Monday, December 12, 2016

Life after PAP4: Sterculia

The end is in sight as they say, so here are the details of self-assessment for my 4th Personal Assessment piece Sterculia completed about a year ago:

Evaluation:  The piece was hung from a clear perspex rod (10mm diam) so as to minimize the visual impact of a pole against the wall and not detract from the work.  The flexibility of the rod successfully enabled the piece to follow the curvature of the wall, and not impede the flow of traffic through that area.
The rod was attached to the wall using 3 clear "command" hooks and strips.

All my previous photography of the work was taken against a white backdrop so I was anxious to see how the piece appeared against this darker wall.  I acknowledge that the brown and green colours merge into the background a little more as I suspected they would, but the 'floral' motifs in yellow are now brighter and focal to the piece.  The fluorescent lighting adds to this.

Design changes?  I would like to pursue my idea to hang several overlapping layers distinctly apart but I think a site with an open void might have been better suited to that.  I could have gone bigger of course, making a feature of the curved wall and creating a hanging twice as wide, but overall I am pleased with the result.

Time taken to produce:  
  • to prepare and felt the final 2 layers of lace felt - 13 hours
  • to prepare the sheer and felted motifs with shisha mirrors - 9 hours
  • to attach and free machine embroider - 5 hours
total time - 27 hours

Cost to produce:
  • merino wool roving (approx 500g) - $4
  • landscape dyes (approx 10g) - $12
  • shisha mirrors - $8
  • polyester sheer fabric (approx 1m) - $10
  • wool yarns, crochet cottons - $7
  • embroidery thread, machine and hand - $12
  • perspex rod - $16
  • resist foam and plastic sheeting for felting - $3
total cost - $72
Methods and order of work:
  • dyeing of wool roving, wool yarns, cotton yarns
  • laying out dyed yarns and wool roving in lattice formation for felting
  • felting of lattice layers
  • felting shisha mirrors into wool, drying, cutting out paisley pattern motifs from felt and free machine embroidering
  • drawing out motifs on water soluble fabric, stitching motifs through sheers, dissolving fabric, drying then cutting out motifs using soldering iron.
  • attaching motifs to lattice by hand stitching
Particular health and safety issues:
  • acid dyes - powdered dye kept in sealed pots within sealed container out of reach of children in dedicated dyeing room.  Mask and gloves worn when measuring out into jar.  Care taken in adding hot water, making solution of dye.  Be aware of steam in urn when adding dye solution or wool roving / yarn.  All utensils used only for dyeing procedure.
  • felting - work on raised table to minimize strain on back, mop up any water spills on floor around working area
  • shisha mirror motifs - be aware of cut mirror edges within felt when free machining felt motifs, wear glasses for protection against broken needles
  • soldering iron - work in well ventilated room, preferably next to open window, leave hot iron held in upturned flower pot when not in use, always remember to pull out plug after use.
Since completing the work I have had the opportunity to exhibit it a couple of times - once at Craft NSW, Sydney (Oct 2015) and once as part of Out of Hand contemporary textile exhibition at Wallarobba Cultural Arts Centre, Hornsby (Nov 2015)as part of Untethered fibre artists. 
At the Craft NSW Gallery I was able to hang the piece on 2 perspex rods slightly staggered apart which was an interesting change.

Sterculia at Craft NSW, the Rocks, Sydney
 And at Wallarobba Cultural Arts Centre it was hung at the turn of the stairs up to more gallery rooms.  This allowed visitors had the opportunity to view it from the side as they passed by.

Sterculia, part of Out of Hand, at Wallarobba Cultural Arts Centre, Hornsby

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