Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Still working on the background

Again I’m sorry for the very bad quality of the images, but it’s still dark and rainy and I want to record what I’ve done so far before getting on.

I’ve been adding some more embroidery plus various bits and pieces to my background, like momigami treated papers and dyed cheesecloth. I left the edges still basically unstitched and ‘empty’ since I wish to be able to insert new elements at a later stage.

Now that the background is more or less developed I’m going to switch my attention from the whole to the single pages and see what becomes of them! I think at this point I have to fold up my book and consider how it looks in 3D. I will also have to decide what to do with the edges and the spines … I have a fairly clear idea of how the book is going to look in the end but I’d like to keep an open mind to new inputs.   
Assessment stage 3-7Assessment stage 3-2Assessment stage 3-4Assessment stage 3-1Assessment stage 3-9

Developing the background

I had the feeling that the Lutradur in two layers was still not rigid enough, so I slipped craft Vilene squares in all the sixteen pages which were still open both at the top and the bottom. Now my book is much more stable when folded up.
I have started fixing the three layers together – the Lutradur sandwich with Vilene in between – by loosely machine stitching in a calligraphic way.
I am sorry for the bad quality of the photos but it keeps raining and the light is really poor! Assessment stage 2-1 Assessment stage 2-2 Assessment stage 2-4Assessment stage 2-3

Monday, November 22, 2010

Embroidered Panel – Stage 1

While waiting for Sian’s feedback last week I started assembling my materials, light fabrics, handmade papers, momigami-treated papers, threads, ribbons, fibers …
Not everything is going to be used in the embroidered panel and other bits and pieces will be added to my heap as the project develops. On the bottom left there are some block letters I have been machine stitching on layers of organza, maybe they will be used maybe not.
Assessment stage 1-6

The background is made up by two layers of heavy Lutradur (size of each 80 x 80 cms) in light shades of green  - I mixed my green hues from Setacolor Transparent lemon yellow, buttercup yellow, cobalt blue and ultramarine blue and sponged them on the Lutradur. I chose these silk paints since they really look like watercolours, do not stiffen the fabric and can be easily fixed by ironing.

The two sheets were then tacked together – I left open edges all around in order to be able to add other elements in between the sheets-, marked the folds and reinforced them through a narrow and short zigzag stitching. Perhaps these fold lines are going to be covered and hidden, or perhaps something else is going to happen to them!

Strips and bits of light and transparent fabrics were then fixed with Bondaweb to create variations in colour. I feel some areas are too harsh, I would like to obtain muted and mellow changes for a start. After working on both sides I folded up my ‘book’ for a first check. Now it’s all flat again …

Assessment stage 1-2

  Assessment stage 1-3 Assessment stage 1-1Assessment stage 1-4 Assessment stage 1-5

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chapter 11 – New ideas for the embroidered panel

In her latest feedback Sian suggested some other ideas to consider and develop before starting to make the final piece for this Module.
1 - Use of lines/threads to connect all the pages of the folded “book of blogs” as a symbol of interlinking
I think this is a super idea! I like the notion of having continuous lines that hold their shape well in between the pages, so I prepared a thick machine cord using the method learnt in Module 3. I wanted quite a stiff cord that could make loops easily, so I used a string as the core and densely covered it with threads according to my colour scheme for this module (green and red). This cord is threaded through the four corners of the pages and has the added advantage of making the book structure stronger.
To suggest the multiplicity of links I decided to prepare another thin cord to make turns in and out of the main links. I used a 0,5 mm thick nylon fishing line and wrapped it sparsely with threads that don’t cover it completely since I wanted to preserve the idea of transparency and visible “lightness”.
Here are some snapshots of a folded cardboard mock-up, shown as a whole, in a partial view, almost closed and closed – when the book is closed I like how the links remain visible from all sides.
   ProposalLinks2 ProposalLinks3  ProposalLinks1ProposalLinks4ProposalLinks5

2 - All important decision to take: the embroidered panel is just a page of the book OR the embroidered panel is the whole sheet before folding it up
I prefer to think the whole piece as the embroidered panel, and not a single page for example the cover. This means as Sian said that I need to consider the overall look of the piece both opened and folded to achieve a visual unity.
With this aim in mind this is the way I think I am going to proceed:
- working contemporarily on the sheet as a whole both front and back BEFORE folding it up so as to not lose its overall appearance, and keeping a restricted range of colours mainly green shades with only touches of pink/reddish
- creating empty areas and frames in some pages cutting out parts of the sheet and reutilizing them as little folded books, small structures, grid material and so on as I did in my mock-up from my latest post. I think the reuse of these emptied areas in other ways can help in making the pages look as a whole even if they are different from each other
- threading the cords in the same way as or similarly to what shown in the previous photos in order to visually link the pages

3 - Practical decision to take: which material is to be used as a stiffening agent
My first thought was pelmet vilene. I considered both the classic weight and a new heavier version, the heavy craft plus. The heavy craft plus is absolutely too heavy and bulky and since this is after all a medium size project there is no real reason to use it.
I already had some Lutradur in the light version which could not be considered as a stiffener but since this material has a nice spunbond structure – it looks a bit like certain oriental papers, another reason why I like it - I decided to order the heaviest type and have a go at it.
I sponge coloured it with light washes of green – I used Setacolor Transparent – and I must say that I like it because it is reasonably rigid but also not thick, still partially transparent even in the heavy version and especially because its structure looks very nicely shaded when coloured.
Here is a photo of this new material after colouring
I think I am going to use it as a background and gradually add thin layers to it – like hand-made papers, scrim, nets, grids, lettering etc. I would like to obtain a final sheet that is not too thick and dark, with a delicate appearance since I feel the blogging theme as “ethereal” and light. I have to find a way of making crisp folds since Lutradur is rather springy and does not seem to hold folds well. Perhaps I could run the folds in the sewing machine or check if gently scoring the folds like cardboard might work.
At a later stage I might decide where to cut my windows and frames and how large they are going to be in order to not weaken the sheet too much. Perhaps some cut-out areas might be filled in with mosquito net (another suggestion by Sian) perhaps with the addition of handmade paper …
Happy weekend to everyone

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chapter 11 – Proposal for embroidered panel

This is my proposal for an embroidered panel at the end of Module 4. The inspiration for it comes from the idea of blogging with its network of interlinked pages – it looks to me that the book form is very suitable to express this concept!
My proposal takes the form of a maze book with three cuts and sixteen pages from a single sheet of light cardboard. I started folding a square of green cardboard (48 x 48 cm) in quarters lengthwise and crosswise and made three parallel cuts, thus obtaining sixteen square pages of 12 cm each.
Some pages are left intact, others are cut at the centre to work as frames for the adjoining pages, still others are empty pages with grids. Threads, booklets, etc are fixed to the full pages and can be seen and protrude through the frames.
I have decorated the pages with pieces of paper and other small items just to develop first ideas of how the finished item might look. This mock-up is nothing final and the embroidered item will certainly look different.
Perhaps I could add other elements, threads or whatever, to the top edges of the final assessment pages but it is still too early to know.
For the final embroidered item I am thinking of using a somewhat larger sheet of pelmet vilene to act as support – the pages could be a bit larger, perhaps 15 or 16 cm each -  and of covering it on both sides with collaged layers based on my samples for this module …

 This is a general view of my mock-up from front cover backwards. In front a small sample showing how the mock-up is folded.

 Flat view – front or main side
There is really no front or back side for the book since all pages are visible when the book is folded. The main view is simply the side of the flat view in which all pages are to be decorated or embroidered.

 Flat view – back side
On the reverse side some pages are left empty since when the book is folded these pages are hidden from view 
This is how the front cover looks when the mock-up is folded flat: the threads on page three are jotting out through page one which acts as a frame

The back cover of the mock up

Some more detailed views of single pages of the mock-up in cardboard



Friday, October 15, 2010

Chapter 10 – Investigating book structures

This chapter of Module 4 opens up such an incredible realm of possibilities in book making that at first I felt overwhelmed. I have a tendency to get sidetracked all the time so I made up my mind to not indulge too much and concentrate on book structures that I feel I might use for the assessment piece at hand!
My inspiration for this piece is going to be the world of blogging, with its ever growing number of web pages interconnected by threads and links fanning out in every possible direction. This makes me think of a labyrinth so exploring the maze books comes to me as a natural choice. I find this kind of structures totally fascinating.
I used a wonderful book, COVER TO COVER by Shereen LaPlantz, to learn how to make them. I love how these books are born from a single sheet of paper folded and cut in different ways, their being complex and simple at the same time.
I used A4 sheets of cartridge paper weighing 120 grams in different colours to try out some suggested patterns, avoiding the most difficult with multiple cuts since I don’t want to end up with an impossible project!
Feeling a bit more comfortable with the folding, in the first sample underneath I stitched a booklet in the form of a B in the first fold. I used a running stitch forward and backward for four or five times leaving some loops on the outside. Of course other letters could be added. Another idea could be inserting small concertina books in the folds …
Sample 1

In this second fold book sample a used the Japanese technique of kirigami to open up areas in the folds, a bit like in pop up books. The thin strips might possibly work as “connections” jutting out of the pages. Perhaps they could be used as links to other fold books.
Sample 2

In this third sample I cut some pages as frames and used a rather thick paper yarn to make loops and connections. The small “leaves” at the end of the yarn are obtained by unrolling the yarn by wetting it. I like this paper yarn since it keeps its loops well and is also in keeping with the paper theme.
Sample 3

This fourth sample shows a maze book with the addition on top of a simple concertina book (on the right) and of folded pages (on the left). These additions are joint to the main book by means of slits and help in making the maze book “grow” in another direction. I like this idea and would like to explore it further.
Sample 4

These two little samples show other simple ways to create “connections” On the left a ribbon is laced in and out of a concertina in the way of a Venetian blind, while on the right flags are pasted on both sides of the concertina folds and so go in opposite directions when the concertina is open.
Sample 5 and 6

      mod4-ch10book5-1   mod4-ch10book4-1
In this other sample I tried a double concertina (they are linked by means of slits). This concept could be used as a book in itself or as a reinforced spine for bigger books.
Sample 7
This last sample is my indulgence towards another book form, the TUNNEL BOOK. These books are very fascinating with their telescopic effect, so I wanted to see how they are made!  I prepared three paper grids and pasted them one after the other between two concertina sides. I do not know yet if I am going to develop this theme. If not for this Module perhaps in some other form
 Sample 8

Friday, October 1, 2010

Chapter 9 - Stitched paper edges

And finally only a few samples of stitched paper edges, just to get the feeling of how they could be handled later on.


Sample 1, inspiration on the right

For this sample I sandwiched a cheesecloth strip between two paper sheets, trapping different bits within. On the very edge I have couched a crocheted chain in paper yarn. It's the first time I try paper yarn and I like it: it's rigid, so it keeps the loops well, but it can't be used for stitching since it quite easily breaks. An interesting material though!

Another simple sample. Cheesecloth wrapped around the edge, long hand stitches plus lines of machine stitching with threads left dangling and loose.

Sample 2, insp on the right

Sample 3 and its ispiration
For this sample the idea was to have a solid edge on one side and a broken one on the other. I used here a technique (momigami, I'm not sure of the name) we learnt from Cas Holmes two years ago during summer school for preparing a sheet of written computer paper. I massaged baby oil in it to make the paper more supple and fabric-like, collaged the momigamied ripped pieces, cheesecloth and a couple of big letters on my background paper, covered everything with tulle net and machine stitched the whole.
Sample 4, inspiration on the right

Another little experiment with paper. For this jagged edge I first coloured some tracing paper, trapped it in pieces between two self made papers, and machine stitched them together adding withdrawn threads.

Sample 5 and its inspiration

A loopy sample, it's only for decoration but edge is not changed

And finally a last sample ...

Sample 6 and its inspiration