This project included some preparatory work analysing colour, texture and proportion (blogged 7-Sept-2012), then exploring the qualities of yarn (also blogged 7-Sept-2012), experimenting with structures with paper weaving (blogged 13-Sept-2012), making braids and cords (blogged 16-Sept-2012), weaving inside a shape (blogged 22-Sept-2012) and weaving in a grid (blogged 27-Sept-2012). Overall I really enjoyed the work. I tried to challenge myself with materials used and generally keeping out of comfort zones – I’d rate it a moderate success on that.
My reflections on specific exercises can be read in the links above, but the course notes have a couple of specific questions:
Did you enjoy inventing constructed surfaces? Were you surprised at the results? Can you see a connections between your choice of materials and the types of structures you made – regular, irregular, small or large scale? Which samples worked best – why?
This assignment is much closer to textile work I’ve done in the past and I enjoyed it very much. I tried to approach each exercise with a fresh and open mind, very aware that even if in the past I have done something that seemed similar on the surface, the approach and purpose were quite different. For example last year I made a braid for a bag handle (blogged 30-June-2011). I wanted something strong that would not stretch and that complemented the handwoven material of the bag I had made. In this project I was making braids to express or contrast surface qualities such as sharp or bumpy or soft. Expression, not utility, was the goal.
On reflection I am surprised at how satisfying it was to work with some non-traditional materials and how effective some of those results were. I see myself as a bit of a fibre snob, but would now add weed trimmer line and fibreglass window screen as good materials in the right circumstances.
In some cases the choice of material determined the scale of the work. For example the rigid grid was made using wire heddles – a fixed size. At other times I worked to overcome or minimize a characteristic of a material. For example the weed trimmer line has a very strong curl. I ignored this when making yarn samples, and the resulting braids are still curved. The curl was impossible to ignore when trying to make a circle to weave in, and I eventually used the ironing press to control that characteristic. The scale of the paper strips when weaving made the original images, and their value, very important in the final results.
I think this paper weaving is particularly successful. There is good contrast in colour and value, and I like the movement achieved by cutting along the lines of the field boundaries in the hillside scene. This means that both images are readable individually, while still making an interesting pattern as a whole. The links and contrasts in the original photographs adds additional interest and meaning to the weaving.
The combination of shredded silver paper and acetate sheet also worked well. The unruly nature of the paper is still apparent even though ordered and controlled. The fragile paper is well supported by the acetate. I like the contrasts of texture – the acetate and paper are both shiny, but in very different ways.
On the left of this photo, the yarn made from fibreglass window screen is particularly effective in my view. I wanted to express “sharp”, and I think the result does look sharp and likely to cut. In fact it is quite soft and pliable.
The yarn on the right, which used blue weed trimmer line and a black pvc tie material, has a nice contrast of visual density, for want of a better term. The pliable black wraps around and contains the transparent, fluid blue. There is lots of contrast in a coherent whole.
How accurate were you in matching all the colours in your postcard: with paints?; with yarns/other materials?
I was disappointed with my colour mixing in this exercise. I had been working in watercolours in my sketchbook and started with those, but was unable to get the intensity of colour needed. Matching colours with yarn was also difficult, given constraints of yarns available and the complexity of colour in some of my chosen images.
My preferred approach in the past has been more approximate, going with my emotions / imaginings (for example “autumn” or “hydrangeas“) rather than strictly matching a particular image. Intellectually I know the matching exercise is good skill development, but it doesn’t come easily to me.
Finally the course notes remind me to keep working in both sketchbook and theme book. Sketchbook work has continued most days, although I’m a bit behind in uploading it. However my tutor recently commented that sketchbook work doesn’t necessarily have to be in conventional drawing media, and that I should use whatever works best for me. I’m going to have to think about how to pursue this further.
My themebook has not progressed much lately. It’s hard to keep everything on the boil at once! So this is a good reminder that I need to balance time and effort, keeping all the different parts of the course moving along.