Textiles 3 Sustaining My Practice-Assignment 1

Exercise 3 Materiality

Gillian Morris Student No. 511388

Morris (2021) Distressed Relating-Initial Watercolour Artwork adapted through Photoshop and Ink Jet Printing Experimental Processes

As noted, materiality is defined in different ways…the quality of being composed of matter, of the quality of the material and its relationship to function, purpose, role, and relevance. Several meanings litter the internet including 1: the quality or state of being material. 2: something that is material…however extended versions with meaning can be located and related with…

The quality or character of being material or composed of matter.

“the exhibition explores the materiality of the body”

As a textile practitioner I focus upon the materials I use and the meaning that they have for me, my creative practice, and the context in which I work. Throughout the completion of the Textiles 3: Personal Specialism creative process I was able to continue to reflect upon my specific direction centred upon my relationship with materials based upon environmentally sound creative practice and processes using print and weave. I continued to reuse materials which promoted environmental sustainability and reduced waste to continue to encapsulate related themes of fragility, disintegration, and fracturing, through material use, printing processes, and printing ink. The relationship between material, print, imprint, and resist was increasingly investigated on a larger scale to explore the related themes. That said I focused upon developing my creative voice, on capitalising upon what I had learned previously, to utilise my increased understanding of and my relationship with a range of materials, to use such knowledge of the materials qualities and properties in process to create very personal responses to environmental threat. 

Therefore, I have increasingly developed deeper relationships with the materials I work with, to be in relationship in process at a deeper level through an extended investigative process to be attuned with heightened degrees of personal engagement and reciprocation… as I relate and respond with the material that I am working with I am led by how the material relates and responds back. That said larger scale screen printing with weave has evoked such an emotional connection given the mental and physical engagement required, of fully enveloping self within the materials in use. Through this I seek to continually relate with the material’s properties and qualities in process, to intuitively reflect this throughout my creative making.

What materials do you employ in your work? How do you approach the use and the composition of the pieces you make? How do you make choices on the materials you employ?

I seek to use materials which I have a personal response to and with…which I can then utilise through print, weave, and stitch to communicate the related concepts including fragility. I reuse materials like cotton, linen, muslin, netting, voile, fishnet mesh and scrim including jute and gauze for print. I use paper, card, cardboard, MDF, Marine Plywood, etc to use what is environmentally sound to do so. For weaving and stitching, multiple threads, yarns, and fibres are capitalised upon from various sources to prevent waste including end of line stock, excess supplies, and charity shop stock. The history of the material is coveted so I focus upon acquiring end of rolls, seconds…used, reused, and reclaimed materials which can be repurposed through my own creative making processes.   The beauty of fragility has acted as an inspiration for my making, to further cement the fragility of the environment with the fragility of us all with the fragility of my imagery with the material fragility to convey the overall fragility of life, living and experiencing. While the imagery for such fragility was previously sought through aspects of natural surface qualities from threatened marine and coastal environments the concept of fragility aims to be extended and reframed around human relating and responding to increasingly use my own identity to explore related themes of relational space.  

The material itself has often been employed to help convey and represent key themes of fragility, of fracturing, splintering, and rupturing to re-enact environmental threat and through the making processes, to symbolise and emphasise such themes of broken and breaking down, of loss and change, of disappearance, fading and passing from sight through the material use, colour palette, printed imagery and use of imprints. The preferred monumental scale generated impact, to develop the narrative, storytelling through environmental breakdown, of using an exceptionally large canvas of sheer repurposed muslin to say what needed to be said visually. Working in this scale with these sheer materials and worn warp and weft suited the visual account of the connected events of environmental depletion and extinction.

What are the surface qualities of your work? What adjectives would you use to describe them? How do you explore and develop tactile, visual, and other sensory qualities within your work? Can you define what the material qualities of your work are in a few words?  How important are the raw materials you use, and why?

I am drawn to materials that I think can tell a story, that can be related with in a range of ways to evoke and provoke responses like vintage cloth. I am always thinking about materials and their qualities, how I can use materials and such qualities to communicate to others through my creative processes and what I need to say. I often focus upon the surface qualities of source material to generate the initial imagery, of the use of colour, texture, form, line, and scale which can centre upon the environment or a specific environment. I prefer to use surface qualities that hold and generate meaning for me and to work to communicate this meaning through my creative process. I continue to investigate ideas centred around fragility so look to expose such themes within my relationship with materials, to use multiple layering processes through hand printmaking, digital and ink jet printing, heat transfer and screen printing to create textural elements, related colour themes, visual qualities, and a felt sense while also promoting the natural properties of the material through construction and deconstruction. Weaving and stitch is used in conjunction with print to help exemplify the relational narrative to extend two-dimensional work to three dimensions to explore installation formats. Ideas of human relating with the environment and human to human encounters continue to hold an interest for me as a person with a love of nature and as a psychologist with a professional interest and concern for people in crisis. Core describing words for my work and within my work include fractured, splintered, breaking, and broken, cracked, ruptured, shattered, split, fragmented, separated, disintegrated, and torn. I am interested in human relating, of visceral reactions in the body and mind, of intuitive, deep bodily responses to a stimulus or experience, of the significance of identity within our stream of consciousness, of neurotransmitters carrying electrical impulses and chemical messages to and from our brain along neuropathways which determine emotional responses and behavioural reactions.

How do you define the relevance of your work? Who or what is your work relevant to? Is your work significant? In what way and to whom?

I have and continue to communicate visually related key themes of environmental sustainability alongside the promotion of reduced waste. I make known how I work and why I work in such ways, of how I source my materials and relate with all the materials I use within all my creative processes. I have increasingly realised meaning through the materials and making, of generating a sufficiently positive reciprocal relationship with materials as I recognised a sense of flow and momentum as I worked with repurposed, reused and found materials. Such relating with materials as previously evidenced evolved from the need for environmental survival which coincided with my respectful handling of the related and relevant materials being woven and printed onto. This analogy of respectful handling of the appropriately sourced materials supports the environment and showcases positive contemporary textile art practice which communicates key environmental themes of fragility, of the need for change, of the need for the respectful handling of the environment. Through my creative practice and my work with a range of materials I felt closer to the environment as it informed and defined what I did. Every decision made reflected favourably upon environmental sustainability and minimising waste, of only using what I need, of selecting reclaimed materials, of finding, repurposing, and reusing as part of my creative process, of knowing and understanding the provenance of any material used, of seeing value in age, wear and experiencing. The imagery used often stemmed from nature itself especially natural surface qualities of threatened coastal and marine life through human encroachment and overuse which was then used on materials that supported such environments.

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