Its been a bit of a stressful week trying to get all my samples completed and mounted ready for the hand in and presentation on Monday. But after days in the studios from 10am-5pm everyday I am finally nearly finished! Here’s a sneak peak of a couple of my samples..
Today I attended a session called ‘Understanding Fabric’ by Maggie Cullinane. We began the session by discussing the two different types of fabrics; synthetic and natural. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of both types. For example, an advantage of using natural fabrics is that they are renewable however they’re often more expensive than synthetics. We also spoke about the fact that fabrics are grouped into 3 different types of fibres; mineral (polyester), animal (wool) and vegetable (hemp). I attended sessions like this whilst studying textiles at GCSE and A Level and was impressed how much I remembered!
The second more ‘fun’ side of the session included burning small samples of fabrics we had collected and observing what happened. Natural fabrics like cotton tended to burn slowly and just glow on the edges of the fabrics, the smoke would be white and wouldn’t smell horrifc however if they were mixed with synthetics they would burn fast, have black smoke and smell terrible!! Burning fabrics can help you identify what the fabric is made up of.
Today I signed up for a session in the print and dye room, to finish off experimenting with the techniques I learnt in the 4 workshops at the start of term. This session was dedicated to producing 6 of the 12 final samples. I created a new screen design for this session, a basic line drawing of two lilies.
I dyed a few fabric samples which I will combine with other experiments I have produced in my workshops to create my final samples. I will incorporate hand embroidery, applique and different dye and print techniques.
Here is a photograph of one of my final samples which I completed today. Which is a screen print of the drawing above on dyed silk fabric using the shibori method. I decided to use silk to portray the delicacy of the lily flower. I will not be adding any stitch onto this sample as I feel it shows a combination of different skills including drawing, dye and print.
Unfortunately I was not able to complete all the print work I wanted this week so next week I will be in the print room again and will complete a sample using devore which I will combine with dye. I will then be in the stitch room for the rest of the day to complete other samples.
Today we had a lecture by Dr. Keirene Canavan about different types of constructed textiles. I will discuss each technique.
Barkcloth – Barkcloth is the oldest known type of textiles and began being created in Baganda Kingdom in Uganda. It is a prehistoric technique and seem to have the resemblance of leather. Barkcloth is created when bark from the Moraceae tree is harvested during the wet season, it is then beaten with wooden instruments which makes the bark more pliable. This fabric is worn during occasions such as births, deaths and weddings but is also used for interiors. For royalty, the fabric is dyed black or white and worn differently to show their importance.
Sprang – Sprang is an ancient method which gives an appearance like knitted fabric, however it is more elasticated, it is created solely from warp threads. It dates back to the 14th century. Keirene told us about a book by Peter Collingswood which goes into more detail about this technique.
Knitting – This is a technique which I found interesting to learn about as I have previously learnt how to knit and how started experimenting with it again. The first ever piece of knitting was found in Egypt in the 1st millennium. Keirene explained that the fleece from sheep is especially good for knitting wool as it is a combination of loads of hairs (staples) which cup together. We also looked at fair isle knitting, which is the technique of creating a pattern using different coloured yarns in the same row. We were shown images of contemporary knit artists including Susie Freeman and Freddie Robbins.
Intarsia – Intarsia is a type of knitting where any number of colours can be combined on the same row however it is different to fair isle as the colours are not carried across and therefore the fabric is not thick and chunky. Kaffe Fassett is an artist who uses this technique, designers such as Missoni and Alexander McQueen also use this in their designs. This technique seemed very tricky however when we watched a video on YouTube it began to make more sense and is something I would deffinetly like to experiment with.
Crochet – Crochet like knitting consists of pulling loops through other loops. It is a technique I have not tried before but something I have always wanted to. Keirene showed us an artist called Marsha Richards who creates pieces of crochet using recycled materials such as plastic bags and film from cassette tapes.
Weaving – We looked at the difference between traditional and modern techniques of weaving. Modern weaving techniques is all mechanised now however the more traditional ways are done by hand using a back and breast beam. Weaving looms have been used for over 4000 years and during the industrial revolution hundreds of mechanised jacquard looms were burnt as a revolt because they were replacing hand weavers. Woven fabrics are the most commonly used fabrics for fashion and interiors.
Ikat – Ikat is a type of dyed patterned weave which is very complex. It is not known where Ikat originated but it was known to be produced in pre-Columbian central and south American countries. They are very hard to come by as the textiles pieces are made one per life, the piece is with the individual throughout their life from birth, during marriage, a first haircut etc and burnt with the person when they die. I love the idea of something that is so cherished and solely for one person to have throughout their life.
Bedouin Al Sadu Weaving:Muteira – This is a technique I have touched on previously after a lecture from Keirene, it combines a simple loom and patterns which creates beautiful designs and colours in a textile piece.
Though the textile course does not include constructed textiles, all of these techniques are extremely interesting to me and I may incorporate them at some point in my course.
Following our studies at the National Museum of Wales we were set a task to complete three botanical drawings of plants, flowers and leaves. They could be close up or generalised drawings.
The drawing of the lilies is my favourite one from this task, it is a simple line drawing yet detailed at the same time. I would love to turn this into a print and may create a sample from it.
I decided to create a close up drawing of a daisy, I used a biro to draw this image.
Finally I created a shaded drawing using a biro of a plant. I think the drawing is very successful and I would like to use it in my textiles work, however I believe it would be too thin for a print, I may try to recreate it with free hand machine embroidery.
Today I had my last Stitch workshop. I’ve found the past 4 sessions incredibly helpful and interesting and found new ways to improve on techniques I had learnt previously. I also learnt new techniques which I look forward to using in the future.
During the first week we focused on playing around with the sewing machines and experimenting with different stitches, lengths etc. We used different threads and also experimented with using hand threads on the bobbin. This gave very interesting effects! I liked that you didn’t know what the design was going to look like until you had finished. I also completed a piece of hand stitch which was to be completed during the four weeks.
In the second week we began looking at the technique applique which is sewing a piece of shaped fabric onto a background fabric. I have used this technique in the past and was very pleased to revisit it. I’m happy with the samples I’ve produced, however, for my final samples I would like to use my own fabric, dyed using the techniques I learnt in my dye and print workshops. I think this will produce more innovative and personal designs. I also experimented with free hand machine embroidery during this session.
Unfortunately I was ill during the third week where everyone experimented with dissolvable fabric and free hand machine embroidery. Luckily I have experimented with this during my A Level however I will catch up and produce a few samples of this technique.
In the final week we experimented with dissolvable fabric and stitch but created 3D shapes with the technique. We did this by moulding the stitch over bottles or other objects. This is something I have not tried before and would like to experiment more in the future. I feel that though my sample showed skill of this technique it was a bit plain and I would like to try again with a more interesting design.
We also created another sample of hand embroidery which were more complex, these stitches looked interesting and I could see how they could be used in combination with other techniques.
We took a trip to the archive of botanical drawings in the National Museum of Wales. We were shown different drawings and paintings; some which dated over 400 years old. This was really interesting to me. They were all drawn or painted by eye as photography was obviously not available at this time. The sheer detail was incredible and some of the drawings looked so realistic, you could mistake them for photographs. We then had a chance to draw from these images.
The simple line drawing on the right seems a little plain to me so I would like to add colour, I will probably use watercolours to create the effect I am looking for. In the drawing on the left I used a combination of graded pencils and oil pastels to create an interesting appearance.