Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Relief surfaces - starch paste

I had a go at making starch paste acording to Sian's recipe on the stove top but I had to add more water after it cooled because it was a bit of a rubbery brick cold, resembling more of a gelatin mould than wallpaper paste.  However, paste made I added Procion dyes powders to it divided into about 4 quatities.  Like others before me I was surprised at how strong the colours were and then how curled the papers were once they'd dried!  The first few I made, produced interesting cracks in the dried paste once I tried to flatten them.  I have scanned sections of three of these made using brown, olive, golden yellow and red dyes.


I then added highlights of treasure gold on to some of these papers but found that the relief was not suffucient to see the metallic touches so chose to make monoprints of metallic acrylic paints on top trying to mimic the types of patterns I had made in the paste.

I also made rubbings over texture plates with metallic Markal sticks.  There are a couple of examples below.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Opus Anglicanum

I started looking at this at the beginning of the year but very quickly realised that researching on the internet was not going to be enough as the photographs there didn't give me any idea of the intricacies of the actual articles.  So I waited until this July when I was in the UK and could view some of them for myself at the V&A in London.  Despite travelling from the other side of the world, the rest of the family only allowed me 25 minutes in the V&A so given that, I'm quite pleased with the details I could glean and photograph!

1.1 I've presented my research on six A4 boards that are connected and hinged into the form of a cross akin to the Marnhull Orphrey on display in the museum.

1.1 Opus Anglicanum folded book
I've photographed each of the 6 boards separately so that you should be able to read the detail if you want to.

1.2 Introduction and pattern drawings

1.3 The Syon Cope

1.4 The Marnhull Orphrey (1)

1.5 The Marnhull Orphrey (2)

1.6 The Clare Chasuble

1.7 The Butler-Bowdon Cope
Once all the boards are folded in on themselves you can see the cover.

The boards are hinged using double cloth tape and with inserted board strips to create spines when the bulk requires.  The cover is a dark red velvet with a bronze silk dupioni name (and despite the photograph it really does say opus and not 'pus'!!).  The metallic thread embroidery copies one of the patterns found on the Clare Chasuble.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chapter 3 Underside Couching

A. Underside couching Hand stitch

I started to follow the technique using quite a coarse tapestry mesh with thick wools but the scale didn't seem to help so I very quickly moved on to using bookbinders' muslin as a base.  This muslin has a fine even weave with visible holes but also has a lot of stiffener in it, obviously for bookbinder.  This stiffener proved very useful and I found I didn't need a hoop to stabilise the material.

3.1 I created a chevron pattern with green Perle cotton thread, similar to that seen in some of the borders of the Opus Anglicanum pieces

3.2 This piece uses a yellow Perle cotton with a metal strand through it to create a kind of basket weave pattern.

3.3 the backsides of 3.1 and 3.2 above showing the couching thread and the 'dots' of Perle coming through.
These samples were approx 3cm wide.

I actually quite enjoyed this despite it feeling like it was taking forever to do and it appearing to get smaller as you worked on it!  So much so that I started work on a small sample worked on velvet (before I realised that you were supposed to work through a linen layer too then pick all the strands of linen away- aargh!) - very unsuccessful, so bad in fact that a photo of the disaster will not be uploaded.  My admiration definitely goes to those Medieval craftsmen!

I had more success working on 32count linen and put a few samples in my chapter 1 research book on Opus Anglicanum - not quite completed yet....

B. Underside couching machine stitch

3.4 I picked a background of homespun cotton, hand dyed brown which was stabilised with a woven interfacing.  This first sample was intended to show 4 different squares but I reckoned that the stitch length change was not great enough and there was not enough contrast between the top and bottom threads.

3.5 This second one was more successful and a diamond was more obviously produced.

3.6 I found that keeping the lines of stitching evenly spaced was quite difficult, but may have been less apparent on a larger scale.

3.7 Here the stitch type was changed between plain and zig-zag.

3.8 Here some gold lurex thread was used in the bobbin.  Perhaps greater contrast between the top and bottom threads would have been better.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chapter 2 - Metallic Threads

Chapter 2 looks at metallic embroidery relating to Opus Anglicanum and ecclesiastical embroidery. 
The photos below appear blurry in some cases but if you click on them to get a close up they are quite clear - don't know why this has happened here.

Couching by Hand
These first few images are of samples couching metallic threads (and some less conventional materials) by hand (size approximately 8cm square)
2.1 Some 2cm wide metallic ribbon couched down by running stitches in red Perle cotton.  Gold lurex thread and red metallic thread were laced through these stitches.

2.2 Spirals cut from metal foil couched down by red Perle cotton.

2.3 Metallic plastic mesh woven with yellow metallic ribon couched down with large stitches in yellow Perle cotton thread.

2.4 Twisted braids of red mettalic floss and gold lurex thread couched down with red Perle cotton in herringbone stitch.

2.5 Metallic wrapping paper strips wrapped in red metallic thread held down by laid work in large stitches of red Perle with small anchoring stitches in yellow Perle.

2.6 Stamped images of leaves, from Module 1 sketchbook, in bronze acrylic paint.  The outline of one couched in gold lurex with red Perle cotton stitches.

2.7 Strips of corrugated metallic card couched down with large diagonal stitches of metallic ribbon in a trellis pattern, then laid work anchored with small horizontal stitches in red Perle cotton.

2.8 A tight purl of 24 gauge gold wire made using a 'coiling gizmo'.  Similar purls of silver wire made then coiled on themselves and laid within the "s" bend.  All purls were laid down using red Perle cotton.

Couching by Machine

2.9 Thin wavy strips of metal foil couched down with machine zig-zag in red thread.  Bundles of red metallic thread couched on top using automatic wavy machine stitch.

2.10 Thick metallic ribbon arranged in interlocking folds held down by a line of machining down the centre.  Machined cords of yellow / metallic Perle were laced through these created folds and couched at certain points by machined zig-zags in red.

2.11 Metallic chiffon fabric strip held down by couched cotton embroidery thread in such a manner as to create repeating tucks in the fabric horizontally.  Large stitches of metallic thread sew vertically across this fabric by machine then couched down at points along this vertical length.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cecilia Heffer- Lace Narratives

I managed to get to Cecilia Heffer's exhibition at Damien Minton's gallery in Redfern on Saturday and was certainly glad I'd made the effort. The gallery is not much to look at from the outside, as fine art galleries often are but inside there was so much light - a really lovely space.

The gallery rarely has textile exhibitions but Cecilia's work suited the area beautifully. Her work is largely monochromatic in creams, and shades of brown, by virtue of her natural dyeing with vegetation and rusting. This colour scheme was echoed by the pale wooden beams of the ceiling, weathered and worn, from which lengths of printed cloths hung.
She explained that this exhibition had developed over many months and consequently was made up of several groupings each with their own identity but linked in a common theme - their own form of lace as it were. 

One particular series of around 12 small framed works contained fragments of dyed and treated cloth linked in an open patchwork by lace bars.

These miniature lace works (above and below) are intended to be viewed as a "series of paragraphs, aerial views of landscapes".  In referencing Rosemary Shepherd's definition of lace as "an openwork fabric whereby the pattern of spaces is as important as the solid itself".
This work relates to the experience of plane travel. (Cecilia herself has moved country 8 times and changed house 27 times).  As she says "we travel from one solid land mass to another we view patterns of landscapes below us in a capsule suspended in space."
In some of these pieces Cecilia had incorporated pieces of her old Chilian passport to give a sense of herself in each work.

Another group was made from heirloom lace fragments, donated to Cecilia, which she linked together in free form contemporary lace using water soluble material.  These particularly delicate fabrics were then ombre dyed using natural dyes (eg. eucalyptus, some with mordants and rust).  A range of subtle colour changes were produced in these hangings.

A section of the Government House lace was hanging in the exhibition too so that was great to see up close.
The flora detail in the design was lovely - a tribute to the Scott sisters of Darlinghurst, Sydney and their botanical drawings of the 1900s.

After Cecilia spoke, some of her colleagues spoke of her work from their own perspective: one from  visual arts dwelt on her simple design ethos and one, a poet, who gave her own rendition of narrative lace.  I have to admit my expectations of the poet were not high but I was blown away by the experience, a ver clever musing!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Machiko Agano

Machiko Agano is another talented textile artist who explores lace in a very sculpural form. She is a professor in the textile department of Kyoto Seika university, Japan but also has exhibited internationally in collaboration and in solo to high aclaim.
I first came across her work in an issue of Fiberarts and just loved the scale and the visual representation of space.

Agano trained initially as a weaver but now knits on large needles using fishing wire, silk, monofilament and steel wire in wonderfully irregular patterns.

Her work, often suspended from the ceiling in her installations, is largely neutral or clear in colour to exploit the colours of the surroundings through the tranlucency of her pieces. Many who see her work comment on its representation of air as the installations merge as one with their surroundings.

Lace Narratives

With my own interest in lacy textiles I have been looking closely at work by textile artists with a similar interest.

Cecilia Heffer, based here in Sydney, is one such artist who has been working in contemporary lace patterns in various textile forms, examining the structural forms created.
After studying fine art for three years she went to Spain before moving to the UK and completing a masters degree in textiles at Central Saint Martins college in London

She is currently the coordinator of textiles at the University of Technology, Sydney.
She has received many awards and her work has been published in many national and international design journals.

She was first inspired to work with lace after viewing the lace archives at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and began to create contemporary lace designs for interior displays.

She creates lace designs using digital technology and industrial processes rather than hand knotting.

This installation above was from her solo exhibition in 2006 entitled Laced. The circles are cut from silk organza and then hand printed with traditional Venetian lace braids.

During the restoration work on Government House, Canberra, Cecilia was asked to redesign the lace curtains in the main drawing room and she was able to create a design incorporating Australian flora eg wattle flowers. It was based on Nottingham lace but had a contemporary feel.

In 2009 I attended an evening talk by Cecilia locally when she related how this design was developed and was eventually made up by a Scottish firm located about 10miles from my native home town as no one was equipped locally!

Cecilia's current exhibition, Lace Narratives" in Redfern Sydney closes tomorrow but I am hoping to visit it and hear her closing "conversation" about this work. More later....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Module 1 3D Assessment piece paperwork

For completeness of Module 1 I have posted below my details of costings, timings, H & S, and evaluation for my functional 3-dimensional piece.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back down under

Finally had some time to blog since I got back and also download my hundreds of photos from the trip - no, don't worry I won't go through them all here. But we did have a wonderfully inspiring trip and saw quite a few exhibitions in UK and Paris to keep me going for a while.
I did enjoy the summer school, seeing everyone again, and learning from Ruth. I'm sure students have said great things about the whole workshop time but I did appreciate especially the discussion on the last day being in amongst like-minded people with some great ideas.

I returned to find that both my textile pieces in the NSCG Fire and Water exhibition had sold, so I was fairly chuffed by that. It's inspired me to do more hand stitching so maybe that will get me back into the C&G hand samples I'm mentally stuck with.

I tutored a workshop on Saturday for ATASDA in Sydney on "Contemporary Lace" which was great fun. All the the students were so enthusiastic and keen to try out different ideas with soldering irons, mixed media, and free machining, not to mention some weaving on created grids.
Some great work was produced all round.
Have also been putting the final touches to my piece for "Voyages of the Imagination", the national ATASDA exhibition held in the Palm House within the Botanic Gardens in Sydney.
A section of it is shown below
It's another hand and machine sewn hanging entitled "Old Man Willow" inspired by the forest in "Fellowship of the Ring" by Tolkien. The exhibition opens on Thursday 12 so if you're in the area do call in.