OCA Textiles 3: Sustaining My Practice- Response to Formative Tutor Feedback

Part 3- Assignment 3

Gillian Morris (2021) “I am starting to feel again” Mental Health Recovery- A Visual Account of Emotional Repair. 198cm x 282cm. Screen-Printed Vintage Linen Bedsheet using intuitive emotional relating with the materials. Various greys, black, sugarplum pink, and pomegranate printing inks used on vintage dyed grey linen which explored reduced emotional arousal with hand stitching for repair.

Given the earlier timing of my exhibition I fully appreciated the opportunity to discuss and reflect upon the following key points with my OCA Tutor Lizzy Levy via a Google meet up on 24th August 2021 for over one hour.

• Lizzy Levy helped to reassure me that I have fully embraced the exhibition opportunity and I am sufficiently prepared and ready to organise and put on the exhibition during October 2021.

• There was consideration of a pre-show and how best to capitalise upon a practice enriching moment including testing, playing and exploring installation techniques.

• Creative ideas were discussed with seeking feedback through visitor interaction and the compilation of business cards, postcards, photo books, Exhibition Statements, Artist Statements, etc all of which have contact details and access to increased information.

• Wasps Artist Studio Complex, Hanson Street, Dennistoun, Glasgow will be the central exhibition site so how best to utilise such a location was considered including the use of film, photography and sketching/drawing, to fully record and document the exhibition.

• There was open dialogue concerning being open to the work evolving in situ or on site.

• There will be increased availability of information about me, my creative process and textile work to the online and f2f audience.

• As previously noted contemporaneous recording of my thinking, decision-making and journey of installation and research on site, etc continues.

• Crucially optimising what can be gleaned from this whole creative and exhibition process remains an ongoing primary goal,  to build a wealth of experience and knowledge that I can take forward into developing this series of works beyond this exhibition into my practice & methodology.

LO1. Lizzy Levy, OCA Tutor noted that I have produced a body of work demonstrating a high level of visual, aesthetic, and technical understanding of the processes involved; LO3. Undertaken a major project in textiles that demonstrates a personal identity: Assignment 3: Exercise 1: Defining and Revealing Making; Hand Stitching Sampling Processes from Experimental Artwork- Recovery Print Series:

Lizzy Levy acknowledged that it was clearly evident that I was building more confidence and understanding regarding the nature of my practice and who I am and aspire to be as a practicing artist. As discussed, there was recognition that this is an on-going process, one that all artists continue to grapple with; the nature of being an artist is to create; always being curious, seeking new solutions as well as pushing personal boundaries so my continuing aim is to take my textile works to the next level which will only improve my creative practice. Lizzy Levy emphasised that I am successfully deepening my engagement and understanding of “why” I “work/practice or create in the way that I do given my methodology”. This has been a difficult process which was fully acknowledged with the underpinning valuable aspects of my process identifying how and why these methods are vital to my textile work as I have noted previously…

“Through a series experimentation with hand stitching I have started to forge a preferred way of relating and responding to/with dyed and screen-printed vintage linen bedsheets to best communicate a sense of mental health recovery and repair through hand sewing. I am increasingly integrating hand stitching to the surface of the dyed vintage linen which is not intended to embellish for its own sake for decorative purposes in isolation but rather to illustrate different types of experiencing and different emotional states of distress and repair, from splitting and rupturing to mending, strengthening and recovery, to consolidate and increase resilience through traditional sewing stitches.”

“With such experiencing drawn from the emotional engagement within therapy processes such a felt sense has been used to create and relate using hand screen printing and hand sewing and stitching processes. Indeed, through such research concerning sewing and the related sampling processes I was struck by the history and meaning of women’s work and art, of the actual then increasingly inferred connotations of domesticity and women’s work from within the home setting which often included their sewing. Through the years women’s contributions have been seen through the negative gender stereotyped lens of such domestic role and expectations, which could be seen as inferior, of less value and worth compared to paid employment and bread winner status. That said this often encapsulated a sense of women’s work as being less than especially hand sewing as it was small scale, hidden from view, and out of sight. In considering this I have been conscious of the need to be big, brave, bold and seen… to communicate what I need to be felt and heard. Of the need to communicate what is so often not spoken about… of mental health and distress, of the need for equal regard with physical health as there is no health without mental health, of being listened to using very large-scale work which cannot be ignored.”

Lizzy Levy reported many positives regarding this submission which I was delighted with including my emphasis upon naming and challenging stereotyped perspectives of domesticity and of women’s work, of the value of work undertaken by women within and out with the home setting, of my increased capacity to evidence what I want to say through my creative practice, to take more risks to be seen. Lizzy Levy liked the gravity given to the nature of investigative stitch being used to investigate differing states emotionally, of the repair, of the significance of such making with meaning and mending to the narrative.

Lizzy Levy highlighted my growing affinity within the concept of provenance, of the significance of sourcing sustainable materials and seeking materials that hold histories; embedded with traces of living. I noted the relevance of “personal provenance” and increasingly acknowledged unknown stories, embedded within these linens. As always, I noted the beauty of these cloths, how they have been cherished, mended, and cared for. Therefore, I plan to continue to develop this valuable relationship with materiality/provenance; to optimise my desire to leave no waste, being sensitive, intuitive; giving new life to material as I reveal traces and the weight of past histories and lives lived.

Unit Aims: Establish a personal visual language to your body of work. Reinforce your self-motivation, autonomy, and professionalism to take your work on to the next step. LO1. Produce a body of work demonstrating a high level of visual, aesthetic, and technical understanding of the processes involved & LO3. Select practical outcomes that set you apart from other practitioners, you may want to back this up with a learning log entry that discusses your personal aesthetic.

Lizzy Levy stated that the works I have evidenced via this submission are developing a fluid, professional translation as my role as a psychologist embeds an authentic voice within the works. Lizzy said that she feels this is an exciting period for me as my creative output gathers momentum naturally connecting my profession/ethics/passions within the work. I have now undertaken another twelve full days in the Wasps screen printing studio and such feedback has helped to fuel my most recent larger-scale work as I continue to make positive transitions towards fulfilling my future profession as a practicing artist. I have continued to utilise my learning from the sampling processes including the use of the same colour combinations, layering of motive and embellishment of stitch. I am increasingly successfully communicating the translation of crisis through to healing within my creative process on full-sized vintage linen bedsheets given the range of positive feedback received to date from other artists.

LO2. Demonstrate specific knowledge and specialist understanding of the professional and contextual location of your practice & LO4. Develop a personal promotional strategy, portfolio and/or other appropriate means of presenting your practice at a professional level.

Lizzy Levy noted that I was continuing to utilise research in a strongly meaningful manner. This methodology of embedding research whether primary, secondary or research via making is developing well and informing a deeper engagement with process and making. I am evidencing a very good understanding of the specialist, professional, context of my work. In identifying the specific niche where I envision my work has promoted added strength and courage in approaching WASPS and taking up the challenge of a short lead time.

Exercise 2 Promotional Strategy: The connection and relationship with WASPS has enriched my personal knowledge and understanding of transitioning into the professional arena. As noted by my OCA Tutor within this submission I have successfully identified the many ways in which I have begun to define my practice, secure a presence within my field as well as develop and nourish ambition, of continuing to be brave within the arenas I am aspiring to be part of. My online site documents include a social media presence, Weaveprint website, etc which encourage peer/professional feedback & dialogue, to continue to promote commissions via galleries & online presence, to make known my sustainable – ethical working practices, of seeking emotional resonance and engagement with the materials that I work with, to help create awareness of relevant narratives. I aim to continue to create unique and original pieces of textile art that have relevance & meaning.

Action points

➔ I continue to show the translation of crisis through to healing within my project of work and exhibition preparation for my show/installation within both f2f and the digital format. I continue to research the use of filming, recording movement, sound, and installation. I am extending my research processes to consider the graphic or digital platform, perhaps illustrating the differing stages or states of mind.

I continue to research including studying other artists who are inspirational which feed my own ambition, of leaving myself sufficiently open to all possibilities and opportunities! I have fully researched the recommended artists including Patricia Belli who is a visual artist from Nicaragua as I am interested in how she uses clothing to carry memories of the body and identity. As noted, this artist questions the connection between clothing, binary gender roles and identity. The distorted forms also draw attention to the inequality of domestic labour. Belli’s extreme manipulation of the original fabrics, and her use of corsets and stockings, relates to the ways in which women’s bodies are shaped and objectified.

➔ I continue to develop my relationship with materiality/provenance; to nourish my desire to leave no waste, being sensitive, intuitive; giving new life as I reveal and celebrate the traces/weight of past histories/lives lived.

I am increasingly promoting myself, as an artist seeking to demonstrate how practicing art can support healing, express states of the human psyche and perhaps most importantly my unique insight into that world – how my profession and textile art merge in quite remarkable ways.

 ➔ I continue to focus upon the way forward as a practising textile artist through the promotion of workshops, teaching, demonstrations via Craft Scotland, WASPS & Create Scotland.

Further Research including Exhibition title: Ser, sin serlo (To be without being one) Paris, Patricia Belli  (2019) Pernod Ricard Fellowship, Villa Vassilieff

Patricia Belli (2020) Vulnerada, Synthetic textiles 61 4/5 × 33 9/10 × 3 1/10 in 157 × 86 × 8 cm

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