Resolved Sample – Growth and disintegration
First Thoughts – Paper Experiments
I had a lot of fun with these, and made them quite quickly. Image 1 shows the first six:
I’ll go through the samples clockwise from the top left-hand corner. The paper square has been:
- folded into four times and the folded and raw edges snipped into;
- attacked by sewing machine without thread;
- random points folded then v-shapes cut from points with scissors;
- multiple concertina folds, then folded edges ‘sanded’ with a nail file;
- placed on a piece of polystyrene foam then stabbed with a stiletto (this is getting violent, isn’t it!)
- folded into four, then diagonally, then attacked with a hole punch.
Six more in image 2:
Going clockwise again, the paper squares have been:
- charred with a match (very carefully, over the sink) – only the surface has been distressed;
- soaked then scratched with fingernails;
- soaked then scratched and scraped with a fork;
- soaked then scraped with a cheese grater;
- soaked, placed on the ridged dish drainer at the side of the sink, then scrubbed with a nailbrush
- soaked then crumpled, flattened out and allowed to dry.
Just three more samples on image 3:
From top to bottom:
- soaked, pulled into points then ripped with fingernails;
- soaked, pulled into points then cut with scissors;
- placed on styrofoam then attacked with a dressmaker’s tracing wheel.
Sad to say, the square I placed in the letterbox for a couple of weeks did not suffer any snail damage, possibly because it has been very dry here. Or maybe the snails only like nibbling at nice, clean, white envelopes.
Images 4 and 5 show examples of disintegration using machine stitched lines, and then soaking the paper and rubbing it to make holes. The first sheet shows two samples with free motion stitching (one more scribbly, the other more linear); the second sheet shows a stitched grid (feed dogs up):
I do like the grid version. There was also an unexpected added bonus. I have two sorts of black 80 g paper – the colours are slightly different (see images 4 and 5), and one sort bleeds dye when wet. I placed the wet samples before rubbing on a stack of waste photocopy paper to avoid making too much mess, and the copy paper under the grid example turned out like this (image 6):
The stitched lines are clearly visible (the stitching is, too) and some of the rubbed bits of paper have stuck. Serendipity’s a marvellous thing – I’ll have to remember this to try on fabric sometime.
Second Thoughts – Paper Shapes
I did the first exercise twice. Image 7 shows the first attempt, made by tearing folded paper:
I was really happy with this but wondered what it would look like if I made the same set of samples by cutting rather than tearing (image 8):
It’s still interesting, but nowhere near as lively as the torn paper attempt.
For the coloured paper exercise, I stayed with my design shape I have tended to focus on throughout this module, and decided to turn the four cut shapes into a sort of counterchange design (image 9):
Again, moving clockwise from the top left hand corner:
- negative shape – cross cut from turquoise paper, with curvilinear shapes cut from turquoise paper and stuck on;
- cross shape cut from reddy-orange paper, small polygons cut out with a stencil knife and the residual positive shape stuck down;
- negative shape – cross cut from black paper, circles cut out with a hole punch, shape stuck to a square of reddy-orange paper which was stuck down to the black background; and
- cross cut from a square of black paper to make a negative black shape, glued onto a square of turquoise paper to give a positive turquoise shape, then roughly torn bits of black paper stuck on, and the whole thing stuck down to the background.
One important thing I realised when making these samples is that I could only really achieve a sense of disintegration by ‘cutting’ into the edge of the shapes as well as into the centre.
Third Thoughts – Fabric Shapes
Some of these are the same as the examples in the notes and some are a bit different. I chose to use white lawn on a black paper background, and the shapes are stuck down with double-sided tape. I found the lawn a bit difficult to fray, wondered if it might have some dressing in it so washed and ironed it, then tried again. It became a little easier after washing but still took a while. I was wondering whether it might have been easier to use the muslin I use for making cheese (it’s more like lawn than like butter muslin or cheesecloth) but we were running out of fetta … maybe next time.
I found when fraying diagonal cut edges that I could get them started by laying the sample on a cutting mat and raking the edge of the fabric with a stiletto, being careful to avoid fingers. Image 10 shows the first six samples:
This time going across, then down:
- Fabric square folded and cut (the old familiar shape);
- Cut shape frayed;
- Fabric square folded and cut;
- Negative pieces from shape on left (I didn’t do a very good job of sticking these down);
- Fabric square snipped and frayed;
- Fabric square frayed, placed on diagonals and frayed triangles added.
So far, pretty much as per the notes. Image 11 shows the second set of six samples.
Again, going across then down:
- Diagonal cuts made from corners, and in centre, then frayed;
- Five small squares cut on bias then frayed, and then four triangles frayed and added – I like the negative cross shape this made;
- Fabric snipped and frayed as for the final sample on page 42 of the notes;
- Four strips of fabric frayed then woven into a square;
- Two longer strips of fabric frayed, folded and interlaced to create a diagonal cross;
- Threads and tiny fabric scraps bonded between two layers of vliesofix, cut into four skinny parallelograms and arranged into a star.
I really enjoyed working in black and white for this exercise, and like the results.
Fourth Thoughts – Stitched Shapes
Back to my colour scheme and my basic cross shape for these samples. These were tremendous fun to make and very thought-provoking in relation to my resolved sample. More of that in a minute. For most of these (images 12 to 17) I bonded a cut shape in turquoise to a reddy-orange square, using vliesofix. I’ll talk about the samples in image 18 when I come to it. My rationale for using the colour scheme in this way was that, as turquoise is a cool colour and cool colours tend to recede, making my cross shape from turquoise might help to reinforce the disintegration idea if the disintegrating shape is receding and the encroaching background colour is advancing.
The first set of four samples (image 12) shows disintegration based on free-motion machine embroidery. I used granite stitch, working from the edges into the centre of the shape until the entire shape was obscured by stitching:
This worked quite well – the effect is not so much to obscure the shape completely as to place it progressively behind a translucent ‘veil’ of stitches. I think I possibly needed a bit more ‘scribble’ right on the very edge of some of the shapes.
The second set, of four samples (image 13) shows seeding stitches progressively obscuring the shape. I used two lengths of Danish flower thread in the needle to make the seeding stitches, and made them more dense in each sample without allowing them to cross:
I like the effect of the seeding. It would be possible to ‘grow’ a shape using seeding as well as to disintegrate one. I’m keeping this thought in mind for my resolved sample, as I’d like to use some hand-stitching.
The third set, just two samples (image 14), shows an attempt to disintegrate my shape from the centre by using herringbone stitch to obscure the centre of the shape, then in the second sample, to show the ghost of the shape which has been cut from the centre of the sample:
It works in a way – but it looks a bit too structured to represent disintegration, I think.
Then, I made three single samples, each representing a different idea. Image 15 shows triangles cut from the reddy-orange background materials bonded to the turquoise shape. I have ensured that some of the triangles are sitting along the edges of the shape, and I think this looks pretty convincing as disintegration:
Image 16 shows the turquoise shape with roughly torn pieces of painted vliesofix bonded to it, and lines of machine embroidery added. I quite like this one – looks like fairly emphatic crossing-out.
The sample in image 17 is just for fun – inspired by our vegie patch:
I wasn’t sure whether this would work or not, but it actually is possible to cut circles using a hole punch from a piece of fabric backed with vliesofix with the paper still in place. The ‘grubs’ are bullion stitch using the whole 6 strands of stranded cotton threaded in a No. 1 milliner’s needle, with the wraps slightly longer than the stitch to make the grubs curl realistically (!)
Then, looking back through my samples for chapters 1 to 10, I decided to try something completely different. The three samples in image 18 are based upon the multi-coloured ripple or contour effect sample from Chapter 9, but using only my two colours, in just two layers of fabric. This time, I made the reddy-orange my top fabric, tacked the turquoise behind it, and made three samples in reverse appliqué, each time adding a concentric row of machine stitching:
The stitching is in turquoise so that the outlines of the original shape are visible in each sample. For each sample, I cut away the ‘main’ shape at the centre, then also cut slivers from between the concentric rows of stitching. I feel that this really captures the sense of disintegration, in a way that the other samples didn’t quite achieve. I’m really keen to use this technique for my resolved sample, perhaps in combination with some hand stitching, and am now feeling very excited about it all. So – onwards to Chapter 12!