Archive for the '2.1 Joining' Category

T1-MMT-P2-p1 Joining – a start, plus some tutor feedback

Last Sunday evening I submitted Assignment 1 via email to my tutor, Rebecca Fairley. Early Thursday morning I received her feedback – overall very positive and encouraging, with a few words of caution and pointers for the next assignment. It’s enormously helpful to have that encouragement and guidance so quickly.

“Draw more regularly in a range of media” was one pointer, combined with the comment “a range of quick loose sketches to engage your looking skills is all that is needed.” This fits with my own review assessment of an area needing improvement, and “quick loose” is very freeing. Can I, as a general but not firm rule, start and end each college session with a quick loose something? (Work days are impossible.)

Joins - watercolour

Joins – watercolour. In progress


This was inspired by Ria Verhaeghe’s drawing ZT (2011) (link). My initial research has me wondering what “joins” are, and Rebecca’s feedback had me wondering how quick I could be.

My notes, with 25 minutes to be out the door to an appointment:
Raced around, got out watercolours. Worked quickly – very wet areas, drops of sprinkles. Could I join them all? Wanted to draw colour across with Tpin. Didn’t work. Tried tipping paper around, encouraging runs. Better, but still a lot of small areas disconnected. Tried a series of nibs on my pen, dipping into water but generally just moving the existing colour around.

Still quite wet, but early thoughts – isn’t not joining just as interesting as joining? (Sistine chapel) How far do joins go before they become merges into a single identity (joins of wool fibres into felt?) Network of joins vs single/linear. Does there have to be a separate joining element? A little thought says no to that.

Joins - watercolour

Joins – watercolour

Another piece of feedback from Rebecca: “My suggestion is not to push yourself too hard. Explore your ideas as they appear to you at a pace that does not wear you out. Don’t expect everything to be successful, learn and move on.” It makes sense – after all that is the sort of artist I want to be. Thoughtful, attentive, exploratory, open, creative, inspired… – not driven and anxious.

Sketch on the bus

Sketch on the bus

This week was intended to be all Research. I have veered from the plan. Thinking of book binding (joining pages), then corrugated cardboard book, then caterpillar stitching – which would be tricky to do on single sheets. To caterpillar stitch as a joining of flush pages… then I didn’t care if I haven’t written about research first, I wanted to try this. Crazy dig around for some paper. Settle on 185gsm watercolour paper. Russet brown waxed linen thread because I like it.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar in progress

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar in progress


This stitching is from Keith Smith’s Exposed Spine Sewings: Non-adhesive binding volume III, purchased after a journal making class with Adele Outteridge (25-July-2014). It’s intended to go across the board cover and around the binding. I attempted to follow the instructions, but with my Stations on separate pieces of paper rather than a single board.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar completed

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar completed


Not sure the finer details are as in the book, but I’m pleased with the result. It’s a sturdy join of two straight flush edges (exercise 1). It’s decorative and quite rigid – you can’t fold along the join. Hard to see in the photo, but there are some shadow under the legs and the caterpillar rises a few millimetres above the surface.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar head

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar head


This sample has wrapping as well as joining. As I research the wider the terms “joining” and “wrapping” become, and the more they overlap.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail


When you run out of holes you just stop. Although it’s not unattractive, I think this area shows where my method isn’t according to the book. The look is reminiscent of weaving – braiding actually – and another time I might try to adapt the stitch to play that up.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar reverse side

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar reverse side


The reverse side is a total contrast. Very simple, with just those diagonal elements where I started new threads. It might be possible to hide such joins on the decorative side if one wanted a neater look on a two-sided piece.

You might also be able to see some areas where maintaining appropriate tension was challenging. Also the holes spread as the caterpillar progresses. Both of these could be exploited, for example varying hole position and tension so one page buckles up.

Kraft paper and conte pencils

Kraft paper and conte pencils


I finished the (very interrupted) day with a sketch. There are some livelier caterpillars, a series of attempts to simplify shapes, and a distraction of links (joins!) from a watchband my son wanted adjusted.

Not the technique, but the colours were inspired by a slide of a drawing by Watteau, using red, black and white chalk. (Studies of a man and woman, Watteau, at the Goethe Museum, Weimar. Link). Fellow OCA student Claire (her blog) and I are attending weekly art appreciation lectures at the NSW Art Gallery, focused on works in an upcoming exhibition.

A final sketch.

Sketch Part1 sorting

Sketch Part1 sorting


This is leftover, unblogged, from Part 1. I had an idea about layers of sketches overlapping. This has broken balsa wood sketched in crayon, followed by heat gunned fabric in charcoal. There were meant to be lots more such pages followed by cutting, tearing and collage. It didn’t happen, but it’s not a bad idea for another day.

T1-MMT-P2-p1 Joining – a start, plus some tutor feedback
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 1: Joining

T1-MMT-P2-p1-e1 Joining straight flush edges – session 2

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail

This exercise started with my caterpillar sample (29-May-2015), followed by a high level look at artists’ use of joining and wrapping (31-May-2015).

With such a wide field I’ve come up with a few guiding principles to help me find focus.

  • Use materials already used. I want to keep widening my pool of materials, but also extend my knowledge and skills in some of the interesting ones I’ve already connected with.
  • Use previous samples. I like the idea of layers of processes building up, creating depth and variety of interest.
  • Use a textile or textile technique in everything.
  • Nothing entirely textile. This is the counterpart of the previous point.
  • Do things you’re not sure will work. A basic requirement in the course, but worth keeping front of mind.
  • My next set of samples focus on materials already used – corrugated cardboard. Jackie Langfeld’s Paper Warriors (http://www.odysseytextileart.co.uk/jackie.htm) are full of meaning and ironic comment, the texture created with joins of garden twine and paper cording is wonderful, and armour generally provides a rich resource of joining ideas (chain mail…). However I used a materials led approach, enticed by the happenstance of cocktail sticks (seen in sample p1-7 22-March-2015) fitting beautifully into the ridges of the cardboard. It made me think about carpentry biscuit joins.

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard join - one side started

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard join – one side started


    Above the “biscuits” (aka cocktail sticks) are in place on one side.
    Sample p2-2 Cardboard join - second side in progress

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard join – second side in progress


    This join could be done with the corrugations facing on both sides – but that seems a little pointless (although see my previous remarks on the caterpillar).
    Sample p2-2 Cardboard joined with gap

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard joined with gap


    The join process proceeds, drifting into exercise 2 (joining straight edges with a gap). I capture an idea for that in a quick sketch (having already forgotten my plan of starting with a sketch. Oops).
    Sample p2-2 Problem or opportunity on the reverse side

    Sample p2-2 Problem or opportunity on the reverse side


    Turning the sample over revealed a potential-rich mistake. What about “biscuits” that don’t hide neatly away?
    Sample p2-2a  Cardboard joined

    Sample p2-2a Cardboard joined


    The sample shows a nice change of texture and shadow lines. It also shows up my inaccurate cutting – I could do that deliberately as a feature, a wavy variant of the sketch above, or torn to reveal the interior of the cardboard.
    Sample p2-2a Cardboard joined - backlit

    Sample p2-2a Cardboard joined – backlit


    From an angle beads of light show through, which could be useful.
    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join - spacing variation

    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join – spacing variation


    I took out every second stick on one side, making the second buckle in order to complete the join.
    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join - spacing variation views

    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join – spacing variation views


    A slight continuity issue with the photos. I decided not to vary the face of the corrugation.
    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join - spacing variation backlit

    Sample p2-2b Cardboard join – spacing variation backlit


    That’s rather nice, especially when you start playing with shadows.
    Sample p2-2c, d Cardboard join - fold and roll variations

    Sample p2-2c, d Cardboard join – fold and roll variations


    I tried a number of variations – getting all the bumps coming in one direction didn’t work, but other fold and roll attempts did. Not so exciting in themselves, but perhaps in combination, in the right context, you could really go to town.
    Sample p2-2f  Cardboard joined - multi-level

    Sample p2-2f Cardboard joined – multi-level


    Thinking back to the beginning of the sample, when the sticks were pushed out of place, I tried another manipulation.
    Sample p2-2g  Pushing limits

    Sample p2-2g Pushing limits


    Sample p2-2h  To destruction

    Sample p2-2h To destruction


    Sample p1-12a

    Sample p1-12a

    I seem to like broken things. I think this is the most exciting variant of the sample. Dynamic, unexpected, great light. I made this the subject of an “end of session” sketch.
    Sketch 20150601b

    Sketch 20150601b


    Charcoal and white conte crayon on kraft paper. I tried to concentrate on changes in rib directions and on the fall of light and shadow.

    Although I’m presenting two samples as a single session the timing was actually a bit more complex and spaced out. A couple of days later I almost came undone with the “start with a sketch” idea. I couldn’t think of what to do, found it hard to get moving and wandered off for a while.

    fuse_plastic_11fuse_plastic_10Coming back I restarted by playing with materials. I decided (somewhat bravely, I feel) to use one of my favourite earlier samples – p1-26 (10-April-2015). I auditioned a number of other samples with it and eventually chose p1-27. Finally I was able to attempt a sketch, planning for the next step. This is felt tip pens on bank layout paper and I ended feeling a bit better and clearer about the lacing join I wanted to try.

    Sketch 20150604

    Sketch 20150604


    The lacing isn’t inspired by a single source. On my pinterest board (click here) are links to ladies’ silk brocade stays (1700-1720), a contemporary Elizabethan-inspired garment by Helen MacRitchie, the breath-taking contemplation of mourning by Beverly Ayling-Smith, and Jackie Langfeld’s Paper Warrior.

    I trimmed some sides, wanting to reduce visual distractions in the finished piece, then got bogged down in decisions.

    Sample p2-3 Trimmed with eyelets

    Sample p2-3 Trimmed with eyelets


    How to handle the raw edge where the join will be done? Neat and flat? Trim a little, fold back, iron, and hope the grommets will hold in place? Bind? Leave raw? What kind of eyelets, and do I want to cut the second piece of plastic at an angle? The red eyelets echo the diamond shapes of the lower piece, while the round silver ones are a more subtle match to the bubble wrap texture of the top.

    Having slept on it, I realised I was losing the momentum and fun of the exercises, trying to “get it right”. Note there are choices about edge treatment, eyelet type, eyelet spacing etc, but stop obsessing. Try something and keep moving. There will be a lot happening with the lacing. Keep it simple. Square at the top, with the red creating a clear bottom and top to the final.

    After all that fussing I did a bad job of inserting the eyelets – either more practice or better quality materials and tools next time! At least I could move on to actual joining.

    Sample p2-3 a. Shiny red ribbon, cross-lacing and a trailing bow.

    Sample p2-3 a

    Sample p2-3 a


    This really makes a statement of the lacing, but don’t overshadow the other strong elements. The Xs are dynamic and echo the mesh grid, the trailing ribbons join with with movement of the frilled off-the-edge netting. I think this is a successful combination.

    Sample p2-3 b. The same shiny red ribbon, with simple, functional lacing.

    Sample p2-3 b

    Sample p2-3 b

    This is effectively the reverse of the previous lacing. The colour and size mean the ribbon is still a strong element, but I find it attracts / distracts the eye without really giving any interest in return.

    In this small sample the lacing detracts, but in a larger piece it could work to add a bit of texture and interest in what would otherwise be a quiet area. It might look quite different if one side of the join was red rather than white, creating a colour link across the divide.

    Sample p2-3 c. Silver-white synthetic organza ribbon, cross-lacing and bow.

    Sample p2-3 c

    Sample p2-3 c


    The silver ribbon doesn’t work at all.

    I thought it would give the liveliness without the somewhat dominant visual effect of the red ribbon in p2-3a. Instead it looks totally alien, anaemic, lost, pointless. It doesn’t stand up to the strong colours and shapes around.

    In her assignment 1 report my tutor Rebecca Fairley advised “The trick is to put everything down to a learning experience, another step towards a positive outcome”. The silver-white ribbon is definitely one of those disappointments, but in a set of experiments like this there has to be a “worst”.

    Sample p2-3 d. Black ric-rac, cross-lacing and knot.

    Sample p2-3 d

    Sample p2-3 d


    There’s an annoying thing towards the bottom of all the samples that looks like a crease and shadow, but is actually black colour on on one of the carrier bags that were fused. I tried playing this up with some black ric-rac. I like this! On an actual, larger work I think it would not shout so much, but really give a lift and extra interest.

    Although I started with a lacing inspiration, now I have eyelets I could link each pair separately. A simple metal ring would work, if I had or made the right size to get a join with no overlap and no gap. Instead I was very keen to use some more of the original fruit bag net.

    Sample p2-3 e. Fruit bag ties.

    Sample p2-3 e

    Sample p2-3 e


    It was hard to get through some of my badly set eyelets, but I mostly managed. There’s just too much happening here, but once again imagine a larger piece. Net could be fused flat, pulled to distort the base plastic, frill off the edge – and now be used to join different parts together. Just not all at once!

    Sample p2-3 e Sideview

    Sample p2-3 e Sideview

    The side view shows some of the wonderful space and form created by the net. In the sample I used ties of different lengths, different widths – nothing planned, just contending with those dratted eyelets. Maybe one assignment coming up there’ll be an opportunity to get a really big piece of net and go crazy. …p8s2e2_05 Writing that reminded me of some braid I made in A Creative Approach, using stripped strips of fibreglass flyscreen (16-Sept-2012). I also used it in a couple of weavings for that course, and really like the texture and the filtering of light it gives. That could fit in the mythical larger piece, perhaps the ricrac as well. Lots of movement and dimension in red, white and black. Classic combination.
    Sample p2-3 e Reverse

    Sample p2-3 e Reverse


    Sample p2-3 e Reverse - adjustedBack on topic, the reverse side shows that this method can actually be quite restrained. For each tie I can decide how dimensional I want it to be. I tried to get a few different effects, but really wanted more volume of net available.

    Lots of more potential in this lacing – with longer pieces, I could try skipping an eyelet or two to create fullness on one side. I could add loops and dangles. Vary colour combinations. The more textured fruit bag suggests a bundle of threads with lots of textures and colours…

    I finished the session with a sketch in crayon on A3 black paper.

    Sketch 20150605

    Sketch 20150605

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e1 Joining straight flush edges – session 2
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Project 1: Joining
    Exercise 1: Joining straight flush edges

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e1 Joining straight flush edges – post 3

    “Sessions” of work have fallen apart, mostly because my next sample needed extended drying time between stages.

    Sample p2-4 Joining by encasing
    This sample is inspired by Eva Hesse’s work Contingent (1969), discussed in my last post (7-Jun-2015). I was attracted by the idea of joining two materials by encasing them, and of using a modern material to do the encasing. I don’t think this is quite what’s happening in Contingent. From the National Gallery of Australia website: “Each of these elements consists of a large rectangular stretch of latex-covered cheesecloth embedded at each end in a translucent field of fibreglass.” (http://nga.gov.au/international/catalogue/Detail.cfm?IRN=49353 ). In any case, a source inspiration is a starting point, not the end.

    I decided to join three pieces of paper, white pieces at either end of a brown piece, the visual layout of Contingent. The straight edges would be joined flush, held in place by being encased in an acrylic heavy structure gel.

    Through this exercise, thinking a bit more techniques and types rather than starting with a particular material, I find myself including aesthetic decisions. I auditioned a number of materials that remind me at some level of the Eva Hesse work.

    Sample p2-4 Material audition

    Sample p2-4 Material audition


    For the brown centre: a light paper with lots of texture and holes; a paper bag; baking paper that was used in natural dyeing (4-Apr-2015).
    For the white ends: mulberry bark; a soft almost felted-feeling paper with a regular grid of holes; a paper towel.

    Sample p2-4 Layout

    Sample p2-4 Layout


    I chose the paper bag and the gridded white paper. The mulberry bark was better texturally, but wouldn’t provide the straight edge needed. I wanted more texture in the centre, so crumpled the paper bag a few times. It feels nice to have a link back to a previous exercise.

    The materials don’t look like they belong together. Will acrylic medium help them join either physically or visually?

    Sample p2-4 First side coated

    Sample p2-4 First side coated


    Heavy structure gel was applied directly from the tub to the papers with a palette knife. I’ve found in some sketchbook work in the past that this can give some nice surface texture (2-Jan-2015). Looking back while writing this post I think that experience might have subconsciously influenced my choices in this sample.

    I didn’t dilute or colour the gel, and didn’t use supporting material to strengthen the whole (unlike that earlier “sketch”). I wanted to see how the idea worked “raw”.

    After almost a day there were still white areas, suggesting the medium was not completely dry. However trapped with glass on one side and a skin of dry medium on the other, this could take a long time. I decided to attempt to detatch it.

    Sample p2-4 Detaching from glass

    Sample p2-4 Detaching from glass


    I had put the work on a piece of glass while applying the gel. As hoped, it was fairly easy to scrape around the edges and then lift up the papers as a single piece.
    Sample p2-4 Join holds after first side covered

    Sample p2-4 Join holds after first side covered


    The flush join held – I was careful not to pull or twist or distort it at all.

    After leaving it loose for an hour to allow extra drying, I put the work on cleaned glass, and covered the second side in gel. No photo of that – it looked like the first time.

    Another day later, it was looking fairly dry and only the slightest hint of tackiness.

    Sample p2-4 Almost dry

    Sample p2-4 Almost dry


    It was very easy to scrape off. After a few more hours of drying it felt very stable, non-tacky, and just a few of the thicker areas a little white.

    The finished sample:

    Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

    Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

    Sample p2-4 Join detail

    Sample p2-4 Join detail

    20141228_29bThe sampled joining method of embedding has worked very well. After another few hours of drying some gentle stretching did not disturb the joins at all. I found my old sketchbook sample and it has lost any residual tackiness and that slight cloudiness. Actually I’m a little disappointed to find I am almost repeating previous work – but the earlier version had a lot of overlap and gluing (mod podge), with a backing page and in the leaf elements, and the medium was thinner.

    The join produced in sample p2-4 is almost entirely flush, there is no reinforcing, and the end result is thicker and feels more substantial.

    I find the backlit view lovely. The two papers contrast but there is a harmony to the whole. In life the texture effect helps blend the front lit version, but this is less apparent in the photograph.

    The whole is more rigid and constrained than the organic appearance of the inspiration source. The rectangular shapes of the papers, chosen for the exercise task, and the grid of holes result in a very different effect.

    Sample p2-5 Materials mixup

    For my final sample I wanted to challenge myself on materials. With no particular purpose or result in mind, I wanted to join balsa wood to metal using plastic.

    Direct from my notes:

    Sample p2-5 Materials

    Sample p2-5 Materials


    The wood is 1mm thick balsa. The metal is a cut down beercan, which I assume is aluminium – certainly thinner than the wood. It’s been sitting waiting in my stash since a Shimmering surfaces class tutored by fellow OCA student Claire back in 2009. The joining mechnaism is plastic using the 3D pen.

    The metal has been darkened in a heat treatment. I decide to start with some sanding, to brighten things up and hoping to find some green. The result is messy. Moving on.

    I’ll start with a weld-like effect. Although the brief is a flush join, I’ll leave a tiny gap.

    Sample p2-5 Gap for welding

    Sample p2-5 Gap for welding


    Sample p2-5 Weld version 1

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 1


    Some attachment to the wood, but nothing on the metal. I need a temporary hold as I work.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 2

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 2


    Not so good. I can’t keep it on the surface.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 1

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 1


    Next idea – I trace a bead of plastic in a straight line on paper. Then I tape the wood and metal down on either side.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 2

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 2


    First side – no adhesion except to the plastic and all very messy -but I like an energetic line.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 3

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 3


    I managed to detach it from the paper and turn over without falling apart! Unexpected. It’s amusing that the pen line I traced is visible on the plastic.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 4

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 4


    The second line is done.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 5

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 5


    Sticky tape removed and ends encased. With light handling it is holding – and I am in shock. This “welding” approach was not expected to work at all.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 6

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 6


    Expectations met. With a little wriggling the metal popped out of the slot of plastic that had formed around it.
    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 7

    Sample p2-5 Weld version 3 part 7


    It took some determined prying, but I was able to detach the wood too.

    On to plan b.

    Sample p2-5 Link part 1

    Sample p2-5 Link part 1


    Holes have been punched, materials held temporarily by sticky tape on paper.
    Sample p2-5 Link part 2

    Sample p2-5 Link part 2


    Holes filled and connected across on one side. There is no adhesion to the metal and little to the wood at this point.
    Sample p2-5 Link part 3

    Sample p2-5 Link part 3


    Turned over, everything has stayed in place – for now.
    Sample p2-5 Link part 4

    Sample p2-5 Link part 4


    Joined on both sides.
    Sample p2-5 Link

    Sample p2-5 Link


    It actually seems somewhat firm. I’ve pulled and shaken and twisted, plus tried to snap at one of the joins. Not with extreme force, but some force.

    Sample p2-3 e Reverse

    Sample p2-3 e Reverse

    In terms of join methods, this is really the same as sample p2-3e. It’s just interpreted in very different materials and arrived at from a different direction.

    The different materials do exhibit different properties.

    Sample p2-5 Link - accordion folds

    Sample p2-5 Link – accordion folds


    I was able to cut off part of the metal without breaking the bond. Then I tried forming soft accordion pleats, using the metal to hold them in place and force shaping in the wood. The wood gave way while all the plastic joins are intact.
    Sample p2-5 Link - accordion folds reverse

    Sample p2-5 Link – accordion folds reverse


    I like the unusual mix of materials in this sample. There is a warmth to the wood that contrasts with the hard, shiny metal. It’s fascinating to see the strength of the metal shaping and holding the wood. The green plastic comes from no-where and adds a quirky note and another texture.

    I tried to capture the effect using a variety of media in my end-of-session sketch.

    Sketch 20150607

    Sketch 20150607


    The wood is depicted in inktense pencils. I thought the soft watercolour effect would suit.
    The plastic is in felt tip pen, with the idea of the colour showing up harsh and aggressive.
    I started with colour pencils on the metal, then rubbed in metallic waxes and pigments, trying to get some hard, metallic sheen. It shows up a little in person, depending on the angle of lighting.

    I got a bit lost with the folds and lines of reflection, so finished with an uplifting squiggle in felt tip pens, referring back to some of the welding attempts.

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e1 Joining straight flush edges – post 3
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Project 1: Joining
    Exercise 1: Joining straight flush edges

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e2 Joining straight edges with a gap – post 1

    Rather than following the precise sequence suggested in the course notes, I’ve started this exercise by thinking of clusters and similarities in joins. My start-the-session sketching was reminding myself of works where the join with a gap is very loose, responding (or not) to gravity, the join itself a major feature.

    Colour pencils on A3 cartridge paper

    Colour pencils on A3 cartridge paper

    All the works drawn are on my pinterest page (link). Clockwise from top left, artists and direct links:

  • Alicia Scardetta Melted (2014, http://ascardetta.com/new-work). I love the exuberant colour and fall of the wrapped wefts, contained within a traditional weaving format.
  • Eva Hesse Metronomic Irregularity I (1966, a href=”https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/eva_hesse.php?i=1701″>https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/eva_hesse.php?i=1701). The relative sizes of board and gap is wrong. This work defies gravity, with the tangle of lines the result of the nature of the material.
  • Paula do Prado Almas Gemelas/Twin Souls (http://www.pauladoprado.net/twin-souls.html. This is a conceptually based work, considering issues such as identity. While experimenting with materials and techniques I don’t want to lose sight of meaning, here people joined yet individual.
  • Diem Chau Sisters (http://www.diemchau.com/plates24.html). I saw this artist’s work on the OCA pinterest site (https://www.pinterest.com/opencollegearts/textiles/). As well as the conceptual join, this work uses a glued join of organza to ceramic which is very effective. More on Diem Chau’s technique on her blog http://tinyhaus.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/embroidery-faq-part-1.html
  • Michele Elliot hemispheres, drawn to you, still (2011, http://rmitgallery.com/2012/02/10/behind-the-scenes-of-sensorial-loop/). This work accepts – uses – gravity, but with a level of control and order also imposed. It is materials and process led, recreated at each venue of a travelling exhibition.
  • Sample p2-6

    Sample p2-6 In progress

    Sample p2-6 In progress

    My first sample is similar in layout to Hesse’s work, but I decided to push the exuberance with colour. The material being joined is a plastic latchhook canvas, with the joining “threads” plastic drawn with the 3D pen. Both these materials are fairly rigid – one of my sub-thoughts is the mix of rigid and soft materials, and the impact of the combination in a join.

    Sample p2-6 Top view

    Sample p2-6 Top view


    The result has energy and colour. I photographed it flat on the table, but also tried pinning it on the wall and it protruded and defied gravity in a pleasing way.

    Sample p2-6 Detail view

    Sample p2-6 Detail view


    There is too much detail and I don’t know where to look. I’d like to try for a better balance with some control or constraint. Looking back, Hesse’s work has the subtle grid of the boards and the clear divisions of boards and gap providing a structure and sense of order. My grid is effectively invisible against the white background, and simply colouring it probably wouldn’t help – I think it is too coarse and would only become yet more lines.

    I didn’t intend the blobby attachment areas and have thought of a few ways to avoid them, but decided I quite like a bit of solidity or density with all those fine lines.

    The comments above were written when first looking at and photographing the result. The sample had too much information, too much complexity, nowhere to rest the eyes. I found it difficult.

    Sample p2-6 Side view

    Sample p2-6 Side view

    A few hours later, writing this post, I see it differently. Pottering around the workroom the blobby attachment areas become the focus, with the lines above a lacework that changes in colour and shape as I move around. Static, there is too much and I can see nothing. Moving around, the base provides stability and interest with a haze of colour constantly shifting above. The result is bright, cheerful, lively, and the colour haze fascinating. I would like to find ways to reproduce that on different scales, and in a more permanent way. Unfortunately the actual join is light and brittle, and I’m sure with a sharp pull I could separated the two parts.

    Sample p2-7
    Wanting to make a feature of gravity, next I made three bundles of rayon machine embroidery threads, each bundle a different length. I used them together with thumbtacks to join two pieces of acrylic felt acoustic panel – a soft join between two rigid materials.

    Sample p2-7a Straight join

    Sample p2-7a Straight join


    A simple straight join shows the thread more lively than I anticipated.

    Sample p2-7b Lower panel suspended

    Sample p2-7b Lower panel suspended


    The lower panel is supported only by the threads.

    Sample p2-7c angles panels

    Sample p2-7c angles panels


    Angled panels and wider spacing looks like an ineffective trouser closing.

    Sample p2-7c Detail

    Sample p2-7c Detail


    On closer look I am beginning to appreciate the liveliness of the threads.

    Sample p2-7d Another uneven join

    Sample p2-7d Another uneven join


    Another uneven join looks like a bizarre clown smile in the cropped photo. The three bundles are much more integrated here, creating a field of movement.

    Sample p2-7e Intertwined

    Sample p2-7e Intertwined


    Some interaction, with the bundles crossing. It loses the individuality of the threads, getting more the smooth stream that I envisaged at the beginning. I like the geometry that’s beginning to appear.

    Sample p2-7f Offset

    Sample p2-7f Offset


    Offset. The threads create lovely fluid shapes.

    Sample p2-7g Plait - showing dimensionality

    Sample p2-7g Plait – showing dimensionality


    This started as a plait. The photograph was taken at an angle to capture the dimensional effect that is appearing.

    There are lots of possibilities still to be explored here. I would like to try at a larger scale – number of threads, number of bundles, possibly size of thread (20/2 silk could make a beautiful show).

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e2 Joining straight edges with a gap – post 1
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Project 1: Joining
    Exercise 2: Joining straight edges with a gap

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e2 Joining straight edges with a gap – post 2

    The next set of samples is based on items joined by stitch over a gap.
    Some relevant artists included on the pinterest board:

    Lorna Murray Detail

    Lorna Murray Detail

  • Lorna Murray http://lornamurray.com.au/
    2015/01/31/group-exchange-2014-2015/
  • Diana Barrett Silver Linings (2014, http://www.dianabarrettdesigns.blogspot.co.uk/
    p/gallery.html
    )
  • Susan Taber Avila http://www.suta.com/
    shoe/forest.html
    Stitches fragments together using a soluble material while working.
  • Liza Green Tissue of Lies (http://www.edge-textileartists-scotland.com/
    gallery/lgreen/
    )
  • Dijanne Cevaal (http://origidij.blogspot.com.au/2005/01/ribbon-lace_09.html) This work might fit more correctly in overlapping joins. I believe Dijanne sews over a soluble material, but there is also a layer of tulle that the motifs are stitched to.
  • 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.

    Sketch 20150612

    Sketch 20150612


    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.

    Sample p2-8

    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.

    Sample p2-8

    Sample p2-8


    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.

    Sample p2-9
    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.

    Sample p2-9 In progress

    Sample p2-9 Finished?


    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.

    Sample p2-9

    Sample p2-9


    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.
    Sample p2-9 Reverse

    Sample p2-9 Reverse


    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.

    Sample p2-10
    This naturally led my thoughts to trying real gum leaves.

    Sample p2-10

    Sample p2-10


    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.

    Sample p2-10 Backlit

    Sample p2-10 Backlit


    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.

    Sample p2-11
    This was the sample I first thought of a while back while planning for the exercise.

    Sketch 20150603

    Sketch 20150603


    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.

    Sample p2-11 First lines of stitch

    Sample p2-11 First lines of stitch


    A little later some of the loose thread is a little stabilised, and I have a thread across the end to aim for.
    Sample p2-11 Progressing

    Sample p2-11 Progressing


    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.
    Sample p2-11 Front and backlit views

    Sample p2-11 Front and backlit views


    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 p2-12

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard joined with gap

    Sample p2-2 Cardboard joined with gap

    In exercise 1 (6-June-2015) I showed a join with a gap in corrugated cardboard.

    Sample p2-12 Cardboard comparison

    Sample p2-12 Cardboard comparison

    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.

    Sample p2-12 a

    Sample p2-12 a


    It’s very balanced, regular, stable. The shine of the copper wire is a good match to the matte, shadowed surface of the cardboard.
    Sample p2-12 b

    Sample p2-12 b


    A change in spacing creates some more interest while still being very stable. Potentially this could be used as a framing device.

    Sample p2-12 c

    Sample p2-12 c


    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.

    Sample p2-12 d

    Sample p2-12 d


    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.

    Sample p2-12 e

    Sample p2-12 e


    A displacement of the cardboard pieces introduces a dynamic element, although the whole retains a formal, geometric feel.

    Sample p2-12 f

    Sample p2-12 f


    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.

    Sample p2-12 g

    Sample p2-12 g


    Three strands of 20/2 silk have been needle-woven through the copper wires. I am very excited by the possibilities here.

    Sample p2-12 h and i

    Samples p2-12 h and i


    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.

    Sample p2-12 j

    Sample p2-12 j


    “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.

    Sample p2-12 k

    Sample p2-12 k


    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.

    Sample p2-3 a

    Sample p2-3 a

    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

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e3 Joining curved edges – post 1

    Jemima Parker undefined objects (detail) 2014

    Jemima Parker
    undefined objects (detail)
    2014

    When reading ahead and planning this project I thought of forms such as Jemima Parker’s, seen at the Tamworth triennial (22-May-2015). I also thought of the flounces and ruffles in the amazing The art of manipulating fabric by Colette Wolff.

    Samples p2-13 and p2-14

    Flounce plan

    Flounce plan

    Now that I’ve worked through the earlier exercises, I see that curved edges don’t necessarily mean 3 dimensions. Nevertheless I decided to start with work based on Figure 4-12 in Wolff’s section on flounces. My version of that is on the right. An opened donut of material is cut for the flounce. The inside edge is applied to another edge. The fullness of the resulting flounce varies based on whether it is applied to a straight edge, an inside/concave curve or an outside/convex curve.

    I used bank drafting paper for the flounce and copy paper for the base material. Both flounces are the same size. The curve on the base is the same, but one is concave (p2-13, on the left below) and one convex (p2-14, on the right). Flounces are attached using many, many short lengths of sticky tape.

    Samples p2-13 and p2-14 Top view

    Samples p2-13 and p2-14 Top view


    Samples p2-13 and p2-14 Side view

    Samples p2-13 and p2-14 Side view


    There is no drape in the paper, and with sample p2-13 in particular it was very hard to persuade to sit in the same plane as the base material. I didn’t want to press in pleats, but some creasing was needed to stop the flounce flipping over the other way.

    Very nice volume, shadows and lines.

    Sample p2-15
    For the next sample I wanted to keep flat, with curved edges that fit neatly together. This sample used 2mm balsa wood and slightly thicker cork mat.

    Sample p2-15 Wood cut

    Sample p2-15 Wood cut


    A fairly complex line was traced from a french curve on the wood, which was then cut and sanded.
    The wood then acted as a template for the cork.

    Sample p2-15 Pieces ready

    Sample p2-15 Pieces ready


    The fit is fairly good. I chose challenging materials to cut and was quite pleased with the result.

    I used a waxed linen thread, bought for bookbinding, to stitch the wood and cork together.

    Sample p2-15 Stitching in progress

    Sample p2-15 Stitching in progress


    Stitch placement was based on a set of rules I devised. Working from one end, one stitch at a time, don’t look back, don’t look far forward. Measure forward 1 cm from the previous stitch along the join line. Lay a ruler across the join at that point, and pivot so the ruler markings line up with the next little section of join (that is, to form a continuous line). Measure out 1 cm each side and pierce to make stitching holes. Stitch. Repeat.

    Jim Lambie

    Jim Lambie

    I was thinking of Jim Lambie (having seen Zobop at the MCA last year – 15-April-2014) – tape along the border of a room. Lay another line next to it. Repeat.
    Sample p2-15

    Sample p2-15


    It looks a mess. The curve is lost in a jumble of lines pointing every which way.
    Sample p2-15 Reverse

    Sample p2-15 Reverse


    The back is cluttered in a different way. Those painstaking measurements make no sense. It looks jabbed at random.

    As an experiment, I drew the line in ballpoint pen on a piece of paper, and marked lines with a chalk-pastel pencil.

    Sample p2-15 Drawn version

    Sample p2-15 Drawn version


    The lines make sense. Nothing was measured, except by eye. I can still see the flow of the curve. Just a few simplifying choices in the tight curves, a wider view taken both ahead and behind, and the effect is very, very different.

    The drawn line is smoother than my cuts, and of course there are no gaps at all, which simplifies and clarifies.

    I like the wood and cork because it is a record of a thing that happened. It has the imperfections of life, the mis-steps of not knowing what’s ahead. I like the textures of wood and cork and thread together. There is more to discover as I look at it longer.

    Sample p2-16

    Sample p2-16 Packaging materials

    Sample p2-16 Packaging materials

    For curved edges with a gap, I picked up some styrofoam packaging. Highly three dimensional, but my focus is the top surface and those curving edges (which cradled our new rice cooker in a previous life).

    The first join of simple cocktail sticks in the sides will stabilise the large pieces while I work.

    Sample p2-16 a

    Sample p2-16 a

    Although very simple, this takes advantage of the particular material being used. The two sticks were simply pressed into the styrofoam. Just those two connections were sufficient for a quite stable join in the light material.

    Sample p2-16 b

    Sample p2-16 b

    In sample p2-16b two strips of heated (for colour) and embossed (for texture) metal were bent at the ends – like “[“. Each end was pressed into the stryofoam.

    The play of light on the two materials works well. The decorative metal straps enrich the image, but the rather delicate line of the curved top is still visible, enhanced by the shadows of the void below. The large area of the white stryofoam is actually quite complex, and balances well with the stronger colour but smaller area of the metal.

    Sample p2-16 c

    Sample p2-16 c

    Enjoying the technique of pressing materials into the foam to form a connection, I tried with library tags.

    The tags were difficult to connect firmly – the styrofoam surface was beginning to show damage. To me it just appears busy and messy. The tags need to create more of a visual statement, or else fade more into the general view. The tag I put on the top to show the materials used now appears as a saving grace, helping the viewer to interpret the image.

    Sample p2-16 d

    Sample p2-16 d

    In sample p2-16d the join is no longer confined to the ends of the curves. Map pins and coloured plastic string create a pattern on the surface.

    The curved lines of foam and the cocktail stick “structual” join virtually disappear. The strong pattern takes over.

    Sample p2-16 e

    Sample p2-16 e

    I expected to like a chain of giant paperclips. There is a combination of curves and straight lines which might have complimented the lines and curves of the foam. However the result is anaemic.

    Sample p2-16 f

    Sample p2-16 f

    A series of paperclip chains in sample p2-f creates more of an impact, and there are some signs of interesting shadows below which perhaps could be developed using various lighting angles.

    Sample p2-16 f - photoshopped

    Sample p2-16 f – photoshopped

    The curved lines which are the intended focus of the exercise have almost been lost, although now the echoing of shape (lines and curves) is more apparent. If you hide the clutter around the sides – the damaged areas, cocktail sticks, those strong circular holes in the corners – it starts working.

    However for my final version I wanted to emphasise the curved line of the edge.

    Sample p2-16 g Top view

    Sample p2-16 g Top view

    A series of flower-headed pins, with a bundle of multi-coloured wool yarn woven through, forces attention to the curved shape.

    Sample p2-16 g Depth

    Sample p2-16 g Depth

    Extending the height of the edges above the surface also reinforces the depth of the space below. I found myself suddenly aware of the entire object, not just the surface and interior.

    The colour and visual density of the wool puts the styrofoam material into the background. Its space and volume are enhanced, but the actual fabric, the textured surface with all its variations and complexity, is put into the background.

    Sample p2-16 g Bridging join

    Sample p2-16 g Bridging join

    On the other hand, in my eyes the join – or more accurately the gap between – is more apparent. The woolen fence is a bridge, crossing a space with two distinct sides.

    To wrap up this set I tried a blind sketch – 3B pencil on kraft paper – reminded of this idea by a fellow OCA student (aslowunravelling.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/experimenting-with-drawing/)

    Sketch 20150618

    Sketch 20150618


    Focusing entirely on the sample, I felt I saw it with fresh eyes. The drawing is more a reminder of that seeing rather than an interesting thing in itself, but at least it has the advantage of lively lines.

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e3 Joining curved edges – post 1
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Project 1: Joining
    Exercise 3: Joining curved edges

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e3 Joining curved edges – post 2

    Sample p2-17
    This sample aimed at joining curved edges that both touch and leave gaps.
    I cut two rectangular pieces of fibreglass insect screening, then cut one edge of each into curves.

    Sample p2-17 First curves

    Sample p2-17 First curves

    The first cuts didn’t give multiple touch points, so I did some trimming.

    Sample p2-17 Adjusted curves

    Sample p2-17 Adjusted curves

    A few touches and one overlap.

    Sample p2-17a. Where there was a touch, I made a join using orange cable ties.

    Sample p2-17 a

    Sample p2-17 a

    Sample p2-17b. Where there was a gap or an overlap, I forced a join with blue cable ties.

    Sample p2-17 b

    Sample p2-17 b

    It doesn’t look hugely different from a top view, but the tensions caused by closing gaps are beginning to distort the screening.

    Sample p2-17 b Side view

    Sample p2-17 b Side view

    Samples p2-17c (purple) and p2-7d (yellow) continued the joining process.

    Sample p2-17 c

    Sample p2-17 c

    Sample p2-17 c

    Sample p2-17 c

    The mesh of the insect screening looks crisp and clean and as it is distorted moiré patterns highlight the movements. The cable ties create dynamic lines across the field and bring focus to the critical area of the join.

    In this sample there was very little overlapping of screening. Multiple depths of shadow could be achieved by layering of the material – an area of potential for later exploration.

    Sample p2-18
    Materials from earlier samples were used to explore joining to the edge of a hole. Sample p2-13 (18-June-2015) provided the base, and an offcut from sample p2-17 the joined material.

    Sample p2-18 Materials

    Sample p2-18 Materials

    The two materials were joined using cable ties, using holes punched into the base and pushing through the mesh of the insect screening.

    Sample p2-18

    Sample p2-18


    Curve joined to curve creates a tulip of mesh, cupped around a jumble of cable-tie stamen. Mesh undulates across the work, echoed and framed by the white curves of paper fanning behind. Light is layered passing through the materials, shadows can be soft, gridded or overlapping.

    In her report on assignment 1 my tutor suggested “continue developing your writing style and look for new ways to talk about your work”. The previous paragraph was an attempt at that. Not too bad, but what I really want to say is that I love, love, love this sample. There is a balance of materials, dynamic colours and forms, a sense of space and such variety of shadow.

    Sample p2-19
    The final sample for this exercise is a hole filled with another material on the same plane. For this I used indigo dyed paper seen in the tearing exercises (26-April-2015), and indeed I was careful and thoughtful when tearing a hole, wanting to create a framing boundary of white.

    The filling material is cardboard cut from sample p2-12 (14-June-2015), and copper wire from the sample sample used to create the join. In this case the wire could again go through the channels in the cardboard, while simple stitches were taken in the paper.

    Sample p2-19

    Sample p2-19

    Crisp lines in cardboard and metal are contained by, integrated in, the organic patterning of the dyed paper. The complementary blue and orange, separated by a small space, enhance each other. All elements of the join – base, filler and join materials – work to create an harmonious whole.

    There are similarities in method, although not mood or meaning, to Edward Ruscha’s work Gospel, seen at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW collection).

    Most of my samples are exploratory fragments developing ideas and techniques with future potential. I think this sample can stand on its own as is.

    This work session was fairly quick and uninterrupted, unlike some recent “sessions” which were pockets of time gathered over multiple days. I enjoyed the materials, processes and the results. Balancing this, in my final sketch I just could not see the sample in front of me, despite multiple restarts.
    Sketch_20150619

    T1-MMT-P2-p1-e3 Joining curved edges – post 2
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Project 1: Joining
    Exercise 3: Joining curved edges


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