Endings & Beginnings

Wrapped and burned Tulle, found bolts and washers, wire

Wrapped and burned Tulle, found bolts and washers, wire

After over a year spent working on the Foundations: Textiles course from OCA, I’ve realized that it isn’t taking me where I want to go. This is a mixed media art course, rather than a purely textiles course, with minimal teacher/tutor support. While this may be perfect for many students, personally I need a bit more guidance, a more hands-on, textile-based practice. I’m withdrawing from the course, though I plan to finish the last assignments independently, but without the time & expense of submission and the lengthy analytical posts. (What, you’re not sorry to be denied my artistic navel-gazing?!)


I’ve learned a great deal this past year, been introduced to amazing artists and found some wonderful resources that I will continue to use. Understanding the important role research and sketchbook work can play is probably the most valuable thing I’ll take away from this experience. However, weaving is the area I really want to focus on, and am looking forward to Rebecca Mezoff‘s Tapestry Weaving course, starting in September!

Burnt edges

Burnt edges

Sketchbook Work

This is my starting image, from our recent trip to Ireland:


Collage, image cut into strips

Collage, found papers

Collage, found papers


Collage, image cut into random shapes

Watercolor, painted and rolled on

Watercolor, painted and rolled on

I like the last one best, but the others give me more ideas to work from in the samples I’m working on for the Fabric Manipulation section of the course. Especially when they’re all viewed at once:

IMG_2916 Describing the relationship between the arches and the view, framing was the obvious choice, but also limiting, revealing/concealing, focusing, obstructing. One of the themes I’ve chosen for my samples is Stacked & Layered, and my material is tulle. How, or even if these images will inform those samples, I’m not yet sure!

Ex. 3.2, Preliminary Testing

Due to the tactile nature of the samples for this section of the course, I’m going to be sending my work to my tutor, including my learning log. The blog won’t have much detail for this section. Maybe I’ll have to bake more…

Preliminary samples ready for book

Preliminary samples ready for book

A few of my favorites-

These were inspired by Rubber Band Scatter, Reiko Sudo:

Rubber bands melted between (clockwise from top L): Poly lace, vinyl, netting, solid poly

Rubber bands melted between (clockwise from top L): Poly lace, vinyl, netting, solid poly

Vaguely reminds me of Jellyfish

Vaguely reminds me of Jellyfish

I'd like to try a long strand of something like this to use as weft.

I’d like to try a long strand of something like this to use as weft.

Playing with denim

Playing with denim


While researching images for this part of my course, I discovered so many interesting, talented textile artists. As weaving is my main textile-related interest, I found these three inspiring:

Machiko Agano, born in Kobe, Japan, started out in textiles as a weaver. She studied at Kyoto City University of Arts in Japan in the 1970’s, and is a professor at Kyoto Seiko University. Her large scale installations are designed specifically for the space in which they will be shown. Agano uses a broad selection of materials, ranging from fishing line and wire to fabric and bamboo to inkjet printing and mirrors. Agano’s work has been shown throughout Japan and the UK. In 2001, she participated in Transition & Influence‘s Textural Space project, with her well-reviewed installation at Fabrica, and again in 2003’s Through The Surface. The Fabrica piece, a large scale installation composed of nylon filament, silk thread and handmade Japanese paper, is a beautiful example of her work, with an organic, almost ethereal feel, and a strong sense of movement. This piece certainly achieves her goal of wanting the “viewer to feel enveloped by the mysteries of nature when they see my work.”

Jo McDonald is a Scottish tapestry weaver. Her work is visually almost the opposite of Agano’s, more solid and earthy. She uses old books and other found papers, layered and rolled, woven or held together with monofilament, to form installations that create a new purpose for theses items. McDonald considers herself the “editor in the recycling of this material.” With an MFA in Tapestry from the Edinburgh College of Art, McDonald’s work has been shown throughout Europe, as well as Australia and the United States.

Amie Adelman, an Associate Professor and Fibers Coordinator in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, has taken her weaving knowledge to create large-scale line installations. Her work makes me think of Spirograph, in 3D form. Though her work feels mathematically based, Adelman says she “didn’t set out to be a mathematician. I became more interested in math as my artwork developed.” [FiberArtNow, Winter 2014/15] The layering of the thread combined with her use of color create dazzling, energetic pieces. Even though only seen in pictures (unfortunately), the installations seem to glow and shimmer. Deflection, 2014 conveys the energy of the sun’s rays through the use of color in high contrasts and more subtle shifts, as well as the increasing/decreasing sett of the threads.

I hope someday I can view some (all!) of these works in person. It would be interesting to compare my impressions then with now.

Mia Cullin

Mia Cullin is a freelance designer and interior architect from Stockholm. On her website, she lists handicraft, folding and origami as inspirations, and that is beautifully reflected in her home designs. The Tyvek room dividers displayed in the 2007 Casa Cor exhibition are composed of hundreds of pieces that can be assembled in different ways, and have a playful, ’60’s feel. Loop, a loose interpretation of a curtain, is made from strips of wool felt, and evokes a similar style. Her room divider, Button Hexagonal, is another example of a multi-pieced, re-configurable textile with a practical application. Cullin is obviously inspired by geometric shapes, and expresses these in solid colors, frequently white, which adds to their bold, clean feel. In addition to textiles, her work includes furniture (such as these charming piano stool inspired benches), lighting fixtures and more, and can be found in a wide range of outlets.

Final Collage Exercise

Exercise 2.5

This exercise called for “a series of simple stripe or spot designs in repeat using the techniques you’ve discovered in Part Two.” These are all A5 size collages, in order of preference, beginning with my least favorite.


paper, white ink applied w/sponge


paper, ink applied with homemade stamp


paper, ink


newspaper, paper inked with homemade stamp, yarn


paper, ink applied with homemade stamp


paper, marker, ink applied with homemade stamp


paper, thread

Exercise 2.5 prep

The last collage assignment is Stripes and Spots, so I’ve been looking at images for inspiration:

IMG_2244 IMG_2245

The assignment says to “select some of your strongest collage drawings to develop your design ideas.”

These are the collages that I feel are strongest:

Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Part Two, Exercise 2.3


I also think this work I did for the Sketchbook Development Course could come into play:


You can see how these sketches developed from the photo of umbrellas in the crosswalk at the top of this post!

Now to get some input from my tutor before moving forward…

Christmas in the City


Christmas in the City

The last collage for Exercise 2.4, this idea came to me after a weekend of Christmas preparation. My husband and I had started with buying our tree, and carrying it home through the city with our son. The next morning, we went to the Farmer’s Market for wreaths, all very idyllic. On our way to lunch, we inadvertently drove through one of the worst sections of Baltimore, and the contrast between our Christmas and what I expected it might look like to the people in that neighborhood seemed striking.

The assignment asked for it to be an A2 size, but the design I had in mind didn’t lend itself to being folded for assessment, and I didn’t think the design gained anything from the larger size. I made the background from tea-stained pictures, contrasting that with the bright, primary colors of the wine bottle-as-snowglobe tree. It doesn’t have the impact I had hoped for. I wonder if it’s the lack of people. Perhaps a smaller ‘snowglobe,’ with a Victorian scene of Christmas morning, and people in the background scenes?

Bottled Up

Exercise 2.4

My tutor gave me the green light to move away from the tea theme, though I was told by someone else at OCA that it should still apply. So I decided to keep a theme, just not tea, as a compromise. Perhaps having a specific parameter to work within is important?

Anyway, I moved to using a wine bottle as my starting point. It’s certainly a shape I’m very familiar with! I’ve already posted some of my sketchbook work for this assignment.

I toyed with idea of the shape representing something else, which was fun:


Ultimately, I think what the bottle can contain is more interesting. I like the way the landscape feels when enclosed. The black framing the view makes it recede, and cements the feeling of distance as you move toward the top of the scene.


 One more piece to finish!