Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Chapter 6 Applique squares - notes

Worksheet notes

Technically, I didn't have any difficulties with this exercise as I was familiar with the methods. I viewed it as an opportunity to experiment
with colours and fabrics. My favourites were squares (4) and  (6) as I felt the different elements of colour, shape and texture combined best
in these.

Finally, I am pleased to say that I was disciplined enough with the
Bonda Web to buy myself a cheap craft iron and haven't deposited
glue on the ironing!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Chapter 6 Bonded Applique examples

Bonded Applique Squares (each 10cm square)

I attempted to use my experimentations to produce squares
which showcased different shapes, colour combinations or techniques which I had particularly liked. I have to be honest and say, I want to 'save' my best fabrics for my end pieces
and struggle to cut into silk eg for samples. I moved from the
Midlands to the Cotswolds 10 yrs ago and really have to search now to find the reasonable fabric sources I enjoyed- Birmingham Flea Market for example.

I made notes on the construction of each square as I worked
and have included a photograph of my worksheets.

Bonding Experiments Chapter 6

Burnishing with Bondaweb

Fabric  Experiments
On my 3rd experimental worksheet I played around with making  my own fabrics using fusing methods. Sample 1 was my favourite. I used irridescent fibres and paper so it really sparkles.  The Angelina meshes
it all together when  fused with an iron. (2) Making paper fabric is addictive....  The  layering of magazine paper and tissue results in a subtle shadowed effect. ( 3 and 6) More trapping!  (4) Made silk paper  before but thought I'd combine fibres with Angelina. (5) Loosely  fusing?!? Embellished felt with different fibres  breaking needles in process despite a foam pad. A lighter touch next time.....

Experiments in Trapping, Burnishing and Fabric Creation

Trapping Experiment

I'd made fabric using a trapping technique before, layering snippets/fibres, bondaweb and tulle. I decided to play around this theme, experimenting firstly with different 'nets', which would allow the underneath layer to peep through to varying degrees.I particularly liked trapping punched paper shapes and finding different colours to show through. I did overlap into disintegration by creating holes using a soldering tip! See detailed notes on worksheet.

Next, I decided to remind myself about painting Bondaweb. Which paint had I used? Did it make a difference? I began with a bronze fabric paint (1) - plastic and quite dense. Then bronze poster paint(2) -quite delicate and (3)  bronze acrylic which disintegrated. Determined to achieve 'twinkle' I then applied transfoil to the Bondaweb (4)  which gave a very clean motif. An experiment with glue and my lino stamp took this method a stage further (5). My favourite effect was (6) painting the web with mica particles -very glittery. Sample 7 was a bit of a surprise. Thinking was the metallic fibres would get left behind in the meltingprocess - they didn't!!

Chapter 6 Bonding in Applique

I've been using these techniques for around thirty years and am equally familiar with Bondaweb and the  powder form adhesive. I decided to supplement the exercise by being as experimental as possible. I began by making up the same design in various fabric combinations to compare the different juxtapositions of  colour and texture.
Same design, different fabrics
I found it difficult to say which I liked best.... I love the twinkly quality of the organza in 1, which contrasts with the shine of the poly silk. I like the texture povided by the the brocade in 2 and the transparency and randomness of the spider net in 3!

Printed Fabrics

Printed Fabric
I used a couple of my estoile blocks to print pieces of my hand-dyed fabrics. I didn't like the way the acrylic paint stuck to the fabric and found it virtually impossible to get a second shadowy impression without coating the lino again. I've made a note to experiment further by mixing fabric mediums with the paint or to use Brusho with printing medium to see if it improves the outcome.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Further explorations.....

Rolled felt earrings

I stayed in Cambridge for a week and discovered a shop called the Beaderie
opposite Magdelene College. The owner trained as a pearl stringer and now
produces stunning beaded pieces. Needless to say, the trays of beads and findings were irresistible and I emerged with a bag of goodies. I rolled strips of felt and bound them with metallic threads to produce the earrings opposite.
I then beaded them with delicas  to produce an encrusted effect. They are light and I think, extremely pretty.

Bracelet set
  I used the same technique to produce the beads for my bracelet, threading them on to tiger tail and using crimps to space everything. One of my favourite Beaderie finds were the Czech cathedral beads I used in the earrings; facetted glass with metallic ends - a real vintage
feel to them.

Driving home from Cambridge, I called into the outlet at Bicester and picked up some bargain Cath Kidston cotton duck remnants which I turned into a beach bag. I love polka dots and used the red and white to create a lining and inner zipped pocket too. The good thing about the design is you can use up small  pieces in a patchwork effect. Its ages since I'd done any piping with bias tape; lots of tacking involved to keep it and the ric-rac in place but worth it in the end. I've made two more of these since; one in pinks and the other in navy and cobalt  ticking.
Cath Kidston bag


Side tracked during April!

Journal Cover
 This looks much shinier than it does in real life. Inked and then crumpled tissue paper stuck to a backing and then appliqued and embellished.
 I used Liberon gilding medium to 'rub' the paper, creating a subtle burnishing on the crinkly ridges.

Art Doll
I saw similar dolls in Covent Garden Craft Market and thought I'd have a go! I found a downloadable pattern on the net and this was my first attempt. Especially liked the patterned
'tights' which I cut from a scrap of Liberty lawn.
Woodland Fairies

These stand about 4inches high and are made from a pipe cleaner armature and a wooden
bead. Theyre dressed with felt and silk petals.
Finding the acorn cup and seed pod headgear was the hardest part and involved serious hedgerow foraging.

Dyeing My Own Fabric

Charity shops are a great source for cotton sheeting for bulk dyeing and I was lucky enough to find some high thread count double sheets which absorbed the dye well. I made up colour batches using magenta, purple and navy and then combined the above in various quantities.( I made a note of all my recipes so that I could always replicate). I did the same with olive, golden yellow and navy. Into each bowl of dye I put scrim, muslin, cotton lawn, cotton percale and linen. As a rule, the denser the weave, the deeper the colour. I found it easier to achieve deeper dyed pinks and purples than yellows and greens and assume this is to do with the relative translucency of the pigments.

As I had lots of dye left over, I made up some hanks of different threads and yarns and dyed these too. Because they contained varying percentages of natural/manmade fibre the take up of the dye resulted in a spectrum of shades.
Results of Batch Dyeing

Assorted fibre yarns and threads that
were hand dyed

Dye recipe swatches
This activity left me itching to stitch and I used some of my cloth and threads to cover a journal I made for my holiday. I combined them with inked and burnished tissue paper,beads and a shisha.

Chapter 5 Fabric Selection

Examples of natural and man made fabrics

Although I have quite a range of fabrics, I never seem to have quite the colour I want. Even as a child I can remember having a huge box of hair ribbons and insisting each day on a definite shade or hue to match my outfit! Colours also vary enormously depending on the matt or shiny nature of the fibres and the way they reflect the light.

I decided to spend some time experimenting with
my Procion dyes to produce some threads and fabrics of my own. The sunny Easter weather was perfect for drying!

Chapter 5 Fabric Selection



Finding fabrics in my chosen colour palettes proved an ideal opportunity to sort out my  'stash' gathered over many years. A bit like my shoe collection, its far bigger than I like to admit to! I had quite an assortment of
different natural and man-made types as shown next on my sample board.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Sketchbook notes

Sketchbook Notes

Sketchbook Notes

More notes from the last exercise.(A4)

Chapter 4 Coloured Paper Cut and Fold Designs

It was satisfying to use all the paper I'd made and combine them with the
shapes to produce multi layered designs. I noticed how my choice of colours either made each element stand out  or fade more into the background. I
tended to prefer one 'stark' contrast and then a subtler layer. I liked how the gold pen accentuated portions of each design. My favourite was square 4
in terms of both colour and shape arrangement, it had an Islamic feeling about it
with its Turkish Delight colours. (10cm squares, A3 sheet) I have included
a photo of my sketchbook page showing my working notes.
 In these designs I experimented particularly with made and bought
papers  including Khadi, vellum and silk fibre. My favourite overall
composition was square 8 as I liked the colour combination  and
juxtaposition of selected shapes.

Chapter 4 Cut and Fold Black Paper Designs Sheet 4

Sheet 4 was an exercise in pure experimentation. I realised that with a square I would have limited symmetry options so I tried the same process using an equilateral triangle (3 lines of symmetry), a regular pentagon (5 lines ofsymmetry) and a regular hexagon (6 lines of symmetry). I distorted the Hiroshi and Estoile as necessary to fit and discovered yet another way to generate shapes from a basic symbol.

Black Paper Cut and Fold Designs Chapter 4

 Sheet 1: These designs were made using the Hoshi symbol. I was surprised at how changing the orientation of the shape relative to the folds produced very different results. You have to think about the folds carefully so that it actually holds together. In shapes 4 to 6, I follwed Sian's advice to 'play' and adapted the Hoshi, moving and repeating the circular element to produce a more elaborate shape. As an exercise I found this absorbing and can see how the infinite variety of templates that could be generated are a valuable resource
during the design process. (Size A3)

 I used a segment of the Estoile symbol for Sheet 2 as I wanted a curved contrast to the Hoshi's straight sides. I quickly discovered the importance of
sketching out exactly how I had placed the symbol on the folded paper to ensure
I could reproduce accurately. Even subtle changes in placement relative to the folds result in completely different shapes and I spent alot of time re folding
and checking precisely how I'd drawn the outline on the folded square. (A3)
For Sheet 3, I continued with the Estoile but experimented with different ways of folding the paper square. Again I found it important to carefully record step by step how I did this, so that replication was straightforward. Some of the end results were fairly elaborate and rather a challenge to cut out neatly. My tiny decoupage scissors again came into their own! I am not sure how easy it would be to reproduce these in fabric but it would be fun trying.... (A3)