For this assignment I started by looking back through my sketchbooks, I really liked the pieces I’d done using strong bold colours and fairly simple lines. I also noticed that although my theme book covers a general theme of ‘people’, a lot of the sketches are just portraits of faces. I especially enjoyed creating sketches or paintitngs of faces with lots of expression on them, like the monotone screaming faces.
The Work of The Textile Artist
I feel that textile artists and designers/craft-people approach a piece with a different outcome in mind. For example, when making a quilt to go on a bed, historically the quilt would’ve been a functional piece to keep people warm. The craftsperson would’ve used whatever materials were available to them, finding pieces of fabric and holding them together in layers for extra warmth. To prolong the life of these early pre-industrial fabrics which were very labour intensive to produce, they would’ve been patched and repaired, hence creating a more decorative patchwork quilt. The main function of the piece though would’ve still been to keep people warm. Even after people started designing simple geometric decorative patterns for the quilts, and using them to make their surrounding more beautiful or show off their wealth, the people making them never considered themselves to be artists and the items they made were still functional. Read the rest of this entry
I believe that craft-produced (or hand-crafted) textiles still maintain a place in modern society as they are a way for people to express themselves, their thoughts, feelings, emotions and sense of individuality. I know from personal experience the feeling of accomplishment when finishing a project, and even greater joy if other people praise it. If it happens to be something like a dress, then I can walk out proudly knowing that no one else has the exact same one, and that my choices in fabric and construction techniques say a lot about who I am, what I like and how skilled I am at making something. Even a simple drawing gives you the freedom to express how you’re feeling inside, so every piece produced by a crafts person has a story to go with it, something a mass produced item doesn’t. Read the rest of this entry
For this exercise I had to use a black background and two primary colours – I picked red and blue to work with. I tried mixing the colours together in two different ways, using small crosses and french knots. The crosses blend together when viewed from a distance, whereas the french knots are still very separate looking. I think the amount of background fabric showing through has a big effect here, with the french knots not much of the fabric is visible so theres a clear contrast between colours, but with the crosses a lot of black can be seen, which I think dulls the effects of the colours on each other. Also, the crosses don’t directly touch, just sit near each other, whereas the knots are pressed up against each other. Read the rest of this entry
To start off this stage I tried sewing with chunky threads and strips of material on some hessian. I then tried making my own threads, first up was the fabric twine, made following this tutorial, I have to say this was totally addictive – I could make metres and metres of this stuff! Next up I stretched out some thin strips of jersey fabric to make a thick thread. Both these handmade threads have very different textures, the fabric twine is quite rough and firm, whereas the jersey strips are soft and stretchy. Read the rest of this entry
To start creating stitches with texture, I first got out my sewing machine, free motion foot and embroidery hoop. Read the rest of this entry
For my sample I was inspired by a photo of some bubble wrap I took, which I then played around with in photoshop. The orginal bubble wrap was all dirty and muddy from spending winter out in the garden and nothing like the clean, shiny, white colour it was when it was new. I wanted this to influence the colours and fabrics I used so it would feel earthy, weathered and natural, not man-made and perfect like it was to begin with. I started by taking a piece of cream calico, crumpling it up and dabbing it with poster and fabric paints, I did this a few times, then wet the fabric and rubbed it together so the paint smudged and faded. When it was dry I iron it and placed it on top of some hessian before placing it in my embroidery hoop. I then picked an array of fairly neutral, natural coloured threads and a deep blue (for shadows) to work with. I found some beautiful recycled string in just the right colours, but it was so thick I struggled to get it through the calico so in the end I used couching to hold it in place, and could only sewing directly with it on the hessian. In places I used stitches such as backstitch, chain stitch and couching to create very solid areas at the edges of the bubbles, but in others I used randomly worked straight stitches and single chain stitches to create a broken and mottled effect. I also experimented with appliqueing a small piece of leather and sewing on some small beads as I felt their colours and ‘feel’ matched the effect I was going for. Overall I’m very happy with how this piece turned out, even if it doesn’t look much like the picture that inspired it!
To start off Project 2 I whipped out my sewing machine and started just playing around with different stitches, sticking with working within a square shape like my previous mark making exercises.