Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Textural contrasts

Letting ones fingers judge the quality of the pieces gives a certain novelty... having been felt it seems to  release the imagination to 'see' the texture and contrast.

Ref 5.7.1
Labelling the grid pattern, made on a backcloth of calico, the items are set out to achieve a contrast in texture, colour tone, height, shape and profile.
A 1 Cream sateen cotton cloth with a sheen that gives a smooth feel. Textures of undulating tucks that form grooves and shadowing
A 2 Soft white cotton  cut on the biased, rolled and frayed to give a light initial touch that has a firmer core of gathered fabric. The folds reveal light and shade in the swirls. 
A 3 Tubes of plastic and wood captured in a coloured, firm cotton which has a fleece wadding.  Initially machined stitched the tubes are held in place under alternate sides of the fleece by perle cotton thread.  White emulsion was used to dull the colour back.
A 4 Soft white cotton and linen thread knitted into a tube rope with alternate plain and purl surface wound into a spiral that encourages rubbing and dipping.
B 1 A springy nylon knitted fabric under a coarse nylon net that has been randomly caught with thread gives a rough surface that lifts from the surface.
B 2 An open weave cotton is frayed and then two circles, that are hand stitched, are gathered and stuffed to show the soft rounded quality of the base thread
B 3 A  double layer of light, coarse calico which has been machine stitched and trapunto filled in two triangles. Sting attached with zig zag stitch to contrast the smooth quality of the padding.
B 4 Extended elasticated nylon lace machine stitch mounted on folded cotton muslin and then allowed to contract leaving a softly ridged surface.
C1 Smooth cotton poplin that has been hand gathered to prepare a surface which could be used for textural stitching for display/ornamentation.
C 2 Sateen cotton that has been pleated and then snipped with loops folded in different directions to provide a sculptural fabric which emphasises light and shade rather than the flat non reflective fleece in C 3.
C3 Snipped knitted fleece fabric attached to folded cotton muslin to form a circle that can be manipulated into different shapes.
C4 pleated acrylic felt that is folded and caught with thread. Assorted fabric remnants placed in fold to add sharp interest to shadows in folds.
D 1 Four grades of rough linen and jute canvas stitched and decorated with rolled selvedge
D 2 Tyvek and nylon lace pleated onto metal skewer and gently melted over candle to produce a bond that gives a structured but flexible surface that is also flexible
D 3 Stiffened even weave linen that has had threads pulled but not withdrawn to a grid pattern that results in crumpled, bulbous shapes in centre
D 4 gathered nylon patterned lace placed over silk tops that sits on nylon fabric.

The sample 'checkerboard' has shown a quick way of testing out ideas for the placement of sections in a finished piece. While I'm not sure that 16 different techniques will be used  this technique helps to establish how the surfaces work together. The following photos  help to hone in on smaller sections.

More detail of A and B                                      More detail of C and D

 These photos have been re taken to try and improve on the images in close up

Friday, 7 March 2014

Tucks, pleats and gathers

Ref 5.7.1

Time to explore tucks and folds which has an analogy in the making of the earth surface but first to explore techniques and possibilities in fabric.  
For the first sample in tucks I used an off cut from my quilting sample from the previous chapter, using it to experiment with manipulating the stitched lines.  Cutting open the layers of muslin and calico cotton that had been stitched over a polyester fleece and restitching and fraying the fabric to make a tucked sample seen on left. 

Ref 5.7.2a

Ref 5.7.2 b

For the next sample I chose a cotton poplin fabric to hand knot with a perle thread.  Pinching the fabric together and then tying the ridges together meant that you could vary the height and direction of the tuck.  The reverse of the piece gave a ditch or crevasse effect.  I was becoming increasingly interested in the back of my samples as they seemed to offer a more relaxed and often more effective appearance.

Ref 5.7.3

The next series of tucks saw me using different fabrics and methods to change direction of the original tuck. In 5.7.3 a sateen cotton was machine tucked and then alternate lines of stitching were used to change the direction of the tucks.  The effect of this was to not only to add textural interest but the shadows added drama.  The crispness of this fabric seems to add to this impact, later samples will show a less dramatic effect
Ref 5.7.5
Ref 5.7.4
Tucks in sample 5.7.4 use the same sateen finished cotton fabric but in the sample the directions of the tucks have been alternated in the top line by clipping and turning back  and stitching some of the loops.  In the lower tucks indents have been cut which could house addition interesting threads or loops for hinge type attachments.  More clipping in sample 5.7.5 but this time a polyester knitted fleece has been clipped and then attached to a pleat of cotton muslin.  The cotton pleat acts as a 'spine' that can be twisted holding the piece in place and opening up the slits.

Ref 5.7.6a
Ref 5.7.6b

A more structured way of moulding the fabric can be seen in the back and front of sample 5.7.6.  Machine stitched darts are used on this already relatively 'stiff' cotton sateen  to produce a free standing shape.  The piece could be worked with hand stitching to emphasis the indents thereby producing more textural visual interest and handle 

Ref 5.7.7a
Ref 5.7.7b

The next set of tucks as seen in 5.7.7a were machine stitched on white cotton muslin and then pressed to one side. The piece was then stitched into pleats that were made on the vertical plane in random directions. Photos below show the back and front and will leave it to you to decide which is which.  The fact that the fabric has a transparency makes this an interesting choice.

Ref 5.7.7c
Ref 5.7.8b
Ref 5.7.8a
For the next series the pleats were cut into triangular sections that were then joined and machined stitch in alternative directions.  I rather liked the selvedge version as it shows more movement and the threaded edges soften the lines of the sections.  While 5.7.8a is more dramatic in tonal contrast and clean lines the other offers a more diffused version.

Ref 5.7.9
 Exploring the frayed edges of lines 5.7.9 shows how a diagonally cut stripe of white cotton muslin is used to give an interesting lined surface to a piece of fabric by a tight machine stitch on the diagonal.  While neither a tuck or a gather in this picture the machine line could be pulled tighter to give a more gathered, rippled surface to the piece. 

Ref 5.7.10a
Ref 5.7.10b
Taking the idea a little further in the 'fake' tuck samples 5.7.10a shows how a series of silk sari ribbons sewn on a calico background can give a subtle colour effect as well as a textured finish by not ironing the ribbons but celebrating the creases.5.7.10b plays on silk sari ribbons on silk pleats with are woven into a square.

Ref 5.7.11
But now back to base and exploring gathers: 5.7.11 a large square 'ballon' of cotton muslin was made with the outer edge hand stitched and gathered.  This was then attached to a square of cotton calico with a hem stitch.  The top square was then manipulated to fall in clusters of gathers which were then hand stitched into the base. The gathers could be filled with more pronounced stitching or possible attachment of beads or shapes to embellish the piece.

Ref 5.7.12
Ref 5.7.13

A more regular gathering was given to the following two samples. Following the guidelines for creating a smocking surface sample 5.7.12 shows a cotton organza was machine stitched in even rows of a long running stitch which were then pulled into a tight column. This sample contrasts with the hand stitched cotton poplin sample of 5.7.13 which shows a more regular series of columns.  The hand stitch was easier to work in stitches that lay directly beneath each other than the more random appearance of the machine stitched sample which had more of a ruched appearance.  This could be emphasised or evened out by working hand stitches over the ridges but I rather liked the idea of pulling some of the ridges apart to give a more sculptured appearance.

Ref 5.7.14 a
Ref 5.7.14b

For 5.7.14 pleated some heavier weight cotton calico which was then cut and reversed. Enjoyed the little pockets that the pleats made which are best seen on the reverse. Decided to play so did a bit of stuffing and pulling apart and staked piece onto a diagonal!   

Ref 5.7.15a
Ref 5.7.15b

Reverted to a lighter weight cotton calico decided to pleat on the diagonal for sample 5.7.15a. On reflection while writing this blog think it would have been better to have worked on a larger piece of fabric and done more random lines that cross at different intersections and angles.  Again the reverse seems to be the more inspirational side... the key seems to be no peeping, allow it to happen!

Ref 5.7.15
The last series of samples are worked in heavier weight and more open and even weave fabrics. For 5.7.16 I have pulled threads in both directions and used this to shape the different fabrics. On the bottom sample you will see that the open weave clearly shows the lines where the threads were pulled.  While this sample was difficult to pull it allows the shapes to be concave or convex... a finger can easily alter this! The shapes could be stuffed to keep the shape but it was a bit like plastic bubble wrap I rather liked fingering them to change shapes! Didn't have the satisfying noise though...The top sample was a lighter weight but also even weave.  Machine stitches were worked as a grid and then each direction was pulled to give a cluster of shapes. While the shapes were pleasing the feature that added to the piece were all the pulled machine threads. So a key point to note, don't tidy up the piece let it rest before the next step or any trimming.

Ref 5.7.16
Ref 5.7.16
As a complete change this canvas took its shape with no stitching.  I loved the way it held the finger pressed pleat and then allowed me to curve it. What was a very stiff structured fabric was surprisingly malleable.  I need to experiment with this in the stitching chapter to see if it is better to stitch this once it is shaped. Maybe you could lay a lighter stitched fabric over it, could net be the answer? 

Ref 5.7.17

The next  sample 5.7.17 uses a loose weave hessian fabric and a bit of tongue in cheek.  The curved wire used is in fact from a bra that was so uncomfortable it got cut up?  The oblong piece of hessian did slide onto the stiff wire easily but the wires fixed shape resulted in  a pucker in the fabric. 
Ref 5.7.18 ridge
Ref 5.7.18 seam
Using the hessian again the sample shows paper thread that was hand stitched, no needle, into the weave as a simple running stitch with an additional run of stitches used to make a tuck.  Gently pulling the thread brings the piece into a 3D ridge or seam.

Ref 5.7.19 original
Ref 5.7.19 solarise
For the last piece I decided to see how to manipulate one sample into four images so here goes.  Following on from sample 15 in this chapter there was some open weave fabric left that had withdrew threads.  Taking a black wired paper thread sample 5.7.19 appeared.  The adventure then began with a solarised image, then a whirl then a whirl and added coloured embossing!

Ref 5.7.19 whirl

Ref  5.7.19 whirl and colour emboss