Art · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pt1 - Pj3 - Ex3 - Using Hot Water · MMT - Pt1 - Project 3 - Heating & Fusing · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Pt1 – Pj3 – Ex3 – Using Hot Water – Part 3

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.

Laid out on flat scrim works well too. They look like thin clouds at sunset.

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.

Art · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pt1 - Pj3 - Ex3 - Using Hot Water · MMT - Pt1 - Project 3 - Heating & Fusing

MMT – Pt1 – Pj3 – Ex3 – Using Hot Water – Part 2

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 little pebbles in a row came out okay, the moulding was good and clear and they were nice and springy.

 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.

Developing this idea further I used some masking fluid to draw the bubbles onto a sheet of paper and once it had dried I painted over it with acrylic ink.

It was very wet so being impatient and not wanting to waste anything I soaked up the excess paint with one of the disaster mounded samples. 

The end result after lots of drying and rubbing of the masking fluid made me smile. I love the tones and the contrast of the void areas.

To finish the painting off I used Inktense blocks with water and a brush to darken the edges around the bubbles.

Art · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pt1 - Pj3 - Ex3 - Using Hot Water · MMT - Pt1 - Project 3 - Heating & Fusing · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Pt1 – Pj3 – Ex3 – Using Hot Water – Part1

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!!!

Next came selecting what I wanted to wrap, I have no shortage was solid items with interesting shapes. I’m a hoarder of pebbles, shells and other interesting (to me at least) ephemera.


All enthusiast at last I started to wrap up my items with loom bands.

I added seeds that I thought might add some colour (no chance really on synthetic material) and interesting bits of glass.

They all looked so cute wrapped up and then ready in the pan for boiling. There are more images on my instagram feed Sallyharrisonart.

I stood over the pan all excited then disaster struck. The loom bands, I’d been so proud of this time saving idea, were melting, everything was unravelling. It was a horror story in a saucepan.

Not to be defeated I whipped then out of the water and plunged them into cold water and then put them out to dry. As you can see even Gemmie wasn’t that impressed.

And in the end? Rubbish! There is some moulding and shape but it can’t even be described as subtle and delicate. It just looks weird and half hearted. Back to the drawing board then.

Art · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pjt2 - Tearing and cutting · MMT - Pt1 - Pj2 - Ex5 - Creating Flaps · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Pt1 – Pj2 – Ex5 – Creating Flaps – Part 2

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.

Art · MMT - Pjt2 - Tearing and cutting · MMT - PT1 - Pj2 - Ex4 - Cutting Holes · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Pt1 – Pj2 – Ex4 – Cutting Holes – part 2

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. 

Art · MMT - Pjt2 - Tearing and cutting · MMT - Pt1 - Pj2 - Ex5 - Creating Flaps · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Pt1 – Pj2 – Ex5 – Creating Flaps

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.

For such a simple design there was lots of potential with moving the flaps and the lighting to get different views of the colours and the textures. 

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. 

Biographies · sallyharrisonart

Kind of wrote an Artist Statement today!

It took some coaxing out of me, I’m putting it down to my artistic temperament but really I was just being a huge pain in the butt!!!

Despite having to work within the limiting confines of a degree pathway of study in textile art, Sally’s own visual language remains instantly recognisable. 

Her playful approach to research, design and the development of ideas goes beyond the traditional expectations of an artist’s sketchbook, particularly by incorporating into her methodology the inventive use of mixed media and specifically, digital mediums to transform historical influences and sources into modern textile responses.

Art · MMT - PT1 - Pj2 - Ex4 - Cutting Holes

MMT – PT1 – PJ2 – Ex4 -Cutting Holes

I’ve just had a look back at the course materials for this exercise and realised that I’ve missed an important instruction. 

My samples are worked in paper and the instructions ask you to experiment with other materials. I had thought about it, thinking about leaves and plastic and then whoosh! the thoughts went. 

So here are my paper samples. I’ve got some ideas for other materials and I’ll follow those up later.

As usual Pinterest has been a fantastic source of information and inspiration for this exercise. I am starting to think this might be becoming too easy and I think I need to use some other sources for research. 

Pinterest is good but it only gives you a picture and, usually just a sound bite. That’s really not going to be enough to give real integrity to my research, I don’t want to just skip through this stage each time. For these preliminary exercises I’m hoping this will be sufficient as long as I promise to do better next time.

On my Pinterest board OCA – Portrait – Distortion I have pinned lots of images with holes that incorporate portraits and a couple that don’t. These 3 images stood out for me.

I think the burnt holes are inventive, simple but very effective. The collage work incorporating the 2 images is fascinating to me, the overlaying is very cleverly done and like the ladies face it looks very simple but it takes skill to make the cuts in the right places so the image doesn’t become confused or worse dull.

As I thought about my samples I knew I wanted to use printed pages and recently I had bought a book by Micheal Von Hassal, a huge tome full of bright, detailed and mesmerising photographs.  The book is called Compendium

This is the first time I’ve looked up this book on the internet after buying it (brand new) for ¬£4. The cheapest copies for sale are ¬£50. Maybe I shouldn’t have cut it up after all!

Okay, back to the book. Michael has an amazing eye for seeing form and replication. His colours are strong and vivid  and my fingers were itching to make something with the images.

One of my source pictures used lettering so I started there with a long page of description in German.

The flaps intrigued but also irritated me so I tied and sewed them down and added another page behind to test the overall result.

Then went on to cut out more rectangles. 

Once I was happy with the balance between text and image I put the piece into my sketchbook.

But only after having a sneaky peek at the back.

After seeing this image I just couldn’t do a sample without using one of these crazy collage photographs.

It took a lot of cutting and I got a sore shoulder but I got there in the end. 

It’s not my favourite sample, I don’t think my cutting and collageing has improved the original image. 

In fact I think the cutting away of the carefully selected background images has weakened the composition. It’s still a pretty picture with nice colours but the narrative behind the image has been cut away and cast aside.

My development doesn’t do homage to the original or act as a tribute. 

This is a lesson learnt and has helped me to understand better the complexities of ‘stealing like an artist’


Art · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pjt2 - Tearing and cutting · MMT - PT1 - PJ2 - Ex3 - A Meandering Cut · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

Playing with ‘a meandering cut’

I’m still here plodding along, once I sit down I’m hooked and love what I’m doing but it’s far too easy to procrastinate off into the distance! So what have I’ve been up to?

Raised surfaces and textures are something that I really love, it must be something to do with the way the light gets distorted by the highs and lows and alters the surface into something of wonder and interest. Heck, ignoring the flowery works, let’s just say they make me happy!

Playing with meandering cuts has therefore given me a fabulous technique for creating really interesting and surprising surfaces.

My first sample is very simple and is made from soft handmade Japanese paper.

It was very plain so I decided to add some gentle colour to highlight and draw more attention to the edges of the folds.

And finally I had a little play around with light and camera angles to increase the tonal changes to create more of a dramatic feel to the piece. It struck me then how important it must be to have your work put in exactly the right place at an exhibition and how frustrating it must be when this isn’t possible.

I’d enjoyed working with the simple paper but the idea of working with photographic and pictorial images was still playing on my mind and I was chuffed to find this little book for 50p in a charity shop. Ummm? Could I make a long cut and distorted sample?

The book is full of page after page of images of paintings of horses. Just perfect for me to continue the theme of manipulating and transforming a flat picture to alter the viewers immediate first look, to keep the eye darting round trying to make sense of what they have just seen. 

I make a few quick note and a sample in my sketchbook book.

This isn’t going to be a quick or simple sample to make this time, the basic strip of pages is quite long and quite unruly (but I have tamed it a little with a quilting clip!)

I’m also a messy worker so I’ve only got a small portion of my work table to use for the cutting and sticking. It all soon got out of hand but then I remembered I’d got some lollipop sticks which might help stabilise the structure.

Things are coming along nicely and this method of exploration and ‘working with the faith that it’s going to be okay in the end’ made me think of Matthew Shlian, I’d researched him via an article in Uppercase magazine when I’d started MMT and I definitely feel some of his words had sunk into my subconscious. 

I can never resist taking a few photos and publishing them on Instagram. There’s still looks of cutting and sticking to do!

Oh and on another note my submission for formal assessment of ATV has been posted and received. Let the nervous waiting begin ūüė¨

Art · MMT - Ex 7 - Rotational Crumpling Technique · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pjt1 - Folding and Crumpling · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Surface Distortion – Ex 7 – Rotational Crumpling Technique

This technique almost beat me and although I’m okay with the results, I’m not entirely sure that they met the brief. After 3 attempts I made a decision to not do any more searching for a better paper choice and to move on.

So what did I do.

First I tried the technique on brown paper but it was far too fibrous, far more than the brown paper used to wrap parcels. I just couldn’t get the folds to hold, crumples I had galore but the circles just wouldn’t appear. So, heck I added some pen to give the impression of rotation.

I chose some soft handmade paper but it was far to fabric like to make the folds hold. In the end I resorted to holding the centre into a circle with a loom band.

But most things can be rescued with a good iPhone filter.

I’d always wanted to use some Japanese calligraphy paper printed with grid lines on one of these exercises and because I’d gone in a different direct with the folding I decided to have a go at crumpling it.

This didn’t really work any better, the folds, textures and shadows are nice but my circle just forced itself back into a square.