Friday, 10 July 2009

Testing Time

This week I took part in Testing Time, an event for MA students to test their work through supportive, cross disciplinary critiques. Although as a first year part-time student I didn't have to take part, I thought it would be really useful to get some feedback from a different group of people about what I was doing.

I tool along a small selection of the range of different things I have been doing; cyanotypes on textile, digital print and embroidery, wrapped threads, pinhole camera, photos and busy book sketches. When I looked at it all I realised what a mad collection of different things I had done. I think I have gone off into lots of different directions so it was helpful to hear what other people thought.

The group were particularly interested in my busy book sketches and they felt these looked like quite resolved pieces. By comparison, they felt that the digital embroidery and print pieces were less resolved and not as interesting. The feeling was that translating something from a drawing created 'in the moment' to a laboured textile piece lost something in trying too hard to design it. This was a really interesting observation and I completely agree with their thoughts.

The crit made me realise that it is okay to make something quickly, or roughly and for it to be finished or resolved. It also opened my mind to realise that just because I am doing an MA in Textiles, doesn't mean I have to use textile in my work if it does not feel appropriate. Over all the feedback was to work in ways that I feel are right for the environment in which I am working,  in terms of scale, speed, media and colour. In fact it was suggested that using media that removes the choice of colour might be helpful for me (such as cyanotype).

We discussed the work of Richard Long because of the way he uses the landscape in his work, but also because he uses distinct areas of practice within his work; walking as sculpture, photography to record site specific works, gallery installations and artists multiples. Another interesting aspect of his work is his primitive and beautiful hands-on approach to materials. I am going to start thinking about primitive forms of making, in and with the landscape, such as wrapping, tying and winding. I am also going to continue using photography and cyanotypes but I am now going to focus all of my attention on the natural/rural environment.


  1. What a useful exercise. You must be so pleased you participated in the Crit, as it sounds like you have hacked back a bit of the undergrowth and you now have a clearer pathway!

  2. Yes a really useful experience. My head is much clearer about what I want to achieve - it's just doing it now!



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