Monday, October 27, 2014
Masks are going to be my Diploma theme and as such masks will keep me busy for years I think. I have been mulling over this theme since the end of Module 5 and throughout Module 6, I don’t exactly rembember how it started but the idea never left me since.
Perhaps I was thinking about my surname, Maschera, which is a funny and rare Italian name meaning “mask”. I made some research about its origins but they are unclear. Also I am fascinated by what it seems the universal use of masks among very different peoples and historical ages in religion, funerary ceremonies, theatre, popular events all over the world. The mask is also a very strong psychological symbol of disguised or reinforced identity and it bears powerful associations with concepts like tattoos, makeup, face lift surgery. In fact I have the feeling that this theme might stay with me forever. And of course I am thinking also of my own “layers” as a person.
In the photo above I have collected some of the items and the images I have found, and already the “heap” as Sian says is a tall one and will keep growing in time. I took a large Evolon sheet (a square of 90 per 90 cms) to jot down some first ideas in a spider diagram (I used Evolon instead of paper since this sheet will have be around for a while). There are four main thought directions for masks in this cluster: ethnic and ritual masks are linked in red, theatre use of masks in green, artists who worked with masks in orange and psychological connections in violet. Not all these directions will be delved into or even considered, but I believe it may be useful to have a sort of map to help me find my way around.
Let’s make a start!
A general view of spider diagram (90 x 90 cms)
The psycho route
The ethnic, religious development
The performance side
Some artists working with masks
Thursday, July 31, 2014
EVALUATION OF THE FINAL CERTIFICATE ASSESSMENT PIECE
The final embroidered assessment piece for Module SIX is a wall-hanging inspired to the Tiber river in Rome based on the design topic of Creative Conservation.
Do you feel satisfied with the results?
Yes, I am pleased with the final result even if it is considerably different from what I had in mind at the start.
If yes, which parts in particular?
I love the effect of moving water and its changing colours. I also appreciate the lightness which I feel reflects the theme of the river.
Is it fit for its purpose?
It has no purpose in itself, since it is a decorative piece. I like the possibility of hanging it on a wall or let it rest on a table. I also like that it can be easily rolled and transported and that it is very strong in spite of its fragile aspect.
If you were asked to make it again, what changes would you make?
1) To the way you designed it:
I would like a less rigid initial design which I had to adapt in the making to give the wall-hanging a delicate movement.
2) To the way you made it:
I would try to develop a really three-dimensional piece.
MATERIALS LOG FOR DESIGN WORK AND MAKING OF THE TIBER RIVER WALL-HANGING
QUANTITY in grams
PRICE in £
Sheets of paper
|2||Local stationery store||Designing|
|Cocoon strippings||100||2,65||Wingham Wool Work||Wall-hanging background|
|Soya bean tops||10||0,35||Wingham Wool Work||Wall-hanging background|
|Acrylic inks, mixed colours||50||4||Local art material supplier||Colouring of background|
|Merino/silk mixture green||10||0,37||Wingham Wool Work||Wall-hanging background|
|Threads||mixture, ca. 100||2||different sellers||Sewing, decorating|
|Shot organza||50||1,5||Local haberdashery||Backing of wall-hanging|
TIMINGDesign work was scattered on a couple of months, from March to May 2014.
The making of the wall-hanging was started on 10th of June and completed in one week.
Total hours working on design: 20 hours plus thinking time.
Total hours working on making the wall-hanging: 20 hours
STORAGE OF WORK, MATERIALS, TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
Item : My storage place
Design work in progress: plastic folder
Completed work in progress: flat in big plastic box with lid
Papers for design work: flat in card box
Inks for colouring: on my working table in a plastic box
Other items like glue, liners, scissors, cutter: on my working table in my workroom
Embroidery work in progress: plastic bags in a plastic box
Fabrics: plastic containers arranged in like colours, behind a curtain that keeps light out
Threads: drawers, arranged in like colours, beside the sewing machine
Beads, metal threads etc.: small air-tight boxes, drawers, bags
Sewing machine: on small table beside a window in my workroom, in working position
Other electrical equipments:
iron upright on a top shelf, small electrical appliances in their original boxes
Items and working processes that have been used in Module Six:
- pencils and acrylic inks, crayons, cartridge, tissue, tracing papers
- natural and synthetic fabrics, pelmet vilene interfacing, wadding and padding materials
- hand and machine threads
- soldering iron and stand
- cutter and self-healing mat
- laundry iron
- PVA glue, fabric adhesive spray, jewellery glue
Which working processes need special care and attention to protect yourself, your environment and your own work?
- Always lay the soldering iron on its stand and beware to not touch the tip
- Always work in a well ventilated room when using sprays and glues
- Keep electrical flexes out of your way, not loose on the floor
- Always use your cutter on a self-healing mat and keep moving the blade away from you
That’s me working on the final stages of the wall-hanging on my dining room table
This is the last post on the incredibly long journey of my Certificate with Distant Stitch and almost cannot believe that it is the end! I had promised Sian that I would finish my wall-hanging by Summer School and I kept this promise -it's the first one ever that I have not broken at least Distantstitch-wise. I have already chosen a theme for my Diploma and hope to get started soon ...
At the end of this course we are invited to study three artists whose work relates to some aspects considered in Module 6. One is Jae Maries, another is Barbara Lee Smith and the third may be an artist of our choice, and I thought of Sheila Hicks, one of the pioneering fiber artist of the Sixties and still working and exhibiting internationally.
Jae Maries, oil painter and textile artist from the UK
Personal website: www.jaemaries.com
Email address : firstname.lastname@example.org
Also featured in www.62group.org.uk/artist/jae-maries/ as a member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists
I discovered Jae Maries by buying a book of hers, CONTRASTING ELEMENTS, which is one of my favourite works on design and organized like an energetic workshop with very good photographs and stimulating exercises.
I very much enjoy her bold ideas and spontaneous style of work and have set up a Pinterest board dedicated to her on my account to which I am gradually adding images.
Jae Maries makes a frequent use of thumbnail sketches as an inspiration for her textile pieces which combine a variety of media, oil painting, dyeing, screen printing, strong hand stitches and free machine straight stitching with vigorous and striking results. Her main themes are people in the environment, landscapes and everyday life.
Here are some photos from her website:
Time Lines I and II
Barbara Lee Smith, mixed media and textile artist from the USA
Personal website: www.barbaraleesmith.com
Email address: email@example.com
Like as I did for Jae Maries, I have set up a board in her name on Pinterest and am adding images to it.
When looking at her intense pieces one can feel the salt, the ocean and the nature elements which give life to them. Land, sea and sky are always recognisable even if they are transformed and abstracted.
In her website Barbara Lee Smith explains in detail how her wall-hangings are made. I cite her own words:
Materials: I use only one material, an industrial grade polyester non-woven fabric. It looks like paper, but it is so tough, I can’t even tear it. It is my canvas on which I paint using Golden and Daniel Smith acrylics as well as silk-paint pigments, all chosen for light-fastness. Each finished piece attaches with Velcro to a wooden frame that is mounted behind the work, pushing it away from the wall so it appears to hover on the wall, casting its shadow. Process and Techniques: I make a painting on the material, then bond several layers together to form a heavy base on which to collage small elements of the same painted material that are heat-set in place. The final stage that literally and visually binds the work together is drawing with the sewing machine in lines that resemble a topographical map. I see this as a three-stage process of painting, collage and drawing to make the work. What do I call it? I call it art. Mixed Media is probably the simplest category.
Here are two images included in the gallery on her website www.barbaraleesmith.com
Sheila Hicks, weaver and textile sculptor from the USA
Sheila Hicks was born in Nebraska in 1934 and is one of the pioneering American fiber artists of the Sixties. Since then she has continued making and exhibiting her works of art internationally, in South and North America, Europe and Japan.
She graduated in painting at Yale University School Art and Architecture in the Fifties, studying with artists like Josef Albers, Rico Lebrun and Bernard Chaet. She also studied photography with Herbert Matter and another important influence was Albers’ wife, textile artist Anni Albers, with whom she shared a strong interest in South American textiles. She travelled widely throughout her life and moved to Paris in 1964.
Sheila Hicks creates textile pieces in many shapes and sizes, from miniature weavings to monumental sculptures that hang from ceiling to floor like columns. In 2006 in New York the Barden Graduate Center held an important exhibition of her small works, Weaving as a Metaphor. These small works are not only beautiful and vibrant but also fundamental in her daily artistic practice. These are her words on their meaning in a talk of 2004: ‘I found my voice and my footing in my small work. It enabled me to build bridges between art, design, architecture, and decorative arts.’
Three pieces from the exhibition catalogue
On the opposite end of the scale these are two examples of a recent exhibition of her monumental pieces in Whitney.
Installation view of Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column at the Whitney Biennial, Sheila Hicks, 2013-2014. Photo: Bill Orcutt, source: ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST online edition, April 8, 2014
Some sources on Sheila Hicks on the Internet:
I have set up a board on Pinterest named after her which shows a good number of her works.
Friday, July 25, 2014
This board groups main ideas, developments and trial samples which gradually led to my Tiber wall-hanging. It is made up of four cardboard sheets of 30 per 42 cms each, bound together in concertina book style.
Sheet 1 – photos, sketches, colour scheme, collaged designs, inspirational sentences
Sheet 2 – Paper mock up, materials and samples for background
Sheet 3 – Embroidered samples
Sheet 4 – Pics of completed wall-hanging and found objects
Thursday, July 24, 2014
After a few frantic days of working I finally got my wall-hanging together, assembled and ready just in time for our Summer gathering in Farncombe, on the 4th of July. Here are two pics, from the front and the side, followed by a good number of detailed views.
It measures approximately 145 cms in length and 40 cms in width. It weighs 320 grams and can be rolled up without damage and so it easily made it to the UK in my bag.
The back is a dark orange shot organza hanging freely from the top and partially visible underneath. The top short side of the wall-hanging has been reinforced with a heavy cardboard strip and so holds its shape well.
Below the pics I shortly explain how it has been made.
HOW IT WAS MADE
1 - With cocoon strippings I prepared around thirty irregular lacy ‘fabric’ pieces (ca. 30 per 15 cms) and coloured them in 3 different colours – aquamarine green, turquoise and petrol blue – using various blends of very diluted acrylic inks sprayed on very thin stripping layers.
2 – I grouped the ‘fabric’ pieces so as to form six long ribbons of approximately the same length (150 cms), with two darker ribbons in petrol blue and four other lighter ribbons in turquoise and aquamarine in different proportions.
I stitched them together and reinforced fragile areas with machine embroidery and the addition of fibers, soya bean filaments, bits of transparent fabrics, distressed wool yarns.
Below is a pic of the petrol blue ribbons and of the six ribbons as a group.
3 – I enriched the lighter ribbons only with some found objects – plastic shreddings and coloured straw saved from packages. Later, after all the machine stitching was done, I also added some sea glass pebbles.
To make my ribbons wavy and give them more structure and strength along the edges I stitched on the back a 0,4 mm thick cotton covered copper wire.
4 - With a thicker (0,9 mm) cotton covered copper wire I made the ‘branches’, wrapping them partially by machine and partially by hand in wool fleece, variegated yarns and embroidery threads.
5 – With all my elements ready I tried several arrangements and combinations and after a lot of thinking, doing and undoing I came up with what looked to me to be the most satisfying solution:
the two darker ribbons side by side with the wound/fracture between them, partially covered and overlaid with the four lighter ribbons.
6 – The two central dark ribbons were then partially connected and interlaced by red threads and very loose and irregular soluble lace fragments inspired by samples I did for Chapter 7.
Also the wrapped branches in copper wire were used to bind the layers together.