The next set of samples is based on items joined by stitch over a gap.
Some relevant artists included on the pinterest board:
shoe/forest.html Stitches fragments together using a soluble material while working.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This naturally led my thoughts to trying real gum leaves.
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.
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.
This was the sample I first thought of a while back while planning for the exercise.
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.
A little later some of the loose thread is a little stabilised, and I have a thread across the end to aim for.
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.
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 p2-12In exercise 1 (6-June-2015) I showed a join with a gap in corrugated cardboard. 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.
It’s very balanced, regular, stable. The shine of the copper wire is a good match to the matte, shadowed surface of the cardboard.
A change in spacing creates some more interest while still being very stable. Potentially this could be used as a framing device.
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.
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.
A displacement of the cardboard pieces introduces a dynamic element, although the whole retains a formal, geometric feel.
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.
Three strands of 20/2 silk have been needle-woven through the copper wires. I am very excited by the possibilities here.
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.
“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.
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.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