Sunday, 12 March 2017

Diploma Module 1 Chapter 9 - Explore with Abstracted Fragments - Option B

I chose a selection of fragments from the hollow outline and solid shape exercises and work from my sketchbook and drew them on a sheet of tracing paper in 4cmx7cm rectangles. I varied scale and placement within the rectangles on my tablet to find suitable lines and drew off those I thought would be usable for this design exercise - Image 250.

The first trials, and then images I could visualise from what I was achieving, were disappointing - reminiscent of Images 99 and 100 in the Shape and Pattern Study - as the essence of the gulls was being lost (Image 251 and 252).

Image 251 was over complicated and reminded me of carcasses hanging in a butcher's shop (not the best design for a non-meat eater!) and had totally lost the feeling of the gull. Image 252 just didn't work for me.  At this point I traced off the design given in the module and played with it and asked myself why it was working and mine not.  I decided it was all to do with the original placement of the lines in the rectangle.  I looked again at my rectangles and used the first one on the sheet, using the smaller of the two contours, and began to get better results.  I extended lines, lost lines and added the egg shape (Image 253).

Or turning through 180 degrees

Image 254 - Extra lines and shapes drawn in and developed.

Image 255 - Chosen design to manipulate in computer program.

The following images were manipulated in Photoshop Elements 11.
Image 256 - Ink Outlines - stroke length 20, dark intensity 39, light intensity 30

Image 257 - Liquify - brush size 295, brush pressure 68, turbulent jitter 70

Image 258 - Pinch on centre of rectangle 86%

Image 259 - Ripple medium 659%, plus Pinch 86%

Image 260 - Shear - wrap around

Image 261 - Spherize - 95% horizontal

Image 262 - Spherize - 95% normal

Image 263 - Chrome - detail 10, smoothness 2

The following images were manipulated in ArcSoft Photostudio 5.
Image 264 - Distort

Image 265 - Stretch

Image 266 - Weather, Frost, blur 5, length 23, density 10, transparency 10, plus Distort Bulge 50%

In manipulating the designs using computer software I've used the functions that manipulate/distort the image rather than just providing a filter that give it an 'effect'. I've also used filters/functions that have retained the essence of the gull as if the manipulation is too extreme you lose the sense of gulls/flight altogether.  I'm hoping the simplicity of the design will be its strength, as with Braque's birds. From the above I chose Image 265 to further explore.  

Before the exploration exercises I couldn't resist a little tweak of the design to give a repeat pattern - Image 267...something that might come in useful later!

Design Recipe

Woven textures
Ripped/cut edges
Neutral palette
...and not forgetting..
'Startling Rightness' (thanks to Debbie Lyddon and Sandra Blows)

Series of Small Designs

Images 268 and 269 - use mainly light toned colours, but make one area dark. 
I've included two versions as the design was layered, the top layer being oil pastels on double-sided buckram and the second layer tracing paper painted with Anthraquinone Blue Golden Fluid Acrylic, the first concentrated and the second diluted.  

Image 270 - mostly harmonious, analogous colours with an area of complementary.

Image 271 - two complementary opposites, equal quantities both opposites.

Image 272 - two complementary opposites, more of one than the other.

Image 273 - reverse of Image 272

Image 274 - same/similar colour groups in connecting shapes to make them look connected.

Use Texture to Translate Fragment

Image 275/6
Top layer - scrim, emulsion, silver and copper PlayArt Metallics
Second Layer - acrylics 
The lighter second layer enhances the design as the shadows are visible and the light blue gives a more sympathetic balance of colour value.

Image 277
Top Layer - tissue paper, emulsion, grey and copper metallic rub-ons
Second Layer - acrylics

Image 278
Top Layer - paraffin-waxed kitchen paper, emulsion, silver and copper Playart metallics
Second Layer - acrylics

Image 279
Paperyarn couched to carboard base, Polyfilla etched with cocktail stick, emulsion, silver and copper PlayArt Metallics
Carboard base - Inktense pencil

Image 280 - Image 250 coloured with Inktense Blocks

Image 281 - Image 250 - coloured with Pitt Artist Pens

Image 282 - flip repeat of pattern on monoprint, cut out. 
Back to the drawing board on this one as the obvious dominant images in the shadows are not saying gulls to me. Mmmm...interesting!

Image 283 - and now for another piece of twining and its shadows.
Paperyarn twined on paper covered cake wire.  (Actually, the photographic image is more interesting than the piece of twining.)

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Diploma Module 1 Chapter 7 - Colour and Texture in Stitch...continued

Sample 5 (Image 236: max dimensions 9cmWx10.5cmH)

Aim - to make a bird brooch (for our branch of the Embroiderers' Guild).  It takes inspiration from Seasalt.
Background - two small pieces of white cotton.  Inktense pencils after stitching to give the grey on the tail and the yellow beak.  Stitched piece bonded onto pelmet vilene with PVA. Trimmed. Coated back and front with acrylic wax.
Stitching - double running stitch, kantha overstitched with fly stitch in places.

  • a splash of yellow is all this design needs to lift it 
  • acrylic wax and pelmet vilene make a surprising resilient structure.

Sample 6 (Image 237)

Aim - to make a distressed gull string
Background - image pencilled onto Regular 70g Lutradur and coloured with Inktense pencils (Image 238)

Image 239 - Inktense pencils given a wash with water to make them permanent.  Note how beautifully the colour flows on the Lutradur.

Image 249 - free machine stitched (no hoop required as Lutradur stable to stitch).

Image 241 - cut out - used scissors but in hindsight soldering iron would have given better edges.

Image 242 - distressed with heat gun.  When lit gives wonderful shadows.

Stitching - free machine embroidery using variegated grey Gutermann Sulky
Observations - this has definite possibilities though it is a bit too gully...needs abstraction! (or maybe just more heat!!!! i.e extreme distressing...a little like the extreme metallic rub-ons and extreme hand washing prior to dyeing!)
Sample 7 (Image 243: 26cmWx20cmH)

Aim - to use the monoprint drawing Image 141 (which has proved the most popular to date on Instagram) for extended stitch samples.
Background - using the original image (A5 size) I took one corner which had particularly pleasing brayer marks and enlarged some sections to produce a background and two smaller sections on copier paper.  These were all stabilized on light weight iron-on vilene.   Once stitched the two smaller pieces were mounted on 3mm foamboard and the larger piece on cardboard.
Image 244 - background - blanket stitch in black flower thread. 

Image 245 - bottom right panel - applied acrylic painted scrim using free machine embroidery...spool thread visible... and then free-machined sympathetically to print marks using grey mercerised cotton.

Image 246 - top left panel - needle weaving over gull shapes using white DMC Cebelia; fly stitch over heavier brayer marks using black flower thread; free-machine embroidery using grey mercerised cotton.

Observations - as I sat looking at this piece over breakfast, the placement of the smaller panels brought to mind a mobius strip, the eye being constantly taken back into the panel and giving it a sense of movement.  Another happy accident that has definite future possibilities.  The placement of the smaller panel also isn't the norm, the smaller images being in the forefront.  However, it works for me and heightens the movement within the piece.

Sample 8 (Image 247-249)
Aim - to use the monoprint drawing Image 141 (which has proved the most popular to date on Instagram) to incorporate twining.

Background - A5 copy of original image bonded onto 3mm foamboard.
'Stitching' - structure twined to twist sympathetically from print to give impression of movement. Black paper yarn warp and white folded paper yarn weft. Added white paper yarn to give impression of birds in flight. Warp, split, couched through foamboard and then knotted. Additional warp also split and knotted.

Observations - this was my first attempt to incorporate twining into my work, and,
  • it would have integrated more sympathetically if there had been some texture in the panel to which it was attached
  • the panel to which is was attached should have been smaller (Image 247 showing less panel works better for me)
  • the additions to the twining would have been more striking in black (originally these had been in white raffia with some grey markings and more pronounced, but they looked out of place - sorry I didn't take a photo)
  • something to think about as I love the texture...and the black and white.
Other stitch samples already on blog: work from summer school with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, Debbie Lyddon workshop, Lynda Monk workshop, boro-related samples and header image.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Diploma Module 1 Chapter 7 - Colour and Texture in Stitch

Sample 1
Aim - to produce a feeling of a gull against the sky using stitching that replicates the woven texture of feathers
Background - 140gsm extra wet strength paper heavily coated with Seawhite acrylic, mixed to give a dark indigo/black and surface texture
Stitching - free machine-stitched photocopy paper soaked in water and distressed then laminated to acrylic paper with Golden Matt Medium. The remaining background also coated with Matt Medium (Image 226).

Hand stitched in detached chain stitch with variable length tails using grey variegated katia Jaipur mercerized cotton, DMC Cebelia and Finca Perle Egyptian Cotton (Image 227).

Finally the sample was given a coating back and front with paraffin wax.

Sample 2
Aim - as in Sample 1 but using the open structure of the machined paper to produce shadows on a background of sea.
Background - calico coated with white emulsion and then gelli printed with acrylic paint.  Gull shapes were cut from the background.
Stitching - Two of the gulls were created using the same technique as in Sample 1 but rather than a regular grid, more directional stitching was used (Image 228).

These were soaked and distressed as before and attached to the back of the sample with Golden Matt Medium.  The third cut out was filled with dish cloth cotton.  The sample was then waxed with paraffin wax (Image 229).

This sample could have been left as it was to produce shadows from the open grids.  However, I continued to experiment with the open structures created to produce composite stitches (Image 230).

  • dishcloth gull - from left - tent stitch, Swiss darning, chain stitch, stem stitch using split cream sari silk yarn; Swiss darning, chain stitch and needleweaving using grey DMC Cebelia; random cross stitch using grey variegated flower thread and grey variegated katia Jaipur cotton; needleweaving using various colours split sari silk and silk crepe yarn,
  • small machine structure gull - tent stitch in split cream sari silk yarn,
  • large machine structure gull - needleweaving using split cream sari silk yarn.
Sample 3 (Image 231)

Aim - to produce sampler of relevant stitches/structures
Background - calico coated with white emulsion and then gelli printed with acrylic paint.  Rust, tea and turmeric cottons, machine appliqued and then coated back and front with paraffin wax (unless specified).

  • top left - Fly Stitch using crochet cotton, paper covered wire and flower thread on tea-rusted cotton (Image 232)

  • middle left - Wave Stitch using crochet cotton, stranded cotton, variegated cotton on tea-rusted cotton
  • bottom left - Buttonhole Rings using florist wire (Image 233) and George Weil paper yarn on tea-dyed cotton

  • centre - free machine embroidery on turmeric-dyed cotton (before waxing)
  • top right - French Knots using grey variegated flower thread on tea-rusted cotton
  • bottom right - kantha using variegated mercerised cotton on tea-rusted cotton (not waxed).

I have used acrylic wax in previous samples and found it to enhance the colour, e.g. Images 165 and 167. It was, therefore, a surprise to find that surface treatment with paraffin wax deadened the colour of the turmeric-dyed cotton, merging the top colour with that underneath.  It gave the sample a more muted look. Sadly, I didn't take a 'before waxing' picture but the turmeric was as bright as the dyed cotton in Image 221.
It was hard to control the thickness of the application of wax.  On initial application with a thick brush it was too heavy and had to be ironed off between newspaper taking care not to get the wax on the iron by using baking parchment.  Ironing flattened the distressed paper grid, perhaps to its detriment.
Health and Safety - try not to get dry wax on the floor as it makes it very slippery.
Buttonhole Rings - depending on how many times you wrap the mould before starting the buttonhole covering, you can change the height of the rings. The interlocking florist wire rings worked particularly well.

Sample 4 (Image 234)

Aim - to produce sampler of relevant stitches/structures
Background - paraffin waxed calico, heavily waxed
Stitching - from left to right

  • grey raffia couched with feather stitch using DMC Cebelia and overstitched in feather stitch using variegated flower thread
  • distressed crepe sari silk feather stitched using grey variegated flower thread - note on the right how you can pull the silk along the stitch until you get the desired effect (Image 235)
  • cream distressed sari silk feather stitched using thin grey cotton covered wire
  • feather stitch using grey DMC Cebelia.  Note how the needle mark leaves a cloudy ring in the paraffin wax.  This can be removed (if you want to) by gently heating the wax with a hair drier.