Friday, 26 February 2010

Wallhanging tutorial

On Thursday in class we had tutorials on our wallhangings with our tutor, Dawn Thorne. I confess to feeling disappointed, as I had felt inspired and thought I knew what I wanted to do with the wall hanging. Having been inspired by Angie Hughes, I then came across some exciting gesso techniques in Maggie Grey's Textile Translations-Mixed Media. I was eager to try some of these, but on talking it through with Dawn, she feels that I am not doing enough embroidery and stitched textiles (which is, after all in the title of the course) She, quite rightly, feels that I am going too much in the mixed media direction. I know that I have a tendency to this, and want to throw on paint, see what happens, then put in some stitch. However for the purposes of the course I have to be more disciplined in stitch and textiles techniques. I was looking forward to playing around with gesso and paper, but sadly, Dawn says I can't use paper at the moment and must try fabrics. So I will have to think about this and hope to start sampling in a more suitable way soon.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Gesso samples on fabric and paper

I worked some samples for my wallhanging. I was inspired by Angie Hughes book, Stitch, Cloth, Paper and Paint to use gesso with fabric and paper.

I played around with gesso, painting it onto fabric

Painted directly onto waffle calico

Painted onto a knitted sample and wool
Painted over scrim on calico
Painted on top of tissue paper on calico

Painted over masking tape, string and cotton threads

I used piped calico and painted over it with gesso. I would like to try this over machined running stitch

I used handmade papers (from a selection by Artvango) and painted them with gesso

River Thames

I really enjoy living so near the river. These photos are taken from Caversham Bridge. The scene behind is busy traffic, but the river is so tranquil, although there is always something new to watch and to photograph.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Wallhanging. Am I making any progress with the design?

I do enjoy the design process, but having found a source photo I like and having had some ideas for a wallhanging , I am now letting my ideas simmer. Does this mean I have artist's block? The ideas are simmering away, and I am not sure when they will be ready.

This is what I have done: I decided to go with the idea of cutting up strips of the photo,as in my sketch book. I played around with making a rough, using some white sheeting as background. Then I cut strips from newspaper and scaled them up from mm to cm (something my non-mathematical mind is capable of doing!) The strips were then painted with gesso and acrylic. I wanted to try and get the feeling of the colours and textures of the original so that the wallhanging will be derived from the concept of "coast".

I hung the strips up on the wall* of my studio** so I could consider them.

* the side of the fridge
**the kitchen

I don't know if this will work, and I don't know how I can translate it to stitch, which is why I am letting my ideas work themselves out.

To get the ideas flowing I have been doing some background reading.

Books I am looking at this week:-

Stitch, Cloth, Paper & Paint by Angie Hughes

(Exciting techniques using gesso and acrylic painted over machine stitch, involving tissue paper and scrim)

Hot Textiles by Kim Thittichai

(More exciting techniques, involving heat tools)

Experimental Textiles by Kim Thittichai

(Thought-provoking ideas about starting a piece and the design process, plus wonderful photos of textile artists' work)

Contemporary Quilts by Sandra Meech

( I really like Sandra's work, particularly her use of photos within her quilts)

Paintings by Michael Honnor

(Wonderful, inspiring coastal paintings in mixed media)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Enclosed panel

Whilst starting the designs for the wall hanging, I have completed my enclosed panel.
The title is "Cherry Orchard" . It tells the story of the Maharajah's well and Cherry Orchard which is in a village called Stoke Row in Oxfordshire.

It is the story of a friendship between two wealthy men who used their wealth to benefit others. It tells of a time when England and India were linked by the British Empire, in a way which we may find difficult to understand today. The well and orchard were a present to the village from the Maharajah of Benares in 1863, as at that time there was very little water available above ground in the area.

The cherry orchard was to enable the villagers to earn money from the fruit. The gift echoed that by his friend, Edward Anderton Reid, a gentleman from Stoke Row, who gave a well and mango grove to a village in India. Nowadays the well remains in all its Indian splendour, inconguous in the English countryside where it is set, but the cherry orchard, which is common land, is now more like a field.

Winter Walk

I took my dog and my camera for a very confusing winter walk, where the weather changed every few minutes-blue skies, rain clouds, snow clouds, rain, snow, sun shine . It was consistently cold though! Lots of lovely textures!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Progression of design for wallhanging

This is my source photo

I made a collage with fabric and paper, roughly echoing the textures and colours in the photo

I made a rough pastel sketch showing textures and colours used in the photo

I divided a seascape photo into squares and rearranged them as collage , rotating each one before placing it on the paper. I repeated the exercise with tiny squares from the source photo using a photocopy

Then I tried experimenting with strips from the source photo

First just dividing up the picture. Then trying it in 3 larger sections

Then turning the strips vertically and mixing them
up, also turning some of them

In the last design I took one of the tiny squares and drew lines out from it, using the original colours

Now I have to focus and stop playing around too much with the design. As soon as I decide where I am going with this, and which design to use, I can get on and make the working rough which I need to have ready for Thursday's class. Maybe if I put the sketchbook to one side and work on something else inspiration will strike from my subconscious!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Photos and description of design wall hanging

In class on a Thursday

I took a black and white photocopy from a coloured photo of a rose. This was stuck onto a large piece of paper and put up on the wall. Then I took the lines of the flower and extended them to the edges of the paper, using charcoal.

The second photocopy was of an enlarged flower petal I had drawn in mixed media,with lots of colours. The textures stood out in black and white. I divided it into sections, using the lines of the curves present in the flower. These were then stuck onto the board and I drew lines from them, using charcoal and graphite and linking them together.

The third exercise was to take 3 photocopies of random subjects. These were torn in a curved shape, which echoed the lines of a window in one of the pictures. Then they were placed onto a large piece of paper.

The final exercise was to add colour .

Monday, 1 February 2010

Design work for Wallhanging

I am a student at East Berkshire College, Windsor. This is the second year of my course, which is 7922 City and Guilds Embroidery and Stitched Textiles Level 3, to give it its full title. Every Thursday a group of students gather together at Windsor for another week of demonstrations, learning new techniques, experimenting with colours, textures, fabrics, materials and stitch, and cramming our brains to bursting point. The day goes so fast and we cover so much ground that I wanted to share it with you.

This term I have just started design work on my wallhanging. The first week the classwork involved working on a large scale,designing on paper hung on the walls to get the full scale effect. The panels are to be at least 1metre on one side, which seems awfully big to me, as I have previously worked on smaller projects. As the whole point of the course (well to me,anyway) seems to be to push yourself out of your comfort zone, I will regard this as a new challenge!

Last week the design work involved playing with scraps of fabric and paper to assess colour combinations and composition. I am considering the concept of "coast" for my hanging. I have been collecting source photos and magasine pictures, but have no real idea where it is going at this stage