Tuesday, August 21, 2012

decision has been made

This blogpost is a difficult one for me. I love to take classes to extend my knowledge of all fiber related subjects and I was really happy when I found OCA. However I discovered that the method which is compulsary for these OCA courses does not work for me. To be honest, instead of growing in my art I feel very restricted in what I am allowed to do, even to the point of suffocating. I have given this a lot of thought and came to the conclusion that it is better for me to stop with the official part of this course. Yes, I am fully aware of the importance of sketchbooks for some people, but this is only one method of learning and this method does not work for me. I will continue working through part 3, 4 and 5 and I will post my results on this blog, but just as a record of personnel growth. I will not continue in filling the sketchbooks and I will not be sending in material for official assessments.

Monday, August 20, 2012

project 6, stage 4, raised and structured surface textures continued

Some more samples of creating texture on fabric. For the first sample I did an arashi shibori (pole shibori), wetted the fabric and let it dry on the pole. When it was completely dry I removed it from the pole, placed it on a piece of fusible web and ironed it in place. I have to admit that this picture is not my best, but I hope you can see enough of the pleated effect I got.
This same technique can be used if you want to paint your arashi shibori. Normally with arashi shibori the closest you get to the pole the lighter the pattern on the fabric becomes. With painting the fabric you can get an even result on the whole piece of your fabric.

 The second sample looks like a tied shibori, but it is not. I used a grill tray which had holes to poke a piece of fabric through and ironed a piece of fusible web to the back. This gives roughly the same effect as tied shibori, but is quicker to achieve.
 This third sample is tied shibori. To start I had drawn circles on the back of the fabric with a pencil, stitched through the pencil lines, pulled and knotted the threads. In this sample all the circles had the same size, but it can also be done with different sizes of circles.
 This fourth sample was made by scrunching a wet piece of fabric and iron it like it was. The pleats and folds are completely irregular. To make certain that the fabric stays like this I hand stitched with small stitched close to the edges of the folding lines. In this sample I hand stitched, but machine stitching is also an option which gives a slightly different effect.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Project 6, stage 4, raised and structured surface textures

This blogpost is all about fabric manipulation to create texture. There are many ways of achieving this and with this blogpost I will show you some of the samples I made. Actually I made enough samples to fill 3 blogposts or maybe even more. The first picture shows two different ways of gathering fabric together. The row at the left is done with rows of even stitches: thread above the fabric in the same place. This gives a similar effect to all the rows after the threads have been pulled. I prefer the row at the right more. Here the rows have uneven stitches: thread above the fabric is not in the same place. The effect of this is more variated than the even lines.
 The next sample is made from different layers of fabric. Each has a distinctive different color. A grid has been stitched over this and with a seamripper the top layers of the fabric have been cut open. In this sample I cut away all the top layers, but it can also be done in such a way that certain parts are only cut open through the first layer and other parts through more than one layer. Fraying the fabric a bit helps to show more result.
 For the red sample I took advantage of the fact that this red knitted polyester fabric looked different when you compare the front and the back of the fabric. I placed the back of the fabric facing up when I placed a smaller circle front facing up on top of it. The next step was to stitch a spiral through the circle and cut in between the stitching lines. To get the best effect of this I had to trim away some of the fabric next to the cutting lines. This technique I had never used before and I have to say that I really like it.
 The final sample of this blog post is a combination of different textured fabrics, folded, scrunched and pleated at random before stitching it down with a thread of pearl cotton. The big stitches are part of the texture. On purpose I made 3 of those samples because I wanted to see how they looked like when they were painted and dyed. I know that some of the fabrics are cotton, but I don't know whether they have been treated or not. Results of this will be in a future blog post.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Project 5, stage 3, applique

There are many different types of applique, you can use hand applique or machine applique. Different stitches can be used for them as well. For this stage I made the following samples:
The picture above shows a Mola. This is a technique by which you cut open the top layer (or layers) and push them under the toplayer. With small stitches you then stitch these edges. It is a technique originally developed in Central America using geomatric shapes, but nowadays other types of shapes are used as well. If you want to read more about the Mola art, here is the link to an article on Wikipedia. In this sample I used two different pieces of commercial batiks and the shape of a turtoise as main object.

In this other sample I combined 3 different types of applique: satin stitch, raw edge applique and hand applique using the buttonhole stitch. For the vase I used a close zigzag stitch, also known as satinstitch. For the stems I used raw edge applique. This type of applique leaves the edges of the fabric 'raw'  and some fraying might show up. There is a straight stitch close to the edge of the fabric. For the flowers I used a hand appliqued buttonhole stitch. This stitch shows more than the machine stitching and plays a definate part with being present, it adds some more definition to the piece. With applique you can make it more easy for yourself by fusing the fabric down. This can be done with bondaweb, wonder under or whatever brand you like. I like to use a simple glue stick. During the years I have used different brands of glue stick for this and none of them had a negative impact on the stitching I did later on.
In a later blogpost I will show some more samples, using sheers. My sheers are in my studio, but I am not home at the moment. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Project 6, stage 2

Normally I work with natural fabrics, either hand dyed cotton or commercial batiks, sometimes with raw silk. For this excercise I wanted to use some - for me - unusual fabrics so I paid a visit to a local thrift store and came home with a collection of synthetic fabrics. Most of them were polyester, or a blend of polyester, some were tricot and I added some velvet to it for more variation. The task for this stage was to develop some design ideas by combining the different fabrics and looking for relationships in texture, color and weight. As it are samples - the largest is 11" long - the designs are simplyfied.
For my first sample I combined black velvet ovals with 2 different pieces of blue fabric: a knitted one and a smooth silky one. I wanted to combine different textures in one design and at the same time different shapes, or shapes in different sizes: 

 The next sample I nicknamed 'Easter eggs'.  It has a printed tricot as base on which a smooth blue and green curvy cut fabric is placed. In between the long narrow shapes are oval shapes (the eggs) cut out from a  multi colored tricot. Both the curvy lines as well as the placement of the ovals represent movement. Again this piece is made from colors which all belong to the same colorgroup with some yellow and black accents.
 This red sample was difficult to photograph. Background is a reddish polyester which has stitched embroidery on it. I placed 2 blue lines on it as contrast using a smooth polyester. To emphasize the contrast - this time in texture - I added 2 rectangulars of a knitted bright red fabric. The two red fabrics show harmony with a contrasting stripe to make it more alive and balanced.
 The next blue/green sample is not my best, but it shows different aspects. I used a thin - almost transparent blue textured polyester combined with a textured light green polyester. Both pieces of the background are the same shape with a rounded cut bottom edge. To connect the two pieces I placed curved strips of the fabric on the opposite site. This way I created a repetition of the shapes and the colors.
 And my final sample for this part is a combination of two red fabrics, a highly textured ne for the background with a dark embossed velvet strip horizontally over it. As a contrast I used black and white spotted tricot strips placed vertically. The strips are all of a different length, some smaller, some bigger than the background. This way the piece really shows movement and your eyes travel over it.
Some observations:
- because they were all (small) samples it is not possible to show a lot of detail in them
- combinations of colors or fabrics which at first hand you would refuse, can turn out really well
- in the past I have used synthetic fabrics for making garments. In those days I did not like them and making these samples confirmed this, I still prefer working with natural fabrics.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Project 6 - research

This project is about fabric manipulation and starts with a research project. There are many different types of fabric and many techniques to create or to design them. In the old days when the world was much smaller the fabrics were made from fibers available locally: wool, linen, cotton and if you were wealthy and could afford it: silk. Nowadays with modern technology many fabrics are (partly) made from synthetic fibers. It depends on the materials used in the fabric, how you can dye or paint it. In my sketchbook I have samples of different types of fabrics. In this blogpost I will write a bit more about shibori.

Shibori is an old technique of using resist in different ways to create patterns on the fabric. One of the countries who have a long history in shibori is Japan, but there are also examples of pre-Columbian shibori found in Peru. The oldest known Japanese exampleof shibori is from the 8th century. Shibori can be tied around a pole, stitched, clamped and pleated in many ways. Each way of applying shibori has it's own name.
This is a picture of a kimono made between 1930-1950 using a stitched and bound shibori. The material used is cotton. Each design has its own name. On this kimono a woodgrain and butterfly design have been used.
This picture shows another example of shibori. It is a pleated sheer organza by Karren Britto. And to show that shibori can used in other ways besides garments, have a look at these pictures:

This is a lampshade made from 100% polyester by Hiroyuki Murase.
And a shibori cushion cover made from 100% polyester by Ando. The fabric used for the last two pictures is polyester. When polyester is steamed it will stay into the threedimensional shapes

Friday, August 3, 2012

Project 5, Stage 4

For this stage a bigger sample had to be made. Mine turned out to be 16"x14". As you can see it is a repeated version of the onion print I did on paper for project 4. On purpose the onions are placed in different positions, the prints become more dynamic this way and the use of the fabric is more versatile. I limited myself to 5 rows of 4 onion prints, but this kind of print can go on forever.
This sample is done on a cotton/bamboo blend and I left the background in the original color. With this print many variations are possible. I am thinking about changing the size of the onions, mix big onions with smaller onions. Use different colors while printing, some can be red, others can be purple or pink. The background can be in different colors, either matching with the color used for the prints (pink background with red prints) or the opposite (yellow background with blue prints, creating an overal greenish effect). There are many ways of playing with this composition.
Another version could be big onions in a row, followed by a row of small onions. In my opinion this composition would be more static, but that can have it's use as well.
There were many samples in my design ideas. My preference goes out to the unusual, more lively/organic shapes. That is the main reason that I choose this design for the bigger sample. Another reason is that when people see this print, they will look again at it when they realise that the stamp was a sliced onion.
This kind of print shows best on a smooth fabric like a cotton, or in this case a cotton/bamboo blend. I think that the effect of the onion print would be lost on a sheer fabric. The print is rather subtile and light in certain areas and the overall effect would be lost on sheers. The different prints are close enough to form a connection, but still represent the individual shape of the onion. Some areas show more background but that is because the shape of the onion is not the same width and hight everywhere.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Project 4 and 5 extra experiment

Although project 4 and 5 are finished, I just had to add these 2 pictures. All the other techniques I have shown were techniques I have used before, but this one was a real experiment. My friend and I experimented with using gunpowder to create these results:

The first picture is of a piece of fabric, the second one is on paper. In both cases leaves acted as masks. Last year when we visited Art-a-whirl there was an artist who sold very interesting canvasses. When we talked with her, she told us, that she used gunpowder to create the images. A Google search lead to a YouTube movie which showed a Chinese artist working with gunpowder as well. This was the only information we were able to find, but the idea of experimenting with gunpowder was still on our to do list. No idea where I could get - or better said: if I could get hold of - gunpowder in the Netherlands, but I am in the US at the moment and it is easy to buy here.
To protect the driveway - and have a base to work on - we placed a piece of countertop on the driveway. Taped the fabric and paper on it (it was windy), placed leaves on top of this, sprinkled gunpowder on it, covered it with some cardboard and set it afire. How much gunpowder was needed, was a matter of trial and error. The pictures are from the second and third attempt.
If you want to try out this experiment as well, be careful with it. Make certain that you have open space around you, a bucket of water close by and no children or pets around. Don't know whether I will experiment with this again, although I have to say the results are great :-)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Project 5, Stage 3 continued

And here are my other 6 samples for this project. The first one I made by scrunching up the wet fabric, ironed it dry while it was still scrunched and applied metallic paint on it using a spounge brush.
 For this sample I placed torn strips of masking tape on a waffle woven piece of cotton and used a credit card to swipe the paint over it.
 On this sample I used bubble wrap as a stamp. Depending on whether the bubbles were whole or poked through the pattern is different. After this I used some punchinella as mask for additional marks.
 Another sample of torn paper. For this screen print I placed the strips of paper on top of the fabric - a raw silk - under the screen and used different colors of paint.
 Another screen print. This time with scraps of paper. Otherwise the same technique as the sample above. This fabric is a commercial white-on-white printed cotton.
 For the final sample of this stage I used a hand cut lino stamp of a fern leave and acrylic paint on thin muslin. The additional lines are caused by the lino cut. I consider them a bonus.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Project 5, stage 3

This part is all about stamping and painting on fabric. I allready did some stamping on fabric for project 4, but here are more samples. The first one is an enlargement of the commercial stamp I used on cheesecloth earlier on. The original one was brown paint on white fabric. This sample gives a complete different mood, much more girly. The ovals are enlarged and I used shiny pink paint for them. The background is painted wet on wet with red dyna-flow. Fabric is cotton pfd.

 For this sample I cut out a template of leaves and mirrored this. I ironed the freezer paper on to the fabric and used a creditcard to swipe the paint over it. Unfortunately the freezer paper was rather old and my experience with old freezer paper is that it is much harder to stay ironed to the fabric. That is the reason that there are some 'leaks' in the paint. Fabric used is dupioni silk.
For both the next samples I used paintsticks. The blue one is reorganised shapes - going from regular positioned circles to irregular places ones. I used dark blue/charcoal colors on a light blue background (handdyed fabric) to represent a different - more gloomy - mood.
 For this sample I used a torn piece of paper - like I did for project 4 - and repositioned this while I used the paintsticks on it. The final result looks like a mountain range. The fabric I used was a woolen one.
 The next sample did not give the effect I was after and I know why this was. The paint I used was too thick to flow on the wetted fabric. Fabric was a handdyed cotton, paint was Lumiere.
 With this fabric I got the result I wanted for the previous sample. Even though the fabric was dry (silk), the thin dyna-flow paint gave the effect of wet on wet.
More samples are coming with next blog post.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Project 4, Stage 5, other types of printing

Here are some samples of gel printing. The gel was already 5 days old before I had time to use it, so it was not anymore in the best condition. Even after trying to dry it with a dishcloth, the gel remained wet and the acrylic paint did not really wanted to stay on it. Anywy you can see some of the prints of grasses and leaves I used. The first sample is done on tissue paper.
 The next 2 samples are done on fabric. Not the best result I have had, but the gel was not anymore in prime condition.

In all the above samples the leaves/grasses were placed on top of the painted gel and the fabric or paper was placed on top of it. The next sample is made differently. The grasses were placed on the painted gel, lifted of and carefully placed on a piece of paper. You get a complete different effect when you print like this, like the difference between positive and negative.
Here is another sample of using the same technique. Unfortunately there was a bit too much paint on some of the leaves to give a good print:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Project 4, Stage 5, Template and mask printing

Here are some exampls of using templates and mask on both fabric as well as paper. For the first sample I used a freezer paper template and Decoularant spray. I like this spray better than bleach, although the smell is worse. The fabric is a handdyed piece on which I ironed the template, sprayed it, let it dry and ironed it.
 This green fabric is a sunprint using grasses as templates. The fabric was pinned on a board, painted with diluted Setacolors and grasses were added. After a couple of hours in the sunshine it looked like this:
 This picture is of a quilt I am working on - have to make another sample for my sketchbook. I placed foamies on a piece of fabric and applied paintstick to the fabric using an old toothbrush.
 Again paintsticks, but this time on a piece of paper. My template was a torn strip of paper. By applying paintstick to the paper - this time using my finger - and replacing the template I got these results:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Project 4, Stage 5, block printing

This part of the course will probably be one of my favorites. I love surface design :-). Here are some of the samples I made this week using commercial stamps. This first pink one is a piece of fabric on which I used different acrylic paints and different commercial stamps. On purpose the stamps are overlapping. This sample is approximately 12"x12" and as you can see because of the overlapping it can be made as big as you want it to be.
 This second one I made by placing a zapped piece of lutrador over the white fabric and than stamped it using a commercial stamp and yellow acylics. Because of the lutrador the print has a detoriated effect and that was the effect I was after.
 This next sample is a painted piece of wallpaper. I wanted to use a highly textured piece of paper in combination with an abstract commercial blockprint.
 Another paper sample of multiple commercial blockprints. I used a credit card to aply the paint to the background.
 This next sample is one of my favorites. I fused a piece of cheesecloth (scrim) to a white piece of fabric and stamped it with a commercial stamp. As a whole it is interesting, but when I partly removed the white background fabric and placed it on some blue paper the texture shows much more. When this idea is used for a bigger piece of cheesecloth and the cloth is stretched and pulled to give a much more uneven effect to the stamping I think I will like it even more.

This is a sample which I made using a rather unusual blockprint: an onion. The sliced onion was left to dry for a couple of days. I used Dyna-flow paint which I applied to the 'stamp'  using a foam print. I just love the results I got:
And my last sample of blockprinting. This time I used lots of found objects. They included a potato masher, a bath mat, a metal thingie out of an old computer and some punchinella. All unusual objects to print with, but in combination a very pleasing result.