Archive for the '3 – creating shapes & 3D' Category

Project 6 Stage 3 – part 1

This Stage is all about Applied fabric techniques. The course notes start off with a long list of different techniques and materials for experimentation.

I wanted to try a reasonable variety so decided to go for small samples. With an eye on presentation as part of the Assignment I tried to keep to a simple flower shape and similar colours so everything could be mounted together on a page.

It’s a sheet of A3 cartridge paper, with a watercolour wash to mesh better with the samples. Right near the end of the work I thought about appliquéing all the samples to a base fabric, but that would obscure aspects of the individual pieces. There are seven separate elements.

Element 1.

This started as white synthetic organza. I used disperse dyes to create the base colour – yellow all over, then navy added at the top and a pale blue at the left. Disperse dyes work on synthetics – you paint (or stamp or…) onto paper, then when dry you put the paper face down on cloth and iron to transfer the dye molecules. By cutting the paper you can make shapes of colour.

The organza was bonded to white cotton iron-on interfacing. Then some purple tulle was cut and laid over the yellow section. There was enough “sticky” coming through the organza to hold it lightly. Next some circles of cotton (and a couple of silk) were bonded on – misty fuse ironed onto the cotton, the circles cut, then ironed onto the base.

Stitching was used to supplement the bonding. On the lower edge of the tulle I couched using a variegated stranded cotton. The colour gave some movement and perhaps a suggestion of depth (though thinking about it now I should have put the stronger colour in the foreground. I just liked it this way). I also reduced the number of strands while working from the lower edge to the left. The top edge of the tulle is held by straight stitch – clustered on the right to suggest grasses, a simple running stitch at the left. Again I varied the number of strands used.

French knots help to hold the circles at the front, varying size and colour in stranded cotton. I added extra french knots to suggest clusters of flowers.

All of this is loosely based on ideas from a weekend workshop I did with Liz Maidment a few years ago. Varying size by changing the number of strands used was suggested by Pat, my tutor, in her feedback on Assignment 2. It’s very effective.

The two larger flowers resulted from working with a soldering iron on synthetic fibres.  On the left I used an organza base, covered with snippets of a range of fabrics including lamé, sequins and organza, and a final layer of organza. I used the soldering iron to seal the edges together and cut out the shape. I also tried to make some marks in the flower, but just melted the top layer so the snippets are in danger of falling out (oops!). It was attached to the base using a fancy sewing machine stitch.

The flower on the right used a fabric created from strips of organza joined together using a soldering iron, then repeatedly re-cut and rejoined. The fabric was then laid on synthetic felt and the shape cut out with the soldering iron. I attached it to the base using blanket stitch and 20/2 silk.

The soldering iron work through all the samples was based on information in Beal, M. (2005) Fusing fabric: creative cutting, bonding and mark-making with the soldering iron, B T Batsford.

After the photo was taken I attached a piece of lightweight lutradur that I had painted and heat distressed. You can see it in the top photo. I used it to help the overall composition of the sample page, and because I like the way the holes created by the heat gun reveal parts of the base. Pushing the appliqué experimentation, the lutradur is attached using glue – Helmar “professional acid free glue”, neutral pH, sets clear, flexible bond and will not yellow, according to the label. I think I used too much, and the top right corner of the lutradur is dulled. It will be interesting to see how well it holds.

Element 2.

This element is a sandwich of synthetic organza, holding a filling of organza snippets. The layers were joined and the surface marked using a soldering iron. Shapes were cut out. The circles were used on other elements. The flowers were reversed and their positions shifted to play with the negative shapes. I attached them by stitching with a rayon machine thread. I think in theory I could have used the soldering iron, but I don’t have the skill to manage that.

Element 3.

The base fabric of this element is a cotton I dyed somewhen. It was actually the first element I did in this appliquéing exercise.

At the top is an attempt at a fairly traditional technique. I cut a shape in freezer paper and ironed it onto the front of the purple cotton – the fabric sticks to the paper. I cut the cotton out with a small margin, took off the paper, put it on the back of the shape, then ironed the margin of cloth over the edges of the paper. This makes it easier to keep the shape together while carefully stitching the shape to the base cloth. I tried using two different thread colours, one matching the background and one the applied shape. I don’t think there’s much difference in visibility. Finally I cut a hole in the base cloth under the shape and was able to pull out the paper.

The dark purple shape is cotton that was ironed onto misty fuse and the shape cut out. After ironing it onto the base I used a herringbone stitch and 20/2 silk to support the bonding around the edges.

The purple and orange shape was created using free-machine stitching on a wash-away fabric. When the stitching was done I soaked and rinsed to remove all the wash-away. I hand-sewed it to the base using one of the threads used in the stitching.

Element 4.

The base fabric here is a silk/hemp mix I dyed a few years ago.

The appliquéd shape is a light-weight tyvek that I painted then heat-distressed. This is a reverse appliqué – the tyvek was under the green cloth when I attached them using a machine zig-zag to get a satin stitch. I then cut away the inner layer of green cloth to expose the tyvek layer underneath.

At the bottom is some ribbon applied to the base using a special ribbon sewing foot (it has a guide to keep the ribbon in the right place to go under the needle), and one of the fancy stitches available on my machine that produces the flower shape I’ve been using. My sewing machine is a Janome Memorycraft 6500. It’s about 9 years old now and still going well – mostly! The circle from the organza sandwich was meant to be applied with the same stitch, but the shape is slightly malformed.

Element 5.

Honan pongee tussah was used as the base of this element – another past dyeing experiment.

The top flower shape is a mid-weight lutradur that was painted, heat-distressed using a heat gun then cut out. It was attached to the base using some free machine stitching with a rayon thread.

The centre flower shape is some wool felt I made that has been applied using a simple straight stitch in 20/2 silk.

The bottom flower has petals of silk organza, the edges and centre distorted and frayed using a needle. Some synthetic sheer was bonded to the base fabric to give shape and enhance the colour. The petals were attached with a silver thread using chain stitch up the centre of each petal, to provide decoration and to the opportunity for movement.

The top circle was attached using the same silver thread, this time in a spiral of straight stitch. The lower circle used a fine silk thread, unevenly hand-dyed. The straight stitches vary in length and spike out from the circle.

Element 6.

The base of this element is quite heavy and has a pile. It’s a scrap  I found in my stash and I don’t know the fibre or its history. I chose it because of the colour and because it has enough weight to support the appliqué fabric.

The appliquéd shape is a handwoven fabric – plainweave in cottolin –  left over from making this bag. It was attached to the base using a fine machine zigzag. I wanted to celebrate the handwoven nature, so deliberately left a margin of fabric around the edge which I frayed.

The circle was attached using a straight machine stitch around the edge.

Element 7.

The final element is another piece of lightweight lutradur, again painted and distressed using a heat gun. The applied shape is tyvek (I think – the note-taking wasn’t great that day), painted, distressed with heat gun, cut out and attached using seed stitch and 20/ silk. I used the same silk to create the outline next to it – I felt something more was needed and the rest of my experiments were, bluntly, failures. I think it would have made more sense in the work if it had been seed stitch too, but I wasn’t confident of creating a clear shape on the distorted ground.

I didn’t enjoy working with the tyvek and lutradur. I was wearing a respirator which isn’t comfortable for long periods, and the heat gun kept blowing all my little samples around. I’ve since discussed this with Claire who suggested ways of managing it better. Having said that, I think my favourite samples are the reverse appliqué tyvek on element 4 and the free-machined lutradur on element 5. I also like the handwoven shape on element 6 (I’m pretty sure to be using that technique again) and I’m pleased with the colour use in the free-machined shape in element 3.

Another thing I’m happy with is the general idea of trying out techniques on a small scale then putting them together. I even used some techniques from the first assignment to create the background page, using ironed crumpled wax paper to create texture in the wash. It suits my learning style to break tasks down into more manageable chunks, in this case getting a handle on techniques before adding in design considerations. Having said that, I did spend quite a bit of time arranging and rearranging the elements on the page as well as the placement of the individual shapes.

I’ll just attached the elements lightly, probably a piece of double sided sticky tape on one side. Pat has commented in the past on the backs of work being just as interesting, or more interesting than the front. I don’t want to hide away that source of inspiration. Plus it allows you to feel the change in the fabric with all the different processes – can it still drape and move?

I’d like to explore further with using the soldering iron on synthetic organzas. I’m still on the learning curve with the equipment, but I’m interested in the potential for layering and playing with transparency. These little samples are really just tastes. It could be overkill, but I’m thinking of a few more extended samples before going on to the next step of this Stage.

Where am I up to?

That was the initial title for this post, which I began writing a couple of weeks ago. In a sense all that is below is irrelevant now, but I’ve almost posted something similar a few times – and since this is my blog and my learning tool I’m going to post it for my purposes and memory.

“I’ve lost momentum a bit at the moment, but this isn’t really one of those angst-y posts. It’s more that I recognise this feeling, something isn’t quite jelling, and I need to take a moment or two and consider what I’m doing.

“I know I’ve been here before, because these questions come from a draft post started months ago when wondering about my interpretation of the course notes and work so far:

  • Am I pushing hard enough?
  • Am I adventurous enough?
  • Am I exploring widely enough?
  • Am I reading and looking at other people’s work enough?
  • A big one – am I thinking deeply enough about what I’m doing and reading and seeing?
  • Am I too worried about pleasing others, including tutor and assessors, instead of finding out about myself?
  • It’s not a matter of what I can get away with – after all, I’m in this to learn not to prove anything or get anywhere.

“At least I’m sure these are good questions to ask. From a recent post on the WeAreOCA blog, written by Emma Drye: ‘Students talk about wanting to get a degree – but it’s wanting to do a degree that is important.’ Marks will suffer if ‘… you are just doing what you always do and there is no evidence that you are learning or challenging yourself or that you are engaging with ideas at an appropriate level.’ At later levels we should ‘look at the course projects and take the time to reflect on them and make them relevant to your emerging areas of interest.’

“Not directly related to my current questions, but something I really want to remember and consider, in response to a student question Emma added ‘Relevant contextual study means that you have sought out, or been directed to, relevant artists and that by looking at their work you have learned something useful for your own practice. … It’s more helpful … if you can link your contextual work with your studio practice. If you are trying to work more texturally for example – look at Joan Eardley. Then look at Anselm Kiefer and Jason Martin and write in your log what you think of their work in your own words, followed by a concrete plan of action as to how you are going to use what you have been thinking about in relation to these artists in your assignment piece. If you find an artist you think could be useful for you, think about why you like them and ask your tutor to recommend a couple more in the same vein.’

“And a killer sentence was ‘Without enough time for the course, ideas don’t have enough time to ferment so the work tends to lack depth and there will not be enough time to find your own voice or learn the core skills you need.’

“My tutor Pat has also written in the past that I should take the time to explore a promising path and not just set myself deadlines. Sometimes I have to hear things a few times before they start sinking in.

“I was really bothered by how long I took on Assignment 2. I felt “behind”, and while not trying to catchup I was definitely trying to move briskly. Quite rightly it’s come back to bite me, because the little bits and pieces I’ve been working on are so uninteresting and I’m so disengaged from them that I can’t be bothered working on them.

“Having stepped back for a few days and thought about it all I actually feel quite good about it. I had a problem. I identified it. I can take steps to rectify the situation.

“Step 1 was to go back to the course notes and read again, carefully. What am I being asked to do? What am I trying to achieve and learn?”

Bringing this up to date, I did re-read and re-consider, and I decided to push on with my little bits and pieces. I think this was a good choice – I thought of more things to try, more variations, and even if very unsophisticated the small samples do give an indication of potential further work and exploration. The work has also given me the time and frame of mind to come up with a few ideas that I’m now keen to go on with.

Potential theme – Ageing

For a while now I’ve been thinking about ageing or memory as a potential theme for my design project for A Creative Approach, and basically because of an emotional connection I am being drawn towards Ageing.

This is my mother at the Art Gallery last weekend. I’m not really thinking of her stage of ageing. Mum’s in her eighties, is careful of what she eats, makes sure there’s a Physical, Mental and Social element in every day, is aware of and preparing for what may be in the future but is fiercely making the most of every moment. She has led and continues to lead an adventurous and independent life and I am enormously proud of her and her achievements. When this photo was taken we had just finished recording the first installment of the Oral History she wants to make, starting at age 11, sitting in a chapel in Weymouth when a man came in with a note for the preacher – England was at war.

In the background is Ben Quilty’s portrait of Margaret Olley, another fierce and independent woman.

Earlier that day we came across a work by Ron Mueck. It totally stopped me in my tracks.

I’ve included the information plaque because I think it describes the work beautifully.

This is an amazing, hyper-realistic work, perhaps two-thirds life size and looking even smaller in the large gallery space.

The sense of vulnerability and frailty is one part of what is concerning me.

This is the photo that really bothers me. It’s the window of a shared room in a nursing home, the home for over two years of a woman I know and occasionally visit. She is frail, vulnerable, alert, intelligent, trapped, scared, in pain. She used to be proud and independent in a quiet but determined way. Widowed as a young woman, she has raised her children alone. Now she is in a system that in the name of protecting her has stripped her of almost everything. Virtually everyone involved – family, nursing home staff, bureaucrats, whoever – will say in honesty that they are doing their best to care for her but the result is horrendous. She loves that window, the light, the view. She loves her family too, but she is ready to go.

I don’t know whether Nancy will be my focus (that’s not her real name, but obviously I’ll do my best not to identify her, her relatives or the nursing home). It’s more around loss of choice and personal control, physical restriction – for example see this article (I’m right to go, just don’t wake me by Mark Metherell accessed May 11, 2012) about people who have “Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed on their chest. I’m not sure how much I will blog about this, as it could be regarded as political and divisive which is not my intention. I’m not sure what my feelings are, beyond anger and pity, and I certainly don’t have any answers just lots of questions. I would like to learn and think more about this, to find a way to express myself in a way that is thought-provoking and not unduly offensive. I guess this is a toe in the water.

(Not an OCA) Textile Study Visit

OCA frequently runs study visits for students in various disciplines. Last month Lizzy wrote an exciting post here, about a Textiles Study visit to Whitworth Gallery in Manchester led by tutors Liz Smith and Pat Hodson. It sounded wonderful, with preparation and tasks and group discussion. I was very jealous. It’s 30 years since I was last in the UK and I can’t see a trip happening any time soon, so no study visits for me (cue mournful music).

Trying to content myself by living vicariously I read the various forum posts of students on the visit. I also contacted Lizzy and OCA, and Liz Smith was happy to send me her briefing notes, visit plan and a sheet on a Critical Approach to viewing works of art.

Then Claire and I came up with a Plan – we would have our own Textile Study Visit.

Today we met up in the city, and caught a ferry over to Manly on the north shore (note yellow and green ferry plus fortuitous rainbow). Our destination was the Manly Art Gallery and Museum which currently has three textile-related exhibitions showing. Contemporary Quilt Textiles is a biennial juried exhibition, a collaboration between the Gallery and the Quilters’ Guild of NSW. The Gallery is running a number of events in conjunction with the exhibition, so Claire and I timed our Visit to include a discussion on narrative threads in contemporary textile art by Australian textile artists Liz Williamson, Cecillia Heffer and Paula do Prado.

The exhibition theme is Regeneration, and Manly Art Gallery has provided a downloadable pdf of the catalogue on their website (here, if the link still works). This was particularly handy because it meant Claire and I could Prepare, and I even wrote up some briefing notes and Tasks with timings and options, drawing heavily on Liz  Smith’s notes (Claire was kind enough not to laugh at the instruction “Get together with the rest of the group members”). With information from the catalogue I was even able to give a choice of themes, and since I thought that was pretty good for an outing for two, I’ll share:

Theme 1: The stories behind the works. From the catalogue: “We know there is heightened public interest in the stories behind the material object – who made it, how, why and with what intent – for whom?” The exhibition has “creative process displays [which] complement and enrich the primary display of the finished art quilts”.

How is this done? Is it successful? Should artworks speak for themselves, giving space for the viewer to participate in giving meaning to the work?

Theme 2: regeneration.  A variety of general approaches/responses to the exhibition theme were identified based on information in the catalogue – the human condition; the natural world (fiery regeneration and Other); process/technique. Select one of these for further investigation.

Do the works identified actually fit the sub-theme? What are the differences in approach within a theme? Does one of the works particularly appeal to you or appear more successful? Why? Use the Critical Approach list to examine that work.

Theme 3: technique. The catalogue highlights the use of computer technology and in particular photography and image manipulation. There is also a wide range traditional textile techniques, some of which may have been applied in new ways or to new materials. Select one or two works which demonstrate these trends and contrast their approaches.

Theme 4: narrative threads in textile art.  Based on material in the catalogue or your own scanning of the exhibition, select one or more works which illustrate the use of narrative threads in textile arts. Use the Critical Approach list to examine the work in more detail. Consider the nature of the narrative and how well you feel it has been communicated in the work.

The gallery staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. In general photography is not permitted in the exhibition, but they allowed us to take general photos of the rooms as long as we didn’t focus on particular works. Later when we wanted to spend some time focusing on our Selected works, they fetched chairs for us, and even offered a cup of tea at one point.
We started by going around the two rooms of the exhibition, getting a general impression and choosing one work in each room for detailed study.

The tables you see in this photo contain the “creative process displays” which are intended to “complement and enrich” viewing of the finished art works (quotes are from the catalogue). I had mixed feelings about these. I found it hard not to look at the process displays before spending time with the actual works. There was a lot of variation in the contents – I think the artists had mixed opinions too.
The first piece I focused on was Black Water #32: into the light… by Judy Hooworth. It’s the diptych right of centre, a light colour piece over a brownish one. (Check the catalogue pdf – link above – for a better photo). I sat with it a long time, considering content, form, process and mood as suggested by the Critical Approach notes. The amount of information available in the catalogue and process display was almost too much. For example while I was attracted to the scribbly swirls of the work I didn’t see them as abstract – they were clearly representational of the ripples of water in the rain. I might have wondered about ecological concerns being expressed, not knowing of the artist’s personal journey of grief and loss expressed through depiction of a favourite location. In the talks later both Cecillia Heffer and Paula do Prado spoke about works that were private. They still made the work, but chose not to include imagery, instead allowing their audience to find their own story and meaning in the work. Cecillia described it as gaps, silences and unanswered questions in another’s story.

Originally I had thought my timetable for the day allowed ridiculous amounts of time, but after intense focus on just one piece I was ready for lunch. Claire and I walked back to Manly Wharf for some very nice thai food, and a great chat about our assignment work and what everyone’s doing (all the student blogs really help in feeling part of the student community).

I’ve added some photos of the plantlife around, just for some local colour.

After lunch we returned to focus on a work in the second room. However we didn’t have much time before people started arriving for the scheduled talks. An advantage was that I could take a photo of an individual artwork. This is Toni Valentine with her work Regenerating Colour.

The speakers were all interesting. Cecillia Heffer illustrated her talk with a series of slides of her works, but rather than commenting on them directly she read from letters she wrote and received while developing them. Lace is her major focus, organising spaces as well as the solid motif, and she talked about the gaps and spaces of our homeland, of absences and immigration. Paula do Prado has just completed her Masters at COFA. An immigrant to Australia she talked about inclusion and exclusion, about cloth as an archive and capturing the family history and knowledge she fears losing.

Liz Williamson started by saying that every textile has a story attached, even the (very ordinary) tablecloth on the speakers’ table. She talked about textiles reflecting a peoples’ attitude to the world, for example in an area of India where weaving is predominantly men’s work, and embroidery women’s. A later slide showed Xanana Gusmão around the time East Timor gained its independence, wearing a scarf woven on a backstrap loom – a particular cloth, woven in a particular way, using particular motifs. The meaning, the sense of place and time that a textile can give!

Overall I feel our first Study Visit was fun, worthwhile and exhausting. It’s a strange approach to scan the works as a whole and then focus deeply on just a few. I think that Claire and I to some extent both felt we were somehow not showing full respect to those artists whose work we didn’t concentrate on. However I wouldn’t have the time or stamina to give that level of attention to all. By making selections I was able to clarify some of my own interests and objectives, as well as gain a deeper appreciation of those works. I definitely want to use the Critical Approach again, but probably with some rebalancing of time so I have a bit more of a general understanding and appreciation of the exhibition as a whole.

Project 6 Stage 2

Developing Ideas.

Despite (or because of) past difficulties I really like the way this course is structured – new skills are being introduced, but plenty of practice is given to earlier ones. In this case that means selecting drawings or other source material and considering ways to develop or change them.

This drawing done last October has nice flowing lines and contrasts of texture.
The obvious development was to add colour, and for that I went to a recent photo sneaked of a woman’s shirt in the bus.
In this muddle I tried a few variations – from squiggles to little blocks of colour, gray and/or bits of orange in the negative spaces, different amounts of outline dividing up the space. While doing this I was thinking about how it could be converted into a textile – adding shiny and matt, some textural interest in the negative space etc. It would be better to focus on what is in front of me, not rushing ahead.
Next were these rhythmic, flowing lines from Mark-making in Project 1.
For contrast, I added the spikey weed flowerheads sketched earlier in the week.The sketch also has vertical lines, but they are more eccentric, individual and uneven.
Again, the new sketch doesn’t really capture my intention. I wanted a striped effect (I’ve been noticing and enjoying stripes in scarves lately), but further work is definitely required.
Recently I took this photo (altered in gimp) of some fruit, after a lack-lustre drawing effort.

I tried to capture colours and textures, which had some interest but I started wondering if the underlying lines and shapes were as strong as I first thought.

The photo of the first sketch looks better now than it did at the time (not an uncommon occurrence!), but at the time I changed focus in a monochromatic version. I still think there is potential here, so will probably return to it at some point.
Next I decided to try some computer work. I keep coming back to this bird shape, started in the class with Peter Griffen. I tried all sorts of computer manipulation, tiling, kaleidoscope… nothing. This attempt was meant to be a play on “love birds”, but the grouchy eyes in the middle don’t work well with that!
Finally I tried the spikey weeds again, playing with scale and line.

This is a combination of a greatly magnified section of the weed sketch, overlaid by some of the leaf and stalk lines in one of my photos.

I like the contrast of scale and the syncopated rhythm of the lines.

The next step in Stage 2 was to start playing with fabric, experimenting with overlapping sheers, combining textures, altering surfaces, then moving on to make a few small collages of fabric.

In my first attempt I stayed with the weedy flowers theme.

The base is an off-cut of some felt, and the green fibres make a good background for the theme. The flowers are all slightly different – silk organza, with some glittery fabrics underneath or on top to bring some light to the piece. I like the balance of colour – the touches of purple aren’t hugely obvious, but they add some variety and depth. The uneven top started in necessity – I’d obviously cut a piece off in the past – but I added to it and I think it brings a liveliness to the work. I’m pleased with this one – bright, quirky and cheerful.

Next I decided to use the bird motif. It stubbornly refuses to be part of a larger design, but I like it so much I really wanted to use it at least once.

The background is a silk and hemp mix fabric I dyed some years ago. I think both colour and design suggest feathers, but in lines that contrast with the curves of the actual bird. The trim used to form the line of the bird was dyed in an ATASDA class with Lynne Britten from Batik Oetoro. The central feathers were originally a wax resist silk painting of boab trees against a sunset (a class with Robyn Carver when I first started playing with textiles 10 or so years ago). The eye is felt, with some silver lamé behind to bring some light and sparkle, and there’s some black tulle on the body of the bird to give it a bit more definition. I love all the memories that making this brought, but I don’t think the result is very exciting. It feels rather static.

I returned to the colour scheme from the shirt photo near the top and combined it with my current interest in stripes. This is a mixture of ribbons, and the black is from a roll of material from the hardware store, intended for tying up plants. I like the result. The various reds work well with the dull yellow-green of the background. To my eyes the size and spacing of the stripes looks balanced and interesting.

This is the disastrous one.

I wanted to experiment with overlapping colours in sheers. I had “matching” sheers – a shot red/blue with red stitching and a shot blue/red with blue stitching. I wove with them, some fuchsia, and a blue tulle which was scrunched up to give varied density of colour. There was meant to be contrast of straight lines and curves, pattern and plain, interesting mixes of colour… It just looked a mess. I tried layering it over lots of different fabrics, trying to find something that would provide interest, variety and cohesion. In the end the best of the bunch was an old silk painting, swirls of pink and purple. Blah.

Finally I wanted to try working in monochrome. The basic design here is very static, but I tried to vary it with a series of experiments using some hessian. I think this worked well, giving a balance of structure with variety and interest. The small  spots of texture in the black rectangles contrasts with the squares of the background. Hessian copes well with having threads removed and the different density of cover adds to the overall effect. It reminds me of a picnic table, set with nice treats for the eyes!

Edited to add: I was putting things away and realised I missed one of my design attempts.

This was a development of some sketching based on feathers done in January, and obviously was itself the basis for the hessian picnic!


Project 6 Stage 1

It’s Sunday night after a busy weekend – the normal domestic stuff, a day at the Art Gallery enjoying all the special events celebrating the reopening and new hang of the Australian Galleries and (drumroll…) a start on Project 6 – a rush of sketching (starting a new stetchbook page here), through Stage 1 and most of Stage 2.

Project 6 is all about Manipulating Fabric (applied fabric techniques and Raised and structured surface textures). Stage 1 is Preparation – basically preparing some space, sorting fabric into colour groups, and pinning up samples of each type and colour.
My fabric stash is mostly bits and pieces I’ve dyed, scraps from past projects and short lengths bought for various classes. I sorted it into colour groups earlier in the course – a small tub each for the primary and secondary colours, plus some containers for neutrals and multi-coloured. Each tub has a jumble of fabric, a bag of threads, plus two bags of “snippets” (at the front of the photo)- bits of fabric and thread that are too small for anything much on their own, but may be Just Right for something one day.

At first I wasn’t going to do the cutting samples and pinning on a board bit, but then I remembers to Let Go and Trust The Process. Rather than getting lost in all the small bits I focused on synthetic sheers, and was rather surprised at the range I had. I’d have said I was a natural fibres gal. These are the ones where I had a reasonable amount  – say 40cm or more.

I’ve also taken a look along the bookshelves and reading over the next few weeks will be:

Wolff, C. (1996) The Art of Manipulating Fabric, Krause Publications. This is on the course list, but I actually bought (and part read!) a few years back.

Beaney, J. & Littlejohn, J. (1999) Bonding and Beyond, Double Trouble Enterprises. Purchased last year for the course.

McGehee, L.F. (1998) Creating texture with textiles, Krause Publications.

Beal, M. (2005) Fusing fabric: creative cutting, bonding and mark-making with the soldering iron, B T Batsford

The books I’ve paused over but left on the shelf relate to creating fabric with texture, through weaving and felting. Definitely extracurricular – but so much potential. Clicking on the thumbnail of a cream scarf in collapse weave will take you to my post in October 2009 with all the detail.

The felting on the right was done in pre-blog days – the small orange/green bowl in a class with Jorie Johnson. Tempting – but most definitely not at the price of another 6 month marathon assignment!


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