I love a good image to edit and then run as a Flipagram
I love a good image to edit and then run as a Flipagram
Oh, this has given me a headache; for a while I drifting but I think I might be getting back on track.
As part of A Textile Vocabulary we had to do some stitching on paper and I’d enjoyed the process of texting design ideas on manipulated paper so when I came to do this exercise I felt very lost without a theme to guide me.
I spent sometime thinking about whether I should choose a theme and whether I should do this for the rest of MMT. The only problem is the course material wasn’t written with this in mind and what if in the end it just tied me up in knots. The challenge still was, how could I find a focus for these experiments?
So to loosen up I did a bit of stitching and then took a break to do some drawing with a friend at Attingham Park.
The break was useful and on the drive home I started to think about stitching I’d seen on paper before and what I’d liked or disliked. As soon as I got home I decided to look through some magazines for some inspiration. I’ve not been doing half as much research as I would normally do and I started to wonder if this was why I was starting to drift and lose interest in the exercises.
I’ve never been keen on thread stitching on photographs, I have an aversion feeling when I see pieces on Pinterest but I don’t think that’s because I don’t like them but because I’m jealous that I didn’t think of it first and scared that I can’t do something original and different with the technique.
When I looked at the pile of ‘research’ I could see some links and similarities between what I’d chosen; connections, long threads and mixed mediums (paint, thread, photos).
This gave me some constraints to work within; long threads and mixed mediums and a mini theme to explore: Connections.
So to grab the moment I made 3 little samples using some old photographs. In the first sample I used thread to replicate the sound and wind that was blowing over and from the speakers towards the flags on the beach at the Looe Music Festival.
I then added some very smelly paint to the next two photos as a different way to express the wind and the sound. And then on the second sample I used thread to highlight the strong stable flag poles to connect the blast of the wind with the strength of the poles. Finally I went very simple and ‘drew, lines between the speaker and the flapping edges of the flags.
Simple but pretty effective for me. I’ve always liked these photos and I loved the flags in situ at the festival and I’m happy that I could put my own mark on the images. I think my lines make the photos more dramatic and atmospheric which was just what it was like to be there.
Following on from this I’m going to bring together a less than successful attempt to mould some more fabric, with the more effective photographs of the bundles of solid objects wrapped with material with the 3 elements of long thread, mixed mediums and connections.
And phew, today for the first time for ages my blogging has caught up with the actual work. This has me on time for getting this part of MMT finished and Assignment 1 sent off for feedback by the end of the month.
Here’s another technique that I’ve only dipped into.
I’ve played with some simple little punches. This are nice and gentle and I particularly like the little triangle stab holes I’ve made with a craft knife blade. I can see me using this to add some delicate texture in large expanses of colour in a collage composition.
I then went on to experiment with highlighting areas with different sized pin and knife marks. I like the way you get different effects from punching from the front or the back of the paper. This now looks like a satellite photo of a grassy area.
After doing the section of creating flaps and layering holes I though I might experiment with making a hole big enough to see a picture through the punched marks. I’m not happy with the ragged edges of the holes and I don’t think it’s a very good way to work with layering.
For my last quick experiment with punching before I moved on I thought I might try pushing some of the background through as I punched the hole. It hadn’t worked very well with the more detailed/interesting element underneath the punched hole maybe it would work better the other way round.
It was fiddly and you need lots more fabric or silk paper that you think you’ll need. I also cheated a little by using a fibrous paper that I could force the fabric through easily.
This is the exploration that I would put more time into and take forward.
I’m still mulling over this technique, it’s not something that I like, it’s messy, hard work and I don’t like results very much.
Maybe if I do more I might like it more, I did only try it a few time. The shell is okay and with some thread it might work.
Are these few samples going to be enough? For now I’m just going to put these ones up here on my learning blog and if some more ideas come to me before I send the assignment off then I’ll explore a little bit more.
The one thing about this strange bubbly mounded bits of synthetic shiny material is that they work really well when put over another strong interesting surface. If like me you like looking at things from different angles and indifferent lighting situations then this is perfect for you.
I laid one of the samples over a piece of bright yello scrim. The shadows are really appealing. The shapes are very random and fractured but if you keep manipulating the pile of fabric you get some intriguing structures.
After taking some photos I ran one of the pictures through some iPhone photo editing apps and came up with a couple of interesting results. The apps defined the lines (with a view to finding areas to draw) and added some sweet extras,
There are textile possibilities here, both to work with the original fabrics and to replicate the marks and shapes with stitch.
As before I returned to my sketchbook and made some effort into recording the textural qualities of the samples and capturing the chaos created by all the different lines, textures and shadows. I also had a go at simplifying the lines and working with some colour.
Not deterred by my first disastrous attempt at moulding with hot water I decided to take a more restrained approach to my next foray.
I only wrapped a few items, using a nice dependable cotton thread.
I have to admit to one mistake, just to be all edgy and interesting I included a couple of oxtail bones. And yes they did make the water all sticky and fatty. It was not pleasant but luckily it did wash off … eventually.
The only problem was they gave me the creeps! All bubbly like the scum you sometimes see on the beach, or jellyfish – not elegantly swimming about but rotting and sickly looking on a beach after the tides gone out.
Could they be rescued with felt? I’d done some wet felting on lacy fabric to make some nuno felt.
Did it work? Did it hell. The fibres just slipped off the fabric …. could have been the bone scum! So undeterred (again) I just wrapped the blasted thing in some prefelt and rubbed until the fibres started to join. I soon got fed up with this and added some stitches to hold the whole thing together.
Not too bad in the end and ploughing on with the course instructions I started to draw what I’d made. This proved to be far more satisfying. Drawing is not in my comfort zone but that’s taken a bashing through out this exercise so I just went for it.
I’m actually quite pleased with the result. Keeping the bubbles white I worked at keeping the feel of contrast between the smooth, clean bubbles and the intense felt surround.
Polyester fabric? Uck! It’s horrible stuff but you need it for this exercise. The only other time I’ve used synthetic fabric was when using transfer paints. You do get some lovely bright images but the fabric is just so unpleasant to handle.
I was not enthused about this exercise but I chose this one over the heating and burning exercise because I’m unsure about these as well because of the horror stories I’ve heard about harmful gasses filling up your lungs.
To start I needed to identify which fabrics in my stash were synthetic, in my memory was something about burning the edge of the material and from how it burnt or smelt you could tell if it was man made or not. In a well ventilated room I did a bit of burning, I didn’t go as far as wearing a mask, I’m not that paranoid, I did used to smoke after all.
I could smell celery, so it’s synthetic – don’t ask!!!
All enthusiast at last I started to wrap up my items with loom bands.
More using up old stuff! I though I really should make another sample for this exercise so I went back to my stock of manipulated papers to have a play.
I’ve always liked this layered sheet that I attacked with a circular grinding tool, the circles are all very squiggly and random.
Without any focal point or alteration it’s pleasing to the eye. But that didn’t stop me cutting some oval leaf shapes (my ‘go to’ shape as the young people say!)
I then decided to continue with the filling the hole created by cutting the flap and added some needle punched scrim and lutrador and an interesting magazine image. Tonality the image was very flat so I started adding some dark areas with some black pigment pastel and acrylic ink.
And because this is playing and I don’t have to hold back when playing I started to add lots more colour. I layered it up until I was happy with the balancing. Even with the colour the image was still far too clean and bright and the layers weren’t sinking into each other so I scored across the surface with the side of a lollipop stick.
This little close up shows how the lines that have distressed the surface draw the shapes and the layers together. They flatten the background but do not interfere with the colour and focal points created by the images in the holes.
I keep finding myself going back to this exercise, I don’t think I have explored the action of cutting holes in different surfaces. Even with these next 2 samples I’m still not satisfied that I’ve done enough investigating and experimenting but if I do keep going I’ll never meet my end of June deadline for Assignment 1.
This little sample using magazine pages could work well with transfer printed fabric and I like the way the images are altered and given me life by being moved around. Looking at it makes me feel like I’m looking through a magic window into a world beyond, the unnatural mixture of near and far plays tricks with your eyes; are you looking through binoculars or the eye’s of an alien?
I still have lots of manipulated paper left over from ATV and I often draw on this store to make a quick sample when I feel like I’m loosing my way or I’m being overly distracted by overthinking what I’m doing.
This little sample is one of these ‘using up old stuff’ samples. The surface has lots of texture and I like the contrasts between the pale and coloured areas.
With this exercise I was pretty sure before I started what I wanted to do before I started. I’ve had this colour chart for a while and had been wondering what to do with it and when this I saw the instructions on creating flaps I knew I had found a happy occupation for these little colour chips.
I very rarely work with clean, simple lines, I’m more a messy sketchy kinda person so the idea in my head presented me with a challenge. I knew I would need to use maths with is something very likely to send me into a panic, despite being a knitter and a quilter! But if there is nothing that I’ve gained from this course it is that you’ve got to try; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. So I got out my ruler and started drawing and calculating.
Oh I was proud of myself, all those lines and little notes until I realised that when I folded the paper back my notes and pencil lines would be visible, doh! What a numpty but I decided to plough on and try to concentrate on cutting well within the lines, the pen notes might make a nice bit of added detail. The truth is I was too lazy to start again.
In actual fact the page looked okay after I’d done all the cutting. The surface still looked nice and clean despite my desk being very grubby, my shoulders were aching but I was happy with the result.
It took a good while to rip the little chips off their original card and then stick them down on to their new home, I decided to keep the original ordering because they worked so well on the chart why change the flow at this stage. The juxtaposition of the colours would change anyway because my chart layout is different and I wanted to see if this changed the overall harmony in any way.
I’m really pleased with the end result. The little bits of pen do show but they didn’t really disturb the image.
The images made me think of lines of buildings or soldiers on parade. After the events at Glenfell tower the little boxes of different colours made me think of all the tower blocks with coloured cladding that you see in our towns and cities. The campaign of repeated, regulated, unstoppable regeneration, a good idea that pounded on regardless of questions and second thoughts.
If I was to develop this into a textile piece I would have one little grey flap in amongst the others, a small beacon of disaster, a jarring spike of hindsight to remind us that regeneration is much more that just improving the view for the surrounding neighbourhood.