Thursday, October 30, 2008

Design ideas and development for a final accessory for Module 3 (better sooner than later, but better later than never!!)

Following Sian's suggestion at Summer School I started playing around with a spiral wire structure I had built for presenting my tassles and looking for ways to develop a neckpiece design from it. I love the idea of making a neckpiece that is daring, even a bit dramatic in a fun way, but still wearable, not too heavy or unconfortable to carry around. My other starting point was to use metal like I did in my structure to give it stability and a jewel-like shining appearance with the addition of fabric buttons or some other sort of fabric elements. I had already drawn a few tentative sketches of how the neckpiece might look like on a very basic bodice and on reconsidering these together with my tassle structure I started to see some things in common.
A neckpiece mock-up
I first tried to select a specific sketch from which to develop a design but after some unsuccessful attemps I soon decided it was better and much more satisfying to work directly on my dress form and shape a mock-up in a more dynamic and 3D way while looking at all my sketches lying around me as a group and moving freely from one to the other for inspiration. To find my structure I tried out several cheap wires (from gardening type - too tender - to electrical cable - too springy) and I finally used an economical hardware wire that kept its shape well but wasn't too difficult to bend. I then sprayed it with a gold car paint to obtain a warmer colour, more in keeping with my colour choice for this module.
To obtain my "buttons" or other decorative elements I combined old pieces of embroidered fabrics, padded them, added various metallic bits, threads, self-made beads etc. just to gain an idea of what the final neckpiece might look.
Here follow different views of this mock-up. It can be worn by simply passing it on the head.

I'm now thinking of modeling my neckpiece structure on the tailor's dummy in a rather free way and of adding decorative bits later, perhaps working them directly within the empty spaces obtained instead of creating them separately and attaching them afterwards as I did on the mock-up.
I believe this would help in obtaining a more organic neckpiece and would also strengthen the whole framework by creating additional joints.
So far so good, hopefully it won't take years to get finished. I know, I should definitely move on ...

A couple of more detailed views

A closer investigation of materials suitable for the neckpiece structure
Before going on my first thought has been to investigate which final metallic materials are most suitable to build a strong and pleasant structure for my spiralling neckpiece.
I wanted a more precious but not too costly wire in view also of my lack of experience in scary real jewel making, so after checking prices on the internet I left out gold, gold-plated silver, fine/sterling silver wire and opted for silver-plated copper wire which has many good qualities:
it's relatively cheap, very flexible, forgiving and easy to work with, is available in many different thicknesses and, of course, still retains a bit of magic thanks to its silver layer.
A good thickness is the 2 mm wire. I used cylinder shapes (tin cans etc.) and a pair of jewellery pliers to assist my bending. In the first photo, silver has its original colour, but in a jewellery book a found a magical product to create a warm patina, its name is liver of sulphur and is used by restorers to obtain different shades of golden to bluish to dark brown to pure black for antiquing frames and other objects (second photo).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Beads - Part One (Module 3 - Chapter 8)

To my collection of traditional beads for this chapter like sequins, rocailles etc I added some beads from sundry materials and others made from scratch and coloured to match my colour scheme for this module. Here is a selection, from top to bottom and from left to right: First row: plastic hair fastener coloured and cut up - gizmoed copper wire - wiremesh - polystyrene chunks Second row: coloured leather - mosaic glass tiles - plastic straws - washers Third row: these are pieces of coloured polyester films I used for monoprinting my fabrics for chapter 3 - fire-coloured copper foils - plastic bag And here is my bead sampler. I used a self-dyed silk as a background and my idea was to sew beads in a wave pattern but I doubt these waves can still be seen. Below is a general view followed by more detailed views taken from each corner.

I'm afraid my edging and trapped bead samples will be ready only after summer school since in these last few days I'm trying to collect my ideas for an accessory and be able to discuss them with Sian, hopefully ...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Finished Tapestry

And this is my finished tapestry, ready for hanging. (I posted about its beginnings on Jan 25). I mounted it on a gallery canvas painted in acrylics for the Tapestry course exhibition of end of year, but I'm thinking of making a plexiglass case later and have it somewhat suspended inside. Will think about it. Front view Side view
It was fun to make but I will think twice before embarking on a new weaving enterprise at least for the time being! It DOES take an awful lot of time ...

Buttons - Part Two (Toggles)

Before tackling fibers I tried out basic toggle shapes in strips of my coloured papers. After these first attemps I gave it a try in fabric and produced some samples. Sample 1 - Felt toggle (11 cm) Self-dyed boiled felt, edged with irregular stitches and beading and one big acrylic drop hanging from the middle.
Samples 2 and 3 - Tower toggles (both 8 cm)
For the sample on the left I used strips of different dyed fabrics and a crown of bugle beads,
while the second one was edged with free scalloping stitches and has a head made by a bought Chinese knot.
Sample 4 - The wiry one (14 cm)
For this sample I wrapped some dyed paper silk I still had from Summer School in 2006 (remember?) around some spiky fibers I found in a mattress shop, which I dabbed in golden acrylic at the ends to make a sort of "beading". The copper wire has two different thicknesses and I obtained the spiralling by means of a gizmo device.
Sample 5 - The jolly sample (21 cm)
This was made for fun by wrapping and trapping fabric strips, felt, yarns and other small bits around a painted wooden skewer which I left as a core.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Buttons - Part One

This an overall view of my buttons so far. It includes simple and complex shapes and Dorset buttons. Sample 1 (left): Empty oval cardboard wrapped, with pompon fitted in the central hole. Sample 2 (right): irregular shape covered with self-dyed boiled felt.
Sample 3 (left): Three hand-felted "stones" overlapped and made in a package.
Sample 4 (right): Composed shape of triangle with monoprinted fabric and hand-felted "stone" with felted ears attached.
Sample 5 (left): composed shape of flat form and small circular shape, hand-felted slice fixed on the edge
Sample 6 (right): cord sewn around self-dyed fabric
Sample 7 (left): monoprinted fabric with wrapped wire and long-neck machine tassel attached
Sample 8 (top right): wrapped tube with painted wooden wheels at the ends
Sample 9 (bottom right): monoprinted and embroidered fabric
Sample 10 (top left): square cardboard shape wrapped with hole filled in by embossed copper shim, padded underneath
Sample 11 (top right): self-dyed fabric with Christmas decorations and wire
Sample 12 (bottom): Suffolk puff with wire wastes making a central button, laid upon crimpled wiremesh
Sample 13 (left): a toy wheel with spikes woven with three different threads
Sample 14 (right): a traditional Dorset button
Sample 15 (left): a composite Dorset button with large ring in the centre surrounded by 8 smaller rings, fixed and wrapped together
Sample 16 (right): a ring made by twisted wire, crocheted wire centre, wrapped in thread

The long way from tassels to buttons

More than one month went by since my last upload! But I've been working behind the scenes or more or less so. After much wondering about a way to present my tassels I came up with a structure that is light enough to travel with me on the plane to Bristol. It will have to be checked in since I don't believe I could convince airport personnel that it's not a weapon of some kind. It's made in wire, it's rather rough and basic but can be bent and folded on itself with all tassels attached. Tassels will probably come out a bit bruised from my baggage and will certainly need some attention. And here they are! The photos are really bad and I hope something can be made out of them. After making this structure I went off track for a couple of weeks and ventured into the dangerous realms of wire and made experiments with crocheted and wrapped jewelry etcetera and obviously felt terribly guilty about it. But every C&G student knows that there are temptations out there and everywhere.
I finally got down to assemble all my materials for making buttons. Beside rather obvious choices there are some improbable ones, like a couple of contact lense cases, old eye powder containers, a kitchen basin strainer, an ear plug box and caps and lids of forgotten objects.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Three new tassels

For these new tassels I tried to think of materials other than threads to make tassels.
This first sample looks like a jellyfish to me. For the skirt I cut up some plastic see-through straws in pastel shades and threaded them like bugles with some real beads in between as colour accents.
For the head I rescued a Christmas decoration, dabbed it in gold here and there and added other beads to create a visual link with the skirt.

This other sample was rather fun to make. After using crochet chains for wrapped cords I thought I could use them also for tassels, but this time I wanted to try a metal wire. I chose a 0.2 mm copper wire and crocheted a very long chain with plastic beads every five or more stitches.
I then fixed the neck with strips of metal foil coloured on the gas stove and passed through a crimper, a technique learnt at last year summer school workshop with Maggie Grey.

For this third sample I made up pompons in different sizes (I used the biggest one for the head), prepared a good number of felted beads plus some small tassels and bits of dyed fabrics. It was a rather long but rewarding process.
I then threaded everything on long wool yarns and made up the tassel.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Module 3 - Chapter 6 Simple Tassels (part 1)

My first attempts at tassels. I mainly worked by hand, in some cases I first formed the neck by machine and further embellished my tassel. Lacking in finger ability, I tried to make up for it by varying materials to my heart's content! Here is a first couple. On the left a simple machined tassel, neck wrapped by a cord leftover and skirt knotted here and there. On the right a head knotted several times over with fabric scraps added in between knots. Tassels 1 Two other tassels: On the left several yarns zigzagged together, forming a bow as a head and a multi-coloured thread wrapping a very long neck. On the right a fancy yarn sewn by machine, folded over to make the head, empty head stuffed with more yarn and addition of touches of colour to skirt. Tassels 2 On the left a tassel with head consisting of smaller tassels with hanging loop formed by a piece of twisted cord. On the right a tassel with beads and a cord finished off by a Turks' head knot. Tassels 3 And my last two tassels for now. On the left a skirt made from chain stitching with my overlocker, neck further embellished with pearls and lace scraps. On the right a machined tassel using rat tail and leftovers from machined cords. Tassels 4 Further tassels to come whenever they get ready!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Before getting on ...

Thinking about a practical way to keep all my cords together and bring them to next Summer School, I decided to use an insertion stitch and make a long felted cord mat. This is how it looks when rolled up with some cords peeping through. Some sort of spiral perhaps? (am I a little obsessed)
And this is not Module 3-related, it's an old collaged sheet from the Foundation Module (The Wall) ...
I'm using it as a base for my first tapestry. I placed my sheet on the back of the warp threads and I'm following the design (more or less)
This is a detail .
As Sian suggested, I think I'm going to use weaving in some parts of my Module (buttons perhaps and/or the resolved sample).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Module 3 - Chapter 5 Cord Making (second part)

Twisted cords Sample 1 From left to right: Two thick cotton twisted cords, laid side by side - Chiffon strip, synthetic thread, wool thread - Chenille thread Sample 2 From left to right: Wool roven, golden fabric strip - Machined cord, curtain fabric strip - Three pearl cotton twisted cords, laid side by side Sample 3 From left to right: Tulle net, fantasy thread, copper wire - Fabric strip, cotton thread - Fabric strip, cotton thread - Tulle net, wool roven, hairy thread, ribbon - Raffia, machined cord Sample 4 From left to right: Woolen, synthetic threads - Machined cord - Felt strip, fantasy thread Wrapped cords Sample 1 From left to right: Fabric strip wrapped twice with gift ribbon and loosely machined cord - Machined cord made from gift paper and thread wrapped onto itself - Felt strip wrapped with copper wire and metallic thread - Machined cord from wool roven wrapped by machine with copper wire snippets - Machine wrapped drinking straws Sample 2 From left to right: Wool roven wrapped with cotton thread - Machined cords wrapped by machine stitching with snippets blocked in between - Crocheted chains wrapped together Sample 3 From left to right: Loosely machined cord wrapped with copper wire, chiffon wastes knotted - Two crocheted chains wrapped together Sample 4 From left to right: Machined cord wrapped with crocheted chain - Woll thread wrapped with twisted cord - Machined cords wrapped together