About elishagabriel

Writer and yarn worker.

OCA Assignment 3 learning log

On this assignment we headed in to fabric manipulation, exploring textile artists and creating tests and samples.

On researching manipulated materials, I began with artists named in the assignments folder. I liked Anne Kyyro Quinn and Mia Cullin. Their use of form was stable, with either blocks or simple combinations, of colour. Both artists named their patterns simply – tulips, button, chain, which made it easy to understand where the artist was coming from in their creations.

Then I researched paper design – layering, fan shapes in neutral colours. White gave rise to hues through shadows created by creases and slits.

In the world of fashion I came across Matilda Norberg  through the Royal College of Art. She uses strong blocks of colour, shaping and layering. I also added the V&A in Dundee to the file of examples, I liked its shapes.

I worked on making tests and samples and this is when frustration set in. Looking at the examples I liked and trying to copy them was proving difficult. Making paper stiff, curly, trying to manipulate calico to make it rigid, just didn’t seem to work and on reflection, stiffener and card would have been necessary to create ridges. I threw some tests away.

I learnt too that card had a grain and that I was probably working against it when making fans and curls. I fell out with using paper and card for the samples.

I stayed with calico and also chose tracing paper, the latter I found fascinating as a material to manipulate, including scrunching it. It was strong when scrunched but weak when I applied the scalpel to make strips. although I enjoyed working with the scalpel more than scissors.

It was difficult to know if I was doing the right thing for the assignment and I wasn’t sure, again, what stripes and spots refer to, so I don’t know if I have created the right kind of samples. But I made a set of 8 of each material – calico and tracing paper. I included the folder of researched examples and some tests.

I enjoyed cutting and slashing , creating ridges and layers. I decided to get the sewing machine out primarily because I couldn’t figure out how to get layers of triangles to be together without glue, so I ran the machine over them, which was fun!

Some of the experimenting felt like snowflake cutting. I noted how the card stuck to itself when fanned and snipped. I became more aware of the materials I was working with and how they resisted or accepted what I was trying to do with them.

I definitely preferred tracing paper and making slashes and creases in it. It proved to be a very pleasing material to work with and I thought it would work well with light. This image is an example I found on pinterest.

For fastening I used a sewing machine, hand stitch, masking tape and pins.

Once I made the decision to not worry about achieving the impossible with what I had, I went with the flow of the materials and created simple cuts, folds and layers. I learnt a lot about manipulation during this assignment. But I need to know what stripes and spots mean!



Chain by Mia Cullin

Tulips Anne Kyyro Quinn

The Birthday Chocolatier

I hoped to treat myself to a hot chocolate, but time slipped by whilst caught up in a morning meeting. On the way home I called in to a chocolatier. Sitting on the corner of a beautiful Victorian sandstone building with large arch windows, it seemed opulent through the glass. I assumed its speciality was Belgian or such like. I avoided it for months.

Then I stepped inside.

I was wrong!
I was in Turkish nirvana!
The assistant explained to me. Everything was from Turkey.
I pointed at her djezma on a shelf, which had a base like an electric kettle. And all the little coffee cups, prava kafa in sachets.
Yes, there was Delight too and special sumptuous dates.
I told her it was my birthday and I was treating myself.
She asked what I did.
I said I wrote sometimes.
She told me her life story.

A young woman with four sons, who had survived abuse as a child, from her father, her mother’s partner, care homes, her partner. She’d been through the mill she said, but she was as okay as she could be. She became Muslim and it helped her to find stability and security.

I told her I once worked at Women’s Aid and she said that the organisation was her lifeline, helping her flee and resettle.
I wanted to hug her, but she was on the other side of the counter. So I put my hand out to her and she took it.
You’re okay now, I said. I am, she replied.
She gave me a birthday treat and I bought a beautiful wooden egg with small praline eggs  inside.
Poignant really, am also reading Chocolat by Joanne Harris again.
I’ll go back for gifts.
Time came for the bus home.

Don’t walk past the chocolatier, there’s more than cocoa inside.

March already!

And what a month it’s turning out to be.

Working on the next textiles assignment, more on that on up-coming blog.

New involvement with a gang of local troubadours.

Developing own textiles project in the locale.

Things aren’t easy right now, there’s much on my mind.

But there is also a spark of enthusiasm, going with the flow, trusting in the universe.

I learned about people who worked on stilts this week – shepherds in the region of Landes, France, hop pickers in the South West of England, Ghillies in the Highlands of Scotland.

Yes, we humans have our dark side which we must acknowledge, but we are also inventive creatures and we can embrace the world with love, care and positive creativity,  if we so wish.

The rain comes  down, the wind blows and blows. March reminds us there is still winter before true spring arrives. Good. More time for my tattie seedlings!