Monday, 31 January 2011

Assignment 5 - Tear it Up

For this assignment we are asked to deconstruct cloth and reconstruct it to give it a completely different texture, shape, size or surface.

I have chosen to work with a tissue- this is very lightweight and flimsy. The material is a fine paper mesh. There is several layers to each piece but they are easily ripped and the layers easily separated.

This I have deconstructed by ripping or tearing it into equal sized strips.

The next piece I have chosen is a towel. Towels are very symbolic in our house as I spend a great deal of my time picking them up off of the floor, hanging them up to dry or washing them and then folding them and putting them back into the bathroom or into the numerous swimming bags we have that come in and out of the house on a daily basis ( my husband and two of my sons are keen swimmers.). I like the texture of towels and I like the functionality of them too. The towel I have taken a section of to deconstruct is the towel we use to dry the dog when he is wet and muddy- even he contributes to my eternal towel distribution/ redistribution!

The towelling material is a medium weight cotton which has tiny loops threaded through it. It is like a minute rag rug! The towelling must be cut with sharp scissors and does not rip easily. It is fairly rough in texture but this could be in part to the fact it was the dogs towel and so has not been washed with a softener for some time! When the loops have been pulled out the surface is smooth and there is a slight waffle effect. The cotton that has been pulled out looks like blue spagnum moss and is very light and fluffy.

I have started plucking the 'loops' from the towel. They are very time consuming to pull out so I think the surface area that I was planning to use will have to reduce somewhat! Here is how I have got on so far:

The third piece I have chosen to work is a small purple plastic bag. My son received it the other week as a party bag and I loved the colour and decided to save it for this assignment.

Earlier I melted it in a glass jar at 180 degrees for 8 minutes in the oven and this is what happened.

It has come out very stiff so I think it may have completed its reconstruction itself by the air drying method!!! And it is 3D so that's another bonus!! I love the colours and the textures. It looks just like a worm cast that you find on the beach except for the strange two sticking up bits that appear to have little hands on! I think I will leave this piece as it is and am looking forward to drawing it.

The next piece I have chosen is a piece of tweed. I make bags out of tweed which have tea cups appliance on the front, they are called 'teabags', I sell them locally at craft fairs etc. This is an off cut of one of the remnants.

This tweed is very soft and is made of lambs wool. It has a hounds tooth check in brown and blue and it will be interesting to see what different colour effect can be made by deconstructing it. The tweed is woven on a loom and I am going to pick apart the weaves. Initially I tried to punch holes in the fabric with a hole punch but this was very unsuccessful as the tweed got caught up in the hole punch and the little circles just came off in tufts rather than circles.


This is the tissue in it's reconstruction journey.

First I weaved all the pieces together. This was quite hard as they all want to stick to one another. I then pinned the weave down the sides to hold it together.

Then I stitched on the sewing machine down the lines in one direction to hold the pieces together. I used purple thread to make it stand out. I like the effect of the bright purple on the White and I like stitches which were heavy compared to the weight of the material.

Next I gathered it around into a sort of pyramid shape and fed a thin wire upmthe back to hold it up at the top. I wanted to make a 3D piece out of the tissue as it looked like the least likely to stand up. I enjoyed the way the purple stitches come round in evenly spaced intervals and I like the holes made by the weave as they are perfect little squares. The whole object looks a lot stronger than it is. I think it looks as if it could be made of snow or clay. I am really pleased with the visual effect from the humble tissue!

The next reconstruction I attempted was the tweed.

This I had pulled apart from it's weave and had lots and lots of little strands. I the. Proceeded to painstakingly tie them altogether in groups of two or three strands. The picture above shows a section of the tied strands as does the photo below.

I thought that this looked quite interesting but it is very weak structurally and also I thought it was so out of proportion in size to the other pieces it would be difficult to draw without clumping it together. So I decided to crochet it together using a 4.00mm hook.

The effect was very pleasing. I like the way the colours go together and because of the way the pieces were tied together there are some interesting hairy bits that hang off of the resulting section. I think it is very interesting that the piece of tweed that was a few inches squared had gone to a few metres long and then been crocheted into a shape much smaller than it started as. The fabric was a lot more stretchy than it had been as tweed, it was certainly not as smart looking and was not as uniform in colour or texture. I really like this piece and would say it was my favourite transformation if these four.

The effect is almost plant like and the colours look much more earthy to me in this form than when they were tweed.

The next piece I reconstructed was the towel. I had had really high hopes for the towelling as being a very interesting fabric and full of potential to transform into something exciting. However it was really time-consuming and difficult to get the towelling loops out of the base cotton. Then all of the little pieces were really hard to separate. So I decided to concentrate on creating something visually exciting for the drawing and photography element of the brief, especially the part where we are asked to enlarge a small section.

This will be very interesting to draw with all of these lovely loops and waves and twists and curls! I stitched the bottom of the twirling tower using the sewing machine,with red cotton onto the original base cotton. The tower of twirls is held together by scrunching it together as the fine cotton all clung to itself. It also has a wire running through it to help hold it up but it's not real essential as the cotton strand were very good at gripping to slack other and piling up. I really like the contrast between the red and blue, these are two of my favourite colours together.

The towel was not as versatile as I had hoped it would be but in the end it has turned out to be a visually interesting piece and I don't think at first glance it looks like something that used to be a towel! I am looking forward to drawing this piece and it has been a very important element of the 'group photos!'

The following pictures are taken through the crochet holes of the reconstructed tweed. I think they are visually very exciting and interesting. I will definitely be basing some of my drawings on this perspective.

I think I will use a chalk pastel to draw these pictures. I think it is especially interesting with the bright blue of the towelling structure starkly showing through. The colours go really well together too. I am usually drawn to things, anything! By it's colour first, followed by texture and then function! Although I must say I like the majority of my own creations to have a function or purpose or, with my puppets a 'personality'.

The only piece I have not photographed for a second time after reconstruction was the purple bag as this remains as it reconstructed itself in it's tiny worm cast state which is like a harder and more tightly packed version of the towel 'tower'. I think the vibrant purple reflects a harder, tighter state versus the loose cool curls of the soft towelling fabric. The tweed and the tissue are at opposite ends of the fabric scale although neither is actually hard to the touch. The reconstructed tweed is a lot more flexible than the tissue and the colours are a lot more vivid, rich and earthy. It is soft to touch and does not feel on the verge of collapse. It feels dependable and warm and useful.

The tissue has an ethereal feel about it and one could say it is grounded by the purple stitches as they visually focus your mind into an order and a pattern. The squares created by the weaving are not defined enough and remind me of Andy Goldswirthys holes where they invite you to look beyond the initial structure and to feel it's depth and possibilities of what lies beneath. They are also interesting as they are physically made from the initial tissue pieces but recreated in a different order as opposed to the stitched areas which have been added to.

The next stage of this assignment is to draw these pieces. They must be drawn without the use of a graphite pencil or White cartridge paper and there must be some drawings which analyse and enlarge close up small cross sections of areas. These will mainly be in my sketchbook ready to show my tutor however I may post a few to show how I have interpreted my creations.

Oh I couldn't resist! This is my interpretation of the towelling loops. It is painted on A3 cartridge paper in acrylic paint. This took much much longer than I had imagined it would take to paint but it was worthwhile and I love the colours and the shapes. I am not sure if it fulfils the criteria about looking like the texture of the fabric but I certainly think it captures the fluid loopy shapes.

This is the tweed on A3 white paper in soft chalk pastels. I thunk this perfectly conveys the texture of the newly created material. If I had had to draw the original fabric I would have used coloured pencils as I think pastel would have made the fabric look softer and Woollier and not as crisp and sharp in it's pattern.

This is a section of the purple plastic bag drawn in oil pastel which conveys the shiny hard material that the plastic bag has become.

I did enjoy this assignment although I think it was slightly repeating the first assignment where we had to recreate household objects - I knitted the bin liner for that assignment and feel that that would easily translate in to this assignment. I am not sure quite what the difference in the assignments were really other than this one is more considered and has more drawing - it also involves more of a look at texture and the creation of 3d. Here is a series of pictures of my knitted bin liner which shows how it too fits this assignment. The idea of knitting unusual materials is something I would like to explore further.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Assignment 4 -The Big Draw

Our fourth assignment was to draw a set up using the objects we had altered in assignment 1.

My objects were altered considerably when you saw them individually but as a group they were strangely unaltered and to me looked as ifvthey were simply a collection of "rubbish" that I had to draw! I decided to draw the group without the Persil wall because it detracted from the shapes of the other objects such as the tin cans and the bottle.

This picture shows the Persil Wall with much of the collection of altered objects. This set up was the one I didn't draw. If you take it on its linear shapes without the logo or stitching the Persil box is surplus to requirement as the white cloth serves the purpose of background to heighten the shapes. If the brief was not to draw 'line drawings' it may be more relevant.

This is a top view section. I like the way the light catches the bottle and the flat tin can. You cannot see the "damage" done to the tomato soup can.

The complete set of this top view. And below with the aperture.

This is the aperture I used for the oil pastel on flour,water and tea bag paper picture where I sat about a metre back. I really like the colours that I have used to represent the objects, I think they go really well with the tea and flour & water mix. I like this texture and the stiffness of the paper. It was exactly like drawing out a hop scotch game on pavements and took me back to my childhood where hopscotch was one of my favourite games! I like using mediums that are nostalgic and I was pleasantly surprised by this one!

This is the leaf paper. I decided to make a background using old Quince leaves stitched with red cotton onto and White piece of paper. Onto this bumpy, flaky surface I decided to paint using acrylic paint. The leaves were very dry and crumbled a bit when they came into contact with the paint. I would like to try this painting again but with machine stitching. I think the paint is effective though and I really like the contrast between the paint and the stitches. The quince leaves were large and I dont think you could do this with much smaller leaves. They could perhaps have been a bit fresher to start off with although they would have ended up dry and flaky in the end anyway.

The following picture is a set up section drawn from below the table height and the resulting picture is a section taken from that. I decided to use black paper on White paper. The black paper had White cotton stitched to it and the black had White!

I liked the influence of Andy Goldsworthy that I had used for the method of seamlessly making the line move across the changing colours. The contrast of black on white / white on black were very striking. I would definitely use this method again.

It was from this set up that I took the paper collage section. In the end on the finished picture I added some little spots of paper which are from a hole puncher. They were not strictly in the view or the brief but I wanted to add some variation to the square shapes I had used for lines and enhance the curves. I did try and use colour variations for the lines and around the top curve tried working from dark to light. However the whole effect looks fairly green. I wasn't sure whether to fill it in or not but decided not to in the end, this, if I am honest, was because I had had enough of cutting and sticking, it is very fiddley with such small pieces and I kept getting stuck together!!

Also I thought that if it was filled in you would lose the crease lines of the crisp bags that go across the shape.

I had already done one section piece in collage using newspaper pieces and trying to do a similar effect to Andy Goldsworthy with the red headline pieces of newsprint. I tried to simulate the effect he causes with his tightly packed leaves. With more time I think this would be quite striking. Also, by trying out different methods such as whether it is important to have all the pieces of uniform shape and size etc . I thought this method looked quite striking and I can think of various different ways to take it forward however it is very laborious and quite boring! I have always wondered if I would like to try mosaics as I love doing jigsaw puzzles but now I am not so sure!

The photograph below shows one of the other set ups I sketched. This one became the inspiration for the picture which I made with Annas photo Collage. I printed two pieces of A4 paper with a repeat pattern of a black and White photo of my daughter. I had made the photo as monochrome as possible. I then 'drew, the lines with tinfoil. The effect was striking. I like working with the tinfoil. Its not something I have particularly used very often but I will be using it a lot I think. It's is malleable and has a lovely shiny surface that is hard to achieve with pens, paint or pastel. This picture was one of the more abstract and I like the overall effect. One of the areas of the craft world I am eager to explore is printing. I like fabrics with a strong repeat pattern and I would like to create fabric like the paper I made of Anna. I would like to try this with a colour picture that has very bold colours ( like the iconic Andy Warhol pictures) And use bright coloured ribbons for the lines.

The stitched fabric collages image was taken from the picture that I made using the photographs and the tinfoil. The silver fabric is very soft and supple and is gathered to show the bashed dents in the tin. The bottle looks recognisable- more so than it does in real life!! The different colours are the shadows in of light and dark areas where the bottle is contorted and melted. I really like appliqué work and this time I did it soley on the sewing machine as opposed to doing some by hand. I really enjoyed making this piece and it felt as though there was a culmination in all the different aspects of the assignment coming together. I felt that there was an expectation to make the pieces far more abstract given that we had been studying cubism and using the aperture, but I wanted to draw or put down on paper what I saw. I think that the pieces that are abstract work well, the paper collages and the tin foil picture are not immediately obvious as to what they are so I have achieved an abstract state there. This was also why I chose the melted crisp packets in the aperture to make the collage as they are truly abstract.

The final two pictures are the pastel drawing I made using the A2 paper. I like the colours and the strong images. I love working in pastel, it creates lovely fluid shapes and the colours blend so easily.

I could have gone on and on with drawing and developing new ideas for the set ups and, what interested me more was the different mediums with which to 'draw' and different surfaces on which to imprint. I would like to try out collages with matchsticks, corks, milk bottle tops, beer bottle tops, feathers, petals, stones, twigs. I also have ideas for alternative 'paints and pastels' using tea, coffee, herbs and spices, cocoa powder and make up. Other surfaces I would like to use include wood, mirror, paper with stitches on and paper that is stained with tea or watered spices in a wash. Hopefully other assignments will give the opportunity for more experimenting with these and other mediums.

I feel that I have answered the assignment requirements and hope to do a few more abstract pictures to include in my sketch book which I am handing in to my tutor this week. There are other sketches included in there and my small creative journal that I have not shown in this blog - also I must give my tutor a few surprises!!