Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Exploring textures with papers

The different textures of the papers were  in themselves interesting before pleating, scrunching, ripping and folding.  Took notes on the 'feel' as much as the look and described the ease or difficulty in getting the paper to take the technique.  In some cases I  have taken a rubbing. 
Using the same 12 papers throughout each exercise I put them on a grid around a photo from the master board.  The idea of the grid is to allow different images to be interchanged over later chapters to see if improvements can be made or new techniques added. 
The papers 
top rowtop left; Lokta paper, next; tyvek(does this qualify as paper or fabric?) next; fine tissue paper, right; 3 ply face tissue
second row: left; fine vilene, right(does this qualify as paper or fabric?) ; tracing paper
third row:left; greaseproof paper, right; printed 80grm copier paper
bottom row: left; packing tissue paper,next; HP photo paper, next; kitchen roll, right;
wrapping paper.

First a bit of tearing and ripping- the photo the King's footprint at Dunadd near Kilmartin, Argyll.
Ref 5.2.1
The tearing of each type of paper offered a wider range of finishes than I had imagined.  The fibrous edges of the vilene, tyvek, lokta paper and facial tissues were more pronounced than all the other papers.   A rather pleasing effect that is shown more easily on the photo paper than on the Lokta paper  and copier paper is the how the edges peel of the surface giving a mini 3D effect to the edge, the tracing and greaseproof paper gives a similar effect when layering the pieces on top of each other. PS In writing up the results realise the greaseproof paper and tracing paper images have been transposed!

Then pleating and folding - the photo granite folds on west coast of Mull of Kintyre
Ref 5.2.2
Results: Folding, pleating and fanning out some of the results of the papers produced ridges and vents that would possible be better held by stitch than by glue. The vilene, tyvek and tissues were more malleable and gave softer effects but I was pleased to see how the photo and copier paper seemed to fold easily into different directions.  On reflection the fact they had an image on them encouraged you to follow the pictures direction!

and last a scrunch - the photo here is the lichen detail on stone at Broch of Gurness
Ref 5.2.3
Results:Taking the same size of each paper, except the photo paper,which was 4 x 6inches the papers where stuck onto a glued square and then eased the papers into the centre with my fingers the easiest was the three ply face tissue the most difficult the photo. But I liked each of the qualities they gave one layering the other a more angular structure that moved and expanded. The fine tissue compare to the greaseproof and tracing paper was easier to manipulate but the greaseproof gave greater volume and the tracing paper a more crunchy and creased effect.  The vilene, Lokta and packing tissue paper and tyvek had a soft handle and enjoyed the shapes they made with relative ease.  The A4 copy paper and wrapping paper had a stiffness  but creased and made interesting shapes that could be pulled out and manipulated without tearing.
Manipulating Tissue
Selecting the fine tissue paper for this exercise I was interested to see how the company logo that was stamped through it would effect the results.  The transparency of the paper had  led me to feel that it would be more suited to reflecting watery images rather than stony, earth strata so here goes!

Ref 5.2.5
Began by winding and  knotting the tissue on the top row and was quite please that the middle sample kept the 'wind' in with out knotting and allowed rounded curves- it took quite a lot of paper to achieve the effect. I noted that part of our materials list mentioned pipe cleaners - that may allow even more movement and use less paper.  But kept to just using papers for this chapter. The 'bow tie', on top right, could be a sample to rub to get the texture rather than the rather artificial effect of the knot.
The middle row of samples looks at layers and gradual lose of transparency with the central  sample looking at turned over rather than rough or cut edges and the next sample considers weaving and angular edges. 
Ref 5.2.6
The bottom row shows pleating with the one on the left showing an effort to pleat on horizontal and then vertical line - it was difficult to keep the first row of pleats in and work on pleats in a 90 degree angle-perhaps stitching on fabric would achieve a better result.  However did try this technique on the packing tissue, see bottom of 5.2.6 sample board and it seemed to work better and could be of use for another rubbing.  The rest of the samples show a fanning out of a pleated shape and leaving some edges unglued to layer up paper. 
For 5.2.6 I pleated the tissue, perhaps I should do narrower pleating but in the stitching put the cotton through at different depths.  I also did a smocking stitch which had a better effect on the reverse than the front.  The front looked to 'stiff' but back gave a more hollowed effect, it was even better when I squashed it (thanks Meg for your tips on Facebook).Ref 5.2.6
a) 'right' side                                                                     b) 'wrong' side                                                        c) changing depth of stitch

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Texture in Landscape

The header for this Module is a landscape that I love, the North coast of Scotland, Melness Bay, Tongue in view of a wonderful mountain, Ben Hope.  What is so special is not only all the elements of the landscape sea, sky, sun, water, sand, stone and wood but the evidence of human endeavour and adventure.
What an incredible subject this Module offers for exploration, just where do you start?  Having been told to hone on a key area  I first wanted to consider the four fundamental elements AIR, WATER, EARTH and FIRE  to focus onto photos and research books that whetted my appetite.  I started with a look at the master of overview, Bernhard Edmaier.  His wonderful panoramic shots have always inspire me and his book, Patterns of the Earth, Phaidon is well thumbed. Earth, water and fire

For the 'air' photo I have choose a picture of Ben Hope with the clouds or 'wave bars' that I took on the day after the picture used  for the header to Module 5

Then setting out a story board I contemplated which element held the most attraction.  A large print was taken of each element as well a smaller photo which were colour intensified

Earth, top left, shows the strata detail from topsoil through stone, mud, sand and the detail of a tree root !
Fire, top right shows the burnt heather  pattern marks on hills
Air, bottom left, shows the potential of cloud study
Water, bottom right shows the pattern of the bottom as well as the ripples
Then added key ideas that came to mind for each element:

Ref Coral beach Skye, detail
Ref Coral beach, Skye
Having concluded that Earth had been formed by fire, air and water thought it appropriate. I had enjoyed my initial course with Distant Stitch where I had worked on a stone wall ...ideas from that are still occupying my imagination on the link between humans and place.  But  for now I wanted to explore the texture of soil, strata and stone. Now some 'starter' examples.  

Ref Ideas sheet

Ref Ring of Brodgar detail
Ref Ring of Brodgar Landscape
Some of the photos show location and detail, some just detail which in fact can be enlarged in further chapters to obtain more textural context for work. 
Ref Arbroath Abbey 
Ref Arbroath Abbey wall

As well as natural views I have also included photos of Ring of Brodgar, Broch of Gurness and Arbroath Abbey which are signs of humans being touched by the texture of the landscape and  making their own marks.  

 My own collection of stones picked up on walks:
Ref 5.1.a
Ref 5.1.b
Ref 5.1.c

Ref 5.1.e

Friday, 10 January 2014

New Header for Module 5

At the end of each module I post the picture that has been used. 
 This is the one from Module 4 - Loosely Lettering


Evaluation of
  • Storage and Health and Safety
  • Records Time
  • Records Spending
  • Books and references used
  • Authentication
STORAGE AND HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUES DISTANT STITCH Module 1, 2 , 3 and 4 ( new additions turquoise for Module 4)
As the course is taking place in my home the following three criteria have influenced the following decisions regarding storage and health and safety issues:
  • My own convenience and safety
  • The convenience and safety of my family, and friends who may visit
  • The well being of the environment in which I live – a remote rural location where we have a private water supply and septic tank.  I endeavour to recycle paper, fabrics  and am know for collecting ‘thrums’- waste threads in Scotland - from not only my own work but our monthly sewing groupies inevitable come armed with bags of their thrums for me. In trying to maintain a low carbon footprint car use is considered carefully and as craft suppliers are a sixty mile drive away I do use the internet! But again I try to look to my collection first before pressing the order button!
I maintain two work areas:
  • a wet area within the garage, where there is easy access to water
  • a dry area in an upstairs study where there is access to a computer/printer and sewing machine, threads, fabric, books and sketch pads/pencils. My ironing area is in another part of the house
As an excuse for my hoarding tendencies I need to have a variety of storage options.
 Wet Area
With grateful thanks to Mike who not only allowed me a space within ‘his domain’ the garage, but also built the bench and shelves and cut various boards and acrylic panes I have:
  • a bench,  150 x 70 x 70cms
  • stool
  • two shelves
A series of three plastic containers for paints/printing inks, fabric medium and stamp/mould making and adhesive materials allows easy, visible access.
Rollers are hung on wall, brushes are kept in containers and cutting tools are kept in original boxes.
A plastic sheet is used to cover work surface- particularly useful when Mike is having a wood working day or when I have a printing/painting day
Apron and shirt are hung for easy access
When cleaning paper making equipment ensure plug holes have a filter system over the top in order that stray pulp does not block sink.
To ensure there is no cross contamination of colours occurs when using containers that have dyed paper or fabric in them ensure that they are covered when not in use.
Dry Area
With great appreciation again to Mike for making me three mobile tables and a bookshelf I am able to expand and contract the area I take up relatively easily. 
Storage is in colour blocks as we use the area for living and like to keep it ‘attractive’:
  • A series of glass cookie jars hold my threads, for sewing; separate Kilner jars hold more varied weight threads; old glass sweetie jars hold fabrics.
  • A 4 ring binder sketch book to log my progress for upload onto blog with A5 rough note pads at my side for thoughts and ideas
  • A4  plastic display folders hold Distant Stitch module chapter notes and templates made and not included in sketch/log book
  • A3 plastic display folders hold papers and fabrics that have been printed for project
Ease of access on working samples
To ensure that materials for the project I am working on are easily accessible I have made and covered two cardboard trays:
·         one for threads being used on project
·         one for fabric that could be useful in the project
and specifically for Module 2 were lots of pieces of paper were used a plastic envelope for papers
·         a story board, serves as a billboard for each chapter . Key pieces are kept on it for reference and inspiration

     As I have progressed I have identified a need for flat storage of A3/2 pinboards on which I lay ideas flat and incorporate fabrics, threads and other items to 'play on' working through ideas as I go along....this is now work in progress for Mike!

    When starting work for the day read through work sheets of the current chapter, plus the following chapter to ensure you have all equipment and materials that will be needed close to hand, this not only saves time but allows you to follow thoughts that come to mind. It is worth considering what you will do if items are left over, e.g. dye – could other threads, fabrics or papers be used to add to your stock cupboard or use in later chapters of the Module.  I find it useful to have waste paper, fabric and threads to hand to experiment on before doing something with ‘treasured’ pieces.

The key concerns that have arisen when undertaking Module One include:
 Ensuring that I work in a space that is:
·         light, well aired
·         cables for any equipment are well concealed reducing any hazard when moving around the work area
·         all items to be used on the specific part of the project are close to hand
·         and, take regular breaks to help stop fatigue.

Dyes and colourings: 
My main colouring agents have been:
·         acrylic and water colour paints, pencils and inks.  Concerns on using an old set of inkjet printer refills made me research the product and Appendix A gives the advice that I followed.  As the containers had sharp ‘injection needles’ empty refills were disposed of at the local Doctors Surgery where they have a ‘sharps disposal’ facility.  Any other waste was disposed of away from the water system.  When using inks ensure that the tops are screwed on after each use in order to avoid spillage and contamination. Oil pastels need to be used with care as crumbs seem to migrate over any work surface- ensure a complete wipe down of all work space is undertaken if you want to avoid contamination!
·         Dylon fabric dye has been used.  The warning that it is an irritant are heeded and gloves are warn when working with the dye.  The fact that it can be an irritant to eyes, might cause an allergic reaction and one should not breathe in the dust  makes one vigilant while and after using the dye.  As the hints include the fact that the dye may run after several washes I only use this dye on items that will not be washed thereby ensuring no contaminated water gets into the water system.  When mixing this dye I only make sufficient quantity for immediate thereby reducing storage issues or waste disposal. In instances where too much has been made and I have insufficient material to dye contacted Dylon who have informed me that it can be disposed of in our land drains.
·         Bleach is toxic and should be used with great care.  It can not only damage clothes but make an impact on the environment.  When used to lift colour from dyed fabric I placed a small amount on a china plate to ensure no waste remained.  It is advised that your wear gloves when using bleach and work in a well ventilated space.  While I do have a face mask I was able to open doors so did not use it in this instance. A little bleach goes a long way so decant into small containers. When using bleach to take off colour be aware that it takes a few moments to lift off colour so move along and don’t over do it!
As I need to replace my stocks I have looked into more user friendly items.
 ·         When using brusho powders sprinkle sparingly at first and build up colour depth gradually.
·         Glue sticks, sellotape, double sided tapes and PVA  is easy to use and apart from ensuring it does not stick on work surfaces.  However, I have found that is best not to use PVA on typed paper and place in sketch book as it diffuses and turns some images green!!!
·         When working with papers I have used a spray temporary adhesive.  This is a highly flammable substance in a pressurised container and should be kept away from heat/flames or electrical equipment that are in operation.  It should be used in a well ventilated space and in short bursts without extended spraying.
 Cutting implements:
·         Scissors – the work has alerted me to the fact that my scissors are not particularly sharp!!  I have found a  person who will sharpen them so hopefully not only will my cutting be easier but also more accurate. 
·         Knives - The main concern centred on my craft knife which was used on flat, stable surfaces with a cutting board underneath the item.  The protective cover was replace as soon as any cutting had been completed
·         Olfa Rotary cutter should be kept with black click cover on, do this between each cut, do not place on fabric or table without cover on when not in uses to ensure that it does not have sharp edge protruding.  This can cause injury. When using to cut into fabrics or papers it should be only used on stable surface and one should push away from the body. When handing to other people ensure cover is on.
·         Seam ripper – While seemingly innocuous this little implement is sharp and when used for cutting channels one is exerting pressure and the cutting edge can slip off line so one should be sure that they are treated with respect.

Sewing implements:
·         Sewing implements and accessories, again simple things like pins and needles are stock and trade in sewing but in the wrong position they can cause discomfort and wounds.  To minimise risk of needles and pins dropping into carpets or chairs I always have a pin/needle cushion to hand and tend to ‘count them out and count them back’ i.e. I use glass topped pins and only have the needles I need to hand.
·         When working with beads maintain them in a lipped container with velvet to help position them and avoided spillage on the floor.
·         Selected the relevant sewing needle for the task to ensure that you do not strain fabric or your hand to pull it through the fabric.    Sewing machine – to ensure smooth running of machine, particularly when using frequently or running thick thread, it is important to ensure that spool area is cleared of dust.  
Tips for sewing:
     When sewing various layers or thickness of fabric loosing tension and using a slow speed seems to be good practice.  Ensure that needles are not blunt. 
 When different thickness of threads/cords are being used it is important to consider the use of different machine feet, e.g. cord or braid foot to ensure  easier and safer sewing takes place. The use of drinking straws on the thread, placed either side of the machine foot, also maintains more accurate positioning of the thread through to the needle. 
Hot Tools
·         Domestic irons, this is in a separate area and as well as using non stick baking parchment I have invested in an ironing sheet to protect my ironing board.
·         Test iron a small sample of fabric if you are not sure of its fibre content
·         If using steam be aware this can cause burns
·         Soldering irons, this is kept and worked with in the garage where a work surface and stand are available and I am close to a source of water.
 As I progress through the course I will add notes to this report that identify concerns and actions taken.

Time 151.5 hours were recorded for this module.  I was rather surprised as it felt like alot more!  I think it occupied my thoughts rather more than previous chapters and I posssibly forgot to record some days! A total of 33 weeks were taken and 72 days were worked giving an average time each day of just 2.10 hours.
Module 4 Supplier Cost Amount used Cost for module 4
A4 Sketchbook W H Smith 5.99 5.99
Beads/threads stock replacement cost 4.80
Fabric and dye stock replacement cost 6.30
Sub total stock for module 5.99 17.09
From previous purchases
Glue sticks 2.99 one third 1.00
Double sided tape 3.99 one third 1.33
Cartridge paper display kept
Printing inks Cartridge save 59.18 5% 3.00
Printing paper W H Smith quarter 1.25
Presentation folders A2 Amazon 9.97 one third 3.32
A3 Amazon 3.25 one third 1.08
Threads completed 4.20
Total Module 4 £28.07

A b c of lettering, Carl Holmes, Walter Foster, Art Books
 The Knock News Issue 66
 Cover to Cover,  Shereen La Plantz
 Creating Handmade books,  Alisa Golden, Sterling
 Altered Books, Holly Harrison, Rockport
 Alphabet Album, Jeanette Stone Crews, Leisure Arts
 The Book of Kells, described by Sir Edward Sullivan, Studio Editions
 Celtic Inspiration for Machine Embroiderers, Valerie Campbell Harding & Maggie Grey, Batsford
 The Encyclopaedia of Papercraft techniques, Paul Jackson, Headline
 Step by Step Encyclopaedia Needlecraft, Judy Brittain, Ebury Press

Love and Devotion – From Persia and Beyond Bodleian Library, Oxford

Research Artists