Can you see a continuous thread of development from your original drawing and samples to the final designs?
I think there has been a continuous thread to my work based on a circle/sphere theme for the final piece. This theme has dominated my line of thinking since I took the minimal circle photographs in Assignment 3. Since then I have sketched examples of circle shaped objects and also been very much focused on spheres. While reviewing my other assignments I explored other themes and even when I was trying to get away from circles by drawing ferns and bead work from Ethiopia again the a spiral/circle shape appeared. In many ways I was working from many drawings to start with (see the A3, A4 & A5 sketch books). I made a number of actual samples: weaving over a paper lantern, sphere shape made of wooden embroidery hoops tied together with wool, plastic bags sphere with woven string, tennis ball with woven string and balls made out of recycled wallpaper. I wanted to do a piece on a large scale and I thought the samples I had done would be hard to scale up. I then got inspiration from a parachute, Africa circle hut and mirror tent to try and do a canopy sphere. I looked at plans of parachutes and then did a simplified version. I did a rough sketch of the plan and then I did a sketch painting. I finally did a plan of the piece on tracing paper where I calculated what size each triangle panel should be. I then made a scale sample in tracing paper. This small scale parachute was a matched the design of the final piece. The actual design of each panel of resulted from me experimenting with materials as I went along rather than working from drawings.
Do you feel you made the right decisions at each stage of the design process? If not what changes would you make?
I think I could have done drawings that were more detailed. I just wanted to design the sphere/circle shape and this dominated the design (I really enjoyed this part).
I think I could have made the piece bigger. Even though it is fairly big, i.e. has a 2 meter diameter, I think it could have been bigger to give more of a canopy feel.
I also would have liked to given the structure a more rigid shape to show the semi-sphere shape off, perhaps with wire. When the piece is not hung it becomes a circle. I think if I had had more time I would to woven a complete sphere.
Were you able to interpret your ideas well within the techniques and material you chose to work with?
I think the continuous triangle weaving technique that I chose worked well on the small scale and then varied in success on a larger depending on the materials I used. The rug weave worked well with the fake hair. In total I wove 12 panels and used 8 of the panels in the final piece. The first panel I did was very much a test piece as I was learning how to do the new technique. I found that thicker wool worked very well. The bamboo, wallpaper, grass and fake hair helped to strengthen the panels. I had wanted to use the plastic rope, parachute cord (too rigid) goat skin and wool fleece but these did not work. I also wanted to have the panels going from dark to light in terms of more light showing through some of the panels but these panels did not keep their shape very well. My initial design used more subdued colours then the final piece but I enjoyed the experimentation with the different colours.
How successful is your final design in term of being inventive within the medium and coherent as a whole?
I think I achieved what I set out to do: weave a large scale circular/canopy piece. I was pleased that all the panels fitted together and the wooden hoop in the centre and held the weight of the panels. It would have been good to have had a large space to hang the piece but in the end I had to just hang it in my garden. I think I was inventive in the technique that I used as I did not want to just weave a giant basket so I decided to use the triangular weaving method to make panels. This involved making triangle shaped looms. I think the 8 panels did come together to make a whole. I tried to have linking colours, textures and materials between the panels. I think to make the piece keep its semi-sphere shape I could of introduced a wire frame.
Please note all photographs of the process are recorded in my sketchbooks. I am unable to up load photographs to this blog.