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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