Working in a Series IV

exploring composition

I am so happy to be back with another post about working in a series. It’s a subject that’s near and dear to me. To be clear, a series doesn’t have to be 30 pieces with the same subject matter; it can be 5, or 7 or 10 or more. It’s just working to develop an idea and seeing where it takes you.

Today we continue on the subject of developing an idea. Last time we talked about mind mapping and visual research. Today, we talk about sketching, material experimentation and collaboration. Read on…


Sketching allows you to quickly capture and explore ideas and concepts, as well as work through design challenges and experiment with different compositions.

Here are some tips for using sketching to develop ideas:

  1. Start with simple sketches to capture your initial ideas. You don’t need to be an expert draftsman to use sketching as a tool. Focus on capturing the basic shapes and forms that you want to explore.
  2. Experiment with different compositions and arrangements of elements. Try out different layouts, balance of colours, and shapes to see what works best for your intended message or theme.
  3. Develop your sketches and you refine your ideas into more detailed designs. Add in more details, consider patterns, and refine shapes to help bring your concept to life.
  4. Consider the colours and textures you plan to incorporate into your textile work. Experiment with different colour combinations, shading, and textural effects in your sketches to help you better visualize how these elements can be incorporated into your pieces.
  5. Your sketches can serve as a blueprint for your work. Use them as a reference when creating the final pieces to help guide your process and ensure that your final work stays true to your original vision.

I know what you are thinking – if you are anything like me: “This is not good … I have not learned how to draw yet”. Think about sketching as one approach to generating ideas, but it is not the only way. There are several other techniques you can use to develop ideas for a series even if you do not draw. Here are a few of my favourites:

  1. Collage: Collect images, textures, and colours that inspire you from magazines, books, and online sources. Cut or tear them out and arrange them in different compositions to create a collage. This can help you visualize how different elements work together and generate ideas for your textile works.
  2. Free Writing: Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and write down everything that comes to mind about your textile project. Don’t worry about grammar or structure, just let your ideas flow. This can help you uncover new insights and connections.
  3. Inspiration Boards: Create a physical or digital board of images, colors, and textures that inspire you. This can help you stay focused on your vision and generate ideas for your works.
  4. Mood Boards: Similar to inspiration boards, a mood board is a collection of images, colours, and textures that capture the mood or feeling you want to convey in your textile works. This can help you develop a consistent theme or aesthetic for your series.
  5. Idea books: gather photos, textures, images and colours from magazines and online sources and glue them to a sketchbook. This will serve as inspiration when working on your series. Make notes as you go along beside the images if something comes to mind that you could use later when creating work.

Remember, developing ideas is a process that requires exploration, experimentation, and iteration. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches and see what works best for you. And most importantly, have fun!

And we come to discussing material experimentation, a crucial part of working in a series of textile works.

Material experimentation:

Material experimentation involves exploring and testing different materials to see how they interact with each other and how they can be used to achieve your desired effects. Here are some ways to experiment with materials:

  1. Sampling: Create small samples of different materials and techniques to see how they work together. This can help you refine your ideas and identify the best combinations.
  2. Layering: Experiment with layering different materials to create texture, depth, and visual interest. Try combining fabrics, threads, yarns, and other materials to see how they work together.
  3. Dyeing and Printing: Explore different dyeing and printing techniques to add colour and pattern to your textiles. You can try natural dyeing, screen printing, block printing, monoprinting, stamping, and other techniques.
  4. Manipulation: Experiment with manipulating your materials to create different effects. This can include pleating, gathering, folding, weaving, etc.
  5. Embellishment: Explore different ways to embellish your textiles, such as adding beads, sequins, embroidery, or appliqué. This can add texture, sparkle, and dimension to your work.

Material experimentation is about being curious and playful with your materials. Try new things and see where experimentation takes you. You might discover unexpected combinations and techniques that inspire your work and take it in new directions.

And finally,


Consider working with other textile artists or creatives to develop your ideas. Collaborating can bring fresh perspectives and ideas to your work and help you develop your skills. Here are some ways in which you can do this:

  1. Workshops: Attend a workshop. This can be a great way to learn new techniques, share ideas, and build a community.
  2. Online Communities: Join an online community as a way to collaborate and connect with others. This can be a great way to share your work, learn from others, and find new opportunities for collaboration.

As you develop your ideas, it’s important to be open to new possibilities and embrace experimentation. By exploring a range of ideas and approaches, you can create a textile art series that is unique, dynamic, and engaging.

Next time, we’ll talk about creating a cohesive body of work. Join me then? In the meantime, thanks for reading and keep creating,


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