsm


6 Sea Shells Fine line permanent marker pen, tracing paper 63gsm


7 Sea Shells White line detail, white marker pen, black paper 220gsm


8 Buddha Head Stone texture, soft pastels in four shades of grey, water colour paper 300gsm


9 Tropical Flower Detailed water colour. Water colour paint Payne’s Grey and ivory black. Water colour paper 300gsm


10 Tropical Flower Quick line drawing, thick and thin line permanent marker pen. Tracing paper 63gsm


11 Tropical Flower Quick line larger than paper drawing using large and thin line permanent marker pen onto colour washed in three shades of grey using Payne’s grey water colour paint. hand made recycled cotton rag paper.


12 Tropical Flower Digital repeat pattern. Manipulation and placement using photoshop. colour photograph changed to Black and white to give impression of Hawaiian shirt.


13 Lantern Barely there section of lantern. Three shades of pastels, black 220gsm paper.


14 Lantern Quick line sketch, white marker pen, black 220gsm paper.



My first idea in response to the brief was one of excitement to be finally starting the ‘textile journey’. I chose Tropical tourist as my theme because it was a stifling hot day and it was my birthday and I had just received a huge Lava stone Buddha as a present. I began to think about the times that I had travelled as a tourist to Thailand and other tropical destinations and I began to wonder what it would have been like to have travelled in a time when Facebook did not exist and people relied on airmail letters and cards to receive news of far off destinations.

My first impression of the project was that it would be a good starting point to ease me into observing objects, materials and textiles and also to find my creativity on a level which I have not explored for many years.

For the techniques I explores I used various papers, watercolours, acrylics, tracing paper, kitchen paper and basic sketch paper and depending on the medium I used on these grounds I achieved different textures and appearances. For example I used pastels on 300gsm watercolour paper and this gave an excellent appearance of stone when drawing my Buddha head.I also manipulated images using digital media using ‘photoshop’ to change size and position and also for experimenting with placement. I changed colour photos into black and white to see better definition of an image before I observed its qualities and detail. For mark making I experimented by using different tools to achieve surface patterns, such as painting with cones, sponge, cork and I even made a potato stamp for printing a ‘repeat’ design which gave an excellent ethnic appearance when observing my scarf.

The strong points of my work are my ability to pay attention to detail and texture, something which has formed an integral part of my own design practice over the years. My weaker aspect of my work is patience as I am not used to having the luxury of time as I have always had to rush through the creative process to meet commercial deadlines. I need to spend more time on my sketchbooks in order to develop my personal creative voice.

New skills that I have gained are sketching and mark making for presentation as normally in the past I had only kept rough sketch books for my own reference. Future work i would like to develop based on this project is my drawing and mark making skills looking further into the detail of form and texture that can be then further developed into other media such as block printing and screen printing onto different surface materials overlaid with free form embroidery.


My demonstration of technical and visual skills at this stage I am happy with, not because I think that they are perfect but because I feel that I have done my best at this time and I look forward to seeing the improvement I will make during this course unit by continuing to experiment and practice techniques following tutor feedback and personal progression.

Quality of outcome is something I feel that i really need to work on. I intend to study the work of other artists in order to learn how to present my work in a more coherent manor and also to improve my communication of ideas. I need to research a great deal in order to improve my application of knowledge in textiles.

My demonstration of creativity I feel is just at the beginning and I am yet to find my personal voice within ‘A Textile Vocabulary’. I wanted to experiment further on each piece but had to remind myself that this is just the beginning and not to be too over critical at this stage because as a designer I always feel that I could do better.

My reflection research and critical thinking on this assignment was not good. initially i put down on paper too many ideas even prior to my brainstorming. I began to panic over the research element of this assignment thinking that I would be expected to write and speak in a certain deep analytical way whilst researching artists that I didn’t find inspiring. After speaking with my tutor I was able to calm down and stop panicking and concentrate on researching artists that inspire me to learn and develop my own practice.


Having taken time to look through the list of eight artists listed in the brief Katie Sollohub was the artist I felt that I most engaged with. I really enjoyed Katie’s paintings of ‘stuff’ ‘places’ and ‘memories’. Her canvases conveying through colour and also shades of black and grey allowing the detail I felt to be all there but not overworked and the images leaving more than enough detail for the mind to search out its own memories. I feel I am going to research further into Katie’s work. I particularly like the flower paintings and sketches from her time at the Sussex Prairie Gardens. I see that she is holding a sketchbook course in the Algarve next June so I am hoping to book a place and in the meantime I will be starting my own visual diary of a ‘drawing a day’, a suggestion which I found totally inspiring and something I feel will enable me to develop my own personal voice. Whether I will use the digital approach that Katie uses (Procreate Drawing App) on my Ipad, I am not sure because in the past I have produced so much design work digitally through my practice I think it is time for me to find my creative self with pen and paint in hand.

(Images above of Katie Sollohub’s work)

Sara Midda’s ‘South of France A Sketch Book’ also inspired me. Once again I am drawn into the personal journey of the artists visual diary. I have always kept images, printouts and ‘stuff’ I just like for colour texture and feel. Sara has inspired me in a similar way to Katie Sollohub to start putting my minds images down in mark making, sketching and collage.

(images above of work by Sara Midda South of France: A Sketchbook)

Looking at both the above artists has opened the way for me to research other artists and designers and take incredible inspiration from their work. It is not always the famous and well know artists out there that inspire me, it is about seeing something in a persons work that just speaks to me and make s me want to see more and learn more about how they work and create within their practice.