Archive for June, 2015

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Erin Manning

I have written before about Erin Manning, in particular as part of research on textile art for A Creative Approach (27-August-2012).

Manning crosses through multiple disciplines – dancer, painter, philosophical practice. In the context of my current project I want to focus on one small part of one exploration undertaken by her – Stitching Time at the 18th biennale of Sydney: all our relations. As an overview of that work, below I have made a rough transcription of an interview given by Manning within the artspace, illustrated with photos I took there. The video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNX8ezy77mo

manning_03Manning speaks of rethinking how we cloth the body, not the common idea of a person trying to fit into clothing that doesn’t conform to their shape or desires. She started cutting shapes that would facilitate designing garments. The first collection was very theoretical and philosophical – a disaster producing only capes.

ErinManning_06Manning rethought, became more geometric, and designed around 500 patterns. 2,000 pieces were cut, edges overlocked, each different. The pieces had buttons and button holes so people could connect the fabric. Manning didn’t want the work to be modular, for people to think of the edges as the garment. She introduced many small magnets, which facilitate a fold. Manning finds it more interesting to design with the fold, although people could also use the flat shapes. With folds you get volume, and also lose the sense of negative and positive space.

manning_04Manning organised sewing circles, and people came and returned and asked for the next one. The work, originally called Slow Clothes, was exhibited in multiple venues over 7 years, in which Manning allowed any kind of transformation to take place, all the way from the environment to the body. Manning decided to do a final iteration for the Sydney biennale, and 500 more translucent pieces were created. Colours and translucency were chosen thinking of the quiet, threshold time of the sun sinking into the sea in the southern hemisphere.

manning_01She worked with others designing the biennale space, using fishing nets, to get a sense of looking across colour. In Sydney Manning invited people to participate in the experience of sharing time – the time of those who worked on the pieces, and time taken to compose with the fabric. There is the sculpture of the work in the space, and baskets full of fabric that people were welcome to dress with. There was a long sewing table to facilitate any changes people needed to make. As people give time the garment created its own personality and became theirs. Not a quick exchange, but a meeting of times and currents of time.

ErinManning_05Philosophically the work was about making felt different layers of time, participating in how the layers of time move from the artspace into the world, the pieces little nuggets of time moving into the world. The work is one way of exploring forms of collaboration, and how we stage the encounters is central to that. Here art becomes a lure to stage encounters. One of the ideas that Manning believes is politically necessary is for us to challenge the idea that we have a neutral body. Movement is much more key to the body than non-movement. Giving people the opportunity to rediscover how the body moves is pretty central to the idea of how the pieces fold.

manning_02More important to Manning in the time she gave to the project was learning what it is that people take from the encounter. What is necessary? What is an encounter?

ErinManning_07

These ideas are fascinating, all the layers of thought and meaning in this work. The focus on exploring encounters – meaningful, creative, collaborative encounters – seems so exactly what is needed today. And it will be much more forceful if you watch the video and see Erin Manning speaking in such a gentle, purposeful, open, intelligent, generous way.

For my current project I want to take the tiniest sliver of a side-note – the folds creating volume, not focusing on the flat piece and the edges, options in joins facilitating the creation of a new entity.

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

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e5 Forming corners and angles

Sample p2-25
My first sample for corner joins uses a white, fine, corrugated cardboard pinned to a “corner post” of synthetic acoustic felt offcut.

Sample p2-25

Sample p2-25

Sample p2-25 Interior

Sample p2-25 Interior

Sample p2-25 Detail

Sample p2-25 Detail


The result is a crisp, strong and stable 90° join. The shine from the domed heads of the pins provides a lift, avoids sterility, without disturbing the strict monochromatic lines of the cardboard.

While the exterior is very clean, the interior shows that the short sequin pins I used were not short enough, protruding through the thickness of the felt. In a sample this is not a major issue, although I needed to take considerable care placing the pins. As is I could not submit it physically to tutor or assessors, and in a larger or more permanent work I would need to adjust materials in some way.

A number of recent samples (p2-22 and p2-23 for example) seemed to suit a certain level of precision. This sample took me to extremes, well beyond my comfort zone and normal aesthetic. However I feel my efforts were repaid. It may not be obvious that the glue line of the cardboard carries across the join, but I think it would be quite obvious if it didn’t. The pins are placed at 1 cm intervals, and one reason for selecting corrugated cardboard was the groove providing a vertical guideline. The eye is able to enjoy the clean lines of the sample without any visual jars.

At this point I stopped to consider the next join I wanted to make. Fellow student Claire’s sample of fabric manipulation (shown right, with permission) joins pieces of fabric at a lower level, but what we see is actually a single created piece that has been cut in a squared spiral. Those wonderful striped straws highlight sections, not joins, of the piece – and provide a lot of movement and interest.

Pippa Andrews (www.pippaandrews.com/) shows structural forms, some of which appear to use sewn channels and inserted rods, although with different outcomes. Spikes and spots: Red (2006), illustrated in the e-book 3D Mixed Media Textile Art, is exciting and dynamic. It uses a limited colour range of red, black and white, curves like an illustration of a dna strand, and uses spikey plastic straws creating movement and volume. Andrews also creates works of tubes or beads of rolled paper, joined using right angle weave and nylon fishing line. I haven’t sampled joins of this type in the current project, where the joined elements lose individuality and become a component of new, larger structure.

Erin Manning Stitching Time: A Collective Fashioning (detail)

Erin Manning
Stitching Time: A Collective Fashioning (detail)

The open-ended nature of all these joins is interesting. Another fabric channel, another straw, and the sequence is extended. In the 18th Biennale Sydney all our relations Erin Manning filled a very large space with baskets of cloth dress pattern pieces, each with buttons, holes and magnets. New work – hangings or cloths – were created from pieces pulled together, joined as required with existing links or by adding more.

I attempted a quick ink and pen sketch of Claire’s sample.

Sketch 20150624

Sketch 20150624

I struggled to get the sense of movement and excitment I see.

Sample p2-26

Sample p2-26 Opened 90 and 300 degrees

Sample p2-26 Opened 90 and 300 degrees

With that preamble sample p2-26 looks a bit tame.

The materials used are woven and glued tissue paper, prepared when doing research on Aztecs last December (link), and a pencil. The papers were cut, folded and sticky tape used to form a piano-hinge join. Clearly this type of join is not fixed at a particular angle, providing flexibility.

It can also be extended easily. I could have created more hinge loops on one of the uncut edges. Instead:

Sample p2-26 Extended - various views

Sample p2-26 Extended – various views

I used the left-over tabs from the original join to create another one.

This is full of potential. I could go in any direction, cutting into an edge or creating a loop on the face of one of the pieces – two simple slits would be the most direct way.

I want to return to some of these ideas in my end-of-project sample.

Sample p2-27
Sample p2-37 returns to the idea of using the properties of the materials to create the join.

Sample p2-27

Sample p2-30 Another view

Sample p2-12 a

Sample p2-12 a

The sample is basically a variation of p2-12 (14-June-2014). Bend the wires and you have a join around a corner. That sample has been dismantled and some of the parts reused, plus it was more interesting to repeat the idea in different materials.

Sample_p1-40 Bent

Sample_p1-40

Bendy straws have appeared in p1-40 (11-April-2015) and elsewhere (but carefully not in p2-26!).

In the new sample I joined two pieces of plastic latchhook canvas by threading sections of straw through the holes.

Sample p2-27 Top view

Sample p2-27 Top view

The bendy straws provide some flexibility to alter the angle of the join. No additional fixing was done other than the weaving through, so the join could be pulled apart fairly easily, but it’s not flimsy. There are any number of ways the join could be made more permanent and still flexible if that was required – a few spots of glue, or just folding the straws and weaving in a different direction would be a start.

Sample p2-6 Side view

Sample p2-6 Side view

The same material was joined in sample p2-6 (11-June-2015) and I think that visually the two methods would work very well in a combination.

Sample p2-28
Thinking about hinge joins, flexibility in angles and book openings led to the idea of using a wire binding spiral in a join.

Sample p2-28

Sample p2-28


Above is sample p1-65 joined to p1-75 (both 21-April-2015). Slits were cut into the edges and used to connect them to a recycle desk diary binding.

Getting the obvious negative over and done with, the binding detracts from the materials. It is large, heavy, visually complex and distracting. It is obvious utilitarian structure, naked and exposed.

It’s what I had to hand, and I think good enough to capture the overall idea.

Sample p2-28 Closed

Sample p2-28 Closed

Positives in the sample include a strong yet highly flexible (in terms of angle) join. It was easy to match pieces that had very irregular curved edges – simply cut a slot where the natural shape intersected with the binding. If desired this could be altered to manipulate the shape and draping of the joined materials.

The regularity and utilitarian nature of the binding could be disguised by wrapping in fabric, putting on dangles, finding a less mighty spiral…

I very much like the foil and organza together. Particularly in the first photograph you can see pink reflections in the foil, and pink shadows on the desktop. In the second photograph the foil’s reflection acts as a backlight to the organza, a great way to get the advantage of the heat distortions without needed to worry about light sources and what else shows through.

Sample p2-29
The course notes warn that efforts in joining curved edges on a corner could be unsuccessful at times. This sample came very close to one of those times.

Sample p2-29 First attempt

Sample p2-29 First attempt

Balsa wood was cut in a curve. A rectangular piece of heat-coloured beer can was cut along one edge to provide flexibility. The idea was to fold the notches of metal over the edge of the wood and fix with a line of stitching, ending with a right angled join neatly following the edge line.

I bent along the notches, positioned the first one and created a stitching hole with an awl. Result – a neat hole in the metal, a broken corner of the wood. Pushing through the hole simply split the wood.

Sample p2-29 Second attempt

Sample p2-29 Second attempt, with inset detail of reverse

My second attempt used some craft foam in place of the wood. That wouldn’t split.

However it did tear, and couldn’t survive the process of pulling through stiff and unruly wire to form the stitch.

With some thought I identified two specific problems with the original idea – and some matching potential solutions. Pushing through a hole forced the wood on either side apart to create space. What if I punched a hole, removing the excess material and not creating sideways forces? Second problem – working right at the edge meant any split had catastrophic consequences. I could make the join away from the edge, reducing the impact of bad holes.

Sample p2-29

Sample p2-29


The new approach was effective. The join isn’t the most elegant I’ve seen, but a little more care in cutting and bending the notches would help, as would less handling of the materials in processing (and re-processing). Although away from the curved edge that was part of the point of the exercise, the join follows that curve successfully. In a larger piece it might look good to do additional piercing along part or all of the edge to further highlight the shaping.

I continued to find it difficult to stitch in wire – it kept developing kinks and cutting into the edges of the pierced holes. I think practice would help with this.

Sample p2-5 Link - accordion folds

Sample p2-5 Link – accordion folds

The join and combination of materials looks good from a range of angles. It’s interesting to compare this result with p2-5, which joined the same materials using plastic from the 3D pen. That join also allowed me to create curves in the material (admittedly with a break). The bright green plastic used then is more of a statement than the copper wire in the current sample. The curves are aligned in the two materials rather than an angle being formed. Either or both methods could be useful, depending on the specific application.

Sample p2-30
For my final sample in this group I decided to go back to a very early exercise in the module – crumpling paper. Almost all the corner joins sampled introduced an extra material to effect the join. Could I use a join material that would reflect the curved nature of edges being joined?

Sample p2-30 Materials

Sample p2-30 Materials

I used paper as the material to be joined. It’s about the weight of printer paper, and with hindsight I wished I had chosen a heavier paper, or even a light cardboard. For no conscious reason I wanted green to look fresh with the white bank layout paper used for the crumpling, and didn’t think about other properties.

Sample p2-30 Glued

Sample p2-30 Glued

I glued the papers together (Aleene’s super thick tacky), and it clearly wasn’t a neat, near-invisible join. However it was sufficient to allow me to play with forming rounded shapes in the crumpled paper.
Sample p2-30

Sample p2-30


I think this is an attractive and effective join. There is a lot of flexibility in the join – it doesn’t need to be consistent at one particular angle. The soft green paper means the sample flops around a bit. Something a little firmer would create more form and perhaps some visual tension between stiff and flexible materials. Too much weight would overwhelm the crumpled paper. A wire mesh could be used instead.

Looking at the effect this could be fun to use in beach shoreline theme. It would be interesting to see the effect of adding colours to the crumpled paper.

There is such a difference in size (the crumpled paper started as A3, the joined pieces A6) that it really becomes two joins with three sections of material.

References
TextileArtist.org (2015) 3D Mixed Media Textile Art (available from http://www.textileartist.org/3d-book/)

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e5 Forming corners and angles
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 1: Joining
Exercise 5: Forming corners and angles

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e4 Overlapping edges

Sample p2-3 d

Sample p2-3 d

The course notes for this exercise suggest starting by placing “one edge over the other to create an overlap of about 1 cm”. I may be overthinking, but it seems that a lot of overlapping joins, either straight or curved, could look just like a flush join.

For example sample p2-3 d (6-June-2015). That upper piece could actually sit behind the lower piece with a 1 cm overlap. For some applications it would be a good idea – no risk of gapeing or draughts. There is little bulkiness. The difference would be structural rather than visual. Useful but trivial in the absence of a particular purpose.

So I’m looking for joins which take advantage of the overlap.

Sample p2-20
One way is to see the lower material through the overlap. Here I have the offcut of cork from sample p2-15 (18-June-2015), overlapped by insect screening.

Sample p2-20 Materials

Sample p2-20 Materials

Wanting a joining method that was visible but not intrusive, I auditioned a number of threads for stitching.

Sample p2-20 Stitched

Sample p2-20 Stitched

It was easier to stitch first, then trim the shape. I was very mindful of previous experience and placed stitches by eye 🙂

Sample p2-20

Sample p2-20

In the finished sample the join method highlights the curves of the join without overwhelming the overall composition. The glitter of the chosen thread matches the screening well. The stitching becomes a subordinate feature.

Sample p2-20 c

Sample p2-20 c

Sample p2-20 b

Sample p2-20 b

Sample p2-20 d

Sample p2-20 d

After completing the sample I experimented with different placements of the trimmed screening material. Some interesting positive and negative shapes are generated as the is moved and rotated.

If I were to develop the sample in this way an invisible join of some type might work. Perhaps a glue could be used, although this could leave a gloss or film.

Sample p2-20 Reverse

Sample p2-20 Reverse

The reverse of the sample suggests possibilities in using varying depths of materials.

Sample p2-21
Seeing the lower material through the overlap worked well, but of course I don’t want to be restricted to see-through materials. Piercing the upper material at the overlap greatly broadens material choices.

Wanting clean holes and given I only have circular punches, I selected a paper embossed with circles and some metal with traces of a mesh used when heating it.

Sample p2-21 Materials

Sample p2-21 Materials

Punching holes through metal was tricky. There were a few mishaps, which led to the idea of using embossing as well as actual holes on the metal.

The mechanical join was intended to be invisible so I chose to glue. I consulted with fellow student Claire, and used Aleene’s super thick tacky.

Sample p2-21

Sample p2-21


The end result is very pleasing. The materials compliment each other in colour and motif. The transition from one material to the other brings additional complexity and interest, achieving an integrated whole.

The actual join structure is effective, providing a strong bond without impinging on the visual result. The photograph was taken at an angle to reduce reflections and gives a reasonable impression, but seen in person there is a varying shine in the metal and the soft sheen of the paper which is particularly attractive.

Sample p2-22
This sample stretches the idea of overlap to include partial integration of one material into another.

The materials used are a craft paper which is actually woven of something like rafia, lightly glued to a non-woven synthetic base, together with some orange foam.

Sample p2-22 Materials

Sample p2-22 Materials

Sample p2-22 Cutting plan

Sample p2-22 Cutting plan

I spent a long time analysing the weave structure with pencil and on the computer, trying to figure exact measurements and placement to continue the design into the foam. Neatness and precision seemed paramount to create the effect envisaged. I really made hard work of it – there were false starts and at one point I felt close to total failure. Eventually I improved my handling techniques, and the inaccuracies are not too intrusive.

Sample p2-22

Sample p2-22

The two sides of the join are well integrated, with the overlapping area providing a visual transition between very different materials. Colour choice was key in this sample, with the orange providing continuity across the join.

Sample p2-22 Reverse before and after taping

Sample p2-22 Reverse before and after taping

On the reverse side the raw ends are entirely encased in a strong adhesive cloth tape. This is neat, stable, and effective in containing loose ends.

Sample p2-23
Multiple independent joins are another method which highlights an overlap in a join. I was also interested in trying to take advantage of the properties of one material to influence the second material through the join.

In sample p1-75 (21-April-2015) synthetic organza distorted and shrank under the heat-gun. What would be the impact if it was first joined to another material? I needed a pliable second material that would not put undue strain or restraint on the organza, and chose to experiment with crepe paper.

Sample p2-23 Before heat treatment

Sample p2-23 Before heat treatment

The join was made with a series of metal brads in a roughly diamond pattern (the plan can be seen in the sketch photographed for sample p2-22 above). The organza was around 30cm wide and 23 cm long. The paper was also 30 cm wide, but longer at 28 cm. The overlap was 5 cm, giving total dimensions of 30 cm x 46 cm. I hoped that when heat was applied the organza would shrink, causing the paper to distort at the join, and softly falling in gentle curves below. On the other hand, there could be burning, tearing, discolouration of paper or brads …

Sample p2-23 After heat treatment

Sample p2-23 After heat treatment

After heating the organza is around 18 cm wide by 12cm long. The paper was unchanged, but gathered at the join. There is a little tearing around some of the brads. Faster action on my part would avoid that if done again. There is some nice texture and variation of colour in the organza. The pattern of the set of the joining brads works quite well, the inaccuracies less apparent in the reduced size.

Sample p2-23 Reverse after heat treatment

Sample p2-23 Reverse after heat treatment


Sample p2-23 Backlit

Sample p2-23 Backlit

The sample looks like a baby doll’s dress. Potentially it could be used directly like that in a work. It reminds me of Jin Nü’s work seen in the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Exuviate II: Where Have All the Children Gone? (http://www.whiterabbitcollection.org/artists/jin-nu-%E9%87%91-%E9%87%B9/), although she used actual dresses in that.

Sample p2-24
For the final sample in this exercise I deliberately chose materials I thought wouldn’t work together. My earlier samples were all pleasant, some in my eyes beautiful, and I want to be a risk-taker. I also went larger again in scale.

Sample p2-24 Materials

Sample p2-24 Materials


The materials chosen are a coarse hessian from a garden supply store (very rustic and natural) and a foil shelf liner (highly polished). When I got them out I was surprised to see an affinity in the grid of the two materials.

Sample p2-24 Plan

Sample p2-24 Plan


The foil used was around 60cm wide. The join technique is in thought process an extension of the circles of sample p2-21, but actually pushing the lower material through to make the join. A small section of the hessian pushed through would be held in place by a knot (larger than the hole), or additional material caught inside the “puff” of hessian.

Sample p2-24

Sample p2-24

It didn’t go according to plan. I couldn’t get enough hessian through the hole to form a knot. The foil liner began to tear around the holes and wouldn’t stand up to the manipulation needed to insert additional material. The foil was pinned to the display board and kept tearing with the weight of the hessian.

The materials were too different to make the combination aesthetically appealing. Possibly roughly painting the hessian with a white or grey, or adding some trails of glitter or some foil applique would act as support to the existing small link of the grids. Both sides are too self-contained for the join to make sense.

The sample did last long enough to be the subject of a sketch in charcoal on kraft paper to wind up the exercise.
Sketch_20150621

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e4 Overlapping edges
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 1: Joining
Exercise 4: Overlapping edges

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e3 Joining curved edges – post 2

Sample p2-17
This sample aimed at joining curved edges that both touch and leave gaps.
I cut two rectangular pieces of fibreglass insect screening, then cut one edge of each into curves.

Sample p2-17 First curves

Sample p2-17 First curves

The first cuts didn’t give multiple touch points, so I did some trimming.

Sample p2-17 Adjusted curves

Sample p2-17 Adjusted curves

A few touches and one overlap.

Sample p2-17a. Where there was a touch, I made a join using orange cable ties.

Sample p2-17 a

Sample p2-17 a

Sample p2-17b. Where there was a gap or an overlap, I forced a join with blue cable ties.

Sample p2-17 b

Sample p2-17 b

It doesn’t look hugely different from a top view, but the tensions caused by closing gaps are beginning to distort the screening.

Sample p2-17 b Side view

Sample p2-17 b Side view

Samples p2-17c (purple) and p2-7d (yellow) continued the joining process.

Sample p2-17 c

Sample p2-17 c

Sample p2-17 c

Sample p2-17 c

The mesh of the insect screening looks crisp and clean and as it is distorted moiré patterns highlight the movements. The cable ties create dynamic lines across the field and bring focus to the critical area of the join.

In this sample there was very little overlapping of screening. Multiple depths of shadow could be achieved by layering of the material – an area of potential for later exploration.

Sample p2-18
Materials from earlier samples were used to explore joining to the edge of a hole. Sample p2-13 (18-June-2015) provided the base, and an offcut from sample p2-17 the joined material.

Sample p2-18 Materials

Sample p2-18 Materials

The two materials were joined using cable ties, using holes punched into the base and pushing through the mesh of the insect screening.

Sample p2-18

Sample p2-18


Curve joined to curve creates a tulip of mesh, cupped around a jumble of cable-tie stamen. Mesh undulates across the work, echoed and framed by the white curves of paper fanning behind. Light is layered passing through the materials, shadows can be soft, gridded or overlapping.

In her report on assignment 1 my tutor suggested “continue developing your writing style and look for new ways to talk about your work”. The previous paragraph was an attempt at that. Not too bad, but what I really want to say is that I love, love, love this sample. There is a balance of materials, dynamic colours and forms, a sense of space and such variety of shadow.

Sample p2-19
The final sample for this exercise is a hole filled with another material on the same plane. For this I used indigo dyed paper seen in the tearing exercises (26-April-2015), and indeed I was careful and thoughtful when tearing a hole, wanting to create a framing boundary of white.

The filling material is cardboard cut from sample p2-12 (14-June-2015), and copper wire from the sample sample used to create the join. In this case the wire could again go through the channels in the cardboard, while simple stitches were taken in the paper.

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19

Crisp lines in cardboard and metal are contained by, integrated in, the organic patterning of the dyed paper. The complementary blue and orange, separated by a small space, enhance each other. All elements of the join – base, filler and join materials – work to create an harmonious whole.

There are similarities in method, although not mood or meaning, to Edward Ruscha’s work Gospel, seen at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW collection).

Most of my samples are exploratory fragments developing ideas and techniques with future potential. I think this sample can stand on its own as is.

This work session was fairly quick and uninterrupted, unlike some recent “sessions” which were pockets of time gathered over multiple days. I enjoyed the materials, processes and the results. Balancing this, in my final sketch I just could not see the sample in front of me, despite multiple restarts.
Sketch_20150619

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e3 Joining curved edges – post 2
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 1: Joining
Exercise 3: Joining curved edges

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e3 Joining curved edges – post 1

Jemima Parker undefined objects (detail) 2014

Jemima Parker
undefined objects (detail)
2014

When reading ahead and planning this project I thought of forms such as Jemima Parker’s, seen at the Tamworth triennial (22-May-2015). I also thought of the flounces and ruffles in the amazing The art of manipulating fabric by Colette Wolff.

Samples p2-13 and p2-14

Flounce plan

Flounce plan

Now that I’ve worked through the earlier exercises, I see that curved edges don’t necessarily mean 3 dimensions. Nevertheless I decided to start with work based on Figure 4-12 in Wolff’s section on flounces. My version of that is on the right. An opened donut of material is cut for the flounce. The inside edge is applied to another edge. The fullness of the resulting flounce varies based on whether it is applied to a straight edge, an inside/concave curve or an outside/convex curve.

I used bank drafting paper for the flounce and copy paper for the base material. Both flounces are the same size. The curve on the base is the same, but one is concave (p2-13, on the left below) and one convex (p2-14, on the right). Flounces are attached using many, many short lengths of sticky tape.

Samples p2-13 and p2-14 Top view

Samples p2-13 and p2-14 Top view


Samples p2-13 and p2-14 Side view

Samples p2-13 and p2-14 Side view


There is no drape in the paper, and with sample p2-13 in particular it was very hard to persuade to sit in the same plane as the base material. I didn’t want to press in pleats, but some creasing was needed to stop the flounce flipping over the other way.

Very nice volume, shadows and lines.

Sample p2-15
For the next sample I wanted to keep flat, with curved edges that fit neatly together. This sample used 2mm balsa wood and slightly thicker cork mat.

Sample p2-15 Wood cut

Sample p2-15 Wood cut


A fairly complex line was traced from a french curve on the wood, which was then cut and sanded.
The wood then acted as a template for the cork.

Sample p2-15 Pieces ready

Sample p2-15 Pieces ready


The fit is fairly good. I chose challenging materials to cut and was quite pleased with the result.

I used a waxed linen thread, bought for bookbinding, to stitch the wood and cork together.

Sample p2-15 Stitching in progress

Sample p2-15 Stitching in progress


Stitch placement was based on a set of rules I devised. Working from one end, one stitch at a time, don’t look back, don’t look far forward. Measure forward 1 cm from the previous stitch along the join line. Lay a ruler across the join at that point, and pivot so the ruler markings line up with the next little section of join (that is, to form a continuous line). Measure out 1 cm each side and pierce to make stitching holes. Stitch. Repeat.

Jim Lambie

Jim Lambie

I was thinking of Jim Lambie (having seen Zobop at the MCA last year – 15-April-2014) – tape along the border of a room. Lay another line next to it. Repeat.
Sample p2-15

Sample p2-15


It looks a mess. The curve is lost in a jumble of lines pointing every which way.
Sample p2-15 Reverse

Sample p2-15 Reverse


The back is cluttered in a different way. Those painstaking measurements make no sense. It looks jabbed at random.

As an experiment, I drew the line in ballpoint pen on a piece of paper, and marked lines with a chalk-pastel pencil.

Sample p2-15 Drawn version

Sample p2-15 Drawn version


The lines make sense. Nothing was measured, except by eye. I can still see the flow of the curve. Just a few simplifying choices in the tight curves, a wider view taken both ahead and behind, and the effect is very, very different.

The drawn line is smoother than my cuts, and of course there are no gaps at all, which simplifies and clarifies.

I like the wood and cork because it is a record of a thing that happened. It has the imperfections of life, the mis-steps of not knowing what’s ahead. I like the textures of wood and cork and thread together. There is more to discover as I look at it longer.

Sample p2-16

Sample p2-16 Packaging materials

Sample p2-16 Packaging materials

For curved edges with a gap, I picked up some styrofoam packaging. Highly three dimensional, but my focus is the top surface and those curving edges (which cradled our new rice cooker in a previous life).

The first join of simple cocktail sticks in the sides will stabilise the large pieces while I work.

Sample p2-16 a

Sample p2-16 a

Although very simple, this takes advantage of the particular material being used. The two sticks were simply pressed into the styrofoam. Just those two connections were sufficient for a quite stable join in the light material.

Sample p2-16 b

Sample p2-16 b

In sample p2-16b two strips of heated (for colour) and embossed (for texture) metal were bent at the ends – like “[“. Each end was pressed into the stryofoam.

The play of light on the two materials works well. The decorative metal straps enrich the image, but the rather delicate line of the curved top is still visible, enhanced by the shadows of the void below. The large area of the white stryofoam is actually quite complex, and balances well with the stronger colour but smaller area of the metal.

Sample p2-16 c

Sample p2-16 c

Enjoying the technique of pressing materials into the foam to form a connection, I tried with library tags.

The tags were difficult to connect firmly – the styrofoam surface was beginning to show damage. To me it just appears busy and messy. The tags need to create more of a visual statement, or else fade more into the general view. The tag I put on the top to show the materials used now appears as a saving grace, helping the viewer to interpret the image.

Sample p2-16 d

Sample p2-16 d

In sample p2-16d the join is no longer confined to the ends of the curves. Map pins and coloured plastic string create a pattern on the surface.

The curved lines of foam and the cocktail stick “structual” join virtually disappear. The strong pattern takes over.

Sample p2-16 e

Sample p2-16 e

I expected to like a chain of giant paperclips. There is a combination of curves and straight lines which might have complimented the lines and curves of the foam. However the result is anaemic.

Sample p2-16 f

Sample p2-16 f

A series of paperclip chains in sample p2-f creates more of an impact, and there are some signs of interesting shadows below which perhaps could be developed using various lighting angles.

Sample p2-16 f - photoshopped

Sample p2-16 f – photoshopped

The curved lines which are the intended focus of the exercise have almost been lost, although now the echoing of shape (lines and curves) is more apparent. If you hide the clutter around the sides – the damaged areas, cocktail sticks, those strong circular holes in the corners – it starts working.

However for my final version I wanted to emphasise the curved line of the edge.

Sample p2-16 g Top view

Sample p2-16 g Top view

A series of flower-headed pins, with a bundle of multi-coloured wool yarn woven through, forces attention to the curved shape.

Sample p2-16 g Depth

Sample p2-16 g Depth

Extending the height of the edges above the surface also reinforces the depth of the space below. I found myself suddenly aware of the entire object, not just the surface and interior.

The colour and visual density of the wool puts the styrofoam material into the background. Its space and volume are enhanced, but the actual fabric, the textured surface with all its variations and complexity, is put into the background.

Sample p2-16 g Bridging join

Sample p2-16 g Bridging join

On the other hand, in my eyes the join – or more accurately the gap between – is more apparent. The woolen fence is a bridge, crossing a space with two distinct sides.

To wrap up this set I tried a blind sketch – 3B pencil on kraft paper – reminded of this idea by a fellow OCA student (aslowunravelling.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/experimenting-with-drawing/)

Sketch 20150618

Sketch 20150618


Focusing entirely on the sample, I felt I saw it with fresh eyes. The drawing is more a reminder of that seeing rather than an interesting thing in itself, but at least it has the advantage of lively lines.

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e3 Joining curved edges – post 1
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 1: Joining
Exercise 3: Joining curved edges

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e2 Joining straight edges with a gap – post 2

The next set of samples is based on items joined by stitch over a gap.
Some relevant artists included on the pinterest board:

Lorna Murray Detail

Lorna Murray Detail

  • Lorna Murray http://lornamurray.com.au/
    2015/01/31/group-exchange-2014-2015/
  • Diana Barrett Silver Linings (2014, http://www.dianabarrettdesigns.blogspot.co.uk/
    p/gallery.html
    )
  • Susan Taber Avila http://www.suta.com/
    shoe/forest.html
    Stitches fragments together using a soluble material while working.
  • Liza Green Tissue of Lies (http://www.edge-textileartists-scotland.com/
    gallery/lgreen/
    )
  • Dijanne Cevaal (http://origidij.blogspot.com.au/2005/01/ribbon-lace_09.html) This work might fit more correctly in overlapping joins. I believe Dijanne sews over a soluble material, but there is also a layer of tulle that the motifs are stitched to.
  • One frequent theme is the use of materials that were recycled or would otherwise have been discarded. I love the fragmentary effect, and a level of randomness in some of the interactions. Liza Green’s Tissue of Lies is very effective in the inclusion of scraps of text from newspapers. Some works use a fairly regular grid of stitching, others are more informal.

    For my warm-up sketch I focused on some photographs of Lorna Murray’s work, seen in the recent GROUP exchange exhibition (22-May-2015). Lorna spoke at the related symposium. My brief notes include: The ordinary, the mundane; The space in-between; Rubbish collected – assembled as cloth, structural, transforming the discarded into precious; Dyed plywood (natural with synthetic); Traditional techniques, unconventional materials; Process as important as the end product. And my own thought: Cocktail umbrellas, transformed into something sculptural, architectural, beautiful.

    Sketch 20150612

    Sketch 20150612


    In the sketch I wanted to focus on how the sections fit together, and where the stitch lines fell. This is conte crayons and felt tip pen.

    Sample p2-8

    My first sample in this set is very simple. I wanted to get a basic idea on the sewing machine’s behaviour, if I needed to worry too much about needle or thread types, the actual process of stitching across the gap (I didn’t want to use a soluble layer, working on paper). I used different types and weights of paper – newspaper and a glossy calendar photo. I used a bland polyester thread and the anonymous needle already in the machine.

    Sample p2-8

    Sample p2-8


    It worked OK. The length of thread across the gap is variable. If I was really worried and still didn’t want to use soluble or scrap in the gap I could count stitches as I went. I like that the threads of the stitch twist over themselves – an alternative would be to pull a length of thread out manually so they remain separate. I could use different colours of thread which would show in the gap. I left long, loose threads at the ends, but of course they could be cut short. They could also be used to stitch manually somewhere, or knotted, create tassels… Stitch length was 2.2 mm and the papers seem quite strong and stable.

    Sample p2-9
    Slightly more adventurous, this sample uses baking paper with imprints from natural dyeing with gum leaves (4-April-2015) and some kraft paper originally coloured for bookbinding a journal (25-July-2014). Thread is rayon machine embroidery thread in needle and bobbin.

    Sample p2-9 In progress

    Sample p2-9 Finished?


    Stitching goes across at an angle. Originally I intended to do more lines and cross them in the gap, but at this point I felt any more would detract from the leaf print.

    Sample p2-9

    Sample p2-9


    Having written that comment I went back and added a crossing line. Unfortunately the variegated thread was light at this stage and I think it shouts a bit, but it suggests possibilities with creating additional pattern in the gap.
    Sample p2-9 Reverse

    Sample p2-9 Reverse


    The reverse view is attractive, removing the visual complexity of the watercolours. You can see I changed bobbin colour during the work, which adds another element.

    Sample p2-10
    This naturally led my thoughts to trying real gum leaves.

    Sample p2-10

    Sample p2-10


    It worked mostly. Something happened to break the thread on the last intended row. The leaves haven’t broken, which surprises me. I tried to keep basically straight rows, thinking to contrast with the organic shapes of the leaves.

    Sample p2-10 Backlit

    Sample p2-10 Backlit


    I like the back view, especially the cracks in the leaves. There was no particular method in the leaves chosen or the layout – they were what I could find on the grass in the dark, and in the order I picked them up at the machine. I find the lines and the positive and negative shapes created very effective.

    Sample p2-11
    This was the sample I first thought of a while back while planning for the exercise.

    Sketch 20150603

    Sketch 20150603


    I rejected the original idea of monofilament – it looked too fine to make the visual impact I wanted. This uses indigo dyed papers last seen around sample p1-87 (26-April-2015).

    After the first couple of rows there is some excess thread. I have some painters tape keeping the ends together, hoping for a fairly flat end result – although some three dimensional shaping could be interesting another time.

    Sample p2-11 First lines of stitch

    Sample p2-11 First lines of stitch


    A little later some of the loose thread is a little stabilised, and I have a thread across the end to aim for.
    Sample p2-11 Progressing

    Sample p2-11 Progressing


    I stopped rather than finish the sample. A lot of the lines of stitch are straight rather than the flowing look I wanted, and the more open part on the bottom just isn’t working. I think I need to use some kind of support to stitch fluidly along the gap. Perhaps some kind of tearaway product.
    Sample p2-11 Front and backlit views

    Sample p2-11 Front and backlit views


    There are aspects I like. It reminds me of river systems seen from the air, especially coming into the dry season when water is disappearing and signs of the flow are left on the banks. The small lines of needle holes are good, especially when backlit. I didn’t do the puncturing exercise in Assignment 1, but stitching without a thread would have been interesting to explore. I wonder if different sizes of needle would create a noticeably different hole.

    Sample p2-12

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard joined with gap

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard joined with gap

    In exercise 1 (6-June-2015) I showed a join with a gap in corrugated cardboard.

    Sample p2-12 Cardboard comparison

    Sample p2-12 Cardboard comparison

    This time I’m working with a finer, more refined version of corrugated cardboard. It also has the advantage of a great colour – unfortunately one my tablet’s camera has trouble processing.

    P2-12a is a simple, even join using lengths of 22 gauge wire. I had other colours of wire, but mostly in 26 gauge which didn’t fit the spaces firmly and was a little flimsy generally.

    Sample p2-12 a

    Sample p2-12 a


    It’s very balanced, regular, stable. The shine of the copper wire is a good match to the matte, shadowed surface of the cardboard.
    Sample p2-12 b

    Sample p2-12 b


    A change in spacing creates some more interest while still being very stable. Potentially this could be used as a framing device.

    Sample p2-12 c

    Sample p2-12 c


    Sample c shows one of the advantages I was hoping to obtain by using wire. It is very easy to vary the width of the gap. The earlier cocktail sticks would snap or tear the cardboard if I tried this.

    Sample p2-12 d

    Sample p2-12 d


    A close spacing looks less stable – and it is. There is some flex in the wires that were bent in the previous version, and the cardboard isn’t sitting flat.

    Sample p2-12 e

    Sample p2-12 e


    A displacement of the cardboard pieces introduces a dynamic element, although the whole retains a formal, geometric feel.

    Sample p2-12 f

    Sample p2-12 f


    A more fluid variation is shown in version f. At this stage I could have ventured into bending in three dimensions, but I think there will be an opportunity for that in a later exercise. Instead there was an association with version d that I want to explore further.

    Sample p2-12 g

    Sample p2-12 g


    Three strands of 20/2 silk have been needle-woven through the copper wires. I am very excited by the possibilities here.

    Sample p2-12 h and i

    Samples p2-12 h and i


    Simple changes in spacing create quite different effects. My general preference is to display the sparkle of the copper within the sheen of the silk, but any choice would depend on the particular application.

    A support like this could also be used to create lettering, or possibly simple imagery.

    Sample p2-12 j

    Sample p2-12 j


    “Warp” manipulation is also possible. Lots of weaverly techniques are now in play. Space can be incorporated by bending wires or connecting to a larger cardboard structure with multiple elements.

    Sample p2-12 k

    Sample p2-12 k


    Other decorative elements can be added to the wires. These are oddments from past play or workshops, lurking in my wire drawer until the right opportunity comes along.

    Given this cardboard is available in multiple colours, foil finishes, could be painted or drawn upon, all the different weights and colours of wire I could use… the permutations and possible applications are enormous.

    Sample p2-3 a

    Sample p2-3 a

    I was hoping to return to lacing and experiment with joins with a gap. There could be all sort of associations with lingerie and strip-tease. I also wanted to try chain links. For now there’s only time to note the potential and move on to the next exercise.

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e2 Joining straight edges with a gap – post 2
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Project 1: Joining
    Exercise 2: Joining straight edges with a gap

    T1-MMT-P2 Data Visualisation Masterclass

    My employment background is in computer science, the current day job is data analytics. It doesn’t appear much on this blog because while those skills and techniques feed into textile and college work they generally remain separate domains. Until last Monday, at a day course titled Data Visualization Masterclass: Principles, Tools, and Storytelling (http://datavismasterclass.org/). Some of the blurb: “Using principles of human visual perception with modern methods and tools, you can create insightful visual representations of complex data, as well as compelling visualizations for communication.”

    It was exciting, and at times disorienting. Tamara Munzner gave a wonderful, fast, high-level overview. So many ideas I am still processing and integrating: replacing of cognition with perception; human attention and memory; abstraction; design; information density (including whitespace); research based ordering of communication effectiveness of different channels – position on a scale above length above tilt (some tilts) then area and depth and only then colour luminance / saturation. Other speakers who showed specific examples worked in life sciences – lots of genomes and protein structures and biomedicine. All of which I was translating into problem areas in my own very different workplace and, with a jolt, into … here. Textiles and art and OCA studies.

    It’s too soon to know how much will cross the divide, how some of the ideas will influence my artwork, but I’ve found a recent exhibition of interest – Peregrinations, Constellations. At Schema Projects in Brooklyn NY and curated by Jeanne Heifetz, the exhibition description includes

      “We live in the age of “big data.” Through the reach of the internet, researchers in almost every field can now analyze thousands, even millions, of discrete bits of information, uncovering patterns and significance that smaller data sets could never reveal. Like “big data” researchers, the artists in our show make discoveries that are only possible through the aggregation of multiple small bits of information.”

    http://schemaprojects.com/exhibitions-Peregrinations.html

    I’ve pinned to some of the artists on https://www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/data-visualisation/

    Management of complexity – detail is important – was a big element of Tamara Munzner’s presentation, and I am particularly struck by Janice Caswell’s works where she has painted over photographs, isolating some forms, still preserving traces of the full picture (http://janicecaswell.com/work/new/).

    There are also some amazing images on http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/

    T1-MMT-P2 Data Visualisation Masterclass
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Workshops etc: Data Visualisation Masterclass

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e2 Joining straight edges with a gap – post 1

    Rather than following the precise sequence suggested in the course notes, I’ve started this exercise by thinking of clusters and similarities in joins. My start-the-session sketching was reminding myself of works where the join with a gap is very loose, responding (or not) to gravity, the join itself a major feature.

    Colour pencils on A3 cartridge paper

    Colour pencils on A3 cartridge paper

    All the works drawn are on my pinterest page (link). Clockwise from top left, artists and direct links:

  • Alicia Scardetta Melted (2014, http://ascardetta.com/new-work). I love the exuberant colour and fall of the wrapped wefts, contained within a traditional weaving format.
  • Eva Hesse Metronomic Irregularity I (1966, a href=”https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/eva_hesse.php?i=1701″>https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/eva_hesse.php?i=1701). The relative sizes of board and gap is wrong. This work defies gravity, with the tangle of lines the result of the nature of the material.
  • Paula do Prado Almas Gemelas/Twin Souls (http://www.pauladoprado.net/twin-souls.html. This is a conceptually based work, considering issues such as identity. While experimenting with materials and techniques I don’t want to lose sight of meaning, here people joined yet individual.
  • Diem Chau Sisters (http://www.diemchau.com/plates24.html). I saw this artist’s work on the OCA pinterest site (https://www.pinterest.com/opencollegearts/textiles/). As well as the conceptual join, this work uses a glued join of organza to ceramic which is very effective. More on Diem Chau’s technique on her blog http://tinyhaus.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/embroidery-faq-part-1.html
  • Michele Elliot hemispheres, drawn to you, still (2011, http://rmitgallery.com/2012/02/10/behind-the-scenes-of-sensorial-loop/). This work accepts – uses – gravity, but with a level of control and order also imposed. It is materials and process led, recreated at each venue of a travelling exhibition.
  • Sample p2-6

    Sample p2-6 In progress

    Sample p2-6 In progress

    My first sample is similar in layout to Hesse’s work, but I decided to push the exuberance with colour. The material being joined is a plastic latchhook canvas, with the joining “threads” plastic drawn with the 3D pen. Both these materials are fairly rigid – one of my sub-thoughts is the mix of rigid and soft materials, and the impact of the combination in a join.

    Sample p2-6 Top view

    Sample p2-6 Top view


    The result has energy and colour. I photographed it flat on the table, but also tried pinning it on the wall and it protruded and defied gravity in a pleasing way.

    Sample p2-6 Detail view

    Sample p2-6 Detail view


    There is too much detail and I don’t know where to look. I’d like to try for a better balance with some control or constraint. Looking back, Hesse’s work has the subtle grid of the boards and the clear divisions of boards and gap providing a structure and sense of order. My grid is effectively invisible against the white background, and simply colouring it probably wouldn’t help – I think it is too coarse and would only become yet more lines.

    I didn’t intend the blobby attachment areas and have thought of a few ways to avoid them, but decided I quite like a bit of solidity or density with all those fine lines.

    The comments above were written when first looking at and photographing the result. The sample had too much information, too much complexity, nowhere to rest the eyes. I found it difficult.

    Sample p2-6 Side view

    Sample p2-6 Side view

    A few hours later, writing this post, I see it differently. Pottering around the workroom the blobby attachment areas become the focus, with the lines above a lacework that changes in colour and shape as I move around. Static, there is too much and I can see nothing. Moving around, the base provides stability and interest with a haze of colour constantly shifting above. The result is bright, cheerful, lively, and the colour haze fascinating. I would like to find ways to reproduce that on different scales, and in a more permanent way. Unfortunately the actual join is light and brittle, and I’m sure with a sharp pull I could separated the two parts.

    Sample p2-7
    Wanting to make a feature of gravity, next I made three bundles of rayon machine embroidery threads, each bundle a different length. I used them together with thumbtacks to join two pieces of acrylic felt acoustic panel – a soft join between two rigid materials.

    Sample p2-7a Straight join

    Sample p2-7a Straight join


    A simple straight join shows the thread more lively than I anticipated.

    Sample p2-7b Lower panel suspended

    Sample p2-7b Lower panel suspended


    The lower panel is supported only by the threads.

    Sample p2-7c angles panels

    Sample p2-7c angles panels


    Angled panels and wider spacing looks like an ineffective trouser closing.

    Sample p2-7c Detail

    Sample p2-7c Detail


    On closer look I am beginning to appreciate the liveliness of the threads.

    Sample p2-7d Another uneven join

    Sample p2-7d Another uneven join


    Another uneven join looks like a bizarre clown smile in the cropped photo. The three bundles are much more integrated here, creating a field of movement.

    Sample p2-7e Intertwined

    Sample p2-7e Intertwined


    Some interaction, with the bundles crossing. It loses the individuality of the threads, getting more the smooth stream that I envisaged at the beginning. I like the geometry that’s beginning to appear.

    Sample p2-7f Offset

    Sample p2-7f Offset


    Offset. The threads create lovely fluid shapes.

    Sample p2-7g Plait - showing dimensionality

    Sample p2-7g Plait – showing dimensionality


    This started as a plait. The photograph was taken at an angle to capture the dimensional effect that is appearing.

    There are lots of possibilities still to be explored here. I would like to try at a larger scale – number of threads, number of bundles, possibly size of thread (20/2 silk could make a beautiful show).

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e2 Joining straight edges with a gap – post 1
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Project 1: Joining
    Exercise 2: Joining straight edges with a gap

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e1 Joining straight flush edges – post 3

    “Sessions” of work have fallen apart, mostly because my next sample needed extended drying time between stages.

    Sample p2-4 Joining by encasing
    This sample is inspired by Eva Hesse’s work Contingent (1969), discussed in my last post (7-Jun-2015). I was attracted by the idea of joining two materials by encasing them, and of using a modern material to do the encasing. I don’t think this is quite what’s happening in Contingent. From the National Gallery of Australia website: “Each of these elements consists of a large rectangular stretch of latex-covered cheesecloth embedded at each end in a translucent field of fibreglass.” (http://nga.gov.au/international/catalogue/Detail.cfm?IRN=49353 ). In any case, a source inspiration is a starting point, not the end.

    I decided to join three pieces of paper, white pieces at either end of a brown piece, the visual layout of Contingent. The straight edges would be joined flush, held in place by being encased in an acrylic heavy structure gel.

    Through this exercise, thinking a bit more techniques and types rather than starting with a particular material, I find myself including aesthetic decisions. I auditioned a number of materials that remind me at some level of the Eva Hesse work.

    Sample p2-4 Material audition

    Sample p2-4 Material audition


    For the brown centre: a light paper with lots of texture and holes; a paper bag; baking paper that was used in natural dyeing (4-Apr-2015).
    For the white ends: mulberry bark; a soft almost felted-feeling paper with a regular grid of holes; a paper towel.

    Sample p2-4 Layout

    Sample p2-4 Layout


    I chose the paper bag and the gridded white paper. The mulberry bark was better texturally, but wouldn’t provide the straight edge needed. I wanted more texture in the centre, so crumpled the paper bag a few times. It feels nice to have a link back to a previous exercise.

    The materials don’t look like they belong together. Will acrylic medium help them join either physically or visually?

    Sample p2-4 First side coated

    Sample p2-4 First side coated


    Heavy structure gel was applied directly from the tub to the papers with a palette knife. I’ve found in some sketchbook work in the past that this can give some nice surface texture (2-Jan-2015). Looking back while writing this post I think that experience might have subconsciously influenced my choices in this sample.

    I didn’t dilute or colour the gel, and didn’t use supporting material to strengthen the whole (unlike that earlier “sketch”). I wanted to see how the idea worked “raw”.

    After almost a day there were still white areas, suggesting the medium was not completely dry. However trapped with glass on one side and a skin of dry medium on the other, this could take a long time. I decided to attempt to detatch it.

    Sample p2-4 Detaching from glass

    Sample p2-4 Detaching from glass


    I had put the work on a piece of glass while applying the gel. As hoped, it was fairly easy to scrape around the edges and then lift up the papers as a single piece.
    Sample p2-4 Join holds after first side covered

    Sample p2-4 Join holds after first side covered


    The flush join held – I was careful not to pull or twist or distort it at all.

    After leaving it loose for an hour to allow extra drying, I put the work on cleaned glass, and covered the second side in gel. No photo of that – it looked like the first time.

    Another day later, it was looking fairly dry and only the slightest hint of tackiness.

    Sample p2-4 Almost dry

    Sample p2-4 Almost dry


    It was very easy to scrape off. After a few more hours of drying it felt very stable, non-tacky, and just a few of the thicker areas a little white.

    The finished sample:

    Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

    Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

    Sample p2-4 Join detail

    Sample p2-4 Join detail

    20141228_29bThe sampled joining method of embedding has worked very well. After another few hours of drying some gentle stretching did not disturb the joins at all. I found my old sketchbook sample and it has lost any residual tackiness and that slight cloudiness. Actually I’m a little disappointed to find I am almost repeating previous work – but the earlier version had a lot of overlap and gluing (mod podge), with a backing page and in the leaf elements, and the medium was thinner.

    The join produced in sample p2-4 is almost entirely flush, there is no reinforcing, and the end result is thicker and feels more substantial.

    I find the backlit view lovely. The two papers contrast but there is a harmony to the whole. In life the texture effect helps blend the front lit version, but this is less apparent in the photograph.

    The whole is more rigid and constrained than the organic appearance of the inspiration source. The rectangular shapes of the papers, chosen for the exercise task, and the grid of holes result in a very different effect.

    Sample p2-5 Materials mixup

    For my final sample I wanted to challenge myself on materials. With no particular purpose or result in mind, I wanted to join balsa wood to metal using plastic.

    Direct from my notes:

    Sample p2-5 Materials

    Sample p2-5 Materials


    The wood is 1mm thick balsa. The metal is a cut down beercan, which I assume is aluminium – certainly thinner than the wood. It’s been sitting waiting in my stash since a Shimmering surfaces class tutored by fellow OCA student Claire back in 2009. The joining mechnaism is plastic using the 3D pen.

    The metal has been darkened in a heat treatment. I decide to start with some sanding, to brighten things up and hoping to find some green. The result is messy. Moving on.

    I’ll start with a weld-like effect. Although the brief is a flush join, I’ll leave a tiny gap.

    Sample p2-5 Gap for welding

    Sample p2-5 Gap for welding


    Sample p2-5 Weld version 1

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 1


    Some attachment to the wood, but nothing on the metal. I need a temporary hold as I work.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 2

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 2


    Not so good. I can’t keep it on the surface.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 1

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 1


    Next idea – I trace a bead of plastic in a straight line on paper. Then I tape the wood and metal down on either side.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 2

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 2


    First side – no adhesion except to the plastic and all very messy -but I like an energetic line.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 3

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 3


    I managed to detach it from the paper and turn over without falling apart! Unexpected. It’s amusing that the pen line I traced is visible on the plastic.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 4

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 4


    The second line is done.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 5

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 5


    Sticky tape removed and ends encased. With light handling it is holding – and I am in shock. This “welding” approach was not expected to work at all.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 6

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 6


    Expectations met. With a little wriggling the metal popped out of the slot of plastic that had formed around it.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 7

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 7


    It took some determined prying, but I was able to detach the wood too.

    On to plan b.

    Sample p2-5 Link part 1

    Sample p2-5 Link part 1


    Holes have been punched, materials held temporarily by sticky tape on paper.
    Sample p2-5 Link part 2

    Sample p2-5 Link part 2


    Holes filled and connected across on one side. There is no adhesion to the metal and little to the wood at this point.
    Sample p2-5 Link part 3

    Sample p2-5 Link part 3


    Turned over, everything has stayed in place – for now.
    Sample p2-5 Link part 4

    Sample p2-5 Link part 4


    Joined on both sides.
    Sample p2-5 Link

    Sample p2-5 Link


    It actually seems somewhat firm. I’ve pulled and shaken and twisted, plus tried to snap at one of the joins. Not with extreme force, but some force.

    Sample p2-3 e Reverse

    Sample p2-3 e Reverse

    In terms of join methods, this is really the same as sample p2-3e. It’s just interpreted in very different materials and arrived at from a different direction.

    The different materials do exhibit different properties.

    Sample p2-5 Link - accordion folds

    Sample p2-5 Link – accordion folds


    I was able to cut off part of the metal without breaking the bond. Then I tried forming soft accordion pleats, using the metal to hold them in place and force shaping in the wood. The wood gave way while all the plastic joins are intact.
    Sample p2-5 Link - accordion folds reverse

    Sample p2-5 Link – accordion folds reverse


    I like the unusual mix of materials in this sample. There is a warmth to the wood that contrasts with the hard, shiny metal. It’s fascinating to see the strength of the metal shaping and holding the wood. The green plastic comes from no-where and adds a quirky note and another texture.

    I tried to capture the effect using a variety of media in my end-of-session sketch.

    Sketch 20150607

    Sketch 20150607


    The wood is depicted in inktense pencils. I thought the soft watercolour effect would suit.
    The plastic is in felt tip pen, with the idea of the colour showing up harsh and aggressive.
    I started with colour pencils on the metal, then rubbed in metallic waxes and pigments, trying to get some hard, metallic sheen. It shows up a little in person, depending on the angle of lighting.

    I got a bit lost with the folds and lines of reflection, so finished with an uplifting squiggle in felt tip pens, referring back to some of the welding attempts.

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e1 Joining straight flush edges – post 3
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Project 1: Joining
    Exercise 1: Joining straight flush edges

    T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Eva Hesse

    Eva Hesse (1936 – 1970) has been associated with Minimalism and with early feminist art (The Art Story, [nd]), with organic abstraction (Dempsey, 2010) and process art (Honour and Fleming, 2009). One short post can give only the most brief and partial information on this woman, her work and ongoing influence. I will focus on aspects relevant to Joining and Wrapping. I’ve pinned a number of her works on my Joining and Wrapping pinterest board, and will include separate links to particular works below.

    Her name has come up in this blog a few times before.

  • From Reading – Elissa Auther: String Felt Thread (26-May-2012): Hesse was an artist among those who began to use fibre in their work in the postminimilism movement, having sufficient credibility and connections to avoid the suggestion of craft in her work.
  • In Reading: Abstraction and its Processes (2-Nov-2014) I noted references to Hesse in company with Robert Hunter, Paul Partos, Marcel Duchamp and Sandra Selig in Kelly’s discussion of the use of thread as a mark making tool by painters and sculptors.
  • A more recent Experimentation (14-Dec-2014) was inspired by my reading of Glenn Adamson linking Marcel Duchamp’s 3 Standard Stoppages to “the drooping, coiling, spilling, and curling forms of Hesse, Morris, Zeisler, Hicks, and their peers” (Adamson, 2014, p. 148)
  • From the MoMA website: “Her mature sculpture abounds in contradictions: chaos and order, organic and geometric, absurd and tragic. Hesse was one of the first and most influential artists to question the austere, immobile exactitude of serial Minimalism and imbue it with a capacity to move, change and vary from the norm like a living being.” (Johnson, 2009)

    Hesse was highly experimental in her use of materials, and in her evolving approach to making art. Hang Up (1966, Art Institute Chicago) turns art inside out. Clement Greenberg claimed “Modernism used art to call attention to art” and championed abstract expressionists who focused on the flat surface of the canvas and the physical presence of the paint (more at 2-Mar-2014 and 27-Dec-2013). Hesse removes the canvas entirely, and extends an acrylic covered steel cord far into the viewers’ space. The frame, on Old Masters works often elaborate, in modern art marginal or absent, is central to the work – Is the work. It’s a playful, ironic comment on art, and has the the level of “absurdity or extreme feeling” Hesse sought. Of interest in my current Assignment, the frame is neatly but not smoothly wrapped in fabric and covered with acrylic paint. The wrapping does not disguise the frame – effectively the canvas surrounds the frame instead of the frame surrounding the canvas. The normal picture’s hanging wire is brought right into view. I haven’t found a good closeup to examine the join of cable to frame, but it appears to be managed neatly and invisibly.

    I have had the opportunity to see two of Hesse’s works in person. One, a painting in the National Gallery of Victoria, was seen briefly in a chaotic room and had little impact. The other is Contingent (1969) in the National Gallery of Australia. This is huge, and in my eyes dominates its space despite being hung in a rather odd area transitioning between galleries. In the large, dim, gray concrete space Contingent glows, capturing, condensing and infusing the light around with warmth. Standing near the panels they seem immense, somehow heavy with gravity pulling them down and yet ethereal. From Hesse’s exhibition statement when Contingent was show at the Finch College Museum:

      “I remember I wanted to get to non art, non connotive,
      non anthropomorphic, non geometric, non, nothing,
      everything, but of another kind, vision, sort.
      from a total other reference point, is it possible?
      I have learned anything is possible, I know that.
      that vision or concept will come through total risk, freedom, discipline.”

    (Hesse, 1969)

    Tomorrow’s Apples (5 in White) (1965) (The Tate) could be seen as joining curved edges with a gap. This relief was part of Hesse’s move from painting to sculpture, and can be seen as in interpretation of line in three dimensions. Cloth-wrapped rods make connections across the surface, and are apparently “secured by being knotted through the chipboard support” (The Tate, 1981). The wrapping and joining are clearly relevant to this Part of the course, but also of interest are the irregular areas of papier mâché on the board, creating relief but also reminiscent of the torn edges explored in Part 1.

    Metronomic Irregularity I (1966) (Brooklyn Museum) is also an exercise in joining with a gap. To me it looks like a joyful scribble in space, or a crazy early phone switchboard. So many connections! Such chaos, yet somehow captured in a grid. There’s a wonderful sense of energy and freedom … contained, disciplined.

    A point of interest in using Mixed Media. Hesse once said “Life doesn’t last, art doesn’t last, it doesn’t matter” (quoted in Prichard, 2012). Her choice of materials has proven very difficult for curators. Many of Hesse’s works are now extremely fragile, some impossible to display. On the Tate website is an interesting article by Michelle Barger, considering the possibilities and implications of replicating Hesse’s works (Barger, 2007). Virtually any ‘Old Masters’ work we see in a gallery has substantially changed since leaving the Master’s hands, through deterioration of materials and restoration efforts. I wonder how different Contingent looked when first hung.

    References
    Adamson, G. (2014) “Soft Power” in Porter, J. (ed.) Fiber: Sculpture 1960 – Present DelMonico Prestel

    The Art Story ([nd]) Eva Hesse: German-American Sculptor [online] Available from http://www.theartstory.org/artist-hesse-eva.htm (Accessed 4 June 2015)

    Auther, E. (2009) String Felt Thread: The hierarchy of art and craft in American art, Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press

    Barger, M. (2007) Thoughts on Replication and the Work of Eva Hesse [online] Available from http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/thoughts-on-replication-and-work-eva-hesse (Accessed 5 June 2015)

    Dempsey, A. (2010) Styles, schools and movements: The essential encyclopaedic guide to modern art. London: Thames & Hudson.

    Hesse, E. (1969) catalogue statement [online] Available from http://nga.gov.au/international/catalogue/Detail.cfm?IRN=49353 (Accessed 7 June 2015)

    Honour, H. and Fleming, J. (2009) A World History of Art (revised 7th edition). London: Laurence King.

    Johnson, E. (2009) From Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press [Online] Available from http://www.moma.org/ (Accessed 7 June 2015)

    Kelly, W. (2011) Abstraction and its Processes: An historical and practical investigation into abstract visual language Saarbrücken: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing (print on demand – October 2014)

    Prichard, S. (2005, reproduced 2012) “Collecting the Contemporary: ‘Love will decide what is kept and science will decide how it is kept'” In Hemmings, J. (ed) (2012) The Textile Reader, Berg.

    The Tate (1981) Catalogue entry: T02383 TOMORROW’S APPLES (5 IN WHITE) 1965 [Online] Available from http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hesse-tomorrows-apples-5-in-white-t02383/text-catalogue-entry (Accessed 7 June 2015)

    Other Resources

    Glueck, G. (2006) “Bringing the Soul Into Minimalism: Eva Hesse” In The New York Times [Online] Available from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/12/arts/design/12hess.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (Accesseed 5 June 2015)

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


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