I started thinking about this exercise earlier in the week with general musing about tearing. The course notes give the definition “the act of breaking a material without the use of tools”.
Hidden inner revealed – different colour, texture?
Loss of control
Partial control – crease first?
Scallops of nibbles
Lacey, delicate, fragile
Combine to form pattern
Tension between linear and random
grain of material
stretching and fluting of edges
strength, force, disintegration, overpowered, overwhelmed
loss, void, parted
Reassembled, darning, mended, scar
sensitive, follows lines of weakness, least resistance
not cutting, imposing – responding
How many of those will I find in my materials?
Sample p1-79. Using A3 indigo-dyed cartridge paper – thinking it would show the inside clearly.
The page has a few wax/crayon marks from my January indigo experiments (post 9-Jan-2015, with this page produced Thursday 1st).
Folded down centre, held on table on left side. Tore quickly down.
Sample p1-79 Quick tear
Tore mostly straight. Felt a little soft – gave easily. This could be a combination of the previous dyeing and the fold, but I suspect it is also humidity – Sydney has had lots of rain and storms, flooding in areas, over the last week. The internet tells me 77% humidity, and it is raining again at the moment.
Sample p1-79 Detail
Quite an organic, varying line, highlighted by the soft centre white of the paper.
A quick tear, no pre-folding, left side held down.
Sample p1-80 Rotated – “left side” is shown as top
Unintentionally tore at an angle (no influence of grain?)
Broad edge of white, each side of which has its own slightly different tear, giving a lot of variation in detail.
Sample p1-80 Detail
The thin edge curled – another characteristic to explore.
Sample p1-80 Detail – edges folded to show both faces
The white border is on one face of each side, giving opportunities for variation and contrast.
A slow tear, left side held down on surface, trying to maintain a moderately straight edge but encouraging the border of white.
Worked as intended.
The edge is thin, a bit fuzzy and frail. Depending on use would need to think about stabilising it – or leaving to show further signs of age and use.
Grabbed a side in each hand and pulled paper apart. Harder than I expected, needed a lot of force.
Sample p1-82 Detail
Get a dimensional effect from the gripping of the hands. The white edge varies, showing on one face and then the other of each side. It reminds me of a river, with sand banks building up depending on curves and current.
Returned to other half of the original A3 paper, trying repeats to see if there is any impact from the grain by tearing at 90 degrees.
Similar to p1-79 in method. Line is more controlled, slightly less exposure of the white centre.
Repeat of p1-80, looking for any impact of grain of paper.
Broad edge, but straighter tear overall. I was probably more careful. The inner blue edge on the left seems to have less variation at a detail level.
Repeat of p1-81, looking at grain.
This also felt easier to control.
Sample p1-85 Backlit
There is an extra level of layering in parts of the torn area, easier to see when backlit. In this photo there is also an impact of the patterning of the indigo dyeing on the other face.
Repeat of p1-82, looking at grain.
Not as intended! I guess I didn’t have enough of a handhold.
Exploring the combined effect, still working with the single initial A3 page.
Sample p1-87a. Layering
I like the extra shadows, giving darker lines.
Sample p1-87b. Weaving
Weaving is less interesting with this set.
Sample p1-87c. Recombined
The exploded page. This suggests possibilities with spacing.
A sheet of handmade paper, roughly A4, from MakerSpace.
It has lots of little inclusions. I can see fragments of text, a little plastic (sticky tape?)…
A quick tear, 1 side supported.
Quite a gentle line.
Sample p1-88 Detail
The edge is a little fuzzy and fibrous. Perhaps the path of the tear has been influenced by the fragment components of the paper.
A slow, careful tear.
A very rough but overall straight line.
Sample p1-89 Detail
It tore in uneven little jumps, as if pausing to consider which way to go around fragments of different density.
This was meant to be scallops, lots of little tears one after another, new pinch point on the left side with each tear in the sequence.
Doesn’t seem to add anything new.
For contrast, and given I haven’t done the earlier cutting exercises, I cut some strips.
So much of the life and interest gone! The cutting subdues the paper, removes its individuality.
Sample p1-92a. Weaving play
Sample p1-92b. A combination.
For me the materials don’t enhance each other. Not similar enough and not different enough.
An A3 sheet of Detail paper, 50gsm
A quick tear, one side supported.
Difficult to control. A little rough at edges.
Detail paper. Slow tear, supported on the left on the surface.
It was easier to control and keep roughly straight.
Sample p1-94 Detail
I like the layering of the edges at the detail level.
Detail paper. Short tears, pinched between thumb and fingers on the left.
Almost the scalloped edge I’m looking for.
Sample p1-95 Detail
The edges of the tear are harder, creating a thin white line.
Detail paper. A slow tear, supported on the left, at 90 degrees to the previous tearing.
No real difference apparent.
Detail paper. Tried bundling grip in each hand and pulling apart.
I’m not strong enough
With hands held closer and gathering in from the side, I was able to pull the paper apart.
Sample p1-98 – Grip!
Sample p1-98 Result
I quite like the crumpling! The edge is quite clean and sharp.
This exercise is feeling quite tedious at the moment. I need to find a way of livening it up.
Try some different types of materials.
The thin pink plastic seen in earlier exercises (see especially p1-62, 20-April-2015).
I wasn’t able to tear it by just grabbing two sides and pulling, but it stretched and created some nice parallel lines.
Lots of little tears, pinching between thumbs and forefingers.
A nice, stretched, fluted looks with lots of variety at the detail level.
Gathered in to make a flower. I wouldn’t have said I was a pink plastic flower sort of person.
Carrier bag plastic.
Difficult to get started, with lots of stretching. Once I had it going it tore easily, with some delicate little flutes at the edges.
Sample p1-101 Detail
Attempted a quick tear, supported on the worksurface on the left. The tear was meant to follow the lines of the crepe crinkles.
Very difficult to control. Would stretch, then suddenly tear in unexpected directions.
The same general approach, but this time across the lines of the crepe crinkles.
A fluttery line – soft yet jagged.
Layering with earlier samples.
It enhances other tears.
Fresh and white, so doesn’t fight (perhaps gives a resting place to the eyes), and builds the texture.
Tearing with the grain was easy, but not particularly exciting.
I didn’t expect to be able to tear across the grain without pre-folding.
Using sudden, sharp force I was able to make a start, but didn’t get all the way across before the tear changed direction to follow the grain.
Dramatic jagged lines.
A sheet of cork, 3mm thick.
A quick tear quickly found the edge. A slower tear didn’t go much better. Third attempt (on the left) was carefully supported on the work top, with short, careful, nibbling tears.
Sample p1-107 Detail
I like the rugged coastline look at the detail level.
Tissue paper. A slow, supported tear.
More even and less exciting than I expected.
A repeat, going the other way across the tissue.
I hadn’t realised tissue paper is so strongly grained! A bellringing method, seismograph, heartbeat?
The course notes suggest repeating in tearing exercises previously done using cutting. I haven’t done the previous exercises (yet?), so can’t refer back. Here however is tearing tissue paper from one edge.
Sample p1-110b. Coiled around.
Sample p1-110c. Curved into a tunnel
I wasn’t feeling positive about the strips back on themselves and through the base (sample 110c) so tried curling the other way.
A slightly more convoluted wrapping over and protruding through didn’t work. Even backlighting didn’t help, so not shown. Usually tissue will show lovely layering.
Indigo dyed cartridge paper, A4. This follows up the previous sample, but in a firmer (although not crisp) paper which may hold shape better.
Sample p1-111a. Torn from one edge.
A curve from the tearing. All the tears were with the same side facing, so each has the white inside appearing on the same side (the left of each strip in the photo). It could be interesting to vary this, so both sides of a strip match.
Sample p1-111b. Curled around.
Sample p1-111c. In a tube.
Not easy, given the variation in width of the strips (overlapping, given the splitting of layers of paper) and that I hadn’t left enough untorn area to be able to stagger the slits well, so the end part is just tucked around.
Sample p1-111d.Tube arranged differently.
Sample p1-111f. I used the blade of my scissors to curl the strips in opposite directions. (Using a tool! So outside the strict parameters of the exercise)
Sample p1-111g. Trying to get a bit of height and a less formal arrangement, in an improvised stand.
A fountain of curls?
Tearing didn’t excite me as much as some of the other exercises. Perhaps it’s more familiar so I didn’t get as many surprises or unexpected insights. Changing to more unconventional materials helped briefly. If I have time later I’d like to go back to the earlier exercises in this project – crisp cuts and a clean structure building impact through repetition seems appealing.
Proof-reading this post gave me another look at the definition given. Breaking without tools. Perhaps I should have tried something unexpected like punching and kicking.
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Project 2: Tearing and cutting
Exercise 6: Tearing