Sunday, May 13, 2012

Project 4, stage 2, looking for shapes

Out of my collection of photo's I picked two to work with. Both were taken in Minneapolis. There is a street there down town, where they have the most wonderful manhole covers. If I remember correctly, it was an art project some years ago. With a viewing frame I picked out four interesting parts of this manhole cover as inspiration for some design drawings.

 The other picture was taken at the old mills district. This old metal bridge has such interesting lines. With the viewing frame I picked out - again - four interesting parts as inspiration source. On purpose I picked two complete different type of pictures, one organic shapes and the other straight lines.
And here are some pictures of the drawings I made:

Although I like the comination of the lines shown in the bridge, I discovered that it is very difficult for me to use the lines as design ideas. Of the 8 samples I made there are only 2 which I find slightly interesting: the 2nd row at the right and the 4th row at the right.
To me it was much more rewarding to draw design ideas using the manhole cover picture. This is what I created:

I was able to draw more intuitive with these organic lines and I find the results much more interesting. My favorite is the top row at the right, but also I see use for several of the other ideas.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Project 4, Stage 1, Design

This project is all about design. The first stage is about playing around with the positioning of the small square - each 3x3 cm, a bit more than 1"x1" - on a 12x12 cm (5"x5") square. Depending on how and where you place the black squares, the design can be static or dynamic. It can focus your eye on one spot, or have it roaming around the whole block. I made all the samples independently from each other, but if you look at the first picture it appears to be one continuous design over 2 blocks. This is just a coincidence, but I like the idea so it might be something I can use in the future: combining one design over 2 quilts.
The second set shows a rather static design, although it is a bit more than just static as the squares run over the edges of the white block:

The last design with the black blocks would look better if the blocks were reducing in size. It is in a kind of spiral shape.
The other four designs are done with pencil lines. The first one is a serene design, just 2 straight lines at a different size away from the edges of the white block. The second one plays a bit with this idea. The vertical lines are straight and four of them are at exact the same distance. The two diagonal lines make the design a bit more playful. They run exactly parallel to each other.

The third one is a continuation of the same idea. Diagonal lines running parallel to each other. If I combine the second with the third one, my preference goes out to the second one. The combination of the straight lines with the diagonal ones makes it more interesting than only parallel diagonal lines.

The final sample is a combination of diagonal lines. The block on its own is okay, but if you repeat this design and change the position of some of the blocks it becomes much more interesting.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Project 3, Research point

For this research I decided to use this hand knit sweater which was made for my daughter Jacque when she was 3 years old. We pronounced her name as 'Jackie', but we used an unorthodox spelling for it: Jacque. So every where and every time we had to spell her name because people wrote it wrong. A friend of us had the solution for this: a home knitted sweather with her name on it.
The sweater was made late 1991 early 1992. It was knit on a knitting machine using acrylic yarns. I can tell this because all the stitches are the same size. Hand knitting shows more irregularities. Plus the sweater was finished in a day. The pink is a very girly pink, but Jacque loved that color even though she was not a 'girly' girl. As it is a sweater, it was worn as long as it fitted her.
This sweater has an emotional value for me. Jacque loved it and it is one of the few clothes I kept. My daughter died when she was 7 years old.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

project 3

After the exercise of stage 6 there is a part in the course book which asks for a review of my work and questions about use in color in general. I will answer them in this post.
I have been dyeing and painting fabric for more than 7 years now. My collections of procion mx dyes, textile paints, acrylic paints, water color and inks is rather large :-). Since I have taken 4 workshops given by Carol Soderlund I am cutting down on all the different procion colors. After all in those workshops - the first 4 she mentions on her workshop page - I have learned to create any color I want by just using the pure mx colors. Next to the dyes and paints I have a collection of paintsticks, inktense pencils and all kind of markers. Next to a huge collection of hand dyed fabrics I have a big stash of commercial batiks. In short you can say I am used to using - and mixing colors in my work:-).
About 1,5 year ago I started making artist trading cards and altered playing cards. Most of the time I use collage techniques for these. My stash of colored paper is growing because of this new addiction.
My stash of embroidery floss and pearl cotton was rather small, but I have been adding colors to it, so I have more choice in colors.

One of the techniques I like is to print on fabric using all kind of unusable objects or hand carved stamps. Making those marks is fun to do.

I can see that I am getting more used to hand embroidery. This is a technique which I have not used much in the past. The sample I made for stage 4 exercise 2 (the one with the French knots) is my favorite. The technique is time consuming, but I love the effect.

It is difficult for me to say which techniqe I prefer. Both the painting techniques have their advantages (they don't take much time so I can create a lot) as well as the color exercises we did in this project. The color exercises can be more useable compared to the painting exercises. For instance the sample I made with the French knots could be matted and framed. I admit this is not an option for all the color exercises I did, but I don't see any of my painting samples framed :-).

I was able to mix and match colors. At the moment I only have 1 red and 2 blue acrylic paints, if I would have another blue and 1 or 2 extra reds I would be able to do this even more accurate.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

project 3, stage 5

Not the most logical sequence <vbg>, but here is what I did for stage 5:

For this sample we had to use 2 primary colors and use them in different proportions. My first sample (top left) has equal numbers of yellow and red lines of chain stitches. Because red is a darker color than yellow, the red blends a bit more to the background. If you compare the sample with the one next to it - where I used 4 lines of yellow and 1 line of red - you see that where there is a lot of red, the yellow looks darker. It is the same color of pearl cotton I used, but the sample at the right looks a lighter yellow than the one on the left.
The left bottom sample starts with 4 red lines and reduces down to 1 line while the yellow goes exactly the other way round. To be honest I find this sample rather boring.
An other thing which we had to explore with this sample was to show more - or less - of the black background. With the chain stitch there is always some background visible, so I had to do something else with it. Instead of static straight lines, I decided to use wavy lines. All 5 lines start at the same spot, but they travel away from each other further down. Of the 4 samples I made this one is my favorite. It is the most dynamic of all.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

project 3, stage 6, exercise 2

This sample is done in pastels. The colors are mixed in such a way that they show a gradual color movement. On purpose I choose a different stitch from the previous exercise, this time a double cross stitch. It is a bit irregular, but I like that effect, but that is because the black fabric I used as background is such a thight woven one that threads cannot be counted.
The second color from the top is in reality not so bright as it shows in this picture.

For the second part of this exercise I used  a drawing on paper first - again using pastels:
The drawing at the left is done with markers and I like the difference between the thick and the thin parts of the line. Next to the marker drawing is a drawing done with pastel pencils. This is the idea I am going to use to translate into embroidery. And this is how it turned out:
For this sample I used embroidery floss in 4 different pastel tints. I could have used the satin stitch, but I liked the extra line I got when using a variation of the blanket stitch. And yes, I know I have to clean the scanner :-(.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Project 3, Stage 6, exercise 1

By mistake I worked on stage 6 while I had not yet done stage 5. Pictures of stage 5 will come later this week.
This exercise was about combining color with texture. As you can see I worked on a black background fabric and I used different yellows, blues and green - some a bit darker, some a bit lighter. Next to pearl cotton 8 and embroidery floss I also used some yellow eyelash yarn. I did not have this in green or blue. The whole piece was done with French knots. Some a bit more loose than others.
What I like about this sample is the difference it shows between areas where a lot of knots are close together and the areas where more of the background is shown. I especially like the centre where the 3 different color groups meet. In some areas it is difficult to see whether that stitch is green or whether it is blue :-). I love this effect of color mixing.
There is only one thing I do not like about this embroidery stitch and that is that it is time consuming. This sample is 6"x6" and it took me more than 4 hours to create.
On purpose I limited myself to only these 3 different kind of threads. This way I could create a unity and I was afraid that if I added lots of different threads it would more become a showpiece of everything I had in stock. I even had some doubts about the eyelash yarn.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Project 3, Stage 4, Exercise 2

Another exercise on color :-). I picked an image from my collection which I really like. It is 'Blue Triangles with Yellow' painted by Susan McDonald (, oil and encaustic on panel 18"x12":

I love the combination of yellow and blue she used. Using this picture as an inspiration source I made a color bag using threads, fabric and some fish scales). Also I mixed some of my acrylic paints to identify the separate colors used.

Somewhere later in this course this color bag will be used.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Project 3, Stage 4, Exercise 1

It is some time ago since I last posted, but computer issues took up most of my time. I have a new one and that meant transferring files and reorganising everything. But that is done so I can now spend time again on this course.
This exercise is about color and the moods the colors can represent. These contrasting words I 'translated' into colors and this is what they look to me:

I know that cultures respond different to colors and even in our Western cultures there are opposite words which can be represented into the same colors like love and hate. Many people associate both colors with red. Even in the examples I used some of them are a bit alike. The association with active, young and healthy can be done in the same color.