Monday, May 28, 2012

Surface embellishment workshop

Last weekend I was at an ATASDA workshop tutored by Carol Wilkes, a textile artist from Queensland and had an absolute ball!  She taught us wonderful surface embellishment techniques that stretched my free machining skills somewhat but wow, what inspiration.
There is so much detail and intricacy to Carol's work that first looks so striking then draws you in closer wondering just how on earth she managed to do that!

There was just not enough time to finish everything during the class of course but today I just had to get back to it and make more cords and make more motifs and and.....Addictive to put it mildly.

Anyway I put it all together today and made up a bag - a great reminder and now a piece of inspiration hanging in front of my workspace.

Surface embellished zipped pouch, with embroidered silk dupion back

detail showing 3D nature of motifs

spiral detail

Thank you Carol for your knowledge, expertise and a fun day!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Metallic Assessment piece

My thoughts / inspiration for this second PAP came from the faces and design work in chapter 12 of module 2, and my penchant for lace and cutwork.  I originally wanted to do a hanging of some kind largely using metal shim, to create a posterized mosaic portrait of metal fragments set in lace.

I liked my initial attempts at creating a mosaic

but found difficulty in both producing a large enough range of different metal tones providing enough detail with the size of the metal pieces.  As Sian pointed out either my pieces had to be very small (which might mean the appearance of metal might be lost among the lace) or the hanging would be need to be very large.

I rethought things and decided to stay with the mosaic idea but incorporate it as lace into a wearable garment with recurring faces appearing in sections of the garment.

The very bad sketch on the left shows a basic corset construction for the bodice which will have lacings down each side, (one real for garment to get on and off).  Details of the straps are undecided at present.
The side panels will have metal shim shapes attached in a mosaic effect, while the centre front and back panels will have the 'faces' feature in metal shim and embroidery.

The volume and length of the skirt I am undecided about but I want it to exist in layers of translucent fabric so that I can have faces embroidered and cut out in different layers, all seen overlapping together.

At the top of the skirt will be a lacework of metal shim fragments in 3 or 4 sections but each will be unattached to the fabric layer beneath it.

I began by preparing my copper shim (acquired from Art Van Go in the UK thanks to my 2nd prize in the sketchbook competition).  I didn't want it looking obviously like copper so I patinated it to a dark auburn /almost black surface using liver of sulphur gel.

The mosaic shape I chose was a stylised facial profile, at least with a nose and mouth on both edges of the shape (not too obvious in this photo I have to admit).
I decided to use natural dyes to create a subtle colour palette of fabrics that I might need, so used dried eucalypt leaves, boiling about 300g in a mesh bag in about 6l water for an hour.  I added a couple of teaspoons of ferrous sulphate as mordant, as I wanted a dark metallic tinge to the colour rather than too bright.  I removed the bag of leaves and added the fabrics, cotton first before the silk ones, simmering for a further 30mins.

The resulting fabrics and threads - ochre to grey:

To cut a long story short, I've made most of the bodice to date:

The free machining to attach the metal shim mosaic is done in metallic thread in a crisscross fashion like lacing.  The background fabric is dyed silk dupion. The corset has a fairly stiff thickish batting (used in bag making) backed to the fabric, to give it structure.

The front panel shows a posterized image printed on dyed cotton scrim (bottom left) with some surface embroidery, more embroidered faces in metallic and white thread and the main image in metal shim and cut organza sheer.  The faces and images are all from my own photos.
The back panel is similar to this with different images.

More will follow hopefully.....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dyeing to felt

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to attend a one-day workshop through ATASDA with Pam de Groot on dyeing wool and silk for felting.
I've done a fair bit of dyeing cellulose based fibres and fabrics using Procion dyes, but never gone the route of dyeing my own wool for my felting, choosing rather to buy hand dyed roving.  Not that I hadn't want to before, just I could see my other half rolling his eyes at the purchase of a whole new set of dyes!

Pam was a great teacher, very hands on and practical, giving us guidelines based on her own experience and obvious skill in the field.
We learned to space dye white merino wool roving in the microwave and then in an urn.  It fascinated me to see the wool soak up almost all of the added dye leaving virtually clear water - so unlike Procion dyeing.

We moved on the ombre dyeing of spun wool in the urn where the wool is tied to a wooden spatula over the water and gradually turned rolling up the hank out of the water during the dyeing period.

The result was a beautifully shaded hank of wool (of course I was so impressed I forgot to take a photo of that!)
Later we went on to dyeing fine silks, including tissue silk for nunofelting, and looked at a few shibori methods of binding and overdyeing layers of colour.  I was finally able to shibori dye a piece of white kimono wool fabric from my stash.
Overall a fun day and one full of inspiration for my felting.

And last but not least, this weekend you'll find me at the Wheel 'n' Weft Craft Exhibition and Sale, at Thornleigh Community Centre, cnr Phyllis and Central Aves, Thornleigh (next to Bunnings).  Sale is on Sat 5 May 9-5pm and Sun 6 May 10-4pm - love to see you.