Monday, December 14, 2009

Chapter 5 - Drawn Thread Work / Part 2

For my new experiments with drawn threadwork I chose this time a less densely woven fabric, a loose white linen cloth that I found in the curtain department which seemed to get rid of its threads by only looking at it. It also dyed very well, its only drawback being that it's a bit flimsy and easily distorted. Sample 1: threads partially withdrawn from sides, ends of threads knotted in bundles, bundles wrapped with coloured yarns, some areas reinforced by machine zigzagging
Sample 2: In this sample withdrawn threads have been rethreaded, additional fabrics and yarns darned on top, machine lines are used to strenghten the fabric
Sample 3: Threads loosely relooped, machine zigzag
Sample 4: Threads pulled from central area forming a tangle of loops

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chapter FIVE - Drawn Thread Work / Part 1

This is a photo of a first collection of dyed cloth for drawn thread work. My colour scheme for this Module is green/red and the cloth was originally white and meant for Hardanger. I found this a bit unconfortable to work with, possibly there are too many threads in a cm even if they can be drawn quite easily. I think I am going to look for a less dense fabric for my next experiments! For the third sample I drew an increasing number of threads, for the last one I used the Fibonacci series from Module Two (I love it!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Friday Five: Laminating Experiment (I know, I know it's Monday)

At the end of an absolutely frantic September I finally recovered the time and nerve to get back to my attic and resume my papery attempts. I had small quantities of paper pulps in different shades left over from previous experiments still waiting for me in the freezer, so I thought, why not make use of what I already have and make a very thick laminated sheet . Easier said than done: it took me two hours to laminate sheet over sheet and two weeks to have it bone dry with the help of all the sun I could get under my Roman sky which is much. The final thickness was over two centimetres and my A5 supersheet was light and felt a lot like wood! This is how it looked like: I said it looked like because it doesn't exist any more as such. I cut it into smaller pieces of different shapes and sizes by means of a jeweller's saw and finished each of them with sandpaper. Thanks to their laminated edges they look like booklets, but funny ones since it's impossible to open them. I played with different arrangements, flat, on the edge, overlapping them, and took photos. Here follow some examples. Perhaps these small unopenable books might find a place in the final piece for this Module. I'm thinking of ways to do this ...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Four: New Papers

No big progress this week, only new paper samples. I feel that with paper making the learning curve is steep, it takes time to try out the different techniques and to produce decent samples (if at all). But it's fun - and messy. This is an attempt at a fringed sample. I like the idea but this first one did not come out as I wanted. Colours are dull and I peeled my threads back too soon. I shall try again. Embedding with wires and wire mesh
For this sample I embedded one of my Solufleece grids from Summer School into a newly formed sheet of paper. The glue in the Solufleece made the paper stronger, so this might be a good idea to use again.
These are rough attempts at embossing paper. Another technique to try again in the future
And finally a try at a simple collage with coloured paper pulps. I used thin strips of card to create sections on the mesh and spooned pulps into them. As you can see from the sample some areas tend to separate on the edges.
Perhaps the pulps were too dry when filled in and/or the pulps out of the liquidizer were not smooth enough. Another possibility would be to couch a first sheet of paper and pour the coloured pulps onto it. I think this might work and improve overall adherence.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Three - First attempts at paper making (Module 4, Ch. 4)

My vacation are over, so I thought it's now time to get back to some real work! I took out the paper pulps I had prepared from the freezer and had a first go at making paper. I had already ventured in some experiments some years ago which didn't amount to much except for a huge splashy mess in the kitchen and, more usefully, a small wooden frame I had built from scratch. I simply stretched in a new mesh cut from a plastic fly screen and was ready to go for the scary process again. After some failed attempts - too little pulp, too much pulp, paper pulp unhappily sticking to the mesh instead than to the kitchen cloth and so on - I finally had my first batch of sheets stretched out in the sun. And 40° degrees being 40° degrees they were bone dry in half an hour! Here is a sampler of simple undyed papers - white and speckled packaging papers - plus one dyed crumpled one. For dyeing I used Procion cold-water dyes and soda ash as a fixative and it worked out fine, the only problem is that it is difficult to judge the colours when wet since they get so pale once dry. Some papers were casually embossed by the kitchen cloth underneath. As to the pinky sheet I crumpled it when still wet and left out to dry. This photo and the next are the same sheet ripped and shown from the front and the back. I had formed some smallish or mishappen sheets in different colours and thought it would be better to laminate them together. I rather like this effect and wish to make more experiments with the sandwich method!

My first try at casual embedding: fabric snippets and threads
Here I used a circle stencil to apply pulp to a formed sheet. The problem is that the blue circles tend to separate from the background. Perhaps the pulp was too dry when spooned over? New experiments to come in the next weeks.
A happy week end to everyone! Here in Rome it's still so hot, I do hope in some fresh air soon ...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Two: Module 4 - More Grids (Chapter 3)

I have collected some grids to use for this Module on a booklet with mesh, net and grid samples glued or stitched to both sides, front and back.

I have also made some grids from scratch.
For this sample I cut a plastic bag into strips and fused them with an iron. I put the grid on some Solufleece and loosely machine stitched everything together.
For this other grid a cut a kitchen sponge cloth and weaved the strips together, then overstitched them. I dabbed acrylic colours on top to partially hide the pink.
This is another mesh made using the Solufleece method but laid flat instead of moulding it around a form.
Electric wire knitted on big needles:
In this sample I have built a very loose mesh by interlacing copper wire in a casual way. To create variations in colour I have briefly held the copper on a flame.
For these samples I used brass wire and knitted it on the round for a 3D result. This type of sample could also be flattened out and make a double grid perhaps with a third layer sandwiched in between or some wire or thread could be used to stitch/connect the two grids together (I am going to try this later on).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday One : Module 4 - Paper and grids

A promise is a promise, so this is my first Friday Post after Summer School. These are some coloured paper pulps ready for making new sheets next week. I shall put then in the freezer and take out as needed. The dyes do look so very strong but I know from past experience that they fade a lot when dry. And these are some grids I machined using the solufleece method learnt at Summer School. I left the first too dry flat and I moulded the other ones. I am thinking of using them later on in Module 4 for combining with paper.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Module 4- Chapters 1 and 2

CHAPTER ONE Media Research This is a photo of some items I have collected so far for future reference and work on Module Four. The collection is still growing and I'm using it mainly as a mental note of material that could be used. I have mostly included the following: - Papers that might be recycled - used printer paper, envelopes, different types of tissue papers/paper napkins, old grocery notes, used watercolour papers, oriental papers, used gift papers etc. - Different kinds of clips, strings, rubber bands, labels, packaging material like bubble wrap, chopped plastic and straw, an office multistamp - Electrical and computer cables as a reminder of the fact that media and communication at large are getting more and more immaterial (online newspapers, emails, internet etc.) The two following images are collages of photocopied materials that might be further used. These are only copies since the originals are too precious to be directly recycled. They include handwritten notes I am particularly fond of (my grandma's writing on the yellow paper in the second photo), collectable old envelopes/stamps, details of famous dada paintings using letters/numbers.

Lettering Research
I have organized my material in several groups.
Images in photos 1 and 2 have mostly a sort of urban/modern feeling in common.
They include neon lights, light sculptures, advertisements, graffiti, maps etc.
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photos 3 and 4 show basically a collection of typographic/graphic examples Photo 3
Photo 4
Photos 5 and 6 gather old lettering styles and some calligraphies Photo 5
Photo 6
Photos 7 and 8 show some examples of different alphabets - old like Phoenician, Hebrew, Hyeroglyphic, Cuneiform and current like Arabic, Chinese, Japanese - and letters artistically combined Photo 7
Photo 8
Writing a letter with the computer

For this exercise I used PaintShopPro and tried its different drawing tools
I then applied some "special effects" to my scribblings
Writing a word without the computer
I chose FUTURISM - FUTUR as a word to put into repeat since 2009 celebrates the centenary from the birth of this artistic movement that is still inspiring and alive today in so many ways and under different forms.

From top to bottom:
Black ink dragged with an edge of card, drops of bleach on dry ink;
Futurism written with a Chinese brush, then rewritten with a wooden skewer and bleach;
Black ink strip, writing with a matchstick and bleach;
Word with the edge of a plastic card dragged on the flat side, then overwritten with the point of the card and bleach;
Blocks of ink with a card, then bleach dropped in a continuous line.
From top to bottom:
Serrated edge of plastic card;
Stamped using a "cuneiform" style;
Serrated edge of bristol card;
Word created by repeatedly stamping with an office stamp;
Stamping with a short edge of card.
Examples of "futurism" written dragging a black oil crayon on paper lying on different types of mesh.
From top to bottom:
White oil crayon dragged on paper lying on a metal mesh, then black ink swished across;
Careful dragging of a card to form precise "futurist" style letters;
Stamping with the botton of a plastic earplug (the type they give you on airplanes);
Free-style lettering using a Chinese brush.
Two examples of the same word repeated several times.
Black paper, letters formed in a "pointillist" style
Black ink background, overwritten in bleach, finally drippings of watery acrylics
Pattern making with lettering using the computer
Here follow some examples of patterns created on the computer when repeating the same word in different ways.
I especially like the rhythms created by enlarging small details.

Pattern-making with lettering without the use of the computer
Photo 1
Background in watered down black acrylic - PVA glue freely squeezed and let to dry - Overpainting of squeezed letters with metallic acrylic colours in different golden shades (I used Lumiere colours which are simply fantastic!)
Photo 2
Futurism written diagonally with a white oil crayon overpainted in watered down black acrylic - Strips of different writings cut in strips and applied, some folded - F repeated in geometric crossing patterns -Handwriting in ink
Photo 3
Futurism written several times with edge of card, with overlaps - Rewritten in bleach - Doodling in empty spaces with pen and ink
Photo 4
Sketch paper covered with acrylic gesso then combed with a plastic fork - Stencilling in of Japanese words with metallic Lumiere colours - Further writing crossways in pen and ink.
My intention was to reproduce a rough wall covered by different handwritings.
Photo 5
Another "piece of wall", this is more rugged and battered, I used gesso as before followed by black wax crayon and more Lumiere colours in the attempt to reproduce a graffito style wall in neon colours.
Photo 6
In making this sample I was thinking of Arabic handwriting even if the alphabet used is Latin.
Fluid writing with a Chinese brush - Further small writing in bleach within the words formed - Filling in with lettering doodling - Last layer of drops of different colours using a toothbrush to fuse words together.
Photo 7
Background obtained from dragging a black crayon on a gessoed/PVA glued surface, bleached letters cut up and pasted onto it.
Photo 8
In imitation of an urban graffito. Background is a rough gessoed surface overwritten with oil pastel and charcoal, then "sprayed" with some gold.
Photo 9
PVA dripping on a blackish background, then overpainted in metallic green after drying.
Photo 10
"Futurism" written several times over with a black oil pastel dragged on a meshed surface, empty spaces filled in with black and gold, then paper turned 90° upwards.
Photo 11
Word Futurism formed from separated letters pasted on a white background, then some letters echoed by radiating lines, empty spaces filled in by black points/golden stampings.
Photo 12
Papers first written all over and then cut into strips and glued on a newspaper background.