T1-MMT-P2-p1-e1 Joining straight flush edges – session 2

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail

This exercise started with my caterpillar sample (29-May-2015), followed by a high level look at artists’ use of joining and wrapping (31-May-2015).

With such a wide field I’ve come up with a few guiding principles to help me find focus.

  • Use materials already used. I want to keep widening my pool of materials, but also extend my knowledge and skills in some of the interesting ones I’ve already connected with.
  • Use previous samples. I like the idea of layers of processes building up, creating depth and variety of interest.
  • Use a textile or textile technique in everything.
  • Nothing entirely textile. This is the counterpart of the previous point.
  • Do things you’re not sure will work. A basic requirement in the course, but worth keeping front of mind.
  • My next set of samples focus on materials already used – corrugated cardboard. Jackie Langfeld’s Paper Warriors (http://www.odysseytextileart.co.uk/jackie.htm) are full of meaning and ironic comment, the texture created with joins of garden twine and paper cording is wonderful, and armour generally provides a rich resource of joining ideas (chain mail…). However I used a materials led approach, enticed by the happenstance of cocktail sticks (seen in sample p1-7 22-March-2015) fitting beautifully into the ridges of the cardboard. It made me think about carpentry biscuit joins.

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard join - one side started

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard join – one side started


    Above the “biscuits” (aka cocktail sticks) are in place on one side.
    Sample p2-2 Cardboard join - second side in progress

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard join – second side in progress


    This join could be done with the corrugations facing on both sides – but that seems a little pointless (although see my previous remarks on the caterpillar).
    Sample p2-2 Cardboard joined with gap

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard joined with gap


    The join process proceeds, drifting into exercise 2 (joining straight edges with a gap). I capture an idea for that in a quick sketch (having already forgotten my plan of starting with a sketch. Oops).
    Sample p2-2 Problem or opportunity on the reverse side

    Sample p2-2 Problem or opportunity on the reverse side


    Turning the sample over revealed a potential-rich mistake. What about “biscuits” that don’t hide neatly away?
    Sample p2-2a  Cardboard joined

    Sample p2-2a Cardboard joined


    The sample shows a nice change of texture and shadow lines. It also shows up my inaccurate cutting – I could do that deliberately as a feature, a wavy variant of the sketch above, or torn to reveal the interior of the cardboard.
    Sample p2-2a Cardboard joined - backlit

    Sample p2-2a Cardboard joined – backlit


    From an angle beads of light show through, which could be useful.
    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join - spacing variation

    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join – spacing variation


    I took out every second stick on one side, making the second buckle in order to complete the join.
    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join - spacing variation views

    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join – spacing variation views


    A slight continuity issue with the photos. I decided not to vary the face of the corrugation.
    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join - spacing variation backlit

    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join – spacing variation backlit


    That’s rather nice, especially when you start playing with shadows.
    Sample p2-2c, d Cardboard join - fold and roll variations

    Sample p2-2c, d Cardboard join – fold and roll variations


    I tried a number of variations – getting all the bumps coming in one direction didn’t work, but other fold and roll attempts did. Not so exciting in themselves, but perhaps in combination, in the right context, you could really go to town.
    Sample p2-2f  Cardboard joined - multi-level

    Sample p2-2f Cardboard joined – multi-level


    Thinking back to the beginning of the sample, when the sticks were pushed out of place, I tried another manipulation.
    Sample p2-2g  Pushing limits

    Sample p2-2g Pushing limits


    Sample p2-2h  To destruction

    Sample p2-2h To destruction


    Sample p1-12a

    Sample p1-12a

    I seem to like broken things. I think this is the most exciting variant of the sample. Dynamic, unexpected, great light. I made this the subject of an “end of session” sketch.
    Sketch 20150601b

    Sketch 20150601b


    Charcoal and white conte crayon on kraft paper. I tried to concentrate on changes in rib directions and on the fall of light and shadow.

    Although I’m presenting two samples as a single session the timing was actually a bit more complex and spaced out. A couple of days later I almost came undone with the “start with a sketch” idea. I couldn’t think of what to do, found it hard to get moving and wandered off for a while.

    fuse_plastic_11fuse_plastic_10Coming back I restarted by playing with materials. I decided (somewhat bravely, I feel) to use one of my favourite earlier samples – p1-26 (10-April-2015). I auditioned a number of other samples with it and eventually chose p1-27. Finally I was able to attempt a sketch, planning for the next step. This is felt tip pens on bank layout paper and I ended feeling a bit better and clearer about the lacing join I wanted to try.

    Sketch 20150604

    Sketch 20150604


    The lacing isn’t inspired by a single source. On my pinterest board (click here) are links to ladies’ silk brocade stays (1700-1720), a contemporary Elizabethan-inspired garment by Helen MacRitchie, the breath-taking contemplation of mourning by Beverly Ayling-Smith, and Jackie Langfeld’s Paper Warrior.

    I trimmed some sides, wanting to reduce visual distractions in the finished piece, then got bogged down in decisions.

    Sample p2-3 Trimmed with eyelets

    Sample p2-3 Trimmed with eyelets


    How to handle the raw edge where the join will be done? Neat and flat? Trim a little, fold back, iron, and hope the grommets will hold in place? Bind? Leave raw? What kind of eyelets, and do I want to cut the second piece of plastic at an angle? The red eyelets echo the diamond shapes of the lower piece, while the round silver ones are a more subtle match to the bubble wrap texture of the top.

    Having slept on it, I realised I was losing the momentum and fun of the exercises, trying to “get it right”. Note there are choices about edge treatment, eyelet type, eyelet spacing etc, but stop obsessing. Try something and keep moving. There will be a lot happening with the lacing. Keep it simple. Square at the top, with the red creating a clear bottom and top to the final.

    After all that fussing I did a bad job of inserting the eyelets – either more practice or better quality materials and tools next time! At least I could move on to actual joining.

    Sample p2-3 a. Shiny red ribbon, cross-lacing and a trailing bow.

    Sample p2-3 a

    Sample p2-3 a


    This really makes a statement of the lacing, but don’t overshadow the other strong elements. The Xs are dynamic and echo the mesh grid, the trailing ribbons join with with movement of the frilled off-the-edge netting. I think this is a successful combination.

    Sample p2-3 b. The same shiny red ribbon, with simple, functional lacing.

    Sample p2-3 b

    Sample p2-3 b

    This is effectively the reverse of the previous lacing. The colour and size mean the ribbon is still a strong element, but I find it attracts / distracts the eye without really giving any interest in return.

    In this small sample the lacing detracts, but in a larger piece it could work to add a bit of texture and interest in what would otherwise be a quiet area. It might look quite different if one side of the join was red rather than white, creating a colour link across the divide.

    Sample p2-3 c. Silver-white synthetic organza ribbon, cross-lacing and bow.

    Sample p2-3 c

    Sample p2-3 c


    The silver ribbon doesn’t work at all.

    I thought it would give the liveliness without the somewhat dominant visual effect of the red ribbon in p2-3a. Instead it looks totally alien, anaemic, lost, pointless. It doesn’t stand up to the strong colours and shapes around.

    In her assignment 1 report my tutor Rebecca Fairley advised “The trick is to put everything down to a learning experience, another step towards a positive outcome”. The silver-white ribbon is definitely one of those disappointments, but in a set of experiments like this there has to be a “worst”.

    Sample p2-3 d. Black ric-rac, cross-lacing and knot.

    Sample p2-3 d

    Sample p2-3 d


    There’s an annoying thing towards the bottom of all the samples that looks like a crease and shadow, but is actually black colour on on one of the carrier bags that were fused. I tried playing this up with some black ric-rac. I like this! On an actual, larger work I think it would not shout so much, but really give a lift and extra interest.

    Although I started with a lacing inspiration, now I have eyelets I could link each pair separately. A simple metal ring would work, if I had or made the right size to get a join with no overlap and no gap. Instead I was very keen to use some more of the original fruit bag net.

    Sample p2-3 e. Fruit bag ties.

    Sample p2-3 e

    Sample p2-3 e


    It was hard to get through some of my badly set eyelets, but I mostly managed. There’s just too much happening here, but once again imagine a larger piece. Net could be fused flat, pulled to distort the base plastic, frill off the edge – and now be used to join different parts together. Just not all at once!

    Sample p2-3 e Sideview

    Sample p2-3 e Sideview

    The side view shows some of the wonderful space and form created by the net. In the sample I used ties of different lengths, different widths – nothing planned, just contending with those dratted eyelets. Maybe one assignment coming up there’ll be an opportunity to get a really big piece of net and go crazy. …p8s2e2_05 Writing that reminded me of some braid I made in A Creative Approach, using stripped strips of fibreglass flyscreen (16-Sept-2012). I also used it in a couple of weavings for that course, and really like the texture and the filtering of light it gives. That could fit in the mythical larger piece, perhaps the ricrac as well. Lots of movement and dimension in red, white and black. Classic combination.
    Sample p2-3 e Reverse

    Sample p2-3 e Reverse


    Sample p2-3 e Reverse - adjustedBack on topic, the reverse side shows that this method can actually be quite restrained. For each tie I can decide how dimensional I want it to be. I tried to get a few different effects, but really wanted more volume of net available.

    Lots of more potential in this lacing – with longer pieces, I could try skipping an eyelet or two to create fullness on one side. I could add loops and dangles. Vary colour combinations. The more textured fruit bag suggests a bundle of threads with lots of textures and colours…

    I finished the session with a sketch in crayon on A3 black paper.

    Sketch 20150605

    Sketch 20150605

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

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