MATERIAL MATTERS EXHIBIT: ADZ4771/ARTIST STATEMENT

I had been quite poorly during my fist term; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome does not always make life easy. However, Helen and Keireine had been extremely generous in allowing me the extension of 15th December to hand my work in. I worked tirelessly to create a final body of work I could be proud of.

I found the first term both exciting and frustrating, but have gained a new found respect for all things surface pattern. Initially I was concerned that the course would offer only a 2-D approach to Textiles, but later found out that I could incorporate/interpret my own ideas into whatever medium, surface quality, and dimension that I wished.

Exhibiting/mounting the work can be just as important as the work itself; a sloppy exhibit/final finish can make all the hard work seem pointless. Luckily, I have mounted many a work in my time, so hopefully this is reflected within the Material Matters exhibit. I wanted to make sure that the samples were secure on the mounts so I incorporated a strong double sided tape. Hopefully you enjoy what I have made too.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT

Simply put, I have always been fascinated with the patterns found within everyday objects. These patterns can in turn have patterns within themselves, which has been the main focus of my work within this brief. My objective was to create a cohesive body of work utilising an idea of the deconstruction and subsequent reconstruction of materials. Creating designs from the utilisation of recycled, failed and old material feeds directly into my love of sustainability and making do with what we already have. My passion derives from a love of observation, not just what I find in front of me, but rather what I see all around me.

PRINT & STITCH SAMPLE IDEAS/PROCESSES 3

SAMPLE 1

Utilising failed mono prints/acetate images together with Tyvek and Machine stitch.

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Tyke was placed between two sheets of baking parchment and heated with an iron. The resulting material will crumple under the heat to create some fantastic bubble/burnt patterns. This sample by itself did not turn out as successfully as I had hoped; the large bubbles I had counted upon to create a wonderfully textural surface pattern did not materialise, but rather burned a little to much. However, I decided to amalgamate a failed acetate photocopy and mono print together to create a new and exciting interpretation of the patterns found within an observational study, flowers and fungi, used to create the individual sample.

 

Acetate cropped with Tyvek and embellished with a decorative machine stitch in Silver Gutermann thread.

SAMPLE 2

Monoprint & Scrim. I decided to crop the print and embellish into the paper surface, luckily the paper did not need backing as it was a premium thick cartridge paper. I embellished the bubblewrap print with a similar colour green Gutermann thread, accentuation the shape already laid by the print. I then free-machine stitched a decorative stitch over the scrim to add depth and pattern.

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PRINT & STITCH SAMPLE IDEAS/PROCESSES 2

SAMPLE 1

Taking inspiration from rust dyeing and Shibori (Resist).

Fabric (Cotton) and Hospital Paper which had been printed upon with excess Indigo dye were now used to place rusty fire grates upon. A water and vinegar solution was sprayed upon the metal to speed the rust/print process up and steamed in a ‘kettle’ for an hour.

These resulting rust prints were left to dry. Once dry, the paper was cropped, backed (Iron-on stabiliser) and cropped together to create interest with the structure prints.

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Blanket stitch was utilised to create a coherent and symbiotic relationship between the stitch and print. I carefully chose the coloured threads/yarns as I did not want a bright or gaudy contrast to overtake the subtlety of the design.IMG_1842

The edges were secured with an overlock zig zag stitch. Again, due to the nature of paper, the sample began to curl at the edges. The sample was also put under my A2 folder topped with a heavy box.

SAMPLE 2

I had previously created these designs within my Paint Layering session with Sasha at Uni. I added other layering ideas such as masking fluid and bubblewrap print. The patterns and colours were so beautiful, but I genuinely had no idea what I could do to utilise them as a sample for stitch or print.

BRAINWAVE!!! I could print them onto my handmade paper, deconstruct and then reconstruct them via strip cropping.

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I made sure that there was no two of the same coloured strips next to each other, which further enhanced the shapes, patterns and colour of the design. The texture of the handmade paper only added to the tactile quality of the design.

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Using the Gutermann threads to create texture. Straight machine stitch and the Super Stretch Stitch were utilised to create similar, but completely different textural qualities.

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Reverse stitch (Bobbin) embellishment (learned from a stitch workshop with maggie) was utilised to create a far more textural and structural surface pattern. Perle Cotton thread was used in a variety of colours, which I will keep secret!! You can decide upon these for yourself. An artists never discloses everything.

PRINT & STITCH SAMPLE IDEAS/PROCESSES

SAMPLE 1

Excess dye from Shibori (Indigo) prints was used to create a background surface pattern for many of my print and stitch samples.

Utilising my new found technical skills learned within my Stitch workshops, I began by embellishing the surface of these detailed accidental designs. However, before the embellishment process began, I made sure the stitch would securely decorate the material I was using; an iron-on stabiliser was used to back and strengthen the material.

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Free-machine stitch was now used upon the strengthened material, but an embroidery hoop was not necessary on this occasion. My Bernini 330 was slowly, but surely becoming my new best friend.

Inspiration came from a range of different lichens that I had found on rocks, trees and by means of the internet. The patterns found within this amazing living organism could surmount to a lifetimes worth of inspiration.

Embellishing the surface with Straight machine stitch, and using a fantastic Blue Guterman thread to create a harmonising colour palette with the original Indigo dye print.

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I thoroughly loved the initial design incorporating the blue thread, but wanted to dedicate the pattern further to that found within my lichen source material. Straight machine was used to create the blue pattern and a narrow zig zag stitch was used to embellish the contrasting gold thread.

Magic tape was placed upon the back of the sample, measured out and finished with pinking shears. I wanted to sample to look as professional as possible. However, I realised that I had not purchased any sample mount headers or professional black card. What could I do? I remembered I still had a flyer, given to me by Helen, from a company called Morplan, a company selling every craft product you could imagine!! An order was placed for next day delivery….phewww.

SAMPLE 2

Using Indigo dye, from a Shibori session with Cath Davies, as background surface pattern. Textures and patterns found within the excess dye print reminded me of the intricate detail found within the bark of a tree. I was instantly reminded of the stitch tutorial my Mother, Carolyn Thomas, had given me not a week prior; cloud filling stitch would be embellished across the whole surface. The pattern and use of colour would serve as the major focal point of this chosen surface pattern design.

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Again, due to the fragile nature of the Hospital paper, I backed the paper with an iron-on stabiliser. Next came the mathematical part!! I had to measure out individual dots, which would later serve as the stitch hole to create the structure needed for the cloud filling stitch. Each individual line had to be offset to the previous, which would enable the wonderful pattern to grow. I used an 100% Organic Hemp yarn.

Once the structural/securing stitch was laid down, the embellishment aspect of the stitch was commenced.

I had no idea how time consuming the technique/process would take; 4 hours in total!!! Sore fingers. Colours used were specifically chosen to both harmonise and contrast. The stabiliser was a god send, the paper would have ripped apart without it. The one problem I now had? The design kept curling up at the corners. How would I rectify this? Placing it under my A2 folder, topped off with a rather heavy box. It stayed under there for 3 days. If the problem arose again, I would attach the sample to card using double sided tape.

PAPERMAKING INDUCTION WORKSHOP/MONOPRINTING WORKSHOP

Induction by Tom Martin.

Fascinating insight into the basics of Papermaking.

Equipment required:

  1. LARGE CONTAINER FOR THE WATER/PULP
  2. BUCKET
  3. REMNANTS OF UNWANTED PAPER
  4. BLENDER
  5. MOLD & DECKLE
  6. PAPER PRESS (NUTS & BOLTS USED TO TIGHTEN)
  7. J-CLOTHS
  8. PVA GLUE

Waste/remnant/unwanted paper was taken from a recycling box, and ripped into roughly 1-2″ pieces of paper, which was then added to an empty box. As soon as the box was half full, Tom added enough water to a blender to fill it 75% capacity. A large handful of paper pieces was placed within blender and blitzed into a pulp (consistency of pulp can be determined by the time being blitzed in blender).

PVA Glue (2TBSP) was added to the last blender full of pulp; when enough pulp was created (10 blender contents), another bucket of warm water was added to container to make a porridge like stew.

Make sure to stir the pulp with a wooden spatula before attempting to submerge and pull up the mold and deckle, which should be attached together to capture the pulp. The mold is the piece housing the mesh, and the deckle is used to secure the pulp.

The base of the paper press was ‘lined’ with a J-Cloth, and the first layer of paper pulp was pressed down onto the cloth. A press and flip motion is used to avoid the pulp/paper from slipping off into a heap. This process was continued so each one of the 13 students, myself included had their own piece of ‘paper’. Each layer of pulp was topped off with another J-cloth until there was no pup left within the container full of water. The thickest ‘sheets’ of pulp were at the bottom, and the thinnest at the top. The large bolts were attached to the bottom press and the top was positioned in place; bolts were tightened until they were unable to tighten further. The printing press was stood upright to allow the excess water to drain off, and was left to stand for 30minutes.

Some of my samples. I incorporated some dried seeds within my A4 piece, hopefully it turns out exactly how I want it to. I recently purchased a book on Papermaking from Re-Create in Ely, and will be trying to incorporate some of the techniques on my own work; Papermaking Techniques Book by John Plowman, comes highly recommended.

A few of the other girls and I decided to incorporate a coloured paper into another batch of the pulp/water mix. Can A1 piece of purple sugar paper was added to a primarily white batch of recycled/waste/remnant paper pieces. The same process was used as the first. All pieces were individually and carefully removed from the press, and placed on top of a large surface area heater. Will collect on Friday.

MONOPRINTING WORKSHOP

Demonstration of Monoprinting technique/process by Tom.

 

 

SELF DIRECTED STUDY: PRINT REFLECTION/EXPLORATION

Due to Steve not having all the fabrics available on Friday, he invited the group to make use of the print room today. I for one, would not miss out on this fantastic opportunity, and relished the chance to explore further.

BATIK – Drawing with Wax

 

Taking old pages from a nature encyclopaedia, stretching the paper on a board, fixing down with gum paper and leaving to dry. Once dry, wax was administered to the surface in the form of patterns found on different pages, or simply enhancing the image being worked on. The idea arose from the idea of patterns within patterns and reconstructing the deconstructed. Black, Violet, Olive Green and Yellow were used as my chosen colour scheme. As a next step, I may remove the wax from my least favourite pieces and try again to rebuild new from old. Had to let them dry.

Whilst waiting for these to dry, I prepared an old A3 piece of paper ready for the adhesion of further ripped and deconstructed paper remnants. I purposely chose remnants from previous projects as to fit in with my principle idea of producing as little waste as possible.

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The piece was embellished with hot wax via a tjanting, and once wax was dry the paper was administered with a range of blue, orange, green and yellow heat transfer paints. The colours were chosen as my interpretation of the Autumn; yellow, orange and green to signify the falling leaves and dying flora, and the blue to signify the darkening skies. Again, had to wait for piece to dry (helped along by a fan).

As you can guess, I love to keep busy and hate waiting around; time waits for no man.

Old A4 envelops became the material to print heat transfer paint onto; different tones of blue/black/green/yellow were applied to a square polystyrene block and administered to the A4 envelope surface. As the prints looked a little wonky/shonky/lopsided, I decided to cut them into individual squares, and arranged them in a more symmetrical/geometric line. The heat press now beckoned!!!

Polyester Suedette in Solarno White & Polyester Satin in Plaza White were used to create these designs. Paperclips were used to crete a negative element within the whole design, but I actually think they look rather amateur, so will not be using them again. The second experiment involved heat press printing onto Polyester Satin, which resulted in a far more successful and slightly muted result in colour (which is exactly what I wanted). I then repeated this pattern on another two different fabrics, one being the fine polyester I had previously used, and unknown metallic chiffon type of fabric. Alone the design looked rather plain and static. However, by meshing the two other fabrics over the top, the design became kinetic and alive. The skill of deciphering what works, and doesn’t work, is essential to me as a learner!!

Bubblewrap exploration. Heat transfer paint applied, with various colours, directly onto the surface. Wrap used as painting plate. Polyester satin used initially. Interesting, but not particularly creative.

Decided to deconstruct some of the paper designs, and reconstruct them onto another piece of paper. Far more successful design. Really interest to see what I could do cutting the fabric into strips and weaving with it; manipulation of warp and weft could result in really interesting results. Could I further manipulate the fabric with the addition of free-machine stitch? All this to be documented in the coming week!!

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My Paper Remnant/Batik/Heat Transfer Paint piece was now dry, so diving in to explore the print on a couple of different fabrics seemed mandatory. The results are fantastic; yes, the colours are a little on the bright side, but look incredibly energetic. Polyester Suedette, Satin and Mesh were used to create the (above) designs.  The (middle) image was created by adding strips of paper to the fabric first, placing the print plate down on top and pressing the heat press down for 50 seconds. The paper was not quite thick enough, so let a little of the ink through into the space I wanted as only white. Next time, the paper will have a higher GSM. Mesh was use on the (bottom) image, to create patter/texture within the block colour.

To finish the session off, I utilised some of the printing ‘equipment’ I had stockpiled. On this occasion, I used dried seeds from a tree/shrub I had encountered on a walk @ Cefn Onn Park.

Absolutely love this design, so effective, and so effective; one of my 6 Print/Dye samples, for sure. The process involved painting the dried seed with super black heat transfer paint with a brush, reapplying the paint every 3 prints. The tonal range of each print is what makes this one of my favourite pieces. My first attempt ended in an accidental shift of the printing plate!!! Which in turn made the print move up the fabric, exactly what I did not want. I did reprint the design again, but the black was nowhere near as potent as the first print. However, I was still pleased with the outcome; so much so, the design was printed on a number of my failed bubblewrap prints. Alas, success!! The reconstruction of these new samples created some of my favourite final prints.

WEEK 4 – PRINT: HEAT PRESS/HEAT TRANSFER PAINT EXPLORATION

A heat press is a machine engineered to imprint a design or graphic on a substrate, such as a t-shirt, with the application of heat and pressure for a preset period of time. While heat presses are often used to apply designs to fabrics, specially designed presses can also be used to imprint designs on mugs, plates, jigsaw puzzles, caps, and other products.  The pattern is printed in sublimating ink onto paper/fabric which allows the pattern to transfer. Some highly effective patterns and great effects can be obtained using this technique.

Week 4 of Print – as the time has progressed I have begun to enjoy this Print journey more and more.

Steve introduced us to the Heat Press/Heat Transfer Paints today, a technique/process that I have never used before. The first step to creating these heat press prints involved designing patterns, shapes or observational drawings on paper. My initial inspiration came from drawings of marble, I had undertaken at the V&A Museum; primarily looking at pattern and shape. I wanted these designs to appear organic and fluid, much like the pattern within marble.

 

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Patterns and shapes were created by spilling heat transfer paint onto paper and painting, blowing, dripping and sandwiching between two sheets of paper; results were better than expected. Colours were chosen specifically to interpret those found within the marble. For me, the most useful aspect of these experimental studies arose from the organic and spontaneous nature of the paint. By manipulating the paint further, I was able to construct shapes  extremely similar to that found in the marble.

Steve informed/warned me that the the colour saturation of the paint would intensify 2-3 times that of what was painted on the transfer surface. For me, the most important experience gained from these experiments would be the mistakes I make, without these mistakes I cannot grow and hone each technique properly.

Unfortunately, the fabrics that had been promised to Steve, had not arrived yet again. This in turn meant the exploration of heat transfer imagery would be carried on on one fabric only. The fabric in question was the same as I had previously used within the heat setting session. Nevertheless, I strove to make do with what I had, and began the process of experimentation, exploration and merging my ideas into a cohesive and dynamic narrative.

Whilst waiting for Steve to cut and appropriate the fabric, I decided to use the time to create further heat transfer paint designs. The Autumnal foliage falling from the plants and trees offered up a printing bounty, to good to pass up; leaves, stems, stalks and dried seed heads were all incorporated within my exploratory studies. At first, I felt that these natural printing instruments may seem a little obvious, but then thought the onus it is on  me to juxtapose them in a way that reflects my visual language, and showcases them in a new and exciting way.

A simple range of colours was used to denote the changing season/weather; this too could be explained by my personal preference when utilising colour.

(Above) At the last hour of the day, the fabric that Steve had ordered……….actually arrived!!! One of the new fabrics that was now available to sample was a Synthetic Polyester Suedette in Solarno White, and the resulting prints came alive, bursting with colour. Often, this colour was a little on the gaudy side; this new fabric intensified the colour, but subsequently I realised that this was not always for the best.

 

(Above) Demonstrating the difference of colour saturation between the use of different material/fabric. (Top) Using Fine Polyester (Bottom) Using Polyester Suedette.

Having experienced firsthand the intensity of the colour when using the heat press, I have learned that I have developed an understanding of what colour will work in conjunction with another. This is why it has been imperative for me to experiment with many different colours and processes.

Utilising the rest of the natural (lavender stalk, cotoneaster & cow parsley) printing ‘equipment’ to demonstrate the power of using other material to create a relief/negative visual against a positive background. This technique can be reversed by painting the material directly, and printing it via the heat press; so as to create a detailed print of the object directly. I have significantly improved my knowledge of this technique/process, and means I will explore it further by using far more different materials, both natural and synthetic.

To capture a vivid and sharp design, I now know to utilise a far stronger background colour; intricate structural detail of the plant has been lost against the insipid/lack of colour background. The fabric will need to be changed too.

How could I increase the vibrancy of the fine polyester prints? The translucent nature of the cloth lacked a sharpness evident within my work. Could I mesh more than one print together? This ties in perfectly with my Constellation subject of THE MESHWORK OF OBJECTS; taking the principle of when a thing stops working, it becomes an object. This object can therefore be meshed together with other ‘non-working’ things, to create an object I can enjoy.

THE MESHWORK OF OBJECTS!!!! As a next step, I will incorporate stitch into some of these designs. This will allow me to learn about what works, and doesn’t, for me asa practitioner; creating my own visual language.