Archive for the '1.4 Scratching and embossing' Category

T1-MMT-P1-p4-e2 Scratching – second session

Following the lessons of the first session (17-May-2015), this time I started by looking for materials which I thought might respond well to a variety scratching. Thick, layered, potential for colour or texture changes could work.

A short list of possibilities:

  • Photos – hide or delete. Add or extend.
  • Corrugated cardboard thick and thin.
  • Wax crayon
  • Cork
  • Plywood
  • Sample p1-140
    Corrugated cardboard – largeish ridges, suitable as a protective wrapping when packing something.
    Sample p1-140 A
    A series of marks with a flat blade screwdriver.

    Sample p1-140 A

    Sample p1-140 A


    I find the ones that bend the ridges rather than breaking through are more interesting. The folds create shadows and highlights that cut across the regular lines of the ridges. It looks different depending on angle, which makes me think of hidden messages. (I remember doing some kind of shadow knitting in the past, where the motif was only visible from certain directions).

    Sample p1-140 B

    Sample p1-140 B

    Sample p1-140 B


    Using the same tool on the other side gives strong lines when the corner of the blade is used. Heavier pressure creases a more indented line which flutters as connection points to the ridges below are crossed.
    Using the flat of the blade either breaks through the layer, or leaves a broad line which catches the light more subtly. The shadows are finer, broken lines, the highlights more diffused.

    Sample p1-140 C
    A 12mm square notch adhesive spreader.

    Sample p1-140 C

    Sample p1-140 C


    This had only a small effect, although lighting direction is again significant. Perhaps the plastic notches were too flexible to scratch effectively.

    Sample p1-140 D
    I wanted to create wider folds without breaking the paper.

    Sample p1-140 D

    Sample p1-140 D


    NT_croc_track2The rounded end of a toothbrush worked. Lighting again critical. From one direction it reminded me of crocodile tracks seen on an NT beach a couple of years ago (see post 29-August-2013).

    Sample p1-140 E
    Worrying less about breaking the surface (this is “scratching” after all) I used a fork in undulating lines.

    Sample p1-140 E

    Sample p1-140 E


    Lots of movement and changes according to light. I wonder if it would be possible to get this effect on a textile then drape it to catch the light in different, changing ways.

    Sample p1-140 F
    I used the corner of a boot knife to create a series of radiating lines.

    Sample p1-140 F

    Sample p1-140 F


    Generally the paper ridges folded quite crisply, rather than breaking or cutting as I part expected. I moved the knife quickly and felt I had a lot more control of direction. In one photo the cardboard is curved, trying to capture those variations in light.

    Sample p1-140 G
    Now wanting to break the surface I used a hacksaw blade.

    Sample p1-140 G

    Sample p1-140 G


    When moved straight across the ridges it created a fairly neat cut line. When used at around 45 degrees to the ridges the surface was abraded rather than cut.

    Sample p1-140 H
    More reckless and forceful than before, a series of marks using a metal skewer.

    Sample p1-140 H

    Sample p1-140 H


    The surface broke and folded. I like the varied, rough texture created.

    Sample p1-140 I
    The metal skewer again using similar force and gestures, on the other side of the cardboard.

    Sample p1-140 I

    Sample p1-140 I


    I get a feeling of depth in the marks, but not the strong, varied shadowing that I find so attractive in earlier versions.

    Sample p1-140 J
    Undulating lines with a fork on the flat side of the cardboard.

    Sample p1-140 J

    Sample p1-140 J


    The photos show the cardboard curved to get a range of lighting angles. Another great set of lines.

    I really like this material. The shadows are exciting and varied. Lots of potential.

    Sample p1-141
    nicholson_09
    When I first thought of scatching through the layers of a photograph, scratches through a face was obvious. I found it such a violent idea, so aggressive and full of anger that I baulked at doing it.
    Finally I found a photo I took in the Nicholson Museum. (report post from that visit 31-May-2013). This marble head from a statue is Titus, Roman, first century AD. My scruples could cope with scratching this.

    Sample p1-141 A

    Sample p1-141 A

    Sample p1-141 A


    The T pin I used first was too fine to take off much of the colour surface and cut through the photo a couple of times

    Sample p1-141 A

    Sample p1-141 B

    Sample p1-141 B


    The metal skewer removed more material from the mouth, but doesn’t give the sense of violence that I am now expecting.

    Sample p1-141 C

    Sample p1-141 C

    Sample p1-141 C


    The flat blade screwdriver in criss-cross marks took up material around the ear very well (perhaps a despot that didn’t listen to the people?
    Sample p1-141 C detail

    Sample p1-141 C detail


    Some fragment threads of the surface remain attached. I wonder if some use could be made of that.

    Sample p1-141 D
    Influenced by ideas of classic movie scenes I scratched across the neck with the tip of a pair of scissors held in my fist.

    Sample p1-141 D

    Sample p1-141 D


    A good variety of mark – I think I can see anger there.

    Sample p1-141 E
    What if I really wanted to obliterate part of the image?

    Sample p1-141 E

    Sample p1-141 E


    I attempted using the flat blade of the screwdriver held to dig away as much surface as possible. I’m surprised how much of the head is left.

    Sample p1-141 F
    I used a broad rounded pallette knife.

    Sample p1-141 F

    Sample p1-141 F


    Pushing away it just skidded over the surface, but pulling forward it created these wonderful broken lines. No sense of anger, but great patterning.

    Sample p1-141 G
    Back to the classics – a house key.

    Sample p1-141 G

    Sample p1-141 G


    Actually the most effective in angry marks and surface destroyed.

    Sample p1-142
    Using the experience of the previous sample I used another photo – when taken I was interested in the large-scale thread management (they seem to have created a cross, as if winding a warp).

    Sample p1-142

    Sample p1-142


    This time I actually scratched out a person (only seen from the back).
    In a busy street scene I was curious whether the scratching would actually make the person more conspicuous than in the original. I think it’s very effective at drawing attention. The idea that the absence or void left by something speaks so much of them is something to continue exploring.

    Sample p1-143 1552
    My final photo, taken at Wave Rock in WA (post 17-October-2011), was more difficult to alter than I expected.

    Sample p1-143

    Sample p1-143


    I used a series of small screwdrivers plus the metal skewer trying to create my surfer.

    At this point I ran out of time for the exercises. I need to do some final sorting and review, and the deadline for this Part is looming. I really regret taking such a methodical approach in the first session, wasting time “completing” samples that weren’t taking me anywhere. At times I have got good results pushing beyond what I thought would work, but I need to find a balance.

    T1-MMT-P1-p4-e2 Scratching – second session
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 1: Surface Distortion
    Project 4: Scratching and embossing
    Exercise 2: Scratching

    T1-MMT-P1-p4-e2 Scratching – first session

    I was attracted to this exercise as another way of distressing the surface (like folding etc).
    Some initial thoughts:

  • Does it have to be a solid surface?
  • Scratching in plasticine or wet paint.
  • Scratching on a surface and then printing from it.
  • Choosing fragile materials or materials with a fragile face to scratch.
  • Layers of colour (crayon? Felt?)
  • I started by collecting an initial pool of things to scratch with.

    Some potential tools

    Some potential tools

    I decided to start on some indigo dyed paper, as the surface marks easily and scratches should be visible. After the first attempt (Sample p1-136, A1) I decided to work on multiple pages at the same time. Looking back I’m not sure why – efficiency in producing samples probably. See my comments at the end on this choice and the consequences.

    I worked on four A4 pages at the same time.
    Sample p1-136. Indigo dyed cartridge paper
    sample p1-137. Handmade paper (from Makerspace)
    Sample p1-138. 118 gsm strathmore toned gray sketch paper
    Sample p1-139. 80 gsm copy paper

    The tools selected:

    Chosen tools

    Chosen tools


    Top row, left to right: T pin, flat blade screwdriver, fork, boot knife, serrated knife, hair comb, wooden skewer, hex screwdriver, screw bottle top.
    Bottom row, left to right: Fine toothed wool carder, paint brush, large compass.

    Experiments and comments:
    A1: T pin, held at angle to paper, dragged up to the right.

    A1

    A1


    P1-136 An irregular mark, with bits of the surface lifted.
    P1-137 Tore through paper.
    P1-138 Fine irregular lines, change in visibility at different angles.
    P1-139 more lifting of paper, giving better shadow lines.

    B1: T pin, held perpendicular to paper, dragged down without great pressure.

    B1

    B1


    P1-136 line appears more dotted / beaded.
    P1-137 learnt to be very gentle to avoid ripping. Tufty look in lifting fibres.
    P1-138 initial scratches hardly visible, so used more force. A more fine, precise look.
    P1-139 little to see. If increased pressure to create more of a mark, wanted to catch and tear.

    C1: T pin drawn in a spiral.

    C1

    C1


    P1-136 hard to manage. Jumps in line.
    P1-137 Similar difficulty with jumping.
    P1-138 was able to get closer to a continuous line, but hardly visible.
    P1-139 I like the variety in the line, with different levels of catching.

    D1: flat screwdriver, held like a pencil, dragged up to the left with corner scratching paper

    D1

    D1


    P1-136 generally bolder, more consistent lines, although a few didn’t catch into the surface.
    P1-137 couldn’t find a pressure balance to make mark but avoid tearing.
    P1-138 fine lines, few catches.
    P1-139 hard to see (except for slight rust from the screwdriver!) A slight dent, no catching.

    A2: Flat blade screwdriver, held in fist perpendicular to paper, short curved scratches.

    A2

    A2


    P1-136 Marks more gentle, look a bit like fishscales.
    P1-137 Some broader fluff marks on some of the upswings, but subdued.
    P1-138 Marks a bit more visible, as scrapes across the surface.
    P1-139 Also more subtle, more broad scrapes across rather than scratching into the surface.

    B2: Fork (from picnic set – steel, but light). Held with 4 tines touching paper, drawn up to the right.

    B2

    B2


    P1-136 Hard to get marks initially. Held fork more perpendicular and used more pressure.
    P1-137 Tines make wider lines and more consistent lines than earlier. Makes me think of furrowed fields.
    P1-138 Used quite a bit of force to get marks. A bend to the marks that look like grasses in the breeze.
    P1-139 Marks inconsistent. Areas of general abrasion.

    C2: Fork as above. Held with 4 tines on paper, guiding finger pressing them down, pulled down page in undulating lines.

    C2

    C2


    P1-136 Inconsistency in lines. Generally fine to very fine.
    P1-137 Got one tear and had to lift up. With care and luck this could create a nice texture.
    P1-138 Clear lines, indenting but not abrading the surface.
    P1-139 Similar to above. Hard to see.

    D2: Boot knife, dragged smoothly down to right, front corner pressed down.

    D2

    D2


    P1-136 too much pressure – straight cuts through paper.
    P1-137 tried to adjust pressure, with mixed results. Tears rather than cuts.
    P1-138 sharp lines.
    P1-139 very nearly cut through.

    A3: Boot knife, quick short movements down to the right.

    A3

    A3


    P1-136 managed not to cut through. Visibility varies depending on angle of light and view, but a little like stylized drawing of rain.
    P1-137 Hard to see. Noticed while turning it to view that the lines encourage folding in the paper – could be useful if doing shaping.
    P1-138 At detail view there is some variation in shape and depth where the knife corner first hits the paper.
    P1-139 Not much to see. Almost cut through paper.

    B3: Serrated knife (from picnic set – light steel), dragged down to right trying to keep length of serration on paper.

    B3

    B3


    P1-136 Straight, sharp lines, a little wider and abraded at top.
    P1-137 Mostly managed not to catch. Lines fairly continuous, with lifting at both sides almost in occasional Vs.
    P1-138 Fine lines.
    P1-139 Fine lines. Almost cut through.

    C3: Serrated knife as above. Serration held flat to paper and dragged to right (each serration making a separate mark).

    C3

    C3


    P1-136 Mix of parallel lines. Almost looks like a paintbrush effect.
    P1-137 Once I learnt to be gentle got large area of abrasion with some finer horizontal indenting visible.
    P1-138 Went over and over trying to get something to see. Lots of fine lines, some abrasion.
    P1-139 Similar to p1-138. Very understated.

    A4: Plastic hair comb, drawn up to the right.

    A4

    A4


    P1-136 A few faint lines.
    P1-137 Indentations without abrasion – first tool to produce this on this paper.
    P1-138 Next to nothing.
    P1-139 Even less.

    B4: Wooden skewer drawn down in undulating line, then when not much seen on indigo, dragged up to the right.

    B4

    B4


    P1-136 Almost invisible. Went back and tried again after relative success on other surfaces. Still not good – this paper looks best where the surface is broken and contrasting colours seen. Simple pressure lines get lost in the overall patterning of colour.
    P1-137 Both movements worked well, clear marks without abrading surface.
    P1-138 Can see a bit if the light hits at the right angle.
    P1-139 Not much.

    C4: A hex screwdriver, held down and twisted.

    C4

    C4


    P1-136 At an angle see slight scraping of surface.
    P1-137 There is some shine in circles where pressure from screwdriver “polished” surface, but most obvious marks are colour rubbed off.
    P1-138 Again get a circular polished effect, seen more in raking light.
    P1-139 Some polishing and some partial indentation. Very understated.

    D4: A screw bottle cap, some small “tags” where the seal was broken. Held down and twisted.

    D4

    D4


    P1-136 Some catching and tearing of surface. Circular pattern is not apparent.
    P1-137 Good circle indentations with some abrasion. One small tear.
    P1-138 Circles visible, but not smooth.
    P1-139 Jagged circles.

    A5: Fine toothed wool carder. Drawn down.

    A5

    A5


    P1-136 Didn’t break surface, fine lines visible as polishing in some lights, and rough to the touch.
    P1-137 Inconsistent areas of abrasion. No lines visible.
    P1-138 Rough to touch. Some polished lines in raking light.
    P1-139 Little to see.

    B5: Wrong end of a cheap plastic-handled brush. Drawn up to the right.

    B5

    B5


    P1-136 Some faint broad scrapes.
    P1-137 Ditto.
    P1-138 In raking light can just about see dotted lines of inconsistent polishing.
    P1-139 Very little to see.

    D5: Tool for drawing large circles, using pencil as pivot point and normal pivot to scrape paper.

    D5

    D5


    P1-136 Tricky to control tool. Inconsistent lines.
    P1-137 Inconsistent.
    P1-138 Polished, indented arcs.
    P1-139 Indented arcs.

    Overall the softer papers showed more variety and visibility of marks. The smooth papers gave little if any interest. The indigo is best where the surface is lifted and there is contrast of colour. The handmade paper gives more of a textured result, with impact variable depending on angle of lighting.
    All the photographs above are different scales with lighting at different angles, trying to show each result as well as I could. They actually flatter the overall pages.

    sample p1-136

    Sample p1-136 Indigo dyed cartridge paper


    Experiment references are included in the photograph above. The other samples all follow the same general placement.
    Sample p1-137

    Sample p1-137 Handmade paper (from Makerspace)


    Sample p1-138

    Sample p1-138 118 gsm strathmore toned gray sketch paper


    Sample p1-139

    Sample p1-139 80 gsm copy paper

    Overall I’m disappointed with the results, which I think come from a flawed process. I started with tools, not materials. Then I turned it into a kind of production line, one tool at a time and four different materials. I didn’t respond to a result and follow it up with a new idea. By not focusing on a single material I don’t feel I explored or took advantage of its particular properties.

    The indigo and handmade papers gave the greatest interest. Thicker and/or layered surfaces seem to offer more when scratching, allowing a contrast of colour or texture without actually causing a cut or hole. I don’t feel inspired to take any of the particular samples above further.

    T1-MMT-P1-p4-e2 Scratching
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 1: Surface Distortion
    Project 4: Scratching and embossing
    Exercise 2: Scratching


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    The 3 brothers afterwards.

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