Setting out on textiles journey: Foundations textiles
I like making things with fabric, that’s why I decided to take Foundations Textiles course at OCA. Before, however, my process was just following tutorials which led to specific outcomes. Now, through developing material samples in Part Three in the course, I have grown a very different sense. I did not know what the outcomes would be like. So I explored. Then something unknown to myself took its shape. It was myself who created it! It was surprising and exiting to find such a possibility in me. Here I share the conceptual development and physical exploration by introducing one of my samples.
Introduction of the sample
The aim of this part of the course was to explore material properties as sample ideas, taking inspiration from secondary imagery and with reference to contemporary practitioners. The sample I introduce here (Fig.1,2 and 3) is in a series of “fragile & transparent”.
Material and technique: It is made of thin, half transparent paper, which is a little sturdier than toilet paper. I marked numerous holes by burning spots with incense sticks. After making marks, I crushed it in my hand and then opened it.
Visual quality: The burned edge of each hole is slightly brownish, so as a whole it does not look pure white. It has tiny holes and wrinkles all over, which creates subtle contrast of light and shade on the surface.
Physical quality: It does not feel like paper but like soft fabric such as cotton gauze used and washed several times. It feels airy and light.
Scale: 16×20cm. The original material was 20×24 cm which shrank after being crushed.
Feeling: It reminds me of multiple things, something natural and shimmering, such as stars, splash and water surface. The process of mark making with incense stick was like meditating. I was in a flow, calmly concentrated, when I was making numerous tiny marks.
*All other samples can be found in my learning blog.
Conceptual development and physical exploration
There was cross over of artist research as well as materiality discovered in everyday objects, which allowed me to develop my own creative voice.
On one hand, I tried to develop samples in a theme of “stacked & layered”, inspired by works of a fashion designer Tomo Koizumi. Researching his works led to a crossover with everyday objects such as religious ornaments on the roadside (Fig.4). On the other hand, I happened to find a method to burn the material with incense sticks, when I was developing another theme “concertina-ed and ridged”. The marks with incense sticks reminded me of Sandra Cinto’s exhibition and workshop that I had visited. Eventually I decided to develop “fragile & transparent” samples based on the imagery of her works by making marks with incense sticks. Besides, using incense stick led me to a further experiment such as roasting fabric in a pan (Fig.5), which could develop into another project in the future. Furthermore, the perception of time experienced in the slow and calm process with incense sticks led me to join an online workshop led by Richard McVetis.
*More details of the process can be found in my learning blog.
Considering presentation showed me a new way to see my own work. While I was looking for good lighting to take photos, I found a great effect of direct sunlight. The sample overlapped with its own shadow projected on the background (Fig.2). Besides, it swung when there came subtle wind, as it was simply hung from metal bars, which were originally parts of a document file, so that viewers could take them off to feel the texture in their hands (Fig.3).
The small sample was in fact for me a great step. What I learned here was not a specific technique but the process to research, not only in media but also in daily life, and to experiment material manipulation, then to combine these to create something conceptual, visible and tangible. Besides, some findings in the process led me to unrestricted exploration out of the course guide. I feel I have set out on my textiles journey. I do not know where it leads, and that’s why I take it!