Sunday, 10 November 2013

Module 3 Chapter 2 (Page 27)

Module 3 Chapter 2

Sample 1
Cut edges - straight
I looked through the collection of images I made for chapter 1 and liked this image of a dragonfly (below). I copied the triangle pattern on the body to use as a basis for my design.

I made a stamp of the same shape and printed a crinkled piece of blue silk with gold fabric paint, using a random print effect.

I then cut out the same shape in a light blue silk and placed these in a design over the top of the printed background. I sewed around the edge of each shape in straight stitch, using a lime green thread. I managed to sew two rows of stitches quite close together, but could perhaps have sewn closer to the edge of each shape. I liked the colour combination that I used, and also the way the printed shape echoed that of the appliqued light blue shapes. Perhaps if I had outlined some of the printed gold shapes in the background, this would have added more 'depth' to the finished sample.

Sample 2
For this sample, I found this picture of a Chinese kite and used the shape of the tail as a basis for my design. This time I cut out five different sized shapes in space-dyed felt.

I used a maroon piece of silk as the background fabric and decorated this with automatic stitching in light green, orange and pink. For the orange and green stitching I used a 'leaf' shaped stitch and the pink stitching I decided on a more triangular shaped  automatic stitch to provide contrast. I placed the felt pieces so that they seemed to 'point' towards the centre of the fabric and then used a narrow satin stitch to secure these to the background, keeping the 'foot on'. The corners were quite tricky to sew - I tried going over the stitching twice and this seemed to cover any untidy stitches from the first attempt at sewing around the shape. I tried sewing from the centre of each side to the next corner and this seemed to make life easier!

I liked the colour combination of this sample, especially how the lime green lifts the other colours and also how the stitching picks up the colours in the space dyed felt.

Sample 3
Curved edges - for the next sample, I chose this picture of a butterfly Chinese kite design, as it contained some interesting shapes with curved lines. I used the shape at the bottom of the kite tails as a basis for this sample.

For the background, I covered a black piece of felt with Angelica fibres in gold, silver, metallic blue and pink and fused these together. I cut out five pieces of blue silk in my chosen shape and placed these over the background, overlapping two of them as this created an interesting effect and allowed the background to be seen too. I then sewed around the edges of the shapes using straight stitch, but 'foot up', in order to make it easier to sew around the curved edges. I used a gold thread, to pick up the metallic fibres of the background.

I quite liked the final design, but I feel as if something is missing from it. I'm not sure if I should have chosen a patterned fabric for the shapes, but maybe this would have been too 'busy' against the background?

Sample 4
For sample 4, I went back to the Chinese kite that I also used for sample 2, but this time used the curved fin shapes of the goldfish as the shape in my design.

I cut out five fin shapes in different sizes in a blue/green and purple spaced dyed felt. I used denim as the background fabric and decorated this with metallic fabric paint that had first been painted onto fusible webbing and then bonded to the denim. I placed the fin shapes in a design that looked a little like a flower separated into its petals, starting with the largest at the top and becoming smaller in a clockwise direction. I used a narrow satin stitch to secure these to the background in metallic purple thread. I left the foot up so that I could manipulate the needle around the curved edges of the shape and sewed around each one twice in order to create a neat stitched effect.

I liked the final sample as I felt the arrangement of the shapes worked well and that the colours worked well with each other. I also felt that I had arranged the fabric painted pieces more effectively over the background than my previous attempt in chapter 1.

Sample 5
Torn and frayed edges with fabric
I prepared a background on black felt by printing the shape I used for sample 1, in metallic green fabric paint, in a random pattern. I then fused strips of sheer fabrics over the top of this, using black 'Mistyfuse'. Over this base, I sewed strips of torn silk in orange and a deep warm red, using an automatic stitch pattern with a triangular shape in overlapping rows. Once this was complete, I used a heat gun to melt away areas of the sheer fabrics to reveal parts of the printed background.

It was interesting to combine different techniques I had learnt to create the background and I felt this was quite successful because I tried to link the colours of each different layer together. The different layers also add depth to the finished sample. This would be interesting to use as the edges to feathers or wings, as the frayed edges have the same fragile quality.

Sample 6

Torn and frayed edges with paper
I created the background for this sample by printing onto a textured green paper, using the dragonfly print shape used in earlier samples, but this time creating a 'shadow' effect by printing gold over a dark navy. I then tore strips of dark navy paper and a cream Japanese printed paper. I placed these over the green  background with the cream paper layered over the navy one and secured these by using a triangular automatic stitch. I used navy and gold thread and layered the stitches over each other.

I felt that this sample was very effective because lots of the elements linked together. E.g. the shadow prints were echoed by layering the papers over each other and then the stitching. The colours of the printed shapes, the papers and the stitching were also similar and this created a feeling of unity in the design.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Module 3 Chapter 1 (Page 26)

Module 3 Chapter 1 - Flight of Fancy

Design sources
I spent some time thinking about objects that can fly, e.g. birds, some insects, butterflies, planes, kites etc. and decided to collect images of Chinese kites, which quite often are representations of butterflies, birds, dragons and dragonflies. I collected images of these and also made drawings and sketches of the ones I liked or found most interesting.

Chinese butterfly kites

This drawing was made with pencil and then coloured in felt tip as I wanted to use quite bold colours. The proportions of the top set of wings are not quite accurate.

This drawing was more successful and I also made close-up drawings of parts of the patterns on the wings that I liked. Again the colouring was completed in felt tip. I like the detail on this kite and there is potential to develop some parts into future designs.

Pencil sketches of some of the line detail on this butterfly kite.

Some bird kites...

I sketched part of the wing on the second bird kite as I liked the detail and colours of the original. I like this drawing as I think I have captured the proportions and also the colours. I used pencil here as the colours needed were quite subtle and some darker shading was needed in places.

Imaginary birds
Another theme that I thought fitted the flights of fancy theme was imaginary birds, e.g the phoenix.
I discovered a multitude of images and have uploaded a few of my favourite ones.

I particularly liked these pictures of birds by the artist Sarah Utter (above).

Chapter 1 Sample 1
Creating backgrounds
I chose this image of a butterfly from my collection of source materials, as I liked the colour combinations used.

I tried to match the colours I could see, using Caran D'ache water soluble pencils. When looking closely, I could see a large range of colours that weren't obvious at a first glance.

I then made a design of some of the colours I could see - I used a darker blue, red, purple and yellow.

Once I had finished my design, I went over the colours with a wet brush, letting some of the colours blend together.

I tried to recreate the pattern I had designed using transfer paints on satin. This was reasonably successful, although the blue was lighter than I expected and the purple came out darker! 

I sewed over the background using a zigzag stitch, in similar colours to the transfer paints. Where the colours blended together, I let the rows of stitching overlap each other. I also let some patches of the background fabric show through the stitching as I like the contrast in texture this created. I preferred the stitched sample to the painted one, as I could choose a deeper blue to brighten up the pale blue of the transfer paint. Overall, I thought that I managed to create a good balance between the lighter and darker colours. This type of background has potential to be stitched over and embellished even more if used in a future project.

More stitched backgrounds

Sample 2

I chose one of the Chinese butterfly kites from my collection of pictures as inspiration for this design. I went back to my sketches and liked the shape of the pattern below from my drawings and thought that it would make an interesting stitch design for a background.

I adapted the design to make a shape that kept the original teardrop shape, but had smoother edges.
I then used gold thread to make the outline of the stitched pattern, cable stitch in an orange/gold 12wt thread inside the design, and then a light green and red to fill in the centre of the pattern. I filled in the space between the gold outline and orange cable stitch with granite stitch in gold thread.

I stitched over a space dyed felt background in purples and pinks, and left this showing between the stitched pattern. The stitching was quite dense and created an almost 'quilted' effect against the background.

I liked the final sample, as the shape worked well as a design and I liked the colours that I chose against the purple/pink background. The light green provided a lift against the other colours that I used.  I found the cable stitch quite difficult to control, as some of the orange thread looped whilst I was sewing. Maybe I need more practice at selecting the correct tension for this stitch & thread?

Close up

Automatic stitch patterns on velvet

For the following samples I used a piece of silk velvet that I had previously dyed in red and yellow.

Sample 3

This was an automatic stitch pattern that created an 'x' shape on the velvet. I used a variegated thread, that created and interesting effect against the space dyed fabric. I placed the rows of stitching at different widths from each other, but I could have also tried overlapping them for a more textured effect.

Sample 4

vermicelli automatic stitch pattern

This stood out quite clearly from the velvet background as it was quite a dense stitch pattern. I like how the effect of the stitch appears to change as the colour of the background changes.

Sample 5 
Tulip stitch

This had a tendency to disappear into the pile of the velvet and it is quite difficult to detect the tulip flower. However, this might useful to use, depending on the effect I am trying to create.

Sample 6
scalloped stitch

I thought that this stitch pattern had quite a lot of potential for future use as it combined both the density needed to be visible and also the flexibility to create space or overlapping of stitching, depending upon how it was used.

Fabric Backgrounds

Layers of sheers - Sample 7

I layered strips of purple, green, gold and bronze sheers against a cream calico background. I then burnt away some of the fabric, using a heat gun.
I liked the effect of the fabric curling up from the heat and also the darker patches where it had started to singe. It gave the background a worn and aged effect, which could be stitched over as part of a background in later work.
I could have let the fabric burn away more, but didn't want big patches of the calico to show through - perhaps I could have burnt away more if I had used a darker background fabric?

Snippets of Sheers - Sample 8

For this sample, I used snippets of red, green, orange, purple and bronze sheer fabric, between light purple and green outer layers.  I twisted the sheer fabric before snipping, so that I created curly and spiral snippets, which created interesting patterns when fixed between the two outer layers.

(Purple side)

This was a very interesting sample to create, as the snippets appeared to change colour depending on which side of the fabric they are viewed from. The dark green snippets look as thought they are dark purple or brown when viewed from the 'green' side of the sample.
If this kind of sample was stitched and then manipulated as a 3D structure, some very interesting effects could be created by the translucent fabrics.

(Green side)

Snippets of black fabric - Sample 9

For this sample I gathered black fabrics such as velvet, silk, cotton and satin, which I then cut unto small snippets, overlapping each other on a black felt background. I stitched a grid pattern over the snippets to secure them in place. The resulting sample showed that there are many different shades of black, even though it is a colour that we usually think of there being only one shade of! This sample was quite difficult to photograph, as some of the snippets look grey, even though they are black 'in the flesh'! The different textures of the fabrics used created the interest here - this would be useful to try in different shades of other colours, perhaps blues or golds?

Angelina fibres - Sample 10

This was my first experiment with Angelina fibres - I had heard of them and seen them in bags in shops but had never really understood how they were used.
I bonded these to a black felt background and liked the combination of colours that I had chosen, but I think that I probably made a beginners' mistake of not realising that a little goes a long way - I have created quite a dense 'cloud' of colour! I did think that this kind of background held a lot of potential for stitching over and working into textile designs. Also, it was fun to guess how the final result would turn out and then see if I was right!

Painted fusible webbing - Sample 11

I painted the fusible webbing with a mixture of pink, blue and gold fabric paint. I then transferred strips of the painted webbing onto a dusky pink silk fabric background. I stitched over this in lines of dark pink, blue and gold metallic thread. I felt that the stitching blended well with the fabric colour and painted background, but didn't really like the finished sample as the painted fusible webbing stood out too much from the background. perhaps the painted I used were too bright compared with the dark pink, or more stitching/ embellishment would be needed to make the different elements used  be more cohesive?

Printed and stitched background - Sample 12

For this sample, I went back to some of the pictures of birds by the artist Sarah Utter, that I had collected as design sources. I particularly liked the shapes of the wings and outlines of the birds on these prints.

I made a sketch of the wing shape and thought that this would make a good basis for a printing block design, as it had an interesting shape. I liked the mix of curved and straight lines and also the lined effect in the middle.

I made the printing block design quite 'chunky' out of foam and mounted it onto thick card.

I printed over a cream felt background, deciding on a randomly printed effect. I used metallic fabric paint in a dark green and pink. I then embellished the printed shapes with variegated thread. I used a variegated green around the green printed shapes - sewing around the straight edges and inside the printed shape. I used a variegated purple thread around the pink printed shapes, sewing around the curved edges and half of the inside edges.

I liked this sample most out of all the samples for this chapter, as I thought there was a good balance between the printed areas and the background. I also thought that the stitching enhanced the printed shapes and that there was an effective balance and contrast in colour.

Close up of the completed design

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Module 2 Chapter 10 (page 25)

Module 2 Chapter 10
Create a 3D Structure using line, texture and free embroidery techniques
This page shows the template that I used for the paper mock up. Paper was too stiff to fold and manipulate into the rounded shape that I wanted, so I decided to used copper mesh.

The Process...

 Inside of pod before shaping - copper side up,

Outside of pod before shaping, showing green chiffon surface and vermicelli cable stitching

Single pod shape, after copper coils had been sewn in and the pod manipulated into the desired shape.

I liked the colour combinations and stitching, but the pod looks a little 'lost' and small. I decided to make a larger pod to cover the ouside of this pod, to create more layers and a more rounded shape.

Pictures of finished pod

View from bottom

I made a bigger pod to cover the smaller, inner pod, which resulted in a more rounded shape.

View from side

I preferred the bigger pod, with the layered effect that the outer shell gave. I also manipulated and curled the outer pod to show the inside stitching.

View from front, showing copper coils

Alternate views

 These pictures show the shape and layers of the larger pod shape.
Plan and Evaluations
Plan - Use smooth and ridged textures. Smooth for the pod surface and ridged for the stitch decoration on the outside of the pod sides.
Evaluation - I liked the contrast between the smooth surface of the pod on the outside (achieved through covering the wire mesh with chiffon) and the ridged 'veiny' quality of the vermicelli cable stitch.
Plan - use copper mesh as a base for the structure as this will be strong and flexible enough to manipulate into different shapes. Cover one side of the copper in chiffon in order to create a smoother surface on one side and to provide a contrast in colour.
Evaluation - The copper was strong and flexible enough to manipulate into different shapes and could also be stitched to hold the form together. There was a limit to how far I could manipulate the copper though, due to the amount of bulk created at its base. The chiffon was easy to handle and provided the contrast I was looking for.
Plan - I wanted to heat the copper to create a more tarnished effect and deeper copper colour. I decided to use green as an outer layer, so that it was more obvious that this was a pod and not a flower. I decided to use black/copper thread (Wonderfil wt 12 'Sizzle thread) for the ridged veins as this would work well with the green and copper colour combination. I planned to use gold thread on the copper coils as a lighter highlight for the finished design.
Evaluation - I thought that the colour combinations were effective in achieving the result that I was looking for, especially as the choice of black gave the pod quite a 'prehistoric' feel. The colour choices were also a departure from my usual choice of purples and pinks! I thought that the gold worked well as a highlight and 'lifted' the final design.
Plan - I planned to use vermicelli stitch as a cable stitch for the outer surface of the pod, as this would look like wiggly veins running over its surface. I used a 12wt thread to create the cable stitch on the outside and a plain black thread in the top thread for the inside of the pod. I used free motion stitching in straight lines to run up and down the length of the copper coils. I didn't plan to use any other types of stitching as I didn't want to overload the design with too many different ideas.
Evaluation - I really liked the effect of the vermicelli stitch as it achieved the effect that I had planned for. I think that I would use an automatic patterned stitch on the coils if I were to create this again, to provide a little more contrast to the pod stitching.
Order of Work
Draw around the paper pod shape onto copper mesh and cut the shapes out.
Heat the copper and allow to cool.
Cover one side of the copper mesh with chiffon.
Stitch the vermicelli stitch onto the copper mesh and chiffon (copper side up).
Cut around the stitched pod shape.
Cut a rectangle of copper mesh and heat.
Stitch lines of gold thread up and down the length of copper.
Cut into thin strips around the stitching.
Coil copper strips around a skewer.
Sew inside the pod shape.
Finally, curl and shape the pod into the desired shape. Stitch sides together where necessary so that the pod holds its shape.
Once I had made the first pod, I decided that it looked a little lost and small, so I made a second, larger pod shape to create a second, more rounded shape.  I think that this was much more effective as it created extra 'secretive' layers to peer into to see where the copper coils had sprouted from (see pictures above of the process).

I learnt lots from this module, although it took me longer to complete than I had planned for (life and job changes!). I have become more adventurous with my colour schemes, and am more aware of the need for contrast in my designs through texture and line. I have also learned how to use lots of different stitching, which I had previously been unsure how to execute, but now feel alot more confident to attempt and experiment with!

Checklist for Module 2

Authentication photos - resolved sample from Chapter 5

No cats around this time!