Sunday, June 29, 2014

"Not to be Taken"

Before I went on to do some resolved samples for Module 5, I thought I'd use my bottle designs as a basis for a larger piece I would be exhibiting with ATASDA in August.  The link back to my pharmacy works well with the exhibition theme: Future....Past and demonstrates the influence of my past on my textile practice present and future.  Ok, that's a bit deep, but you get the idea...

A little bit on my thought process:

Rough planning of design true to scale
Selection of dyed nuno prefelts
Placement of prefelts and resists ready for felting
Once it was fully felted and dried the fun part of stitching back into it followed.
The yellow bottle looked a little unrelated to the rest so I stitched in yellow and couched cords to emphasize some shapes.

This changed the focus of the arrangement to the central vertical band area of the hanging I felt, which helped to balance the little white bottle inclusions on the left.  Contrasts between shapes tend to change in the felting process and those inclusions had become a bit more obvious than I had intended.  More stitching in darker threads gave more depth and layering to certain areas.  So those were my thoughts which may not be to everyone's interpretation of the design but I'm pleased with the result.

"Not to be taken"
felted hanging (65x100cm)
 and details of the piece

And why the title?
Aside from being a well used labelling instruction for external medication, it reminds us that we all made up of layers of past experiences and abilities and not just what appears on the surface.  Our first impression is "not to be taken" as the whole story.
But hey, that's only my interpretation...

Come make your own mind up at "Future....Past" exhibition at Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney 14 - 26 August.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Designing with laminated layers

I so enjoyed this section of work, wanted to do all 3 parts but for the time being I concentrated on section C, which uses continuous lines and wire to create shapes, as it seemed to follow on well from the previous chapter (and post).
I began by setting up a still life arrangement of glass bottles and vessels.  I had a couple of typically scientific pharmaceutical bottles from way back so I decided to go forward with this theme.  I didn't have too many bottles "in the flesh" to refer to, so I used some photos from the internet as drawing resources.

9.1: bottle sketches on my design board
 All the designs following have been created from these drawings and not from the internet photos.
With one continuous piece of wire I recreated the principle shapes within the bottle arrangements.

9.2: wire bottle shapes
To go along with my pharmaceutical theme I needed to include the details of wide glass stoppers, glass carrying handles of solvent bottles, and the outer ribbed surface that features on all medicine bottles used for external use eg. topical lotions,emulsions, etc.

The layers for laminating were made largely from white and coloured tissue papers, and from dyed organzas and muslin fabrics so that they had some translucency for layering purposes. I also printed some papers and fabrics with appropriate text eg. old pharmacy labels and prescription instructions via the computer.
The wire shapes were used to make rubbings using crayons and acted as resists in monoprinting.  Other monoprints prepared on tissue used cardboard resists of the shapes and lines drawn back in from the reverse (as in 9.3)

9.3: monoprint

I then began to laminate them in arrangements using torn strips of layers, and positive and negative cutouts of the bottle shapes.  They were all backed with muslin to allow for stitching later.  I started to use a PVA mixture to laminate but found I preferred the feel and the translucency achieved with waxes, so the following examples are all made with melted beeswax pellets and Dorland's wax medium (the latter because I had a supply unused from a mixed media workshop in the past).
I love the way the white tissue paper becomes so transparent - particularly effective when a partially monoprinted tissue is waxed and sections appear from layers underneath (9.4)

9.4: waxed monoprinted tissues and muslin
9.5: waxed monoprinted tissues and scrim
I then went back into a selection of the designs with free machine stitching using reverse cabling to emphasize the shapes.
Those wired paper bottles from last chapter made an appearance to add some dimension.
9.11: addition of wire bottle with paper pulp
The whole idea of layering made me think of shadowing effects that can be created in nunofelting (of course) with overlapped silks and melding of wools, so I tried a little piecing of prefelts in much the same way as the tissue paper layer here.

9.14: laid out prefelts and silks
And the resulting felt:
It needs stitching into, but basically not as much loss of distinction in the shapes as I thought might happen. I liked the outlines to the shapes that appeared from the underlying felt colour.  The shrinkage of the felt means that the script would need to be larger and more distinct to work but I think it could be worth pursuing with more change in texture or depth perhaps.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lacy paper frames

This section of work looked at creating contemporary lace effects using stitch with handmade paper and wirework.  Initial frames, approx. 25cm square, were made square using 1.25mm wire, then wrapped and tied with various fibres eg. perle 5 cotton, thicker jute string, thin strips of muslin.
These frames were then dipped in white paper pulp, pressed and left to dry completely.

8.1: Example of
I then stitched back into the frames using hand and machine stitch trying to make connections with the original lace patterns found in Reticella and Punto in Aria.

8.2: grid stitching across voids with couched perle
8.3: further threads wrapped over paper then drawn together using free zig-zag to create 'branches' of varying thicknesses
8.4: detail of 8.3
The additional stitching in 8.5 below was done by hand to simulate the woven bars and grid patterns used in Reticella lace.  The handstitches used were twisted lattice stitch (top left in photo 8.5), knotted buttonhole filling stitch (middle) and cretan open filling stitch (right and bottom)

8.5: handstitched "lace"

Having read Sian's work in"Approaches to Stitch"only recently I decided to make some wire bottles in a similar fashion. My bottles were pharmaceutical based for reasons which will come later in another chapter.  The wire was thinner this time (0.9mm) to bend more easily but still retain a firm shape and  I wrapped the wire with masking tape to enable the paper pulp to better stick to the outline,

8.6: wrapped wire bottles
8.7: after dipping in paper pulp and drying
then painted them with acrylics

8.8: bottle wire frames painted and further stitched into

I turned back to my research theme and created some wire frames in the shape of the floral motif used in earlier chapters of this module.

8.9: floral wireforms (top left one had windings of muslin strips which account for the greater paper pulp trapped
These reminded me of brittle leaves and might be something I'll take forward into designs for the final assessment piece.  But back to my bottles for the next design part..

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pocket features - chapt 7

Great fun researching pocket ideas - amazing how many enclosed compartments and 'pockets' you can start finding around the house and in nature of course.  Think of any seed pod and nut and it can be translated into a clever llittle pocket feature.  I jotted a few down to remind myself:

7.1: simple drawings and notes on pockets
along with various means of closure eg rivets, solder, lacing etc.
Origami folded pockets are extremely numerous but I liked  these in particular:

7.2: folded origami pockets using tracing paper (lying on A4 sketchbook for scale)
I then created a few pockets of my own using mainly clear acetate (the flexible kind for covering books) - some are both open topped and some completely enclosed, attached on to a thick vilene backing for support.

In detail they are:

7.5: module 5 motif machine stitched enclosing lavender 
7.6: open topped acetate pocket made with eyelets holding scrim
acetate channel pockets standing proud of backing, holding machined cords
7.8: open pocket sealed with glass beads
7.9: mesh of melted plastic food bags, stapled to backing to create pocket
7.10: enclosure created with sewn buttons holding buttonhole samples
7.11: open pocket made with twisted buttonhole stitch in perle 5
7.11: holes in acetate pocket sides 'sealed' with blanket stitched cords

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Silk paper suspensions - chapt 6

Working towards using silk paper in some resolved samples later on, I played around with suspending various 'treasures' within silk fibres, initially undyed tussah silk. My intention was to make the items appear to float on the surface, so the silk layers were very thin, particularly over the items themselves - not so apparent in the photos on a white background.

6.1: captured scrim and soft cocoons
6.2:eucalyptus leaves 
6.3 wool nepps
6.4: feathers
6.5: raffia strips
Then did a bit of dyeing of the fibres using acid dyes
6.6: dye added and 'squidged' through the fibres previous soaked in vinegar
6.7: Wrapped in clingfilm and steamed for 30 mins
6.8:dried dyed tussah silk
Used this dyed silk for more paper
6.9: trapped leaves and machined cords

6.10: torn photos of vegetation

6.11: sliced felt ball