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

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