Since originally posting this article, I have also been in contact with the RSN Office. I have arranged to meet up with them and discuss the points made in this post in more detail when I’m next back in the UK. The moral of the story – don’t suffer in silence, and speak up! The office is there is help you, so use them! They want you to get the most out of the course, and it’s up to us as students to make that happen.
RSN Silk Shading Assessment
I have said before that I felt with this piece more than others, that it would have been a good idea to complete it as an intensive. In the very least, I wouldn’t have spent so much time on it, and would have gained a similar result. Despite the ‘intensity’ of the ‘intensives’, I do think they have an advantage, and I do wonder if you actually get more out of the teaching and learning than what I did.
Despite the result, this is still my ‘favourite’ piece from my Certificate.
Here I scored ten out of twelve – not too bad!
The comments were that the silk was clean, however ‘alien fibres’ were present. They suggested using tape to remove them. I was a little confused on this, as I did do this and the tutors on the day (one of whom assessed it!), were happy with this. And on return of it I am still at a loss as to what they are alluding to here.
The other comment was based on the quality of the thread, and is something I do probably need to be more aware of. The comment was that the thread condition on the centre of the flower was good, however it was worn on the leaves.
So remember – use short lengths!
I scored full marks for this one. They liked the contrast of the black fabric and the bright pink flower, and my colour shades were well chosen. An interesting comment I thought was that a ‘sense of realism’ has been achieved! An interesting comment which doesn’t seem to be consistent with future comments!
Here is where it all goes a little pear shaped. For this I only scored twenty-six out of thirty-two.
With regards to stitch length – it is ‘generally good’, however towards the centre it was a little long. I found this point particularly perplexing, as I had been told in class that is where my stitch length was correct! So if this is another case of asking different people and getting different responses, I’m not sure!
My stitch direction was ‘correct within the design’, however on my turnovers, my stitches were ‘too straight’. Again, I’m disappointed this was never brought up in class, as it is something I would have corrected. So I guess more practice is required with turnovers, and getting the feel for what happens with the petal or leaf in this situation.
In terms of blending, the comment was that the rows blend well (yay! a constant struggle for me!), however towards the centre the white and pink colours are a little blocked. This does seem to be in opposition to a future comment made, so stay tuned for that one!
There were no over or underworked, ‘padded’ areas, and they made the comment that this was an achievement as black is quite difficult to work on.
The remaining comment here was that on the overlapping areas, at times the black fabric showed.
There seems to be two different thought schools on where to place the split stitch line over already worked areas. The perhaps ‘older’, and original instruction I was given, was that the split stitch needs to be next to the existing stitching. The perhaps ‘newer’ instruction, and one I adopted after Jessica commented and helped out, is that the split stitch should sit on top of the existing stitching. This is also the comment made in the assessment, so I’m going with that from now on!
For this I scored a total of fourteen out of sixteen. My problem here was that there were a few ‘nibbled edges’ on the flower petal. I know in one of the petals this is the case, and this was brought up in class. So I can’t complain about that! I did make the decision at the time to live it, which I now have to do! The reason for leaving it was that it would have required unpicking at least one petal and the split stitch line, to then move the edge slightly due to the damage in the silk.
I think my main problem with this in some areas was that I resisted working upside down on the flower until right at the end. A big mistake! Not only are you leaning over your work, but I also found it difficult to really know where that split stitch line was.
So, a few lessons learned here!
This is where I was most disappointed, as throughout the whole working of it I was told I was doing this well! For this I only scored seven out of twelve. It is also not in line with the ‘sense of realism’ comment made!
I apparently overused the paler pinks, and, where it is confusing with an earlier comment, shouldn’t be scared of jumping from light to dark without blending if that was what was in the photograph.
I was also, up till this piece, led to believe that showing development throughout a piece as being a good thing. However, given the comment on the second petal being ‘too pale’ (which I noted and commented on as evidence of improvement throughout), they really didn’t like it. So perhaps it is always a good idea to re-stitch if you feel you could do better!
So some disappointing comments, and I will have to seek further tuition on how to improve on this in the future.
My least favourite part!
I was shown a different way of doing the herringbone which I found was time consuming and difficult. The overall aim was to create an extra strong and tight herringbone stitch. I also got completely lost on the corners, and failed quite badly at greatly crisp corners!
Overall RSN Silk Shading Assessment
So, at the end of all that, the result was 78%. I know others have been thrilled with this type of mark. I’m disappointed mainly because of the ‘surprise’ nature of the comments. Some I was expecting, others not.
Their final comments were that it was evident that a lot of work had gone into this piece. I understand the principles of silk shading, and more practice will refine my skills. And they liked the French Knots – a lovely addition!
As I said before, this is still my favourite piece! And it still gets lots of ‘wow’s’ whenever I show it to people. So assessment wise, I’m disappointed, but overall, I am quite pleased with it.