All posts by kath

explorations in textiles, mark making, drawing and sketchbooks

Making marks in an expressive way – exercise 3

A Creative Approach — Project 1 Marking marks — Stage 2 — Exercise 3

This exercise involved repeating exercise 1 using a wider range of materials — paints, coloured pencils, crayons, sticks, brushes, sponges, etc.

I started this exercise again tonight (08/07) and am much happier with how the marks and explorations are turning out. when I began this class, I was “stuck” when doing the drawing and mark-making exercises and working in a journal. I watched the Example: Mark Making (No 1) video after reading the Keeping Sketchbooks article and related articles and then I started a couple of Sharon Boggon’s online classes – Artists Studio Journal: A Designers workhorse (began 22nd May) and Sumptuous Surface Embroidery (began 2 weeks later). I haven’t finished the embroidery class yet but have the notes to continue with later. both classes were really great – and a huge help for me in doing this class. we had to do similar exercises for the studio journal class as for this OCA class, but I found that the feedback from other students and Sharon and her assistant Tahlia was very helpful. it led me to doing some more of the explorations below. also, I signed up for an art class on and the introduction video exercises were helpful too.

I just discovered Winsor & Newton inks and an Hake bamboo stick – love this! Especially the last two on this page

These are using Winsor & Newton inks and pen nibs of different sizes. On the second page I wet the paper first in some of them and then made drops on the page and the inks spread out like little fractal splotches. I love this effect.



This one is using charcoal pencils – light, medium, dark and white:

Another using charcoal pencils:

These are using sketching crayons:

These three are using Brusho paint powders and water sprayed onto the paper. I love this effect also, though I prefer it when the paint is still wet and glossy. it loses some of the effect once the paper dries. I will look into a way of trying to preserve the “wet-look” of these. (these were made over the weekend 30/06)

These two are the Brusho paint powders, water and Aquawax as patterns in the background as a resist:

Brusho paint powders, water and Aquawax:
This one had a “puddle” of paint on the edge of the page which looked nice when it was wet. I don’t think it looks as nice once the ink has dried, so now I’m keeping this in mind so I can soak up the excess paint or move it across the page if there are any more puddles.

These are the older, first attempts – using coloured pens and paints
coloured pens and China ink pens:



Oil pastel crayons and water wash:

Indian ink and pens:

Watercolour pencils, water, pens:

This is using watercolour pencils & water & salt — but the watercolours dried so quickly that the salt didn’t draw up any of the paint:

This was using watercolour paint, applied more thickly. I don’t think the salt crystals were large enough so it didn’t really work either:

The third attempt was using salt with thicker watercolour:

This is thickly applied watercolour paints (tube) with glad wrap/plastic wrap scrunched on it whilst it’s drying. I’m not happy with how this one worked out either — there is a couple of nice marbling effects on it, but I thought it would create more of them. Next time I will try with acrylic paints.

I tried it again – watercolours and gladwrap:


themes – initial thoughts

I’ve been thinking about what to use for my theme/s – am not sure if they’ll fit yet, but here’s my initial ideas:

1. encryption/code/glitch – I’ve read about women who’ve (over the centuries) added codes to their fabric to send messages to others – encrypted messages in textiles. it fits in with my work too (encrypted digital tv signals/video/audio). and glitch maybe due to something Jack spoke about (how he likes glitch in video but I try to remove it/prevent it at work – so a balance between work & home) & another class I did & the music equipment/making anomolies that turn out to be something beautiful/special/unplanned – the glitches in the code, the mistakes. I’ve made some (very rough) video art using glitch over the years, so thought it might fit in

2. sound art/experimental music (maybe dance music culture, hip hop too) – not really sure how I’ll fit this in yet, but it’s another thing I write on, so trying to think of a way to fit it in – it might end up just being a separate project & I use the things in #1. maybe the music part of it – I think a lot of experimental music/sound art could be converted to embroidery – the lines & patterns & feel of the music into colours and lines.

3. geometric patterns – I’ve been reading a bit about the geometrics movement in the UK. would like to do more research / practice on this. and seeing the patterns in nature to find the natural geometrics – maybe some biomimicry of textiles?

just rough thoughts atm

update: 18/08/2013: I’ve been thinking more about what I could use for themes, and these come to mind also:

4. women and craft and activism – I think these are all related, though not always tied together, but often when there’s one, there’s the others.

5. wearable art and wearable technologies – these tie in to those above, but I’ve been wanting to explore some of these ideas too. I found some flexible solar panels which perhaps could be of use. I have an electronics background though am a bit rusty these days, so it might be time to brush up on these things.

Making marks in an expressive way – exercise 1

A Creative Approach — Project 1 Marking marks — Stage 2 — Exercise 1 — Making marks in an expressive way

Stage 2 – Exercise 1
Making marks based on the words: fast, slow, hard, sharp, soft, delicate, bumpy, smooth, sensuous, sad, happy using a variety of pencils

The first exercise we had to make marks using the theme words. I did this in my A3 book. For this exercise I used an HB pencil, charcoal, and a watercolour pencil

For the first page, I tried one square for each word:

Then I changed to using one A3 page per word for a few selected words.







I retried this exercise on 7th July after watching the introduction videos on “Introduction to Art” course on




sketchbook has started… finally

today I went over to Eva’s place and we ran through the Chapter One exercises – well, started them at least. so, finally my sketchbook has something in it. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by this part of the course – which is strange, since I signed up for the class and I was keen to start, but having to draw as part of the first exercise has been hard. it’s been over twenty years since I last drew – since grade 10 art class.

anyway, hopefully I’ve started to get through this now. I don’t think the sketches / mark-makings are very good, but I hope to look back one day and see some improvement in my work. in the meantime, I have this Ira Glass quote as my computer background, reminding me to just keep going and work through it – just do more work…

I have been to a few exhibitions and need to add these (backdated) to my blog also. hopefully this week


Joanna Fowles – Sydney textiles designer

this morning I read the articles that had arrived in my inbox and webpages overnight and discovered a talented Sydney based textiles designer called Joanna Fowles via this article in TDF (the design files). Joanna is originally from the UK, though has lived in Australia previously – when she did a year-long TAFE screenprinting course. she then returned to England where she studied textile design at Chelsea College of Art. I love her geometric designs – featuring many large and overlapping dots. she specializes in Shibori dyeing and printing, using the Shibori indigo as well as other colours to create her scarves and fabrics. I notice Fowles also has a design featured in the wonderful “Digital Textile Design” book by Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac, which “covers everything students and practitioners of textile design will need to learn about designing and printing digitally”.

I made a few nice discoveries from this article too – The School is a studio and education space in Rosebery, Sydney where Fowles runs some workshops. I’ve signed up for one of her classes to make a Shibori scarf. it’s a little expensive but from all reports is worth the money, so I’m looking forward to trying this at the end of April.

also, Fowles mentions a couple of stores in Surry Hills – I went to these today, as it’s been years since I went shopping in Surry Hills – though there’s a fabric store nearby that I’ve been meaning to visit for a while – and found a lovely handwoven beach / bath towel at Collector Store. I had a look in The Standard Store located on the other corner of the block but the garments, whilst lovely, were out of my price range. I particularly liked the colourful hand-knits from Erotokritos and if I’d had a spare $250+ and were a couple of sizes smaller I might have bought one. in the meantime, I joined their Facebook page so I can see if there’s other fabrics I like.

other discoveries include Kinfolk magazine – I tried the ipad versions of the first three issues – unfortunately subsequent issues aren’t available for the ipad. I might try find a printed copy of it, as those first three issues were great – it’s just the amount of time it takes to arrive from the USA that puts me off often. also, Patternity has some great patterned images, and Synaptic Stimuli is aptly named for the visual feast that it is.

Landlock exhibition @ Casula Powerhouse

Today I went to the “Landlock” exhibition at the Casula Powerhouse.

Landlock explores a parallel relationship between Afghanistan and Australia: one is geographically defined by surrounding land mass; the other, completely surrounded by sea. The exhibition aims to highlight that such differences have produced a shared dialogue about the political, social and physical environment occurring between the two regions.

Artists include: Khadim Ali, Rusdi Anwar, Sanaz Fotouhi, Andrew Garton, Nasim Nasr and Amin Palangi

photos I took at the exhibition


I loved the work with rust, and the patterns printed onto the cardboard boxes, with the stories of women encoded in these.

the Shaun Gladwell exhibition of his war paintings was held at the gallery concurrently – this was also interesting to see.

change of blog

I’ve moved my blog to a new url, and the original redirects here too. I thought the original name was too much of a mouthful and too restrictive. at this stage, I’m going to be experimenting with different textiles techniques, so the generic name seems more appropriate. I’ve moved the articles from the original site here.

hopefully in the next couple of days I’ll post about the books, exhibitions and class exercises I’ve been looking at. life has been busy at home and work so I’m a bit behind – hoping to catch up with writing it all up over then next two weeks

almost on track

I’m almost on track to start my OCA class exercises. my class notes and folder arrived last week via UPS. one thing I learned is that now you can collect UPS packages from the 7/eleven down the road – it’s the local 24 hour delivery drop point. I built this blog site, started reading the OCA Textiles facebook page and site forums, and bought some materials for the exercises for Assignment 1. on saturday morning, I cleared my desk and table & mind of clutter – now I can see the top again. I even rearranged my bookshelves and placed all (well, all I could find so far) the fibre art, yarn, knitting, weaving, embroidery books together, and added art books to the art books shelf.

also, I’m borrowing my boyfriend’s Mum’s spinning wheel, so I brought this home sunday night and I ordered some wool to practice spinning, so hopefully that should arrive this week. we’ve been to a few galleries in the past couple of weeks also, so I’ll write separate blog posts about them. I started collecting some plants to use as brushes in the mark making exercise – Agapanthus, Lomandra longifolia, native grasses, plus some pine tree leaves. Agapanthus is quite sappy when freshly picked – I wondered if that could make a silky, clear “paint” of sorts, though it’s probably dried up too much now.