Archive for May, 2015

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping– Initial Research

Joining and wrapping in textiles. I’ve spent the last few days looking around the internet and through books, searching for examples of joining and wrapping.

Virtually everything involves joining, wrapping or both. Spinning joins together fibres to create a yarn – and in plying or if the twist is uneven you get the fibres wrapping around each other. In weaving the separate ends of warp are joined together by the weft. Add in a decorative line of Brook’s bouquet (or any number of weaving techniques) and there is wrapping. Take a stitch and thread is joined to cloth. Add a french knot… You think that’s low level? Colour is created when dye molecules react with fibre to form a chemical bond – a join. Warp and weft threads are bound or wrapped in dyeing for ikat.

Looking at types of joins as a way of focusing in:

  • Sample p2-1 Caterpillar headJoining two pieces of the same material. My caterpillar sample p2-1 joined two pieces of the same type of watercolour paper. I could perhaps have found a larger piece. The caterpillar could be stitched on a single page. The join is a way of getting larger pieces of a material. Kente cloth is joined – looms are narrow. The join can become a feature (bojagi), or it can be made nearly invisible. The join can be decorated, or the method of joining can be decorative.
  • Two or more materials can be joined. This could be a visual change, for extra strength, for other properties (eg translucent) or behaviour (eg one will shrink under heat, or is stretched and will relax after joining).
  • Introduce space / volume / dimension. Join a flat material to a cylinder. Join at darts and slashes. Join with curves. Colette Wolff’s The art of manipulating fabric is a great technical resource.
  • Do I want to consider that a material could be joined to itself? A thread can be knotted to itself to form a net. Or crocheted, knitted, tatted…
  • Visual joins – optical colour mixing; motifs building up a pattern. The power of not quite joining – the Creation of Adam in the Sistene chapel.
  • There’s more in my notes. With my new aim of quick, loose sketches as part of each work session, I’ve extended a method used in the past for book-based reading. A3 cartridge paper, two unequal columns. On the left goes information about the source and artwork with a sketch of whatever has caught my interest, together with a few notations on materials, technique, a quote from the artist… On the right I jot notes for myself – an idea, a place my mind has wandered… I can go back and add there too, as I make connections and ideas build. I haven’t quite got there yet, but this feels like a way of getting stronger and clearer connections between my research and how I use it to inspire my own making. It’s a way of balancing my natural wordiness with a more visual approach. I should be able to flip back through the pages as I work through the course exercises and remind myself of things I wanted to explore.

    A new-to-me innovation to up the visual part of my research is pinterest. I’ve had some concerns about this site in the past, but now OCA has started up a series of boards, including textiles – https://www.pinterest.com/opencollegearts/textiles/. For my Joining and Wrapping image collection see https://www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/joining-and-wrapping/. It’s quite a broad interpretation. It includes some links to my own photos on this blog, plus to works by artists in my paper-based notes – a way to keep visuals together and in my mind.

    Next I plan to re-read the course notes and try to find some matches between exercises, the artworks I’ve been looking at, and my own inclinations. That should help me focus on the sorts of things I want to attempt, and identify a few artists to explore in more detail.

    T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Research
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Initial Research

    T1-MMT-P2-p1 Joining – a start, plus some tutor feedback

    Last Sunday evening I submitted Assignment 1 via email to my tutor, Rebecca Fairley. Early Thursday morning I received her feedback – overall very positive and encouraging, with a few words of caution and pointers for the next assignment. It’s enormously helpful to have that encouragement and guidance so quickly.

    “Draw more regularly in a range of media” was one pointer, combined with the comment “a range of quick loose sketches to engage your looking skills is all that is needed.” This fits with my own review assessment of an area needing improvement, and “quick loose” is very freeing. Can I, as a general but not firm rule, start and end each college session with a quick loose something? (Work days are impossible.)

    Joins - watercolour

    Joins – watercolour. In progress


    This was inspired by Ria Verhaeghe’s drawing ZT (2011) (link). My initial research has me wondering what “joins” are, and Rebecca’s feedback had me wondering how quick I could be.

    My notes, with 25 minutes to be out the door to an appointment:
    Raced around, got out watercolours. Worked quickly – very wet areas, drops of sprinkles. Could I join them all? Wanted to draw colour across with Tpin. Didn’t work. Tried tipping paper around, encouraging runs. Better, but still a lot of small areas disconnected. Tried a series of nibs on my pen, dipping into water but generally just moving the existing colour around.

    Still quite wet, but early thoughts – isn’t not joining just as interesting as joining? (Sistine chapel) How far do joins go before they become merges into a single identity (joins of wool fibres into felt?) Network of joins vs single/linear. Does there have to be a separate joining element? A little thought says no to that.

    Joins - watercolour

    Joins – watercolour

    Another piece of feedback from Rebecca: “My suggestion is not to push yourself too hard. Explore your ideas as they appear to you at a pace that does not wear you out. Don’t expect everything to be successful, learn and move on.” It makes sense – after all that is the sort of artist I want to be. Thoughtful, attentive, exploratory, open, creative, inspired… – not driven and anxious.

    Sketch on the bus

    Sketch on the bus

    This week was intended to be all Research. I have veered from the plan. Thinking of book binding (joining pages), then corrugated cardboard book, then caterpillar stitching – which would be tricky to do on single sheets. To caterpillar stitch as a joining of flush pages… then I didn’t care if I haven’t written about research first, I wanted to try this. Crazy dig around for some paper. Settle on 185gsm watercolour paper. Russet brown waxed linen thread because I like it.

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar in progress

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar in progress


    This stitching is from Keith Smith’s Exposed Spine Sewings: Non-adhesive binding volume III, purchased after a journal making class with Adele Outteridge (25-July-2014). It’s intended to go across the board cover and around the binding. I attempted to follow the instructions, but with my Stations on separate pieces of paper rather than a single board.

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar completed

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar completed


    Not sure the finer details are as in the book, but I’m pleased with the result. It’s a sturdy join of two straight flush edges (exercise 1). It’s decorative and quite rigid – you can’t fold along the join. Hard to see in the photo, but there are some shadow under the legs and the caterpillar rises a few millimetres above the surface.

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar head

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar head


    This sample has wrapping as well as joining. As I research the wider the terms “joining” and “wrapping” become, and the more they overlap.

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail


    When you run out of holes you just stop. Although it’s not unattractive, I think this area shows where my method isn’t according to the book. The look is reminiscent of weaving – braiding actually – and another time I might try to adapt the stitch to play that up.

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar reverse side

    Sample p2-1 Caterpillar reverse side


    The reverse side is a total contrast. Very simple, with just those diagonal elements where I started new threads. It might be possible to hide such joins on the decorative side if one wanted a neater look on a two-sided piece.

    You might also be able to see some areas where maintaining appropriate tension was challenging. Also the holes spread as the caterpillar progresses. Both of these could be exploited, for example varying hole position and tension so one page buckles up.

    Kraft paper and conte pencils

    Kraft paper and conte pencils


    I finished the (very interrupted) day with a sketch. There are some livelier caterpillars, a series of attempts to simplify shapes, and a distraction of links (joins!) from a watchband my son wanted adjusted.

    Not the technique, but the colours were inspired by a slide of a drawing by Watteau, using red, black and white chalk. (Studies of a man and woman, Watteau, at the Goethe Museum, Weimar. Link). Fellow OCA student Claire (her blog) and I are attending weekly art appreciation lectures at the NSW Art Gallery, focused on works in an upcoming exhibition.

    A final sketch.

    Sketch Part1 sorting

    Sketch Part1 sorting


    This is leftover, unblogged, from Part 1. I had an idea about layers of sketches overlapping. This has broken balsa wood sketched in crayon, followed by heat gunned fabric in charcoal. There were meant to be lots more such pages followed by cutting, tearing and collage. It didn’t happen, but it’s not a bad idea for another day.

    T1-MMT-P2-p1 Joining – a start, plus some tutor feedback
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Project 1: Joining

    T1-MMT-P1 Review

    Looking back at this Part of the course, a number of themes emerge beyond the specifics of the exercises.

    Working practice:
    I set up a basic process at the start (21-March). Since then it’s been modified and fine-tuned. It is working well for me. I continue to like taking notes as I work, followed by a slight polish and review after each session. Quite a bit of time is spent fiddling with photos, but even this feels like looking again, thinking again – thoughtful, attentive making.

    Time management also seems to be going well – this Assignment will be submitted on the deadline. By setting and keeping time-frames for each section I can fully focus on what I’m doing, then move on when time is up. There is always more I want to do, but that’s the nature of the course. This approach stops the coursework becoming overwhelming.

    Taking risks
    I tried from the first to take what appear to me as risks by choosing “obvious” simple accordion pleats. They are so familiar, could I really bring fresh eyes and an open-minded approach?

    I’ve noticed an increasing frequency of thinking “I wonder”, then going on to try. The exercises seem designed to encourage a brain-storming approach – no idea is too wild, no on-the-spot editing.

    Sorting
    I thought I had tried to do this throughout, considering work as I did it. When reviewing work for the final Sort (23-May) it wasn’t so apparent. Perhaps this is because of the “I wonder” – “I’ll try” link. If something seemed to have potential, I wanted to try it straight away.

    I have included some thoughts for future exploration, some lists of questions, so certainly there is a wealth of material to return to if time and need arise.

    Sketchbook
    I was surprised when reviewing this Part to find as much sketchbook work as I did. There was some combined with research work early on, plus a couple of distinct posts included.

    One complication has been categorisation of work with the 3D pen. Initially I treated that as sketching, although such sessions usually became just as experimental as the course exercises.

    Overall I think this area needs improvement.

    Areas of interest
    Often when working on an exercise I have a separate inner dialogue, thinking about possible future paths of development.

    There is the recurring question of the sort of work I want to do. Research posted 20-March lead to the conclusion I want concept, meaning and purpose beyond (not excluding) utility. Balancing this, my previous rather strident rejection of the functional is weakening. Functional and domestic associations used to be negatives in presenting textiles as art. Such boundaries and divisions now seem – not weakening, more irrelevant.

    Light and shadows are an ongoing interest. Back-lighting a piece is sometimes revelatory. Shadows give complexity and depth. At some stage I’m sure I’ll want to include and to some extent control lighting in a work.

    Space and volume attract me. I want to learn to work effectively in three dimensions.

    Fragility, damage, boundaries are of interest. They can be found in many of the processes used, such as folding. Even something as simple as sample p1-1a, my first linear accordion pleat in copy paper, had a tab – unfinished business; a future connection point. I don’t want to be too neat and precise, to tidy up loose ends.

    A little out of scope for this course, but capturing the thought: Overlapping and combining elements can give exciting results, but I need to learn to balance complexity, to set up tensions and conversations. Resolved but open. I’m not sure what that means, if anything.

    How well has my work met the formal assessment criteria of the course from my perspective?

    Demonstration of technical and visual skills
    I have used a wide range of materials, many new to me. I have tried to learn, respect, push their properties. My close observation of results has enabled me to identify further paths for exploration. My visual awareness has increased, and I frequently observe surface distortions in the environment around me which relate to course work. I think my tactile awareness has also improved during the exercises, becoming more sensitive to the different materials.

    Design and compositional skills have been less relevant in this Part, with the focus on individual samples rather than resolved works.

    Quality of outcome
    I have been able to adapt existing skills and knowledge in the exploration of new materials. I haven’t necessarily added to my skills and techniques, except in the extension work on 3D design and printing.

    All of my work for this Part is being presented via this blog, in part due to cost and time considerations. This constrains my presentation, but does have the advantage of being able to link dynamically within my own work and to external resources. By its nature a blog tends to informality in presentation. My writing style is conversational, sometimes grammatically questionable, and not academic. I think this is not inappropriate in the context.

    Not all my ideas during this Part have been realised successfully. In this blog I have presented all samples attempted, and discussed the lessons and possibilities in all including the failures.

    Demonstration of creativity
    The focus on this Part of the course has been on experimentation and innovation. I have taken risks, perhaps the greatest being to allocate a considerable amount of time to a personal extension. The results of that diversion are exciting, with enormous potential. For me the risk was worthwhile – it’s certainly a creative interpretation of requirements!

    Context
    I believe I am articulate and self-aware. I have enjoyed researching a number of relevant artists while doing coursework. In particular, work by artists such as Megan Bostic showed me that similar manipulation of materials has a place in deeply thought and felt work. The Tamworth Triennial exhibition and related symposium was well-timed, allowing me to view contemporary textile work that deliberately challenged the boundaries of what textile can be.

    I set out my own goals at the beginning of the course.

  • Make the course my own.
  • Take risks and challenge myself.
  • Surprise myself.
  • Enjoy myself.
  • I think I’ve achieved all of those. I’m very happy with the work I’ve done and with the way in which I’ve done it – for all the reasons already discussed above.

    My assessment above seems very self-satisfied, even self-congratulatory. I’m happy with the growth I’ve achieved, but it’s always relative to where I started. It feels good to pause for a moment and look back – before I look forward to how much further I would like to go.

    Some outstanding questions include:

  • Have I interpreted the course materials correctly and produced appropriate work?
  • What opportunities have I missed that could be explored?
  • Have I placed unconscious limits on myself?
  • How can I improve, how can I push harder and further in the future?
  • I’m looking forward to feedback from my tutor.

    T1-MMT-P1 Review
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 1: Surface Distortion
    Review

    T1-MMT-P1-p6 Personal extension project overview

    Some background: there was a period at the beginning of the year when I was between OCA courses, waiting for the new Mixed Media for Textiles (MMT) to be finalised. I had a high level outline and draft reading list, so I started reading and experimenting. In early March I took an evening class in 3D printing, with the idea it was bound to be useful in MMT at some point. I’ve continued experimentation based on that class, often closely entwined with the MMT exercises. Eventually I decided there was sufficient mass and relevance to present it as an extension project.

    Referring back to the course Introduction to this Part:

  • I’ve used a range of ways to manipulate materials new to me to discover their creative potential.
  • I’ve expanded my knowledge and understanding of them, and have further ideas.
  • I’ve used the same working practices as with the formal exercises.
  • It’s not precisely surface distortion, where a previously flat surface is distorted. Instead with 3D printing I can directly create a distorted surface. As it happens this fits rather well with my textile interests, where I focus on creating fabrics with weaving and felting.

    I’ve even been able to extend (!) sketchbook work, drawing with a 3D pen.

    To see all blog posts which relate to this extension click here.

    Some samples with particular interest or potential:

    Sample p1-38

    Sample p1-38

    fuse_plastic_47Sample p1-38 (10-April) was in a sense a sketch exploring the contours of a crumpled paper exercise by tracing with a 3D pen.
    The resulting network of lines could be regarded as a new distorted surface, although a discontinuous one. sketch20150514-03In later sketchbook work I made a tracing of a different sample, then attempted to create a skin using rice paper. (16-May) The result for the plastic wasn’t exciting, but the paper cast had potential.

    Sidetrack p1-1 Result

    Sidetrack p1-1 Result

    My sample numbering system has fallen apart with the late addition of this extension. Not wanting to go back and renumber everything, “sidetrack p1-1” shows the control gained using kinetic sand as a mould. Again it could be argued that the bowl that results is not strictly a surface, however I think the human eye and mind will read it as such. There is a lot of potential here for both creating and embellishing distorted surfaces, although attachment to other materials remains a challenge.

    Sidetrack p1-3 Sideview

    Sidetrack p1-3 Sideview

    Sidetrack p1-3 (16-April) is more solid and introduces colour variety. There is definite potential here, although a thinner sample when tested proved quite brittle and broke up under only mild pressure.

    Polymorph plastic is a very exciting material. It worked well with embossing (one of the formal exercises I didn’t attempt), although printing from the result didn’t go entirely smoothly.

    Sidetrack p1-13 Ribs

    Sidetrack p1-13 Ribs

    Sidetrack p1-13 (21-April) shows a version of linear accordion pleats (project 1, exercise 1) created from plastic pellets. This sample also shows the strong colour than can be achieved using disperse dyes on the plastic.

    In a different sample adding glittery inclusions to the polymorph plastic also worked well. I ended that day’s work session with a list of more experiments I would like to make.

    Sample p1-130c

    Sample p1-130c

    3D software provides another way to create distorted surfaces. In sample p1-130 (9-May) the surface is virtual, but there is the potential to develop it and print it out as an object for its own sake, or as a mould to create further shapes in other materials.

    Sample p1-131dSample p1-131eNot all the virtual samples could be printed into physical form. Sample p131 views d and e would be challenging to produce. They do suggest possibilities in concealing and revealing meaning. Could one create a “forest” that reveals a text as you walk around it?

    Sample p1-132e

    Sample p1-132e

    Sample p1-132e (9-May) is pure fantasy – I don’t believe it could be printed and hold together as an object. It was created by a series of distortions of a plain virtual cube, to me a clear extension of the surface distortions of the course exercises.

    "Sketch" Photo 6

    “Sketch” Photo 6

    A final example of the potential available. This sample was included in a post on sketchbook work (16-May) and combines both polymorph plastic and drawing with the 3D pen. The base shape was formed from a flattened piece of melted plastic, and in terms of basic process is close to the crumpled paper exercises in project 1. There was very good adherence of the two forms of plastic. I wasn’t able to separate them in later manipulations.

    3dplastic_15There is a gap in what I am able to show here – a sample actually produced on a 3D printer. The one experiment I have, combining a lithophane drawing with felting (6-April), is an example of what not to do. The combination of materials and processes I chose whas not successful and there are no direct potential next steps from this. I remain convinced of the basic potential of combining 3D printing with textiles – but this particular attempt is a dead end.

    T1-MMT-P1-p6 Personal extension project overview
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 1: Surface Distortion
    Project 6: Personal extension

    T1-MMT-P1 Sorting

    As I am not mailing actual work to my tutor for this part of the course, this post is also a virtual selection of what I might have sent. I’ve tried to include comments about possible future development with samples as I’ve posted work, but it’s an interesting exercise to got back with a little time to forget my initial intentions and reactions.

    Sample p1-1f

    Sample p1-1f

    In sample p1-1f (21-March), linear accordion pleats are transformed using a few brad pins and breaking out of the pattern. It introduces a lot more volume and an irregularity which appeals to me. I also see it as a reminder that the transformations in these exercises need not be standalone, but can be part of a larger process.

    Sample p1-12a

    Sample p1-12a

    1mm thick balsa wood broke irregularly when accordion folded free-hand (sample p1-12a, 22-March). In this photograph I like the effect of cracking apart, an imperfect screen. The combination of grain of wood, shadows and highlights, together with creases and cracks creates a lot of texture and visual interest.

    A quick internet search has found a number of potential sources for other wood veneers, which could extend the possibilities. I wonder how a burr would interact with the folding.

    Sample p1-19b

    Sample p1-19b

    Sample p1-20e

    Sample p1-20e

    Using tissue paper in a pleating device (samples p1-19 and p1-20, 5-April) allowed for added textures, shaping and colour interaction. I like the tension created by the regular linear folds breaking into softer shapes.

    Sample p1-23b

    Sample p1-23b

    Sample p1-23b (8-April) is not a thing of beauty in itself, but it combines so many revelations / re-evaluations. There’s colour layering, strength, cutting (sealed or distorted edges), hand stitching (machine stitching in another sample), recycling, sharp folds, gathering, the contrast of natural and synthetic… So many paths to explore.

    Sample p1-26

    Sample p1-26

    Sample p1-26 (10-April) brings the extra element of volume. The distorted grid looks great and the red/white palette is dynamic. I would like to explore layering with tension applied to one or more layers while bonding. It’s a classic idea in weaving – for example seersucker using warps under different tension. That leads to thinking of an alternative method, combining materials that respond differently to a process. I should have tried more of that when shrinking by applying heat.

    Sample p1-28

    Sample p1-28

    Fusing carrier bag to bubblewrap with selected bubbles pre-popped (sample p1-28, 10-April) resulted in contrasting textures which I thought could be used to capture text. I like things that aren’t too obvious, a bit of a puzzle where the viewer has to work a little.

    Sample p1-31

    Sample p1-31

    I was disappointed with sample p1-31 at the time (10-April). When lit flat from the front the distorted weave wasn’t visible. Using different coloured layers of plastic in front and behind could assist that. Now I think the stability given by the plastic layers to the distorted fabric could be really useful. I’d like to go back and try cutting into it, see how the edges behave. So much movement and apparent shape in something that was actually pretty flat could also be useful in the right context.

    Sample_p1-40 Bent

    Sample_p1-40 Bent

    Including materials that bend and then hold shape (sample p1-40, 11-April) provides another way of adding volume to the layered plastic. In the sample I used sections of drinking straws, but other possibilities could be pipecleaners or wire.
    In the same work session I used disperse dyes on the carrier bags, which took the colour very well. This opens up a lot of possibilities in colour of course, but also patterning and perhaps text (using mirror writing, or perhaps showing through backlit layers).

    Sample p1-52a Reverse

    Sample p1-52a Reverse

    In sample p1-52 (19-April) I was trying to create holes by weighting areas of plastic with kinetic sand while heating with a blow torch. The holes didn’t appear, but I like the massing of different sizes of bubbles that resulted. This could be the start of a pebbly beach, or simply an area of textural interest.

    Sample p1-62 Backlit

    Sample p1-62 Backlit

    Sample p1-62 (20-April) has a wonderful cell structure in a very light and flexible plastic. Intriguing in itself, but also a good example of the impact of different techniques. This plastic was not exciting when fused between ironed layers, but reacted very well to the heat gun. It is not brittle, and the texture shows up well even when front lit, so I think this could be integrated quite easily in a stitched work. The colour could restrict its use, but other samples using a slightly heavier plastic tablecloth gave similar results in plastic that is easily and cheaply available in a range of colours.

    Sample p1-71 After

    Sample p1-71 After

    The polyester satin of sample p1-71 (21-April) is just one of a number of synthetic fabrics which I think became more useful and appealing after being distorted using a heat gun. Breaking up the flat, reflective surface creates a lot more interest. It could be a useful way of bringing light into an area of a fabric piece.

    Sample p1-74 Backlit

    Sample p1-74 Backlit

    While visually interesting the damage caused to a silver lame by a heat gun would make it very difficult to use directly (sample p1-74, 21-April). It might work supported by fusing to organza, or perhaps even fused between layers of plastic. I worked with a number of other metallic looking materials on the same day, each of which could be useful in different applications.

    Sample p1-77 Sand removed

    Sample p1-77 Sand removed

    Synthetic crystal organza responded strongly to the heat gun and produced lots of possibilities. I’m illustrating this with sample p1-77 (21-April), where I used kinetic sand to shield areas from the heat. Varying the amount and distribution of the sand opens up a lot of possibilities for controlling the impact of heating, at least to an extent. In this sample I was hoping for more general distressing rather than complete disintegration of the exposed areas. Using smaller and lighter areas of sand would be worth exploring.

    Sample p1-82 Detail

    Sample p1-82 Detail

    I found the edges created in tearing of interest, but once again responded more positively where extra volume or dimensionality was created, as in sample p1-82 (26-April). Here the grip of my hands distorted the surface, which captures a sense of the force required to tear in this way.

    Sample p1-87a

    Sample p1-87a

    Layering up a series of tears also added a little volume and some additional shadows. It’s a good reminder that the different samples don’t need to be seen as discrete entities. Something that is relatively bland on its own could look quite different when used as repeat.

    Sample p1-89

    Sample p1-89

    With all the tearing examples, like the handmade paper in sample p1-89 (26-April), it was interesting to look not only at the shape and layers revealed at the edge, but also the negative space created between torn edges. In this example the inclusions in the wet pulp led to inconsistent tearing which was particularly effective when working slowly. The space between … I’m always interested in boundaries, and it also brings to mind ideas of movement – towards or apart.

    Sample p1-107 Detail

    Sample p1-107 Detail

    The extra thickness of the torn edge of cork in sample p1-107 (26-April) brings attention right back to the edge of the tear. I would like to take this further, perhaps layering up multiple torn pieces for even greater depth. Are there other thicker materials that would tear cleanly and have that sense of density at the edges? (for example if one could tear thick felt it would leave fibres at the edge, not so clean, and corrugated cardboard would only be thick in parts … which could bring its own interest).

    Sample p1-117

    Sample p1-117

    Cutting holes and layering pages gives a lot of possibilities for combining materials. In sample p1-117 (7-May) I wanted to try to reveal enough of the background image for the landscape to be readable, without being immediately apparent. This was one of many attempted combinations. I’d like to try again, this time working from the background forwards to make sure key areas are revealed or concealed as I choose.

    Sample p1-129b

    Sample p1-129b

    Sample p1-128

    Sample p1-128

    However it was layering and revealing in a single material, corrugated cardboard, that really got me excited. Sample p1-129 (7-May) is the one with most depth. It really makes use of the strong linear elements of the cardboard, together with its depth.

    On the other hand, introducing some quiet areas as in sample p1-128 (7-May) also worked well. This is much less dynamic, with all the corrugations aligned, but there is still some depth and variation.

    Every time I used this material in different exercises I found it of interest.

    Samples p1-136 to p1-139 D1

    Samples p1-136 to p1-139
    D1

    In my initial experiments in the scratching exercise I made the mistake of persisting with a plan despite poor results. P1-136 (indigo dyed paper, 17-May) shows a rather nice series of lines here and it could be effective to try more. Perhaps a form of cross-hatching could be developed to create a drawing / shading type result. However the other sample materials didn’t work as well. I’m including this as a reminder of the balance needed – sometimes it’s good to push through to find more. Sometimes there’s not enough promise to make it worth the time.

    Sample p1-140 E

    Sample p1-140 E

    On the other hand, almost everything I do with corrugated cardboard seems to have promise – as a material in itself, or in starting ideas that could be developed in other materials. For example sample p1-140e (21-May). In the accordion folding exercise I concluded that I’m not a fan of too much regularity. Here it becomes a strength, a base rhythm supporting the marks and providing so much movement as the lighting changes. Now I want to play with more tissue paper in the pleating device, create a softer, personalised “corrugated paper”, and see if I can get similar – or different – effects. Perhaps add in some colour layers. Perhaps in fabrics with stitching rather than scratching.

    Sample p1-142

    Sample p1-142

    I developed a number of ways of scratching into photographs, moving slowly because it feels such an angry, destructive action (sample p1-141). However once I worked past that emotion I was able to focus on the power of the scratching to draw the eye in a busy image, as seen in sample p1-142 (21-May).

    There’s so much energy in those marks, and by removing most of the detail it leaves me wanting to hear a story. It’s so melodramatic.

    Would it have the same impact if I added, embellished, rather than removed the surface? The same amount of the photograph may be hidden, but the emotion suggested could be quite different.

    One substantial area of experiment which I haven’t discussed above is my personal extension project of 3D design and printing. I’ll write about that separately, as I want to present it as a substantial and relevant project, consistent with this assignment and producing multiple samples with potential.

    T1-MMT-P1 Sorting
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 1: Surface Distortion
    Sorting

    T1-MMT GROUP exchange Exhibition and Symposium

    GROUP exchange is the 2nd Tamworth Textile Triennial, currently on tour including recently at UTS (art.uts.edu.au/index.php/exhibitions/group-exchange-2nd-tamworth-textile-triennial/)

    I found myself looking at the exhibition and the individual works through a number of lenses – themes and questions developed by the curator; the individual artworks and artists; extra information and threads from the half day symposium; recent exercises in my OCA course; and my personal responses and the impact of all of these.

    Cecilia Heffer, the curator, presented a number of themes within the exhibition, the catalogue and the symposium.

  • Collaboration, with other artists, with materials, with the environment, with community…
  • Textile thinking or the textile approach. Is this different to other disciplines? What can be found in an inter-disciplinary approach?
  • Textile expertise – dedication to particular techniques or the increasingly common mixed approach.
  • Poetry – flights of imagination, or more literally with a number of exhibits which related to texts.
  • Kath Inglis  Mineral Nation (2014) PVC, silver

    Kath Inglis
    Mineral Nation
    (2014) PVC, silver

    Heffer deliberately questioned? challenged? the notion of “textiles”. Is Kath Inglis’ coloured hand cut and carved Polyvinyl Chloride a textile? There are some looped (stitched) connections formed with sterling silver. Does that change your response? I think it is a little provocative, a discussion starter. It extends the meaning of “textile” beyond common use, and of course that’s how language develops and changes. Is it a useful change, providing us with new insights? If you believe boundaries between disciplines are blurring then less distinct, less descriptive/prescriptive meanings could be useful. If there is blurring will “textiles” be a useful term at all, or will it be subsumed into something else? Such as “mixed media”.

    I’ve chosen a few works which seem particularly relevant to my current development, interests and studies.

    Lorna Murray Making Space 2014 Detail, inset full view

    Lorna Murray
    Making Space
    2014
    Detail, inset full view


    Lorna Murray Making Space detail 2014

    Lorna Murray
    Making Space detail
    2014

    Lorna Murray invited us into the studio and identity of a textile artist. Ephemeral, throwaway materials were transformed in a quirky and delightful way. Wood was carved into traditional textile tools. Colourful cocktail umbrellas were deconstructed and became spools of thread, or stitched into a faceted fabric that stretched across the work bench and into a roll. Fresh from my folding experiments I itched to create new structures with those triangular segments. Murray’s work celebrated the traditional in a very modern way.

    Jemima Parker undefined objects 2014

    Jemima Parker
    undefined objects
    2014


    Jemima Parker undefined objects 2014

    Jemima Parker
    undefined objects detail
    2014

    Jemima Parker’s work undefined objects at first glance may seem very close to some of the surface distortion I have been exploring with OCA. There is pleating and with individual items strong dimensionality. Her statement references the art / fashion boundaries, garment and body adornment, functionality. However I didn’t find it intriguing. Perhaps it was the rather static placement on the walls, bland lighting and limited colours evenly distributed. Somehow surface distortion became flat. The glimpse of Anitia Larkin’s The breath between us around the corner, tempted me to pass on swiftly.

    Mandy Gunn Centro-polis 2014

    Mandy Gunn
    Centro-polis
    2014


    Mandy Gunn

    Mandy Gunn
    Centro-polis detail
    2014

    I’ve mentioned Mandy Gunn’s work in a previous post (7-May-2015) when I was cutting and layering corrugated cardboard. Gunn’s work uses recycled shopping bags on cardboard construction.
    8 shaft colour & weave

    8 shaft colour & weave

    This work references weaving, reminding me of a colour and weave sampler from the past (8-November-2008).
    This linking of textiles, textile sensibilities, with mixed media illustrates the power of discounting traditional disciplinary boundaries. There’s also a modern nod to concerns about recycling, consumerism (all those shopping bags) and collaboration (in the sourcing of materials).

    Gillian Lavery Pranayama (detail, reverse) 2014

    Gillian Lavery
    Pranayama (detail, reverse)
    2014


    Above to the left is a detail of the front stitching of Pranayama, a work by Gillian Lavery. On the right a sneaked view of the back.

    This was a pool of stillness in the exhibition. A length of light silk, slightly swaying in the breeze of air-conditioning and passing viewers. Nearby was a small screen showing a looped stop-motion video of the work as it was being made.

    Each day for a year Lavery measured a length of black cotton thread, reaching from mouth to belly button and back. She stitched in a spiral, focusing on her breathing, her thoughts sometimes wandering, until an alarm sounded at ten minutes. The remaining thread was pulled through the back and left. Cotton weights stitch length varied as the breath of ten minutes each day was experienced and observed, as the stitches spiraled outwards.

    I wanted to see the back, those hanging threads of time expired. I gently blew to move the fabric away from the wall so I could see and take my photograph.

    I think this is one of the most pure textile works I have ever seen. An idea. A length of fabric. Threads. A needle and embroidery hoop. A needlewoman. Time. Breath.

    It’s a seductive work. A dangerous one. It makes me wonder about what we’re all doing. Racing around, crossing boundaries, seeking new materials and processes and combinations, telling ourselves “cross disciplinary designers” can discover what dedicated in depth study can miss. We favour the unfamiliar, the exotic, “originality”. We see fads, fashions, and the perversely different for the sake of being different. We want to do everything – and do it in a way its never been done before.

    That last paragraph is quite misleading and unfair. Her website bio states “Gillian Lavery’s art practice is a process-based drawing practice informed by her background in textile art.” (http://www.gillianlavery.com/bio/). Crumbling barriers open new paths. I just want to be sure to take a breath every now and then.

    T1-MMT GROUP exchange Exhibition and Symposium
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 1: Surface Distortion

    T1-MMT-P1-p4-e2 Scratching – second session

    Following the lessons of the first session (17-May-2015), this time I started by looking for materials which I thought might respond well to a variety scratching. Thick, layered, potential for colour or texture changes could work.

    A short list of possibilities:

  • Photos – hide or delete. Add or extend.
  • Corrugated cardboard thick and thin.
  • Wax crayon
  • Cork
  • Plywood
  • Sample p1-140
    Corrugated cardboard – largeish ridges, suitable as a protective wrapping when packing something.
    Sample p1-140 A
    A series of marks with a flat blade screwdriver.

    Sample p1-140 A

    Sample p1-140 A


    I find the ones that bend the ridges rather than breaking through are more interesting. The folds create shadows and highlights that cut across the regular lines of the ridges. It looks different depending on angle, which makes me think of hidden messages. (I remember doing some kind of shadow knitting in the past, where the motif was only visible from certain directions).

    Sample p1-140 B

    Sample p1-140 B

    Sample p1-140 B


    Using the same tool on the other side gives strong lines when the corner of the blade is used. Heavier pressure creases a more indented line which flutters as connection points to the ridges below are crossed.
    Using the flat of the blade either breaks through the layer, or leaves a broad line which catches the light more subtly. The shadows are finer, broken lines, the highlights more diffused.

    Sample p1-140 C
    A 12mm square notch adhesive spreader.

    Sample p1-140 C

    Sample p1-140 C


    This had only a small effect, although lighting direction is again significant. Perhaps the plastic notches were too flexible to scratch effectively.

    Sample p1-140 D
    I wanted to create wider folds without breaking the paper.

    Sample p1-140 D

    Sample p1-140 D


    NT_croc_track2The rounded end of a toothbrush worked. Lighting again critical. From one direction it reminded me of crocodile tracks seen on an NT beach a couple of years ago (see post 29-August-2013).

    Sample p1-140 E
    Worrying less about breaking the surface (this is “scratching” after all) I used a fork in undulating lines.

    Sample p1-140 E

    Sample p1-140 E


    Lots of movement and changes according to light. I wonder if it would be possible to get this effect on a textile then drape it to catch the light in different, changing ways.

    Sample p1-140 F
    I used the corner of a boot knife to create a series of radiating lines.

    Sample p1-140 F

    Sample p1-140 F


    Generally the paper ridges folded quite crisply, rather than breaking or cutting as I part expected. I moved the knife quickly and felt I had a lot more control of direction. In one photo the cardboard is curved, trying to capture those variations in light.

    Sample p1-140 G
    Now wanting to break the surface I used a hacksaw blade.

    Sample p1-140 G

    Sample p1-140 G


    When moved straight across the ridges it created a fairly neat cut line. When used at around 45 degrees to the ridges the surface was abraded rather than cut.

    Sample p1-140 H
    More reckless and forceful than before, a series of marks using a metal skewer.

    Sample p1-140 H

    Sample p1-140 H


    The surface broke and folded. I like the varied, rough texture created.

    Sample p1-140 I
    The metal skewer again using similar force and gestures, on the other side of the cardboard.

    Sample p1-140 I

    Sample p1-140 I


    I get a feeling of depth in the marks, but not the strong, varied shadowing that I find so attractive in earlier versions.

    Sample p1-140 J
    Undulating lines with a fork on the flat side of the cardboard.

    Sample p1-140 J

    Sample p1-140 J


    The photos show the cardboard curved to get a range of lighting angles. Another great set of lines.

    I really like this material. The shadows are exciting and varied. Lots of potential.

    Sample p1-141
    nicholson_09
    When I first thought of scatching through the layers of a photograph, scratches through a face was obvious. I found it such a violent idea, so aggressive and full of anger that I baulked at doing it.
    Finally I found a photo I took in the Nicholson Museum. (report post from that visit 31-May-2013). This marble head from a statue is Titus, Roman, first century AD. My scruples could cope with scratching this.

    Sample p1-141 A

    Sample p1-141 A

    Sample p1-141 A


    The T pin I used first was too fine to take off much of the colour surface and cut through the photo a couple of times

    Sample p1-141 A

    Sample p1-141 B

    Sample p1-141 B


    The metal skewer removed more material from the mouth, but doesn’t give the sense of violence that I am now expecting.

    Sample p1-141 C

    Sample p1-141 C

    Sample p1-141 C


    The flat blade screwdriver in criss-cross marks took up material around the ear very well (perhaps a despot that didn’t listen to the people?
    Sample p1-141 C detail

    Sample p1-141 C detail


    Some fragment threads of the surface remain attached. I wonder if some use could be made of that.

    Sample p1-141 D
    Influenced by ideas of classic movie scenes I scratched across the neck with the tip of a pair of scissors held in my fist.

    Sample p1-141 D

    Sample p1-141 D


    A good variety of mark – I think I can see anger there.

    Sample p1-141 E
    What if I really wanted to obliterate part of the image?

    Sample p1-141 E

    Sample p1-141 E


    I attempted using the flat blade of the screwdriver held to dig away as much surface as possible. I’m surprised how much of the head is left.

    Sample p1-141 F
    I used a broad rounded pallette knife.

    Sample p1-141 F

    Sample p1-141 F


    Pushing away it just skidded over the surface, but pulling forward it created these wonderful broken lines. No sense of anger, but great patterning.

    Sample p1-141 G
    Back to the classics – a house key.

    Sample p1-141 G

    Sample p1-141 G


    Actually the most effective in angry marks and surface destroyed.

    Sample p1-142
    Using the experience of the previous sample I used another photo – when taken I was interested in the large-scale thread management (they seem to have created a cross, as if winding a warp).

    Sample p1-142

    Sample p1-142


    This time I actually scratched out a person (only seen from the back).
    In a busy street scene I was curious whether the scratching would actually make the person more conspicuous than in the original. I think it’s very effective at drawing attention. The idea that the absence or void left by something speaks so much of them is something to continue exploring.

    Sample p1-143 1552
    My final photo, taken at Wave Rock in WA (post 17-October-2011), was more difficult to alter than I expected.

    Sample p1-143

    Sample p1-143


    I used a series of small screwdrivers plus the metal skewer trying to create my surfer.

    At this point I ran out of time for the exercises. I need to do some final sorting and review, and the deadline for this Part is looming. I really regret taking such a methodical approach in the first session, wasting time “completing” samples that weren’t taking me anywhere. At times I have got good results pushing beyond what I thought would work, but I need to find a balance.

    T1-MMT-P1-p4-e2 Scratching – second session
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 1: Surface Distortion
    Project 4: Scratching and embossing
    Exercise 2: Scratching


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