ATV Part 4 – Yarn and linear exploration

Research point 1

I have started Part 4 by asking myself  “What is yarn?”

  1. Yarn is a spun thread used for knitting, weaving or sewing
  2. Yarn is a long or rambling story, especially one that is implausible

“Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres suitable for the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and ropemaking”>wiki>yarn

Yarn is made from natural or synthetic fibres or a mix of these.  Natural fibres include the following – cotton, wool, linen, bamboo, silk and hemp.  Less common are nettle, corn and soy.

Synthetic fibres – nylon, polyester and acrylic are produced from fossil fuels and are extruded in continuous lengths which undergo further processes to produce the final product.  Synthetic fibres come in 3 basic forms –

staple – cut fibres

tow – a rope of many continuous filaments side by side

filament – one or more continuous strands

Viscose is a semi synthetic fibre made by chemically treating cellulose from plants such as bamboo, soy and sugar cane.  Rayon is produced from cellulose from wood pulp and is also a semi synthetic fibre.

Spun Yarn

Made by twisting stable fibres together either with a single staple fibre or a mix of different types (eg. wool and acrylic) which produces plies.  These plies are then twisted together to form the yarn.  There are two different types of twist – s-twist or z-twist, which can affect the final properties of the yarn.

Filament Yarn

This is made by long continuous fibres twisted together or grouped together.  Silk is a naturally occurring filament.

Commercial yarns come in a variety of thicknesses, fibre mixes and weights.  There are lots of amazing yarns available in a vast variety of colours, I have selected a few of my own as a very small example.>wiki>yarn

Examples of yarns in my collection


Yarns can be a single colour or plies of different colours.  There are space dyed yarns, flecked yarns and fancy yarns.  They all have different properties depending on the end outcome required, some of the properties are softness, durability, strength, flexibility, drape and thermal properties.  Yarns are used in hundreds of applications from household textiles to safety products, fire hose and firefighters’ protective clothing, seatbelts and airbags in vehicles.  There are fabrics that contain fibre optics that light up, they are flexible, water resistant and can be washed.  Our textiles, the yarns and fibres that make them, whether handmade or produced by commercial manufacturers are a huge part of our everyday lives which we take for granted.

Suggested websites to research for fibres, yarns and trade shows

The Woolmark Company is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation which promotes Australian Merino wool through education,  conducts research and development is a global authority on wool from animal to end product.  The Woolmark logo is recognised world wide and guarantees the fibre content and quality of wool in the finished product.

The current innovations for wool are the development of wool fabrics and yarns mixed with technical fibres to produce active clothing.  The use of wool fibres mixed with manmade fibres offers a range of benefits from odour control, comfort and shape retention to temperature regulation and moisture management.  Other innovations in this area are the application of a UV absorbing finish which can be carried out at different stages of production depending on the final requirement.  Deliberate creasing or sculpture is another interesting development described on the Woolmark website.  Wool is also being used in traditional Denim to overcome some of the negative aspects of cotton Denim, for example, fading when washing, long drying time and creasing.  All these negative aspects can be helped by the development of a wool/cotton denim blend which is machine washable.

Launched in October 2010 with HRH The Prince of Wales as its patron, The Campaign for Wool aims to raise awareness of consumers to all the ecological benefits of wool.  The campaign also worked to encourage the collaboration between all the different parties working and using wool in design and production.  It has also positively affected the demand for wool worldwide and helped effect a threefold increase in raw wool paid to farmers.

On the website there are lots of areas of innovation, similar to Woolmark, they are working with UK designers and makers who use wool in their work.  The use of wool in active clothing also features but the emphasis is more on the ethical use of wool in consumer products.

Cotton Incorporated was set up in America in 1970 as a result of the decline over the previous 10 years of cotton being used in textiles and the increased competition from synthetic fibres which were being heavily promoted.  The move from cotton to synthetic textiles by consumers threatened the production of cotton to the point of possible extinction, cotton was only used in the production of jeans, t-shirts and towels.  By 1983 Cotton Incorporated had stopped the decline and after a long campaign promoting the natural qualities of cotton, and today cotton has 60% of the market share.  Today the issues of sustainability and ethics are as important as production and productivity.

Cotton Incorporated has a campaign called Blue Jeans Go Green™ which recycles denim collected from all over the US and recycles it into insulation made from 80% recycled denim of which a proportion is donated to community building projects.  Over 600 tonnes of denim has been recycled and kept out of landfill.

Invista is a global company that produces nylon polyester based products for clothing, household textiles and vehicle products.  These include carpets, synthetic duvets, vehicle upholstery, airbag fibre and sewing threads and cords.

Lurex® are the leading worldwide producers of metallic yarns and have been producing these yarns for over 70 years.  Lurex® is use in many textile applications, knitting, embroidery and clothing including lingerie and hosiery, it comes in a range of colours including the iconic gold and silver, and they can be mixed and combined with other yarns.  It is made by laminating the metal between two layers of synthetic film.

New yarns include enamel effect, iridescent, holographic, translucent, glow in the dark and fluorescent which keeps a yarn first made in 1946 really up to date with all the features that designers would be looking for today and I think they would appeal to all ages as fashion becomes more ageless than ever.

“Where new fashion trends and lifestyle start” is how the exhibition is described which runs from 24-26th January 2018 in Florence Italy and is ” the international reference of the knitting industry”.  Spinners,  yarn manufacturers, designers and buyers attend this fair which encompasses everything connected with knitwear and the new trends for 2018.   Areas for exploration are knitting printing, knitting machines, dyes and finishes and new fashion trends.

I didn’t know where to start when looking at this website, there is so much interesting information (even though I’m not into knitting) and I soon wandered off looking at the ‘feel the yarn’ students work and photos of their wonderful creations.

This is the website for the International Trade Fair for Home & Contract textiles which is  held in January 2018 at Frankfurt am Main, Germany.  It is the biggest and most important international trade fair for home and contract textiles and establishes the standard for the coming year.  Manufacturers, dealers and designers present their products and innovations to trade visitors.  Products range from wallpapers, indoor sun protection systems to flooring and pet textiles.  There are technical areas which include digital printing, textile design and new technology that is available for designers and producers.

Trends for 2108/19 are based around urban living and making the most of the space available to us as our living spaces are getting smaller. Furniture designed so that it is multifunctional and will work alongside space that can also be changed and adapted to different needs within our living/working spaces.  Also the inclusion of plants into living and working areas, helping to control air pollution providing a better and a healthier environment for all.

Re-made space is the concept of recycling waste to make useful products to enhance life.  As the world population increases so does the waste we produce, identifying what can be recycled and reused is becoming more important if we want to continue to survive on this planet.











Assessment criteria – Part 3

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills

In Part 3 I have had to learn how to use watercolour and gouache paints, they are very different from each other which took some time to understand.  I have researched how to mix paint effectively to produce specific colours and I have achieved this better than I originally expected.  I have effectively selected colours from all the different media required in the exercises and interpreted them into chips, stripes, wraps and collage. I have used different types of papers in the collages even reusing some of my mark-making papers from Part 1 which results in them being individual.

Quality of Outcome

I have worked though Part 3 methodically, using existing knowledge and researching areas that I had less of an understanding.  I have worked consistently on my blog and sketchbook to record my progress, thought processes and methodology which I find helpful.  I like to present my work in a neat, tidy manner and I have enjoyed the process of making a book to display my selected colour samples.

Demonstration of Creativity

I hope that I have demonstrated that I can be creative with my interpretation of the samples that I have made for Part 3.  I have really worked on mixing the correct colours using the paint mediums and experimented with a wide range of papers, some painted others sourced from magazines, recycled wrappers and packaging.  I can see that I have made significant progress thought Part 3 which culminates in my handmade tryptich style book.


I have carried out considerable research during Part 3 which was necessary to complete the exercises with some confidence, and I have learnt a great deal on that journey.  I particularly like researching other practicioners and artists and have made much more effort to visit local art exhibitions and textile art exhibitions.  I endeavour to record my thought processes and reflection thoughout the exercises which are recorded in my blog and also in my sketchbook.


Reflection – Part 3

I have gained and enormous amount from Part 3, not just overcoming my fear of mixing paints and producing the correct colours for my fabric samples (definitely my most eureka moment so far) but working with watercolour paints reflecting the colours in the glass arrangements.  I have enjoyed the research into other artists/designers work, some I knew, others I had no knowledge of.  I always find this rewarding as it is nice to now recognise a designers work and know something about what has influenced them and their designs.  I have also discovered albeit in a very simple way, the possibilities of computer programmes for colour exploration, digital manipulation and drawing which I look forward to using more fully in the future.   My previous worry about collage has largely gone and I have steadily got more confident with this process and I am looking forward to using a more mixed media approach in the future.  I genuinely hope that I have shown through my final assignment in Part 3 that I have the tools to continue to develop my own creative voice in textiles.



Assignment 3 – Colour communication

My initial thoughts were to use a tryptich style book mainly because I had used a religious image – Madonna & Child surrounded by Five Angels by Sandro Botticelli for one of the exercises and felt this would look good as the centre image along with the wraps completed for this exercise.  I want to include a selection of work from across the exercises along with some photographs and text to show my colour story.

The samples have to be from the two projects in this assignment:

Project 1 – Gouache studies and Old master painting and wraps of colour and proportion.

Project 2 – Watercolour stripes and collage exercises.

I spent some time playing with different ways of making a tryptich but realised early on that I would need to have quite a few pages for the work I wanted to include, the pages would have to be big enough to display the samples on and it has to be sent to my tutor by post.  I started by making a small mock up in paper because I didn’t want to make a mistake on the white card I had purchased and then started to construct the book.  This took me a couple of days to do along with another collage for the front of the book.  The collage is an abstract version of collage 3 – multi-coloured study (exercise 3.4 Part 2).

Below is a slide show of the pages in my finished book.

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All wrapped up and ready to go…..

All wrapped up and ready to post….phew!

Review of tutor feedback – ATV part 2

I am very pleased with the feedback from my tutor because working alone through the course I am never confident that I am reaching the desired level for the course.  Her feedback is always very detailed, clear and positive with constructive advice throughout. This is very encouraging and is the incentive to continue to progress and develop my work.  I had one area (exercise 2.4) that I did not explore fully and missed out areas of creativity that I had utilised in earlier exercises which I will be mindful of in the future. I will endeavour to be more intuitive within the exercises and push myself just a little more.  Other areas that I need to extend are my drawing and sketching which I find the most difficult because I lack confidence and worry about the validity of my efforts.  My tutor has picked up on this because it is an area that I already recognise requires me to dedicate quiet time in my hectic life to draw without any pressure and to not feel so hung up about the outcome.   My tutor has included suggestions for further reading/viewing which I welcome as there is such an amazing amount of information on the internet which sometimes seems overwhelming.

Exercise 3.4 Collage studies

For this exercise we were required to take a photograph of a ‘messy’ corner of a room or cupboard, not a problem in our little house with the amount of clutter I have!  I selected this area of our kitchen because it is not too personal and has everyday objects.  There is some colour, reflection and shapes.


Part 1

Simple colour combination

In these studies we are looking at colour and colour complexity and the colour story of the image we have selected.  The first collage is ‘simple’.  I have interpreted this to mean simple identifiable shapes cut out from papers that are similar colours to the ones in the photograph.  The papers I have used come from old magazines, catalogues and papers that I have in my stash.

Collage 1 – “Simple”


Unusual colour combination

What is an unusual colour combination?  We are surrounded by colour, our clothes, TV and magazines, in particular adverts use all sorts of colours to catch our attention.  We are so used to being bombarded with colour that I don’t think “unusual” is so unusual these days.

When I look at either my photograph or my first collage the two colours that really grab your attention are the bright yellow and cerise pink.  With this in mind I have mixed up my gouache paints to replicate these two colours and painted large sheets of white paper.  I have also mixed the yellow with a little of the cerise to make the dull yellow and the orange colours.  I did not want to replicate the first simple collage so I have tried to interpret the image as an abstract stripe design, moving across the centre of the photograph to identify the different intensities and proportions with the stripes.

Cropped and special effect added by using an app on my tablet



Collage 2 – “Unusual” colour combination

In this photograph I have not trimmed the strips of painted paper down yet as I like it so much as it is.

Complex colour scheme

For this collage I went back to my old magazines and have used pages that had the same or similar colours of the photograph.  I have tried to use a wide variety of tints and tones within each colour along with text and pattern.  I did not use scissors but just ripped small bits of the paper and stuck them down with PVA glue.  I have managed to produce a fair representation of the original photograph and I am happy with the outcome.

Collage 3 – “Complex” colour scheme


Part 2

I have selected collage 1 – simple as the collage to develop further as it shows the basic composition, shapes and colours of the original photograph and allows me some scope for the next exercises.

Monochromatic study – black and white

Monochromatic collage – black and white

I wondered what I was going to use all those sheets of paper that I had made during the mark making processes in previous exercises! I have used these and old envelopes, magazine pages, letters and computer generated text to build the image.  The text and pattern are used to convey the shapes of the objects and their relationship to each other.

Single colour study

Single colour study

For this collage I have painted some different papers in different shades of magenta.  I chose magenta because it is one of the colours in the original image.  I have constructed this collage by tearing the painted papers and sticking them down with PVA glue.  Where the paper has been torn there are white edges which I really like as it breaks up the larger areas of colour.

Multi-coloured study

Multi-coloured study

This time I have used coloured papers mostly sourced from magazines and some foil papers.  I have selected different tones of the colours to denote the different shapes in the ‘simple’ collage.  Again I have just torn the papers (not the foils though) as I like the unevenness of the edges and the random shapes.  I have been less specific with the shapes of the objects but they are still identifiable as the items in the original collage.

I have enjoyed this exercise, it started out quite daunting with me not knowing where to start to me finding a method that I enjoyed and will use again in the future.  I was really pleased that I could utilise some of the mark-making papers that I had made for earlier exercises that were languishing around my home as I won’t throw anything remotely useful away!  I did find completing six collages a bit of a challenge for many reasons and this is the one thing I find quite frustrating with this course. The watercolour exercise had the same effect on me.

Exercise 3.3 Watercolour studies

Working with watercolour paints and using the same mixing theory that I have used with gouache paints I have started to work towards mixing the colours that I can see in the first glass arrangement.

Watercolour mixing exercise


The first arrangement of glass items had a mix of green and blue glass jars, two with smooth surfaces and two with faceted surfaces.  I laid out my arrangement in different rooms in my home as the light is different in each of them and I have chosen to use my kitchen which has lots of light.   I have placed the glass items on white paper with a white paper background, and white paper on the left hand side which just shields the arrangement from kitchen items on the work surfaces.

Arrangement and stripe design 1


Arrangement and stripe design 2

Arrangements 1 and 2 were completed on the same day which has resulted in similar results, the weather outside was overcast and I have used the same glass items for both arrangements.

Arrangement and stripe design 3

Arrangement 3 was painted on a very sunny day and I wore a bright pink t-shirt which was reflected in the glass along with the bright light which reflected off the surrounding kitchen surfaces.  This time I have replaced one of the jam jars with a drinks glass which has a direct effect on the colours on the painted stripe.


Arrangement and stripe design 4

Arrangement 4 and 5 were painted on a bright but not so sunny day and I have used different glass items which have a blue hue.  My clothing colour had a direct influence on the colours in my painted stripe along with the other items in the room.

Arrangement and stripe design 5

I found this exercise interesting and enjoyable although I am not sure why we have to do so many of them!  They are quite time consuming and initially I struggled to know where to start and how translate the colours in the glass to the paper.  However once I made a start I felt better about my stripe designs although I’m not sure if I have over complicated them.  I keep telling myself that there is no wrong or right way, it’s my interpretation of the exercise!