Experimenting with Surroundings

Through my observational drawings id pick up certain land marks, or certain scenes that to me are typically Cardiff,  i then translated these in to stitch with the use of my drawing and by what materials i had.

I find freehand stitch very relaxing and allows to reacted more instinctual instead of over thinking  it which makes me think about what lines are needed. I wanted to create a charismatic atmosphere by using a mixture of fabric, paper, and inks to inject colour but also highlight and trigger peoples imagination with its narrative quality.


I also used some reflective mirror card as i wanted to have an interactive element and to use light to help my piece. When i draw from life there are many thing i want to capture about the feeling and i think light is an important part of that  as i want to simulate the glare you get off of car windscreens and puddles on a bright day that make you see things slightly differently

I think it also brings intrigue as i like the idea of looking for yourself or seeing your self in a crowd of people, bringing out individuality but also demonstrating everyone’s equality. I may also experiment with reflective material and see which is preferred. I like the continuous quality of these pieces, but i may also try other techniques such as just stitch in a more simplified form to see what effect this gives, also working on quite a small palette i think will  help. Then i will see what is best suited with my other observations of peoples body language with in these spaces.



Contextual Research: Louise Gardiner

Through a helpful suggestion from one of the tutors i came across louise gardiner who specialises in embroidery art. Her pieces are both vibrant and extremely detailed using a mixture of technique that adds beautiful depth and texture.

She has created two quilts the first was a commission from LIBERTY in 2010  for a window display. The way she works is to create large bold imagery and uses fairly simple compositions but she indulges her pieces in immense detail, with varied colours of thread, inks and a mixture of applique materials.


In 2015 they commissioned a second quilt to symbolise 150 years of liberty. It was titled steering the light house of love and was inspired by Victorian maritime tattoo themes. which creates this mixture of traditional imagery but with her more contemporary techniques such as the bold metallic thread which adds texture and depth and helps the narrative quality of the quilt.

I really love the amount of techniques Gardiner uses and this just pushes me further to really be playful, and to keep working in to my pieces as like her use of mix mediums as it really adds extra dimensions to her pieces. I will take this on when further developing the environment in which i put my characters, allowing me to play with composition and create spaces that leads the imagination.


By experimenting with various techniques its allowed me to make and play and see what works best for me. i decided to continue without including the environment as it allows me more options when coming to the construction of the quilt as these are only a5 i will play with appliqueing these in to different environments not being to preciouse with them making room for any imperfections along the way. I think this technique appeals to me most as i wanted the colours to be bright and rich and by using inks gives me more choice to create them, even though i keep it limited.  The thread and the way i work is all continuous and i like the loose threads as i feel it give further movement and lets the piece breathe instead of being tightly curated. I want to promote the flaws as each character is different, unique but also imperfect and that’s what makes us human.

I now feel excited to go forward and create a piece that everyone can relate to and remind us of the little things that are important on a daily basis. I like the suspense leading up to the final piece when you don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like until it’s finished. But i plan to use a number of different techniques and use layering to build up depth and perspective.


I still plan to do some more experimentation with my character by using darkerker coloured fabric to maybe suggest the time of day.

Research: Quilting

Through a tutorial I started to question the options I have to create something from my illustrations and the fabric I’ve used. The idea of a quilt is something I found interesting as it has a long history as being a staple house hold item and is something where the functionality was of first importance but then later become a way to self express and gave the means to record what was happening at the time.


This patchwork is by Ann West in 1820, it shows a grate amount of detail and craft with each square showing a moment in time in the life of others, with larger pieces illustrating certain stories from the bible. This pieces is extremely intricate and beautiful giving me inspiration on how I may want the layout in my own piece as I want to create environment in which to put my characters so its interesting to see how others have done this. Although I may take a more contemporary approach as not to restrict my images and allow them to flow and merge, the context of valuing what’s in front of us has always been vital part in any craft. I want to carry on this tradition of creating a narrative through stitch and applying to an object that often gets overlooked but is also necessity for our mental and physical well being.




Combining Techniques


Looking back on the work i did in the first term i was finding it difficult to translate the affect i wanted in to stitch although i like the freedom of these pieces, i think this could be due to trying to analyse my work to soon instead of allowing it to grow organically. Although these experiences are necessary to help develop my drawings, as i think the excess of drawing has helped me to become very familiar with the human form allowing me to project this in my work while also highlighting those individual qualities as an illustrator.

I found an approach that combines both of my favourite techniques as i enjoy both but separately, each had there good and bad points as paper frustrates me with its lack of flexibility and options, in which the piece can be translated. But its great with my use of inks and colour and i enjoy the time i put into my ink drawings.

Where as stitch gives me a much broader range in which i can showcase my work and excites me with what i can create from the fabric. Although freehand stitching can be quite quick process which it good to an extent but i felt it needs more to become a more developed piece.

By using fabric inks it gives me a chance to combine both still creating images with vivid colours and exaggerating there movement with stitch. i love the unpredictable nature of both of theses mediums making each piece unique which i think helps me bring out individual traits of the people i draw and again celebrating our differences. but also by using this technique it give all the illustrations a connection and familiar style.



Contextual Research: Caroline McHugh

While looking through research material for professional development i came across a talk from Caroline McHugh called The Art of Being You. This spoke to me and my project as she talks about how we perceive ourselves and those around us, as with my project i want to celebrate individuality while also encapsulating community within Cardiff.

She also spoke about how children and the elderly are most likely to show you there true selves this interested me as children, have yet to understand society and it constraints where as the elderly have been on this journey and no longer see the use for adjusting there behaviour for the sake of others as they’ve come to realise impermanence of things within life which others put great importance.

where as the in between is a constant battle with our ego and balancing what makes you happy but with perception of others in mind. This draws relevance especially from today’s society as the perception of others is at its height with the popularity of social media which is a platform that is built around likes and how others see you.

Caroline also provides ideas that we should celebrate our uniqueness and our strength by not comparing to others but drawing upon each others strengths to help and uplift one another. These are the element that help influence and inform my project with wanting to promote reality in a sense that banishes judgement but allows you to be present with in daily life

“Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less”


Contribution: Final Reflection

The last few years of constellation has taught me to think about my whole subject matter differently, as it has opened up my mind to value of communication and perceptions. Its made me question the deeper meanings to my own work.

The first year really just opened up the links between art and that of critical writing. In the way of getting us to think about certain ides and concepts on a much deeper level and gathering the different context these could be viewed in, therefore giving us a wider view of our subject. my main focus in first year was around subcultures. i found this really interesting as its was about the communication we have between ourselves which is purely visual and is extension of our selves expression. my essay explored the movement of punks through images of designs from high couture who has been inspired by them. The punk movement was one of the most extreme fashion trends and was one of the first movements to really use there clothing as a direct communication of what they felt.

I related to that a lot as an illustrator as im always working to provide visual communication in my work to make an impact and give a clear message, punk did this consistently publicising there disgust with the establishment through their wardrobe on a daily basis. Another effect they had on my work was how they used object in a contradictory manner and giving them further meaning by ignoring there function such as using toilet chains as necklace and using safety pins for decoration. i have taken this into my work by working with different elements and combining them to create a more complex meaning, overall i think the way there visual motifs of the punks were so recognisable that just a symbolise of there clothing captures their strong spirit. This was important to me as it reminded me  in my practise something simple can communicate a much wider meaning.

my second years study group was based round theorist who explore existentialism this was quite a deep and intense topic but i found it interesting a a lot of my illustration communicate that of the human conditions, and getting to grips with ideas and concepts of how people live their lives. As its thought that theirs a construct for us to continually set goals for ourselves to achieve, only to then set another harder goal, theorist argue what satisfaction is gained from this, questioning the meaning of existence if the majority of life is a up hill struggle. Tackling pieces of text could be daunting with the depth of text but i think ideas were something that definitely influenced my work. especially when expanding in to the imbalance that happens when not participating in society, as this causes anxiety or displacement. This is some thing that is common in my work as i always work towards an emotional response so when applying these theorises to art works, shows how often the art work expresses the life view of the creator.

This essay i focused on Egon Shiele and weather his essence could be capture in the act of painting.  His portraits or life drawings were always full of emotion with his own unique style, he would often have a relationship of some kind with all of his sitters allowing him to transcend his own emotions through the paint. It also puts into play the way we are perceived by others and what we think of ourselves. His essences was especially present in his self portraiture as it as its his interpretation of him self he normally portrayed himself in awkward positions perhaps communicating a disconnection to the world around him. This intrigued me as i like to promote well being and being connected to the world around you. it also reminds me that my illustration aren’t always about serving a purpose but for helping me expand me self expression, so when given a subject matter research is vital to be able communicate my own personal view of the topic.

My final contribution in third year combined a lot of essential lessons i learnt over the last couple of years that has helped me expand me thinking. Although the task of writing a dissertation was frightening these study groups through the years gave me the tools to be able expand my writing of my own ideas. I especially found that using images in my writing gave me a clear starting point and gave me substance to work from this was something i learnt in first year and i employed this technique in my dissertation.  Having an image to refer to allowed me to further my argument and i think it also adds interest and context for your writing.

My dissertation explored cultural appropriation using images of garments that were linked to native american culture. i chose this topic as i feel its important to understand the intended meaning of a design or garment and how this can get diluted when entering the mainstream due to cultural appropriation. The natives interested me from a field project call home truths as colonisation displaced them from their homes, as i researched into the topic it was apparent the amount of manipulation  that occurred to this culture, which urged me to explore this field through the visual means of dress. The art work of the native Americans also inspire my practice as they have a high value of the crafts of good and how the process of the making adds to the story of the finished product. I like this idea as i feel it makes work much more personal and gives life to a piece, they often would leave pieces unfinished or with blemishes as anything to perfect was seen as static and lacked spirit. Ive been channelling this through my work concentrating on the motion of my drawings and also using freehand stitch, it refreshing to concentrate on the art of making instead of having a fixed outcome. overall constellation has made it easier to transcend both my practice and that of critical thinking. It helps expand my practice by giving me array of philosophies to work from and broadening my perspective.