A2; The Selection Process (1)

I produced two A3 sketchbooks for Part 2, one for Joining and one for Wrapping. The first thing that struck me, when I reviewed them to select what to send to my tutor, was how long ago and remote the Joining Exercises feel. I have taken just over three months to complete this Part of the course, which I find disappointing because I thought I was going to be able to speed up a bit!

This time, I think I have put a great deal of effort into my sketchbooks and in recording my making through drawings. I feel that the books tell the story, this submission revolves around them, rather than the making. This was important because many of the later exercises required wrapping and unwrapping, destroying each previous sample before moving onto the next.

The question of what to select to send is difficult, a lot of things I meticulously worked on, no longer hold any interest for me. Most samples are documented in the books and many no longer exist. Maybe a better way to consider the problem is to decide where to direct my tutor?

Which pieces hold most potential?


On reflection, I went way to deep into this exercise, the time I spent ‘fiddling’ here would have been much more beneficial later on.

P1: EX.1 #1 (DRAWING). Looking at Louise Bourgeois helped me to inject a sense of urgency and aggression into my drawings. Had a I not done this research, I think my drawings would have been much more diagrammatic. I found this approach to recording stitch juxtaposed perception of stitching as a serene hobby nicely. This drawing felt important because it seemed to symbolise the freedom and fluidity I was looking for in my work.

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P1: EX.1 #2 (SAMPLE). I very much enjoyed relating Joining to the work of Fashion Designers Viktor and Rolf. I have no aspiration to become part of the industry but love to relate to the colours, shapes and ideas seen on the catwalk. I never usually work with yellow because I find its value extremely dominant. Here I found it enlivened the earthy oranges and browns produced something fresh and fun. I like this piece because it builds on the Victorian Crazy Quilt idea from Part 1; it also encouraged me to take quilting in a different direction using mixed media.


P1: EX.1 #3 (SAMPLE). This reversible sample built on the idea of #2: a fabric constructed of smaller pieces. It was inspired by the quote “the fight between demolition and development” used in relation to Karen Margolis¹. Having researched Margolis and Elisa D’Arrigo, I chopped up some Gelli Plate prints and began reassembling with stitch. I don’t think the construction is great- rather flat and too precise but I do find the colouration of both the saturated and muted sides rather appealing.


P1: EX.1 #4 (SAMPLE). This sad, rather crumpled sample came about as I drew the previous sample. I switched between drawing space and negative space, chasing the idea of maps and arterial roadways, linking Bourgeois ‘L’Infini’ to Susan Stockwell’s laser cut vinyl ‘River of Blood’. Again I feel the sample is too flat: If only there were a way to join the layers of tissue into a more three dimensional scaffolding type structure…..


¹ patternprintjournal.com


P1: EX.2 #5 (SAMPLE). Previously (ATV PT5), I worked on using machine stitch without any ground, inspired by Meredith Woolnough. Here I explored bridging the gap between two pieces of felt. I really liked the difference between the barbed, floating stitches and the delicate embedded ones, this was a reversal of what I expected.


P1: EX.2 #6 (SAMPLE). ‘The Scumption’, a purposeless curiosity that evolved from my agonising over how flat my work tends to be. Satisfyingly strange, the ‘Scumption’ caused me to wonder about classification and labels in Art and Design. As much as it intrigued me, I couldn’t replicate it…. leading me to think about where ‘art’ comes from and the role of the unconscious mind in the creation of solutions.




I had several samples that I could have submitted for this exercise, however, most no longer hold any appeal. I think I had very specific ideas about what I wanted to produce but they were all very similar to what Karen Margolis had already done -only better.

P1: EX.3 #7 (SAMPLES IN SKETCHBOOK). This selection really only represents an idea that I had. In Sample #5, I explained my interest in stitch without ground. These little samples push this idea by suspending the embroidery within circles and concentric circles. I considered ways of layering the thread designs in a book format. If I am honest I think at this point I felt a bit resentful of the course and not having enough time to devote to personal projects. Although this feeling passed, I still feel the strength of the idea on returning to it. I take this as an indication that I need to return to this at some point in the future.



Having just got over my little tantrum about wanting more time to develop an idea but having to press on with my coursework, I was extremely shocked and surprised to have the same thing happen again.

P1: EX.4 #8 (SAMPLE). Often samples leave me feeling rather ambivalent but this one fills me with hope and excitement. (It looks better in real life than in the photo!) I thoroughly enjoyed the creative process that informed it, which began with me following up a recommendation from my tutor to look at the work of Ptolemy Mann. I was able to draw on colour research and my meticulously neat making technique to create a piece of fabric that I am keen to develop further.


P1: EX.4 #9 (COVER OF SKETCHBOOK 1). Unfortunately, being me, I managed to turn my positivity about Sample #8, into a worry that I can’t ‘do’ mixed media, that the sample is too simple, that it only uses one type of material etc. etc. I forced myself to recreate my initial painting of the sample in a manner I felt more appropriate to the term Mixed Media. I include the cover as one of the pieces for attention, as it marked a turning point in my attitude toward my capabilities. I sort of feel that it was unnecessary to devote so much time to this piece but I felt I really needed to work on combining materials (gouache, wax crayon, rubbing and tissue paper) in a way that made sense to me.



This was always likely to be a tough exercise for someone who likes to work flat! I investigated several possibilities but kept finding myself running into dead ends. The two samples I selected are very simple and not especially what I would determine as good examples of Mixed Media. I think perhaps once more they represent an idea rather than a solution.

P1: EX.5 #10 (SAMPLE). As mentioned above, a very simple solution to forming a join in a curved edge, as each circle meets the edge of the next an angle is formed. This sample develops my interest in concentric circles (also seen in Sample #7). As simple as it is, I have found this Sample extremely engaging. It has been pinned up in my work area since I made it and its perpetual motion will be sorely missed. In my sketchbook I related this constant motion to Sonia Delaunay’s paintings, although the quiet green I have used is much more restful and calming than her dizzying simultaneous combinations.



P1: EX.5 #11 (SAMPLE). Another version of the concentric circle idea, made in colours that appeal to me. Having tried and failed to adopt Delaunay’s vibrant colour combinations in my drawing of the sample in my sketchbook, I reverted to what felt natural to me.




One thought on “A2; The Selection Process (1)”

  1. Nicola – I think part one is the most demanding part of MMT (many exercises to do – and if one is through…. then it takes time.) I guess you may well be able to speed up later. 🙂


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