For my final major project I decided to continue to focus within the pathway of surface pattern and textiles as it has allowed me to experiment across a wide range of processes such as embroidery, fabric manipulation and felting with the combined use of materials such as vanishing fabric and procion dyes. I chose to base my subject area on marine life due to the fact that there are some very interesting and unique textures and patterning on coral reefs and more so within other aspects of marine biology such as fish, turtles etc. Personally, I felt that choosing something with such a broad base would prevent me from limiting myself in any way. Referring back to my proposal and my workplan during this project has ensured that I have fulfilled the targets I set myself.


Despite the fact that I didn’t dive into this project with a strict set of intentions I knew that I wanted to push myself to experiment within the processes that this pathway has to offer as previously transgressing from an illustration background I have occasionally found myself limiting my work to two dimensional outcomes. I feel that throughout my final major project I have achieved this goal because a lot of the work I have created has been done with the use of embroidery and fabrics that I have layered in order to create a textured look. Furthermore, the artists that I have researched during this project such as Margaret Werthiem and Christine Werthiem have helped to give me new insights into just how much can be achieved through the use of these processes and this in turn has pushed me to create a final outcome that combines vibrant and colourful three dimensional aspects within surface pattern and textiles.


During my final major project I feel that there has been a slight change in direction with the way in which I have developed my final outcome due to the fact when I was presenting my pitch I discussed a lot about an industry based outcome given that I am soon to start an apprenticeship in a fabric printing company. However, I drove myself away from this initial idea and created a wall hanging that combined a range of processes in order to create a unique and built up textured piece. I feel that this change took place after viewing the installations that the artists I researched had produced. For example, Courtney Mattison, despite the fact she used clay for her three dimensional installations it gave me the idea to research into fabric manipulation techniques to see how I could create outcomes similar to her work.


I feel that there has been many strengths and weaknesses throughout the duration of my final major project. The weaknesses that I have encountered have helped me to learn new ways in which I could overcome and improve my work which has also led to my strengths. One of the problems I encountered was the fact that there isn’t any coral reefs on the shorelines of the UK to gather primary resource photography therefore I have had to visit sea life centres and fish mongers in order to gather images. I felt that although these photographs were fantastic to base my work upon they didn’t do the real view of a coral reef justice. Therefore, I used photographers such as David Doubilet to help inform me and refresh my memory on the previous snorkelling expeditions I have been on. Furthermore, I have found that my lack in knowledge on different fabrics and materials has sometimes impeded my practice as there has been occasions in which I have made the wrong choices and things haven’t gone to plan. However, all these decisions have helped me to learn and through experimentation and discussion with fellow students I have been able overcome these weaknesses. I do feel that I have improved with my knowledge on the use of sewing machines and embroidery work as I have done an extensive amount of this with my final outcome.


If I was to have more time I feel that I would have produced more fragmented pieces for the wall hanging so they could have been exhibited on a larger scale, perhaps with a variation of colour to create contrast. Furthermore, I would have like to have added some different additional pieces with the use of fabric manipulation techniques to create more built up texture.


Overall, I am very happy with my final outcome as I feel that considering I hadn’t had much time in surface pattern and textiles before I started my final major project I have successfully managed to combine embroidery, felting and fabric manipulation processes to create a bright and colourful wall hanging that is noticeable to viewers as an under the sea representation. Furthermore, I feel that this has been a fantastic opportunity to be creative before I go into my technical role as a colour separation artist.


Final Piece- Evaluation

Upon completion of my final piece wall hanging I am satisfied to say that I am overjoyed  with the outcome. Although there has been some dramatic changes that I chose to make during the making process I feel that these were all worthwhile and each has added a unique texture relatable to the many aspects of marine world.

I feel that working within surface pattern and textiles for this particular piece has aided my need to experiment and I feel that the fact I didn’t have a clear plan absolutely every detail prevented me from limiting myself. The small problems that I encountered have also been a learning curve for me as I had to think of ways to overcome these. Such as making changes to the embroidery threads on the vanishing fabric when I accidentally used the wrong materials.

Overall, I really like the way in which each fragmented piece both compliments and contrasts with one another with the felted pieces and the fabric manipulation techniques. I feel that a lot of the artists I have researched have given me new insights which influenced my experimentation on this. For example; Margaret Werthiem and Christine Werthiem use crochet to bring marine life into a three dimensional installation. This allowed me to conduct further research into fabric manipulation techniques and I created the smaller shell like growths on my wall hanging (shown below). Furthermore, I feel that the changes I made to the background colours using the picric dyes worked out really well as they have a more natural look to them now with the way in which they bleed into one another.



Final Piece- Adding The Beads

I purchased some small pearly beads to sew onto the wall hanging and I have considered the placement of these. I chose to put them in certain areas in which they will stand out but will also compliment various features. I found that they look effective in clusters around the felted pieces and trailing around. I chose to use a small size so that they didn’t over ride the piece due to the fact that at the stage now that could be very easily done with everything that is already on the hanging. I feel that this will be the final stage of my wall hanging now before it will be hung for exhibition.

Final Piece- Satin Stitch

I decided to create clusters of circles using the satin stitch setting on the machine in order to add some more texture to the pieces using embroidery. I decided to choose a dark coloured turquoise embroidery thread so that they would stand out and I also made the circles thick. Once I completed this I used scissors to create wholes inside of the stitches (shown below) I think this worked really well to as it contrasts with the pieces that ‘grow’ out of the piece.

Final Piece- Vanishing Fabric

Looking back on all the previous techniques and development within my sketchbook it gave me inspiration to include the the use of vanishing fabric on my wall hanging. I chose to do the exact same design I had done previously that was based upon my primary research of octopus suckers as this was a simple yet effective design that I knew would compliment the other features of the wallhanging well without ‘taking over’ it.

I carefully considered the colours of the threads I chose as I needed something that would be bold and stand out against the dyed up background, therefore, I chose an orange and a red. One problem I did encounter with this was that it was time consuming and after consulting with a technician they suggested putting my machine on a different setting in order to speed up the process. This proved to be very successful and as a result of this I was able to then complete these pieces within the time constraint. However, with one of the pieces I accidentally used the wrong type of fabric and when I went to wash it away I came to the realisation it wasn’t vanishing fabric. To overcome this problem I carefully tore the pieces of fabric away from the embroidery and used some red and orange procium dyes which matched up the colours to the other pieces I created.

When pinning these onto the wallhanging I chose to place them within the felted balls so they looked as if they were spilling out and taking over certain the piece much alike to how things in the natural world grow. I have also decided to have them coming off the wall hanging and they can be pinned to the wall so that the viewer can see the finer details of the piece.

Final Piece- Felting

Upon research on pinterest I had the idea to add some felt pieces to my work. Although I hadn’t experimented with felting earlier during this project I was familiar with it and I feel that this would give me an excellent opportunity to add a three dimensional aspect to my work.

To do this I used a technique which involved cutting three circular shapes from some stiff plastic and grouping them together one on top of the other to create a base to felt on. I added merino wool that was brightly coloured and reflective of the colours present in marine life. I overlapped it on one side of the circular bases and wet it down with warm soap water, I repeated this on the opposite side and then gently began felting until the the felt started to shrink causing the inner base to start wrinkling, after this process I made a small incision which allowed me to remove the base and then stuffed the felted sphere with bubble wrap so that I could continue felting it. Although the incision wasn’t initially going to be part of the design I really liked the hole it created as it looks very alike to shell forms on coral reefs. Due to the fact that these felted balls were quite time consuming to make I only created a few which in the end worked in my favour as they would have over taken the wall hanging if I was to have made more. I also made some smaller felted balls that required a lot less time so that I could get a range of different scales.

When it came to the placement of these particular pieces I rearranged them a number of times and in the end I came to the decision that they looked far better clustered together as you then get a real feel for a reflection of the natural aspects of a coral reef. Furthermore, the variety of coloured yarns and wools used on each felted piece brought out the contrasts between each one. I attached these to the wallhanging and one another with hand embroidery as it would have been too difficult to do with a machine.

Final Piece- Changing the Colours

After much consideration I decided to go against the idea of bringing  angelina fibres onto my final piece due to the fact I felt that the metallic aspect of this particular material would create to much of a distraction from the embroidery and therefore would override it. Therefore, I came across a few difficulties as I knew that the piece needed a lot more to it in order for it to have a built up texture and show the natural growth that takes hold of a coral reef, furthermore I also wanted to show the techniques I have learnt over the past year within surface pattern and textiles and on my piece.

To do so I pinned my piece up on a wall to view it in its final light and see what needed adding to it. There was a number of things that I have changed since doing this and one of which was the protium dyes.

As I explained on a previous blog post I felt that I had been too careful with the colours I had added within the embroidery as they were too subtle and didn’t stand out. Therefore, I decided to choose bold colours that were reflective of the embroidery threads I had used e.g. purples,pinks, reds. This certainly made the piece stand out more however I felt that these colours looked unnatural and after watching Blue Planet for research it became obvious to me that I needed to use more natural colours as when you view things through the aquariums and cameras the water and the lenses magnifies everything and creates slight alterations to the colours. I feel that this may have mislead me a little. So experimented with shades of blues and greens and used bleach to ease off some of the more bold and natural colours that I had previously added, I chose to cover the entire piece due to the fact that there is no ‘blank spaces’ under the ocean and these colours would bounce off the white walls profoundly when my piece is being exhibited. By soaking the wall- haning with water before adding these colours when I dropped the inks onto the fabric they bled into one another and created some really interesting natural textures. After this stage of adding the inks I felt that I had a more clear idea of where my piece was going and what the next stages of improvement would be.