Judy Nolan

In this blog post I want to share the work of OCA Textiles student Judy Nolan.

Judy is part way through studying the new Mixed Media for Textiles course and recently submitted her work for feedback for the second part – Joining and Wrapping. As Judy lives in Australia I see all of her work via her blog Fibre of Being. I’m sharing her blog with you because I believe Judy’s work demonstrates exceptionally well how the mixed media course performs and what students should expect to achieve.

Her blog also demonstrates how to organise a learning log, how and where to place your research material within your learning log and how to write about what you find, both in your own work and that of others.

For those that don’t know the Mixed Media for Textiles is a Level 1 (HE4) course based around the exploration of materials and methods related to textiles. Students are encouraged to playfully take risks in order to develop technical knowledge. This is underpinned with broad and open-minded research that is collected and discussed in the learning log. Critical thinking is encouraged at every stage through reflective writing and observational drawing of the samples made. My hope for the course is that students get back to a more relaxed or child like approach to creativity. Freeing their minds to explore and discover.

I get the sense from Judy’s work that she has had a lot of fun and in the process made some exciting samples. She has felt able to combine unusual materials, learning about their potential along the way. I was particularly struck by a piece of work Judy came to through the wrapping stage of the project which led her into some interesting research material resulting in her tracking the shadows that crossed her yard during the day. I was thrilled to see that even though she knew the link to wrapping was tenuous she felt confident enough to explore the idea.

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Another sample that is worth a mention is where through the joining exercises she composed a very pleasing sculptural piece in paper, mesh and plastic ties. Here the materials and methods are so simple but through experimenting she came up with a composition both her and I love.

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Judy also made a whole series of samples exploring wrapping her domestic objects in the style of Jean Claude and Christo. These are all interesting but one in particular stands out. She wrapped the cup in plastic then treated it with the heat gun causing the material to shrink and tear which produced a “lace or scared” surface. Again this is interesting but Judy took the sample one step further by removing the cup leaving what she describes as a “memory, a shadow”.

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I also find exciting the samples that have been made by wrapping printer components with bright plastic thread and electrical wires. She photographed each stage of her sample making, thinking about and discussing the progress of the piece. This helped her and myself see how her creative thinking achieved the final outcome.

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Throughout the blog Judy makes links to other artists and works she has seen. In a way mapping what she is learning and bringing it back to her creativity. She also uses obsevational drawing at each stage to understand the samples better and reflect on her progress.

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Please do go over to her blog to take a fuller look at her work and leave your comments. Well done Judy and thank you for letting me share your work.


  1. kath 26 August 2015 at 9:15 am

    brilliant work Judy! thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. jennyudalej 27 August 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Her blog is great, she has documented it all really well.

  3. janecrathern 27 August 2015 at 4:10 pm

    It’s given me a very good insight into the course which I didn’t have – thanks Rebecca and Judy

  4. Judy Nolan 27 August 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you all. The course and Rebecca as tutor really encourage an open mind, exploration and discovery. It’s a fun and exciting adventure.

  5. alison512497 28 August 2015 at 9:42 am

    I’m not on the same course, but hope it’s OK to comment as a Drawing 1 student.
    The process looks fascinating. I’m really impressed with the organisation of the blog. I’m not at all experienced in keeping a blog. (Have had to learn from scratch for the course). Do the comments that this how a learning log should be organised apply to all students including D1, or just to those students on this course? When I read the instructions and spoke to course supporter Joanne, I was given the impression that there is a lot of flexibility. Different tutors may well have different expectations.

    1. Judy Nolan 28 August 2015 at 11:23 am

      Hi Alison
      I was using my blog before starting with OCA and it was a priority to me to maintain a single blog throughout. At that time the OCA advice seemed to be a separate blog for each course, to make it simple for tutor and assessors. That didn’t meet my longterm needs, so I started creating a separate contents page for each course – clarity for tutor and continuity for me. I’m sure there must be many different ways of reconciling personal and OCA requirements.

  6. JulieB 29 August 2015 at 10:18 am

    Fantastic and inspiring work, Judy. To anyone not following it yet, I strongly recommend Judy’s blog – it seems an excellent model of how to be both amazingly creative yet organised at the same time.

  7. Laura Scott 30 August 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Very Inspiring work Judy I too am doing Mixed Media great to see your take on it!

  8. karenwoodfield 31 August 2015 at 9:46 am

    Great to see the work and the blog…………….
    I am about to start the same course and have been wondering how to balance out and the inter connection of playfulness and experimentation with working with your research and applying elements of your personal voice?

  9. Deirdre 7 September 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Amazing level of enquiry and work combined with incredible documentation. Very exciting and inspiring. Just finished sculpture 1 and preparing for assessment after taking a ‘summer break’ so this is really helpful.


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