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


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.

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

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June 2015

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