Thursday, 6 August 2009


This is all very wordy, but if your interested this is the proposal I put into the Scottish Arts Council for the Creative Development Award. Once read it may help one understand the purpose of the PickOne.Blog, what I will be Blogging about and what I intend to do with the Award, from this moment on I promise this will get more visual! 
Read on ...
Since setting up my studio and textiles label PickOne in 1995 I have taken up a rigorous yearly cycle of events which have included international trade events and high profile national and international exhibitions, some of which have been self generated and some have been supported by the organisations such as the Scottish Arts Council and the British Crafts Council. Due to the cyclic nature of these events and the way in which the work is designed, produced and promoted, very little valid time is given over to the development of new work, which includes combinations of cloth structures, yarn development and suitable colour analysis. Any development currently carried out is of an incremental nature and not very satisfactory from an aesthetic, developmental or personal point of view.
Receiving help from the Creative Development Fund would allow me to buy time to invest in my creative growth as a designer maker.
I am keen to point out at this stage that a blog would be developed through out which would feed from my existing web site The blog would be linked into other social networks to encourage audience development, this would visually document and track the whole process, demonstrating the differing stages of the design process. Acting as an on line sketch book the blog would make visible a process which is largely unseen and this documentation would evidence my progress through out to primary stakeholders and audiences that may otherwise be overlooked in this process.
The project timetable can be broken down into three stages Research, Development and Production of new hand woven structures.
Approximately One month. This will include the recording of visuals both through mark making, drawing and the use of digital photography of the Scottish land and seascapes. An area already earmarked to give a variety of locations are the Shetland Islands. The visit to Shetland would also enable me to visit the Ann Sutton Foundation Shetland (ASFS). As well as a space for textile designers to work from the ASFS also houses a large personal collection of weave books amassed by Ann Sutton through out her life, this library along with a large yarn store is open to the public by appointment and will inform a large part of my initial research into new cloth/fabric structures.
Drawing and mark making is the basis of all good design processes and I consider this research vital to the success of the overall project, as this is one activity missing from my current practice, discovering and examining new sources will inform print manipulations and ultimately new directions in cloth structures.
Approximately Four months. Marks and drawings recorded from this journey will be reinterpreted through printmaking processes such as mono printing to develop fields of colour and texture, at this point mono printing has been deemed the most appropriate method of mark making due to the spontaneous nature in which marks and surfaces can be made, this will act as a foil to the often time consuming elements of weaving. Development through printing will be carried out for two months at the Edinburgh Printmakers, Union Street, Edinburgh. These “fields of colour and texture” will then be developed into wearable cloth with sampling carried out to develop new woven structures. During the sampling processes, which will happen over a two-month period, new yarn types will also be experimented with in conjunction with the cloth structures to alter the existing cloth handle of current fabrics being produced.
As part of this development strategy, it is anticipated to include external advice from existing experts in the field of textiles and woven cloth. At this stage I have identified Reiko Sudo of the Nuno Corporation, Tokyo, Japan and Ann Sutton of the ASFS as mentors. I believe that with their global expertise either would be able to advise my creative development within the structure of this project. It is anticipated that no physical visits would be required, as all communication would be carried through e-mail and the use of the established blog allowing potential mentors and other stakeholders to track and view the projects progress, giving the whole project transparency. With this feedback a response of further fabric development would be embarked upon before finished pieces would be completed.
Approximately One month. By this stage all developmental work and sampling will have been completed along with the mentoring sessions and this time would be used to produce the finished samples, a certain amount of designing on the loom would also be carried out at this juncture as this is a natural part of the design process within weaving.  
Anticipated outcome
This activity would primarily benefit my practice by buying time to research and develop a new far reaching range of woven structures that will out live the yearly cycle that I have fallen into, it will also add to my already strong signature look and this will be built on with the time that the creative development fund would offer me as a textile designer. This time will also allow me to reflect on my practice, as well as give me an opportunity to reflect with assurance on the current activity based on this journey.
The applied arts sector will benefit through the documentation and promotion of the whole process through open source media, as it will visually allow designer-makers, primary and secondary stakeholders to view the design process from inspiration, development to the completion of this project. This process will make the invisible visible and help to tell an individual story as well as what we as designer makers do in general. This story is important to get across using contemporary technologies to reinvigorate (my) existing audiences, attract new audiences and edify other secondary stakeholders.
My ambition as a weaver has always been to challenge the general preconceived ideas of what a wearable decorative fabric is and to a certain extent I have achieved that with my past pieces. However I wish to build upon this further by developing technically challenging work with renewed vigour through the development of drawing and mark making/printmaking generated through observations within the Scottish environment.
Since graduating in 1993 with a first class B (des) in Constructed Textiles I have participated in a number of high profile exhibitions, trade events and lecture programmes. These events while stimulating have become cyclic, with the development of new work problematic due in part to the timing of these events through out the year and how the work is designed and produced. Having time out to reflect will allow me to grow both creatively and as a businessman where I can examine how and where I promote myself as a designer maker.
In 2008 I completed a Masters of Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee where I examined how Scottish based designer makers can survive in a global market, through this research I explored the use of current technologies to promote Scottish based designer makers. This activity would put the outcomes from this research into practice allowing the transparencies of process for all stakeholders to see through contemporary technologies. 
This activity will visually aid my current practice through reflection, recording new sources with photography, drawing, mark making and printmaking, as well as the documentation of all processes through blogging and other open source medias.

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