I have had a quick read through the brief for Part 3 – Colour Studies, I know I’m going to love this one. I’m a colour freak and I can’t wait to find out and to learn more about interpretating and making colour.
The assignment at the end of this part is to make a colour resource book, I’m very excited about this and full of ideas. I do already have a small colour theory book I put together on my City and Guilds course so this is a perfect opportunity to consolidate what I already know whilst learning more about what colour is and how to use it. So what is there to say about colour?
Today I found this wonderful quote in Victoria Finlay’s book Colour – Travels Through the Paintbox (Folio Society 2009) –
“The first challenge in writing about colour is that colours don’t really exist. Or rather they do exist, but only because our minds create them as an interpretation of vibrations that are happening around us”
After you’ve got your head around that concept, she then talks about what ‘seeing’ colours in nature is –
“The colour of many natural objects derives from transformational shifts happening within their atomic structures”
It made me think that colour is a static, snap shot of a scene full of vibration, movement and change. So how does that translate to a scene of paint or a photograph, they aren’t moving, so how do we see the colour? More reading to do then.
I could easily fill a blog with quotes from Victoria’s book but I’m not sure how that works for copy write so I will simply recommend that anyone who wants to know more about colour and the stories behind colour should get a copy of this book from the library.
I decided to base this piece on one of the collages I completed when studying the 3 pieces from the textile archive. I had used ripped pieces of a photocopy of a close up of a small darned repair on the smock shirt to make a collage of an image I had done of the smocking on the sleeve of the smock coat.
To replicate the strips and the background of the collage I printed images of the doodled on zoomed in image of the darn onto TAP (Transfer Artist paper) and silk. I used montages of the images manipulated on my ipad and an image of the back of a sample that also included the doodle images.
I machine stitched round the strips, cut them out and roughed up the edges.
I layed the squares of coloured linen fabric and cut outs of the printed silk onto the base 1/2 metre of linen and after I had stitched around the squares I painted the base with Procion dye and flecks of brusho. I then pinned the strips onto the base to test the spacing.
I didn’t simple want to stitch the strips in place but to use the happy accident stitching on paper piece that I had made with thin threads and accetate on a textured surface.
So to replicate the acetate I printed the doodle design onto some clearish organza that I laid over the now strip layered base. I’m still kicking myself for laying the one piece down ways, it did look better that way but it grates my nerves that it’s going the same way as all of the other motifs and shapes.
To hold down the strips further and to replicate the stitches that are made into the folds of smocking I used some silk that I had previously hand dyed. I had been hoping to make these squares with machine stitch but it was far too fiddly.
As if there wasn’t enough detail to confuse the eye I decided that I wanted to distress the materials further with the hand grinding tool.
Now I had to draw it altogether so using the original stitch on paper sample as a guide I added dark brown and black lines using a variety of threads.
And that’s the piece done, it’s not perfect and everytime I look back at me source material I can see another path that I could have followed. Already the 3 pieces look naive and I know that although I have come a long way with my design, drawing and stitch work I still have a lot to learn about interpreting concepts and ideas.
What feels ages ago I made the drawings for Picking and Portraying. I had great fun making big bold paintings using Procion Dye and Brusho, I mixed in some gesso and acrylic paint when the fancy took me. Over a couple of weeks the flowers slowly faded, either becoming frail or hard as they decayed. The sunflower heads became very firm and worked well as stamps to make big textured prints.
I always particularly liked this print, with its dabs, ragged lines and circles. It reminds me of the ragged material on the frayed edges of the linen dust coat that was one of the earlier source objects for this project. I wasn’t particularly happy with the colours so thought it would be nice to experiment with this when I did the stitch on paper samples.
This sample was lovely to do, it was tricky when the bark paper became fragile, I had bashed the life out of it with the embelisher and the hand grinding tool when I was doing the paper manipulation exercises.
Although the bark paper is quite plain in colour the original print is quite colourful, I decided I wanted to make a bright base for this sample but in a material full of texture and thickness. In the hope that the stitching with combine and sink into the surface like they had on the stitching on paper sample.
In a box in my workroom I found some prefelt that I had made with my friend Tori when I had been in a ‘felting’ stage! Sewn and felted together and with more wool fibres added I was able to get a nice coloured base to stitch onto.
I had a chose then; cut up the felt and use a mosaic techique to inlay contrasting pieces together to get the sharper lines of the print or stitch in the lines. I decided the felt was too firm and nice as it was to mosaic so I used machine stitch to ‘draw’ in the sunflower. This also met with my aim to use stitch to replicate my drawn/painted lines and marks.
I didn’t want to cover all of the colour and texture in the outer circle so only darned the centre piece and even then very sparingly.
The reverse is looking rather lovely too. I did concider using more experimental machine stitch on thee fron of the piece but felt it would just be a case of throwing too much at the design if I did.
As I reviewed the piece I thought I needed to bring in another element from the linen smocks in addition to the darning stitch so armed with a very sharp pair of scissors I cut some slashes into the felt to bring through the colours from beneath.
Using water and soap I roughed up and felted down the edges of the slashes and the piece was finished.
I’m flying very close to my deadline (Monday!) but I’ve finished the first unresolved stitched piece.
Once the stitched and painted base had dried I decided to distress the material using the grinding tool to replicate the wear and tear on the original source garments. Ooh, I enjoyed this bit. It was far less messy than working on the paper and I loved the way you can grind away some of the colour to get texture and tonal changes.
I started to think about ‘placement’ and detail and decided to test overlaying one of my ‘stitched on paper’ designs over the bodice on the base.
I liked the effect and chose a subtle tan thread. I laid out a few brighter and more eye catching colours but I wanted to keep this piece more nutural.
Once I’d done the first bit of stitch after drawing the design on with pencil I took a black and white photograph to check there is still enough contrast to maintain interest.
After completing all the detail stitching I have pinned the ‘completed’ piece up to review over the next few days. My instinct is to add more paint colour but time is short!!
Just a quick blog, striking whilst the iron is hot. I’ve fiffed and faffed and got caught up with planning.
Life is full of stress at the moment and far too many excuses not to get started. I was feeling slightly numb so I thought; whilst the mind can’t think just go and start. Just to it!
And that was what I did!
This sketch of the smock coat I looked at way back when is still one of my favourites so I decided to recreate it, or at least part of it on a piece of linen that I had ready for this product.
I drew the shapes with an erasable pencil and backed the linen with interfacing and free motion stitched the design.
At times it was tricky because the interfacing wasn’t very smooth is the material didn’t flow under the needles.
I’m finding it quite hard to reconcile my love of drawing and painting with my desire to stitch so I decided to test painting the design to try and meld the two things together.
To add more depth I painted using some luminescent Stuart Gill fabric paint mixed with Jacquard Dyn-na-flow. Then ‘seasoned’ the plain fabric with ecru Procion-dye and some Markal rub.
I’ll review it once it’s dried and decide if? And how much more stitch to add.