Monday, 31 May 2010

Chapter 10 - automated translations or not so!

for this part of the chapter i decided to break free and with my first sample went totally abstract. this one is 'automated' in as much as a straight stitch is automated and not hand sewn!!!! after all my sewing machine has to be all of thirty something years old. i trapped various bits of metal using a straight stitch. underneath is an Easter egg wrapper then a wonderful piece of blue fabric i found on the street followed by a piece of stainless steel mesh i burnt with a candle. inside two pleats are my good old favourite strips of tunnock tea cake wrapper followed by various bits of metal wire and fabric.
2 is a piece of aluminium with punched numbers taken from a metal tag i again found on the street (my eyes tend to look down rather than up these days). the aluminium was scratched and paint rubbed into the surface then metallic pieces of tomato tube and fabric were trapped by the most exciting automated stitch my machine does!
and finally 3. strips of a Tizer drinks can worked with automated letters (Tizer) i used my sewing machine from work for this! the plan was to adhere the strips onto a water soluble paper with transfer adhesive then stitch repeated letters and then dissolve the paper. however the machine didn't like going over the strips so i placed a piece of tissue over the top and loosened the pressure on the foot. it didn't like doing this and there were numerous breaks and misforming of letters! afterwards i tore off the tissue and tore into the water soluble paper leaving some in place. i am actually very pleased with the result even though it wasn't what i had in mind to begin with! all 3 pieces are approximately A5 in size.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Chapter 10 - i hope not 'lost in translation'

Chapter 10 requires translating into stitch designs previously worked on paper. i found this quite hard to do as i needed to be really disciplined in my approach! i chose 3 samples of the metallic papers made with glop and based on Opus Anglicanum patterns (wow it seems so long ago now)! and 2 based on shi sha patterns.
first one (i haven't quite worked out how to get 2 pictures side by side in one yet so basically the top pictures with the numbers are the papers and the lower the stitched translations. all samples are roughly A5 in size. 1 i used 2 layers of organdie. the lower layer heavily machine stitched and the pattern created with tiny silver pearls wrapped around a large needle. the top 'window' has glitter attached.

2 incorporates an oxidised copper piece which i cut, punched with holes and masked before oxidising. the fabric is painted with textile dyes and markal paint sticks and then stitched with both metallic and ordinary sewing threads and sequins. finally markal was used on the metal.

3 is not using fabric but coloured newspaper as a background. it has been stencilled and coloured with markal paint stick. the large circular pieces were black sequins with transfoil attached. the gold is tissue paper and sweet wrappers with silver thread couched down and tiny sequins.

4 again the textile base is painted and has metallic markal paintstick applied. the strips of metal are a mixture of copper and brass patinated with cupra, sanded to add striations with extra paint and tissue stuck on. they are couched down with fishing line. the diagonal marks are a combination of stitch and computer bits. finally glitter was applied with an adhesive medium.

and finally 5 the painted textile base has a transfoil strip attached. tomato puree tube has been cut into strips, folded, scratched and paint rubbed into the surface. stuck tissue and machine stitching holds them in place.i am still in the process of working the automated stitch versions so more to follow!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Theo Jansen

Yesterday i went to see an exhibition of Theo Jansen's work. i had never heard of him before but have now so i thought i would share his work! he describes himself as a kinetic artist making huge wonderful beasts that move by wind power. the exhibition is at The Spacex in Exeter (15 May-3 July). one of the exciting things about the exhibition is that Theo will have one of his strandbeests on Exmouth Beech on 25-27 June this sounds like a must. it will also be in Exeter city centre 2-4July but i think the idea of seeing it on the beach sounds better to me. you can see a video of his work HERE.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Alchemy and how clean is your house!

the second part of chapter 9 was 'playing' with metals and chemicals! seeing how the metal would react to certain substances and any patina produced. i had a quick tour round the house to see what i could find in the way of nasty substances and came up with the following. Goddard's silver dip, used to clean silver jewelry; Parazone bleach/toilet cleaner; Oven Pride oven cleaner; Dettol mould and mildew remover (its very damp here in the Wet Country); vinegar a mixture of white and balsamic and finally Liver of Sulphur (used to oxidise metals). we didn't have any yogurt and somehow it seemed like a waste of good yogurt to dip various metals in but i could buy a small pot!
the Liver of Sulphur is something i discovered recently when an oxidised silver ring of mine got scratched. someone at work said 'oh you need to re-oxidise that' and suggested Liver of Sulphur. now for the history lesson! apparently it's made from heating Potassium Carbonate with Sulphur and was known as long ago as the 8th century when it was first made by an Arab alchemist Jabir Ibn Hayyan. each batch is apparently different and produces different effects on silver and copper.
the above and next few pictures show my 'experiments' on various metals with my chosen chemicals. hope they aren't too boring. the best results in each case were on copper and brass.
Aluminium remained relatively clean and shiny whereas most chemicals seemed to corrode the tin cans.
the oven pride did something nasty to one sardine tin leaving only the plastic coating behind!

i knew that Liver of Sulphur worked well on silver but it was a great surprise to see a lovely dull 'patina' on the copper and it then dawned on me 'why not try masking some areas?' hence the small samples on the right.

i then tried further experiments. 1 shows copper, stainless and brass mesh burnt with a candle. besides the wonderful colours i achieved i love the sooty deposits. i have no form of heat gun! in the middle of stinking the house out a canvasser came to the door! not sure she believed me when i told her what i was doing.
2 shows a very thin strip of copper and ultra fine brass mesh burnt and scrunched/pleated.
3 tomato puree tube, just as Sian says has a wonderful colour inside. i love pleating things so tried with these. the orangy bronze colour is due to a 'plastic'? coating on the metal. once i had pleated or folded i scratched away the coating with sand paper, carefully as it tends to break fairly easily. i also found my fathers old hammer and impressed various cutters and shapes into them. the one on the left i cut into and turned bits back.i am now waiting for my husband to finish his tube of harissa to see what that's like inside (i can't take the heat or it would have been finished ages ago)!
4 the top one i used the outside of the tomato tube making holes with a needle and scraping away the printed covering. the 3 on the bottom right are all aluminium punched with a needle and sanded to give scratches to the metal, i have then rubbed wax crayon into the scratches. finally the one on the lower left has been punched with a tiny screw driver.
next ones above are copper. the top one has been pleated and hammered then masked with sellotape and oxidized with the Liver of Sulphur it was then patinated in 3 of the un-oxidised areas with Cupra, then the patinated areas were waxed by rubbing over with a candle. it gives a nice sheen and i think protects the patination. the lower one has been embossed with a cookie cutter and then patinated with Cupra and finally sanded over the raised areas.the final pieces are on copper mesh using shibori techniques and all treated with Liver of Sulphur. the very top one above is an ultra fine mesh which was pleated the next one down was also pleated in two areas and i stitched a line of coarse running stitches to see if that would work as a mask but it didn't really work. the lower one was pleated in two directions. i found there is a definite 'art' to how long to leave them in the solution, too long and it obliterates the lovely copper sheen.
with the last one i was getting very excited and thought i would try twisting the mesh with fine beads inside it didn't need to be tied as just twisting it held. it is so like a textile i am sure there are endless possibilities!!!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Update on Textile Artist

one of the textile artists i chose to study for Module 1 was Matthew Harris. when we visited Bristol some time ago we went to the Colston Hall specially to see Matthew's commission for the new hall. basically it's a 6 metre long drawing designed as a musical score which he has burnt into a wooden wall. it is typical that the day we chose to go coincided with a record fair with stalls and posters covering up most of the piece! however i was able to see last a 'textile' you can touch and it does feel lovely.
many years ago when i was taught how to give presentations, i was always told you should never apologise for bad photos or even include them, however i DO apologise for the one above, it is a detail of the wall showing the burnt design in what appears to be a wall made of long thin matchsticks!!! i am looking forward to seeing what Matthew is exhibiting this week (as of tomorrow) at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen's show Collection.
so onwards and upwards i must get back to my own burning but of metals!