Blog Topic: Documenting Your Process

Documenting Your Design Process For Promotion

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Barbara Burns

My Story

I fell into it accidentally. I thought documenting my process would be a good idea. Maybe I heard or read that it was a good thing to do, I really don’t remember. I’ve been saving my old tapestry cartoons and everything that went into the design process since my first tapestry. I have a file drawer full of manilla envelopes stuffed with all manner of papers from each design. Even the ones I decided not to weave. You never know.

Last year I took a class in making and editing videos. Then I bought a new camera that takes great photos and especially great videos. I had a good time recording the process of designing,  dyeing and weaving for my corset project. I made three videos, each documenting different aspects of the process along with lots of photos. The natural next step was to post each video as I made them onto my website. Now that I’m almost finished with the corset I have created a page with my collection of documentation.

Documenting your process is different from documenting your work. Many of us do that already. We have photos of each of our tapestries which we use to enter into shows and put on our websites for example. Documenting your process is recording the steps you go through to create a design and a tapestry. It is a chronicle of the raw materials that leads to your finished work.

I’ve learned that documenting your process has several benefits. It can help you reflect on your process and think objectively about what you’ve created. It allows you to contemplate the direction you’re headed in and to assess the implications of current, as well as future work. Documenting your process is a great way to stay in touch with your commitment and inspirations for wanting to be an artist, and with what art-making ultimately means to you.

On a larger scale your work will be more likely to be taken seriously by museums, galleries and collectors if that’s the direction you’re striving to go in. It’s also important for someone doing research about an artist to have a wealth of documentation to draw upon. Like I said, you never know.

Documentation is also great for use in social media. My weaving can be so slow and intermittent that for me, it’s ridiculous, if not impossible to post my daily or weekly progress, not to mention a bit boring. Think about what you like to look at, that’s likely what people who follow you want to see. I love to see how another artist/weaver’s process develops. It also gives more meaning to a work when you can see the development of an idea and sometimes sparks an idea in me to work on.

There are many ways to document your process. It can be as simple as a series of photographs with your phone or camera and put it in a folder, be it digital or manila. If you want to be a little more high tech the iPhone 8 has a time lapse app that captures lots of photos over a period of time, and then assembles them together to create seamless video footage that appears sped up. It’s the opposite of slow motion videos where time appears to be moving more slowly.  You can take short videos and upload them directly to Facebook,  Instagram or Vimeo for instance and link them to your webpage if you have one. Or start your own blog and use it as an art journal that you share with others. All this helps to develop a following of people interested in what you are doing and perhaps buying your work if that’s what you want to do. It also builds community.

When you’re ready to begin the documentation process, be sure to consider the viewer. Don’t get bogged down in personal details. You can make this process a daily or weekly habit when you set a time to document your process. Here is an example of how I have used documentation on my website. Here are two sites that can help you on your way:  Documentation for Artists  and Suggestions For Explaining Your Art to Viewers

If you’re already documenting or just starting please share it with us in the comments section.

THE BLOG TOUR

January 22nd: Molly Elkind: Collage as research

January 23rd: Ellen Bruxvoort – Vlog on Instagram about her design process

January 24th: Tommye Scanlin: Literature as inspiration

January 25th: Debbie Herd: Digital design tools

January 26th: Barbara Burns: Documenting your design for promotion

WIN ONE OF 26 PRIZES!

Follow all the stops on the blog tour to increase your chance to win one of the following

prizes: $50 towards a Mirrix Loom, a Hokett loom kit, a Hokett Tiny Turned Beater, a project

bag from Halcyon Yarn containing rosewood bobbins and a voucher for their online shop, a

voucher for Weaversbazaar’s online shop, a free entry into ATA’s 12th international,

unjuried, small format exhibition and a free one-year membership to ATA.

Here’s how to enter to win. Comment on this blog post then go here to let ATA know that you

commented. The more blog posts you comment on the more chances you have to win so be

sure to follow along. Ellen Bruxvoort is doing an Instagram video for the tour and if you

respond with a photo or video on social media describing how you design tapestry you get

five extra entries in the giveaway. Let the sharing begin!

To win another 5 entries into the giveaway ​enter to exhibit in The Biggest Little Tapestries

in the World, ATA’s 12th international, unjuried small format exhibition, and then let us know

that you entered by going here by Sunday January 28th. For this exhibition all entries get

accepted to exhibit as long as your tapestry fits within the size requirements!

The Biggest Little Tapestries in the World, ATA’s 12th international, unjuried small format

exhibition is open to all weavers. We invite entries which fit more traditional definitions of

tapestry, and also entries that expand upon the core principles of the medium as they

explore new techniques and processes. Multimedia work is welcome. The Biggest Little

Tapestries in the World! will hang July 2018 at the Northwest Reno Public Library, 2325

Robb Drive. The entry form (intent to participate) is due February 15, 2018. The tapestry,

and an image of the tapestry is not due until March 31, 2018. ​Find more details here

ABOUT AMERICAN TAPESTRY ALLIANCE

The American Tapestry Alliance is a nonprofit organization that provides programming for

tapestry weavers around the world, including exhibitions (like Tapestry Unlimited), both

juried and unjuried, in museums, art centres and online, along with exhibition catalogues.

They offer workshops, lectures, one-on-one mentoring and online educational articles as

well as awards, including scholarships, membership grants, an international student award,

and the Award of Excellence. They also put out a quarterly newsletter, monthly eNews &

eKudos, an annual digest. Members benefit from personalized artists pages on the ATA

website, online exhibitions, educational articles, access to scholarships and more.

You’re invited to exhibit! The Biggest Little Tapestries in the World, ATA’s 12th international,

unjuried small format exhibition is open to all weavers. We invite entries which fit more

traditional definitions of tapestry, and also entries that expand upon the core principles of the

medium as they explore new techniques and processes. Multimedia work is welcome. The

Biggest Little Tapestries in the World! will hang at the Northwest Reno Public Library, 2325

Robb Drive. The entry form (intent to participate) is due February 15, 2018. The tapestry,

and an image of the tapestry is not due until March 31, 2018. ​Find more details here