Project 6 Stage 2

Developing Ideas.

Despite (or because of) past difficulties I really like the way this course is structured – new skills are being introduced, but plenty of practice is given to earlier ones. In this case that means selecting drawings or other source material and considering ways to develop or change them.

This drawing done last October has nice flowing lines and contrasts of texture.
The obvious development was to add colour, and for that I went to a recent photo sneaked of a woman’s shirt in the bus.
In this muddle I tried a few variations – from squiggles to little blocks of colour, gray and/or bits of orange in the negative spaces, different amounts of outline dividing up the space. While doing this I was thinking about how it could be converted into a textile – adding shiny and matt, some textural interest in the negative space etc. It would be better to focus on what is in front of me, not rushing ahead.
Next were these rhythmic, flowing lines from Mark-making in Project 1.
For contrast, I added the spikey weed flowerheads sketched earlier in the week.The sketch also has vertical lines, but they are more eccentric, individual and uneven.
Again, the new sketch doesn’t really capture my intention. I wanted a striped effect (I’ve been noticing and enjoying stripes in scarves lately), but further work is definitely required.
Recently I took this photo (altered in gimp) of some fruit, after a lack-lustre drawing effort.

I tried to capture colours and textures, which had some interest but I started wondering if the underlying lines and shapes were as strong as I first thought.

The photo of the first sketch looks better now than it did at the time (not an uncommon occurrence!), but at the time I changed focus in a monochromatic version. I still think there is potential here, so will probably return to it at some point.
Next I decided to try some computer work. I keep coming back to this bird shape, started in the class with Peter Griffen. I tried all sorts of computer manipulation, tiling, kaleidoscope… nothing. This attempt was meant to be a play on “love birds”, but the grouchy eyes in the middle don’t work well with that!
Finally I tried the spikey weeds again, playing with scale and line.

This is a combination of a greatly magnified section of the weed sketch, overlaid by some of the leaf and stalk lines in one of my photos.

I like the contrast of scale and the syncopated rhythm of the lines.

The next step in Stage 2 was to start playing with fabric, experimenting with overlapping sheers, combining textures, altering surfaces, then moving on to make a few small collages of fabric.

In my first attempt I stayed with the weedy flowers theme.

The base is an off-cut of some felt, and the green fibres make a good background for the theme. The flowers are all slightly different – silk organza, with some glittery fabrics underneath or on top to bring some light to the piece. I like the balance of colour – the touches of purple aren’t hugely obvious, but they add some variety and depth. The uneven top started in necessity – I’d obviously cut a piece off in the past – but I added to it and I think it brings a liveliness to the work. I’m pleased with this one – bright, quirky and cheerful.

Next I decided to use the bird motif. It stubbornly refuses to be part of a larger design, but I like it so much I really wanted to use it at least once.

The background is a silk and hemp mix fabric I dyed some years ago. I think both colour and design suggest feathers, but in lines that contrast with the curves of the actual bird. The trim used to form the line of the bird was dyed in an ATASDA class with Lynne Britten from Batik Oetoro. The central feathers were originally a wax resist silk painting of boab trees against a sunset (a class with Robyn Carver when I first started playing with textiles 10 or so years ago). The eye is felt, with some silver lamé behind to bring some light and sparkle, and there’s some black tulle on the body of the bird to give it a bit more definition. I love all the memories that making this brought, but I don’t think the result is very exciting. It feels rather static.

I returned to the colour scheme from the shirt photo near the top and combined it with my current interest in stripes. This is a mixture of ribbons, and the black is from a roll of material from the hardware store, intended for tying up plants. I like the result. The various reds work well with the dull yellow-green of the background. To my eyes the size and spacing of the stripes looks balanced and interesting.

This is the disastrous one.

I wanted to experiment with overlapping colours in sheers. I had “matching” sheers – a shot red/blue with red stitching and a shot blue/red with blue stitching. I wove with them, some fuchsia, and a blue tulle which was scrunched up to give varied density of colour. There was meant to be contrast of straight lines and curves, pattern and plain, interesting mixes of colour… It just looked a mess. I tried layering it over lots of different fabrics, trying to find something that would provide interest, variety and cohesion. In the end the best of the bunch was an old silk painting, swirls of pink and purple. Blah.

Finally I wanted to try working in monochrome. The basic design here is very static, but I tried to vary it with a series of experiments using some hessian. I think this worked well, giving a balance of structure with variety and interest. The small  spots of texture in the black rectangles contrasts with the squares of the background. Hessian copes well with having threads removed and the different density of cover adds to the overall effect. It reminds me of a picnic table, set with nice treats for the eyes!

Edited to add: I was putting things away and realised I missed one of my design attempts.

This was a development of some sketching based on feathers done in January, and obviously was itself the basis for the hessian picnic!

 

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