Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Developing the gridy cloth

In my last post I showed the early stages of development of my gridy cloth. I wanted to treat the two sections of the cloth differently and to over print on the front of one section and the back of the other. So I cut the cloth in two.... On the first and larger piece, I used my larger grid to print on the back of the cloth. This is the cloth after the printing was completed. The difference it made on the other side of the cloth was minimal.

Overall I think this is an improvement and if the cloth was more soft and drapey I would be tempted to make a simple top. As it is, I'm not sure what I'll do with it but ideally it will turn into something I will be inspired to stitch. I might try discharging a section of it and then stitch on the discharged section. Before I do take the discharge paste to the piece I plan to experiment with different strengths of discharge paste  and I have dyed some cloth in preparation.

On the second and smaller piece I over printed with the larger gridy thermofax on the front on the fabric. Again I think that has improved the piece but it definitely needs something added on top. I'm not sure what yet. All of this makes me question why I do the printing. What do I hope to achieve?

In reality I probably won't be do anything else to these pieces until I am back at Committed to Cloth in July. That should give me plenty of time to refine my ideas or perhaps to forget about it entirely. We'll see which one it is.

At the end of a printing session, I like to use up any spare dye paste on odd bits of cloth. I don't usually put much thought into how I use it and often over print on pieces that I am less than pleased with. I created one on my favourite pieces of cloth this way. 

This printing session was no exception and I'd already overprinted the cloth a couple of times previously and then I printed with my large gridy thermofax on top.  I can't remember whether I was in a hurry or whether I was being rebellious but I didn't pin the cloth down prior to printing and it resulted in a broken image.

I'm still trying to decide whether this has resulted in a mess or something that has potential.  Probably a mess but nothing's lost as it's cloth I wasn't fond of and dye paste I didn't need.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

One piece of fabric - different outcomes

Using a large piece of fabric and one of my paper designs as inspiration I set about printing with my gridy thermofax. I created a number of layers of colour in the hope of creating 'complex' cloth.  It didn't quite turn out as I imagined but then working with paper and acrylics is different to working with fabric and dyes. I am (slowly) training myself to think of my inspiration or design as a starting point rather than something that can and should be replicated.

I go to the Committed to Cloth studio 8 or 9 times a year. They have a wonderful studio and it is always good to get advice and guidance from Lesley Morgan and Claire Benn. I also really value the input and inspiration I get from the others in the group. Here is Lesley with my gridy piece, my paper inspiration and the back of another piece of cloth. 

I received two very useful pieces of feedback from the group. Firstly, it was all the same scale and it could benefit from introducing a different scale. Secondly, the size of the paper is very different to the size of the cloth paper and yet the grids were roughly the same size. No wonder the effect was different! Pinning up your work, stepping back and getting feedback from others is hugely beneficial.

I decided to cut off a section of the fabric to see what would happen if I over printed the piece with discharge paste and I quite liked the outcome on the sample.

So I set about printing with discharge paste and at the same time changing the scale. I tore up paper to use as a mask on my screen and to create new grids. I discharged one side of the fabric more than the other to give the piece some 'structure'. Or at least that was the idea.

The piece looks better in the photograph than in reality and the left hand side looked was too discharged and similar in colour. I just hadn't achieved the variation of colour I had on the sample. But I've learnt from this and I know what I would do differently next time. Here is what the back looked liked, which from a distance looked better but it was very definitely the back and would need more work if I was going to use this side.

Although the torn paper stencil had worked, I wished that I had used the same grid but increased the scale. I think one of the reasons that I liked the back was that the torn paper design wasn't quite so noticeable.

As I hadn't (yet!) created the masterpiece I was hoping for, it gave me the freedom to do something more drastic and I cut the piece in two and gave each piece a separate treatment. More on that in the another post.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Between Cloth and a hard Place

I received an invitation to the private view of the  Between Cloth and a Hard Place exhibition at the Menier Gallery, London . The gallery is very close to where I work so I was pleased that I was able to attend. I was looking forward to seeing the exhibition and I wasn't disappointed. There was a wide variety of textiles and I bumped into a number of people that I hadn't expected to see, so that was an added bonus.

The exhibition is on until the 26th May 2012 and is well worth a visit if you are near London Bridge station.  I thought I'd do a quick post to tell you about the exhibition whilst there is still time for you to visit the exhibition yourself. I have picked out some of my photographs for you to see.

I picked this one by Lynne Butt because although I'm not sure what materials she has used, it reminded me of my desire to experiment with using plaster in a piece. Some time ago I even bought some plaster to play with. So what's my excuse?

This cushion reminded me of the view I have of St Paul's from my desk and I grow fonder of St Paul's everyday. Perhaps one day I will do a piece based on it? This too was by Lynne Butt.

I picked these vessels, by Carol Waddle, because I really liked the composition, the colours and the addition of hand stitching.

This piece was by Allie Heath and came as a result of Allie experimenting with colours and dye baths. There must have been a lot of dye baths! I would like to do more experimentation with colour and would lilke to create a reference library of colour. It will take a lot of time and a lot of discipline to create a true reference library where the colours could be repeated when required. 

There were a number of 3D pieces by Caroline Taylerson and I liked the fact that they were different. Still a piece of textile art you could put on the wall but they had a very definite 3D element. There were a number of separate pieces that the gallery visitors could interact with and create their own 3D textile sculpture. Very creative.

Last but not least here is a piece by Delia Pusey. I loved the colours and textures of this piece.

Hopefully this has given you a taster of the exhibition and perhaps tempted you to go to see it? The exhibition is on two floors and there's a lot to see.

PS Just starting to wonder if there's such a thing as a quick post? 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Working with Grids

At the end of  a previous post is the image I used to create a gridy thermofax screen and I thought I'd use this post to show you the results of some of my experiments with it. 

I used the thermofax to print sheer screen inks onto white cotton. Never easy to see nor easy to photograph but hopefully you get the idea. 

This was quite a small piece of cloth which I scrumpled up into a little pot and poured on yellow and blue procion dye. I wanted to see how the dye would react with the screen inks.

As you can see the grids are still visible and the cloth has quite a high proportion of green where the yellow and blue dye mixed. The dye created a transparent layer of colour on top of the grids and I guess the degree of crumpling determined the extent to which the grids were coloured. There was no trace of the grids on the back of the cloth at all.

I also took a larger piece of fabric and scraped green dye paste on the top with an old credit card. It is more of an appley green than the picture suggests and is just work in progress. What will happen if I over print and then discharge? What would happen if I used more opaque inks? What would happen if I used coloured screen inks? So many ideas, so little time.

I also used the screen to print with discharge paste onto a ropey piece of fabric that had seen the tail end of all sorts of dye. Although it's not going to win any prizes for dyeing, the technique does show some potential, I think.

I have also been printing on some larger pieces of cloth, trying to create interesting cloth which I could potentially stitch into. There's still lots of work to do on that and I'll share some of those with you in another post.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Interventions Exhibition - 62 Group (Part 2)

Thank you to everyone who has given me such encouragement about my blogging. I would especially like to thank Gina who mentioned me in her blog and increased the awareness of mine. I hope that you will all come back!

As promised in my last post, here is a few more of the pieces that were in the 62 Group exhibition.

I really admire the work of Audrey Walker and the effects she creates. The layering and the directionality of the stitching always impresses me.  Audrey was inspired by the hats in the collection, which reminded her of her student days and trying hats on in Oxford Street.

Audrey Walker

Audrey Walker - Close-up

Anyone who read my Soft Circuit post will understand why I was interested to see Sumi Perera's bag in the exhibition.  This one was more complicated than mine and certainly more thoughtful.

Jeanette Appleton embedded delicate garment pieces into wool and moulded them to represent china. This could be another way to incorporate precious pieces into some textile art. 

There were many more pieces at the exhibition, some behind glass which made it difficult to photograph. Even if you weren't able to see the exhibition, I hope that through these posts, you have enjoyed seeing what you have missed!

On sale in the shop was the 62 Group's new book Radical Thread, which just had to be bought. So I bought it.

If you would like a preview of what's inside the book, then have a look at the publishers web site. You can preview a number of pages - well worth a visit.

Next time, I'll be back to share the results of some of my experiments printing with my gridy thermofax.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Interventions Exhibition - 62 Group (part 1)

On Saturday I went to the Interventions exhibition at Platt Hall Gallery of Costume which is part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the 62 Group . The exhibition pieces were based on responses to the collections within the Gallery of Costume. It was nice to see work by some of my favourite textile artists as well the work of artists I'm not familiar with.

I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the work from the exhibition:

Jae Maries had four pieces in the exhibition and below is just one of them. Jae based her work on the contrast of women's working clothes and their leisure clothes, from the mid 19th Century. I really like Jae's work and I chose Jae as one of three textile artists to profile, when I was on my City & Guilds course.

Jae Maries

I also like the fun, cheery style of Rachel Howard. I was excited to see that Rachel is running a sketching course at City lit in July but I am disappointed that I cannot make it. Rachel's worked was inspired by the Victorian picture buttons in the collection and based her buttons on her own family life.

Rachel Howard

Rachel Howard - Close-up of button

Jane McKeating was inspired by the collection of neck ties to produce some lovely printed and stitched ties. It's not a great photograph but I hope you get the idea.

Jane McKeating

Julia Burrowes had two very different pieces of work in the exhibition but both were based on the idea of using pieces of fabric which have a particular significance and importance to you. The idea being that you retain a portion of the fabric in your piece and then you can throw the rest of it away and so creating more space. I like the idea. My friend Helen particularly liked the idea and I think she may have more textiles with sentimental value than I have.  I am keen to encourage Helen into the world of textiles and so if anyone has any ideas where you could get cubes suitable for holding the cloth then please let me know.

Julia Burrowes

Julia Burrowes - Detail

I have found it very useful writing this blog post as it has made me review and look back at the work in more detail and I have noticed things I didn't when I was at the exhibition.

There's still a few more things I would like to show you but I'll leave that for another post.


Friday, 4 May 2012

Whispers 2 - Round 1

Those of you have read my previous posts will know that I was part of the Chinese Whispers Group and in February we held an exhibition of our work. We have have now started the second 'round' of Chinese Whispers but in a slightly different format to the first one.

As before we are all creating our first piece of work based on any theme and using any technique, only this time the original pieces will be larger. Another difference is that we are going to show each other our first pieces with only the subsequent pieces being kept secret and in fact we have already shown each other our work-in-progress. Except for Sue who has shown her finished piece!  The other 4 members of the group will create a piece of work inspired by the original larger pieces. These 'inspired-by' pieces will be roughly 1/4 of the size of the original pieces. My first piece (above) is/will be 26X40 inches and so the other members of the group will create a piece which is  40 X 61/2 inches portrait, which I think is a challenging size but  I don't need to worry as I don't need to do this one!

The photograph above shows work-in-progress, with pin heads visible if you look closely. Here is a close-up of a section of the piece before very much stitching has been done.

I have used the grid thermofax that I mentioned in my previous post to create my piece. I started with black fabric and used discharge paste to remove the colour to a greater or lesser extent. I over dyed a small strip of fabric with rust orange and created a horizon line and layered the fabric adding wadding and a backing cloth and added additional detail with stitch.

My initial plan was to add the seeding stitches to the biggest black areas but I have now decided that it would be better to have the seeding stitches in all the black areas. Let me just remind you that this piece is 40 X 26 inches....that's a lot of stitching but it has to be done. I know that I won't be happy unless I sew all the black sections. The deadline is the end of the May!  The thought of all the stitching still to do, fills me with dread. Strange really as I enjoy handstitching, so isn't it a good thing that there's lots more to do?  

Tomorrow I am off to see the 62 Group exhibition at  the Gallery of Costume, Platt Hall in Manchester with my good friend Helen. I'm looking forward to a catch-up, the exhibition and looking around the museum which I think will be interesting in it's own right. No prizes for guessing what my next post will be about.