SELF DIRECTED STUDY: INKS, BLEACH, RESIST & WEAVE

Because I had enjoyed my initial mark-making session so much, I decided to progress by using colour and other media.

I wanted to explore many of the words that I had discovered from my Mindmap. Using loose sheets of cartridge paper, I began to journey further into mark-making, which in turn will influence and kick start my concept development.

Super quick and easy. (Left) Quink Ink onto wet paper and plastic dropper to add bleach. (Middle) Masking tape added in strips, Quink Ink painted over and drops of bleach added. (Right) Light waxing of paper with a candle, free brushstrokes of Quink Ink and square of polystyrene brushed with bleach, applied to surface. (Influence from the hard cold surfaces of metal)

Taking Ink and Bleach to another level. (Left) Paper brushed generously with Quink, rectangular sponge dampened with bleach and applied gently to surface. (Right) Dark blue Quink applied to cartridge paper, the bottom of a 14ml Windsor & Newton ink bottle placed in a light coating of bleach and applied to surface. (Repetition influence)

(Left) A torn piece of paper from a previous mark-making session stuck down onto paper. Cyan Quink ink dropped onto a wet surface, bleach dropped on via pipette. Finished off with charcoal pencil and finaliser to interpret possible stitch inclusion. (Right) Collage, incorporating previous mark-making photocopy. Masking fluid used as a base and Quink Ink applied roughly over the surface. (Slate walls/patterns within stone influenced these particular samples)

All of these mark-making experiments are all based on my ideas within my Sketchbook. Shapes, patterns, textures are all interpreted from photos, observational drawings and print and stitch.

(Left) Masking tape applied to black sugar paper. White/brown chalk applied using a range of different marks. Masking tape removed. (Middle) Masking tape applied to black sugar paper. White chalk used to make simplistic and basic marks upon the surface. (Right) Masking fluid dribbled sporadically over the surface of white cartridge paper and left to dry. Brown wax crayon applied specifically to show each mark. Black Indian ink applied for full coverage of paper and masking fluid removed.

These explorative studies demonstrate a pattern found on the surface of a range of metals and wood.  Selecting colour is important when linking visual research through to concept.  I want the viewer to have a semblance of what the design communicates.

(Above) Masking tape/fluid applied to paper. Quick used on one surface and the remnant moisture printed onto another piece of paper. Whitewashed and left to dry. Charcoal and graphite pencil to add points of interest/surface texture. (Lichen on walls influenced these particular samples).

(Above) Constructed from other far less successful samples. Inks used in conjunction with collage, bleach, charcoal pencil, oil pastel and biro. Interpretation from architecture, grass and windows.

I have made a conscious decision never to throw away anything I create, some of the best work comes from an amalgamation of failed ideas, which brings me onto my next project.

I had many photocopies of a previous mark-making exercise left, so decided to use a guillotine to cut them all up into strips. This gave me the idea to re-cycle photocopies that may have gone unused, by weaving the strips together. I had no idea that by re-cycling these unwanted images, I was unwittingly opening a new avenue to explore.

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Just a random mess of strips? Not at all. Success from failure is both rewarding and fulfilling.

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What was stagnant and unwanted is now visually striking, kinetic and highly textural. The marriage of angular and rounded shapes creates this wonderfully fluid motion, like ripples on the surface of a pond. As a result of this, I will explore further patterns, shapes and colour.

SELF DIRECTED STUDY – MARK MAKING

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Whilst I was down in Wales, I took a trip Re-Create in Cardiff to purchase some equipment for a mark-making session. I took my ideas back to basics and began explorative studies using ink, paint and a mixture of hand-made and already prepared tools.

Using one of the most obvious and simplistic mark-making tools…..my fingers. Using Black Indian Ink gave mixed results, the initial print’ was extremely saturated and gave little pattern or texture. The ink dried out pretty quickly, in hindsight I should have used a screen printing ink, which would allow a crisper and more textural print.

How can I translate the patterns found within my chosen subject matter onto paper, eventually leading to a range of motifs for my concept? What mark-making tools could I employ? Employing a sole willow reed, I snapped it into 3 parts and bound it together with masking tape. Dipping the reed into black Indian ink and dragging the implement across the paper gave birth to some incredibly strong and purposeful marks. Little did I know that this new tool could be manipulated to create other wonderfully diverse marks too.

The 3 separate tips of the willow reed could construct circles, lines, zig-zags, cross-hatching and poignant lines. Straws were bound together with masking tape to create a range of different marks. The tip and side of the implement were used to greate effect. Inspiration from kinetic fluidity, primarily looking at the spokes from the alloy wheels on my Honda Civic.

 

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Using both ends of the willow reed; flat end and broken/rough end. Attempted a quick ‘sketch’ using the idea of Pointillism to build up a pattern. More ink equates a darker and intense mark, whilst less ink generates a subtle and background mark.

Wow!! Who knew the side of cardboard could offer up some truly beautiful patterns. I have fallen in love with the simplicity of the design. Next step> Playing around with the juxtaposition of the print to create a kinetic pattern influenced by the machines within the Framework Knitters Museum.

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(Above) Cut part of a bicycle tyre and printed with coloured Gouache. Progression is next to use tyre to create a multi-layered print. Colour upon colour? Or simply use Black Ink to reflect the industrial elements found within a factory.

Taking further the idea of rhythm, kinetics, and fluidity within shape. Experimenting with colour and block prints. Extremely happy with my mark-making enquiry.

Next step> Taking best results from the explorative session and playing around with shape, pattern, texture, and colour.

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JOHN LEWIS/PATTERNITY – ‘HOW THE LANGUAGE OF PATTERN CAN BENEFIT YOUR MOOD’

I happened to come across a fantastic online article from HOUSE BEAUTIFUL (I subscribe to the magazine) documenting the power of pattern, and the ability to convey its own language, to benefit our mood. This is especially relevant to someone like me, living with a chronic health condition. Even when ill, I am able to see the beauty in the world around me.

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Murray, A & Winteringham, G. (2018) Patternity. Available at: https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/lifestyle/a19732453/language-of-pattern-benefit-mood-patternity/ (Accessed 25th October 2019)

The line was created specifically for JOHN LEWIS. This got me thinking about how important individual elements such as mark making and motifs will be within my own collection. Not only do I want to convey a sense of kineticism within my work, but I would also like to create a sense of gender neutrality for my potential client.

Granted, the designs of ANNA MURRAY and GRACE WINTERINGHAM are monochromatic, but I feel that pattern is universal and can communicate within any colour.

SELF DIRECTED STUDY: MONOPRINT & PATTERN EXPLORATION

Taking some of my favourite monoprints, I photocopied a few images and decided to mesh/weave them together. Exploring the deconstruction and reconstructing of ideas to make them function in a new exciting way. Why deconstruct images only to reconstruct? Does it offer a way to make sense of its properties? Do I interknit my own personality within this process?

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Woven monoprint with plain white paper. Does the simplicity of the white signify the stark and cold properties of metal within machines? Is it that I want to connect the organic with the inorganic? Could this play between the natural and manmade factor within my concept?

A pattern within art. Monotone Monoprint. Repetition. Considering line and pattern from simplistic studies can translate into the most incredible designs. (Left) The offcuts from the image on the right have been randomly collaged on top of each other to create pattern and texture, reminds of me the work of Jackson Pollock. Metal surface quality has been translated deliciously through an observation drawing in the media of monoprint. (Right) The observational study was duplicated and cut from the same paper as the image on the left and positioned side by side to express the beauty of kinetic motion. Strangely, I initially did not like the original study and was tempted to shelve it, but luckily the idea worked effectively well.

 

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This consistent idea of fluid motion has been the catalyst to hone my concept and allow exploration in a vast array of different ways.

YORKSHIRE SCULPTURE PARK & HEPWORTH GALLERY VISUAL RESEARCH

YORKSHIRE SCULPTURE PARK

The first trip of the academic year. Unfortunately, as the day was extremely wet, I was unable to explore outdoors too much.

The purpose of the trip was to explore/gather a body of visual research to inform my burgeoning concept. This could be in the form of direct observational drawing, rubbings, mark-making, photographs, collage, and prints.

‘David Smith, the Michelangelo of welding…The painters of abstract expressionism didn’t reinvent the wheel; Smith did.’

Waldemar Januszczak, The Sunday Times Culture

David Smith, Hudson River Landscape, 1951. My own photos @ YSP, 2019

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David Smith, Zig 1 (Close Up), 1961. My Own Photo, 2019

I was instantly drawn to the expressive painterly qualities of this series of sculptures by Smith. Surface pattern will be an integral part of my visual research.

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David Smith, Star Points, 1954. Own Photo, 2019 @ YSP

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David Smith, Agricola IX, 1952, Own Photo, 2019 @ YSP

I was drawn to the beautiful metallic abstract shapes, surface pattern, and shadows cast by these kinetic sculptures. David Smith will be incorporated as part of my Contextual Research.

(Left)Ai Weiwei, Circle of Animals: Zodiac Heads (Base Detail), 2010. Own Photo, 2019 @ YSP. (Right) Paint peeling off steel container door. Own Photo, 2019 @ YSP.

Details of a plane engine. Own photos, 2019 @ YSP.

Fits in perfectly with my growing obsession with the metallic and mechanical. Will inform my contextual research flawlessly: SHAPE, PATTERN, COLOUR & LINE.

HEPWORTH GALLERY

Henry Moore, Silhouette Figures with Border Design, Lithograph, 1973. Own Photos, 2019 @ The Hepworth, Wakefield.

In love with how Moore marries the organic and inorganic, something that will be of paramount importance when I progress within my own concept.

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Barbara Hepworth, Bronze With Strings, 1966. Own Photo, 2019 @ The Hepworth, Wakefield

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Barbara Hepworth, Two Forms With White (Greek), Guarea Wood, 1963. Own Photo, 2019 @ The Hepworth, Wakefield

Although 3D in nature, the shapes found within these sculptures could lend themselves to a wondrous amount of exploration through collage.

(Left) Barbara Hepworth, Winged Figure (Close Up/Detail of surface pattern), Aluminium, 1961. Own Photo, 2019 @ The Hepworth, Wakefield.

Why only document surface pattern or detail for certain sculpture? Although I find the object as a whole magnificent to look at, it is often the over/underlooked surface of an object that fascinates me. I will endeavour to explore my curiosity throughout my visual research, which will, in turn, inform my concept.

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Barbara Hepworth, Discs in Echelon, Polished Bronze, 1935. Own Photo, 2019 @ The Hepworth, Wakefield.

The reflections found within this sculpture is simply sublime. The idea that we can be transformed via the reflection found in form has always been a subject of interest. This will also flow through my DCC, especially looking at the concept of Identity.

SECOND TUTORIAL/FEEDBACK

The tutorial today was on a 121 basis. On this occasion, I found this far more valuable in terms of looking at the refinement of my theme/concept. Building upon my feedback from the group session, I began to discuss with Fo some of the issues I was facing.

TO DISCUSS

  1. Clarify keywords, allowing a coherent understanding of my concept.
  2. Filter colour scheme to include more contrast.
  3. Which visual research to incorporate/subtract within Concept Board.

GOING FORWARD

Having the ability to discuss ideas with Fo on a 121 basis allowed me the opportunity to understand the strengths and weaknesses of my work.

STRENGTHS

  1. A rich and diverse amount of visual research to choose from when deciding which elements I could choose to incorporate within my concept board and contextual research.
  2. Development of a rich and cohesive colour palette.
  3. A varied amount of artist/designer research to inform my ongoing creative practice.

WEAKNESSES

  1. Difficulty in decision making when looking at imagery to incorporate on concept board.
  2. Muddy interpretation of keywords within my concept.
  3. Inability to include imperfect ideas can often stagnate an organic working process.

NEXT STEPS

No procrastination! I will endeavour to keep to an organised, yet flexible working structure. By allotting certain days of the week to certain disciplines within my course such as visual research, contextual research, DCC, CAD, and concept development I will allow myself the time and resources necessary to create a rich and balanced body of work.

  1. Selection of my favourite/most interesting photographs, which will be deconstructed into colour palettes.
  2. Colour matching from visual research and photographs.
  3. Take time to evaluate visual research to inform core colours.
  4. Welcome the unexpected colour.
  5. Explore colour. Look at harmonising/contrasting colours and how they interact with each other.
  6. Paint 20 A5 sheets of cartridge paper with a chosen colour palette.
  7. Explore colour through pattern and juxtaposition.

Extremely excited to begin the next step within my creative journey.

TO RESEARCH

JOHANNES ITTEN – COLOUR THEORY

FIRST TUTORIAL/FEEDBACK

FIRST TUTORIAL

Today was my first opportunity to discuss my chosen theme and how I had tackled the pre-arrival task through a range of marking-making, observational drawing, and contextual research.

The tutorial was structured in a way that a group of my fellow students and I would discuss our chosen theme and how we had each chosen to tackle it. Initially, I thought the idea of showing my work within a group to be rather daunting but in hindsight, it was a really fantastic way to bounce new ideas around that as individuals we may not have contemplated yet.

TO DISCUSS

  1. How do I refine my Concept Board?
  2. How do I intertwine my visual and contextual research via Powerpoint?
  3. Which elements within my visual research should I choose that amalgamate coherently within my theme?

GOING FORWARD

The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive. My blog will serve as a way to reflect upon each tutorial, which in turn will allow me to keep an easily accessible account of my progress throughout my time @ Nottingham Trent University.

NEXT STEPS

  1. Begin to think of a working title for my concept.
  2. Create a glossary of words, which will help inform my concept.
  3. Demonstrate personal interests.
  4. Look at colour, pattern, textures, and tone. Group together in individual aesthetics.
  5. Explore theme through harmony and contrast.
  6. Expand visual research through mark-making, photography, and observational drawing.
  7. Look closely at the relationship between movement, rhythm, and kinetics.
  8. Reflect progress through each workshop, tutorial, SDS, contextual and visual research.

MY NEXT GOAL

Set up Powerpoint to create a rich and varied Contextual Research File.

 

DESIGN, CULTURE & CONTEXT

What is Design?

A plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a prototype, product or process.

What is Culture?

An umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities and habits of the individuals in these groups

What is Context?

The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.

During my time @ Nottingham Trent University I will be undertaking a journey which will fuse Design, Culture & Context within my creative practice. Within DCC I will be encouraged to undertake new research methods, allowing idea generation and independent thinking. My passions and interests will be interwoven with cultural and social issues, allowing me to critically analyse the world around me.

Thinking of my practice as integral cog within a much bigger picture will empower me to play around with ideas of authenticity. It will allow me to find out where it is I fit in as a designer within an ever evolving industry.

Areas of paramount importance to explore:

  1. Making Connections between practice and theory/history of design.
  2. Engaging with the world around me.
  3. Researching from a wide and varied pool of resources.
  4. Looking at design responsibility toward a bigger picture/sustainability.
  5. Gaining direct experience from original sources.
  6. Keeping up to date with new innovations and what is happening culturally.
  7. Constantly asking questions to grow as a designer/person.

 

RUST DYEING, SHIBORI, PAPER MANIPULATION

Exploration of rust dyeing/shibori/heat setting and paper manipulation/print. Today, I  would concentrate on the process of rust dyeing, primarily.

Having touched on rust dyeing in a workshop before, I thought that I would further explore the method in the hope of gaining surface qualities to translate within my concept. The initial stages of design involved Arashi Shibori, but this time I would use a rusty tin can, as opposed to a plastic pole; synthetic fabrics  wrapped over a can, merging rust and indigo together, playing around with copper solution, walnut extract and using rusted iron shapes to create shape/patterns on paper.

Rusty tin cans wrapped with a rusty cotton cloth. The can was then sprayed with vinegar/water solution, wrapped in a plastic case and then steamed for 30 minutes.

Experimenting with rust, coffee and paper. Manipulating fabric to print on/over. The panic acid in coffee/tea can turn the rust/iron a deep brown/black, so I thought I would give it a go.

Randomly soaking a cotton cloth with a rich rust solution, tying it up on a pole and submerging in an Indigo dye bath for 15 minutes. The contrasting colour of blue and orange make the result even more striking. Yes, the indigo/resist patterns are not as successful as previous attempts, but I know exactly what needs to be done on my next attempt; the rusty cloth needs to be allowed to completely dry before attempting to wrap around the pole, and subsequently dye. I was thinking I could use this as a background for one of my final stitch samples.

Cotton cloth soaked stoked in rust, wrapped around pole and steamed for 15 minutes. 50& of the pole was submerged within the Indigo dye bath, and left to dry for an hour. Having previously used synthetic fabrics, I was unsure of the result. At first, I thought the experiment would be a failure due to natural fabric not being able to maintain it’s textural shape once dry/washed; the success would be measured within the colour contrast and resist. Because I have not yet mastered the Shibori and rust dyeing technique/process, this will become an ongoing project/labour of love between my mentor and I, Michelle Griffiths.

I genuinely did not know what to expect when undertaking this particular creative enquiry, but like it and dislike it in equal measure. The rust adds a wonderful depth and earthy quality to the fabric, but the transfer looks rather haphazard. If I’m honest, the reverse of the fabric is far more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The unpredictability of print is what makes me love it so much, although I do try to create the best print I possibly can. I would love to create a large piece of textile artwork, incorporating lots of square samples of this piece and juxtaposing them to create a wonderfully rich and textural surface.

Experiments with rust/Indigo on Hospital Bed Paper; has a fantastic strength, which means that it can become wet without ripping and further manipulated. Could this be a wonderful way to build backgrounds for future projects? I have always found working directly onto a white ‘canvas’ rather terrifying; no longer the case, but rather the opposite. This session has given me incredible food for thought.

Next Step> Today was an extremely productive day. Strangely enough, I will not use any of the fabric samples to influence my concept/ongoing visual research, but rather incorporate, in some way or another, the indigo and rust patterns created on the paper.

 

 

 

SOURCES

How do I go about being as prepared as I possibly can before starting my degree @ Nottingham Trent Univesity?

Having a knowledge of a good range of sources to draw inspiration from is essential! Core sources:

SELVEDGE MAGAZINE> https://www.selvedge.org

ELLE DECORATION > https://www.elledecoration.co.uk

WALLPAPER MAGAZINE> https://www.wallpaper.com

WGSN > https://www.wgsn.com

Not only that, I will endeavour to take my camera everywhere I go. Taking photographs as part of my ongoing visual research will allow an organic emersion of all things related to my creative practice.

Feed findings throughout visual and contextual research. As I subscribe to SElvedge, Elle Decoration, and Wallpaper, I will make it a primary task to reference any artists, designers, and trends that relate to my ongoing learning.

Could this visual research by uploaded digitally? Whilst undertaking research, I will try my best to maintain a research method that incorporates design responsibility.

This blog will allow me to reflect upon my time @ NTU. Although my Visual Research will be primarily within my sketchbook, and Contextual Research will be created and uploaded digitally, my thoughts and feelings over the greater umbrella of research will be annotated here.