Friday, 29 March 2013

Beads and Quillwork

Chapter 6 is all about beads, collecting, making and using.

these are some found items that could be used for beads, toy gun caps, washers from umbrella making, metal work etc. I have coloured them with black spray paint in varying quantities.
i made some beads from paper pulp and then painted them. lower 'bead' is made from a bottle top mould so you can see the scale. the ones with the crosses on are from a chocolate box container and i must admit i got carried away with these so i have made rather a lot! the smaller ones are from cell battery packaging. i remembered and for these i made the pulp very fine.
i then tried making some beads with shrink plastic, coloured with felt tip and liquid graphite!the stitching is worked with horsehair.
these are the pieces after shrinkage with some additions and some wire beads. the brass bead is worked with french knitting and is less than a centimetre long. the liqiuid graphite crystallised when it was heated which has made it glisten. in some ways i prefer the beads pre shrinking!
some rolled beads, so from far right clockwise, rolled 'fimo' beads the white ones are glow in the dark, then some paper rolled and dipped in resin, perforated paper strip wound around and sprayed black, rolled and melted plastic, drinks can metal, oxidised wire mesh, knitted plastic that has been melted and rolled and finally rusted papers.
threaded bead work which i have never done before was great fun. i made a pattern loosely based on the gun cap and worked the bottom right piece in 'square stitch' with fine nylon thread. the piece to the left is loom woven, still on the loom because i might do some more and not sure how to finish off the warps! the warps are linen and the thread looping the beads through is guttermann sewing thread. the beads are tiny seed beads.
i stitched the first sample to a paper i had made in a previous chapter.
i then added some paper beads which i stuck in place.

as an antidote to the structured beads above i did some random crochet with made and found beads.
the thread used was fishing line

 Now for some quillwork.
this was great fun too. i used a mixture of paper, metal and plastic for the quill. its difficult not to do straight lines but i did try and vary it. there are far more stitches that can be done than i have done here! bottom right is worked with a drinking straw and staples.
the quillwork 'rosette' was quite tricky as the central thread only goes through the surface once as it it more of a pull loop linking everything together, so when you work it you are juggling with the bits in the middle flapping in the air until its all done around the outside and you can pull the drawstring; then of course you run out of strip halfway round and have to keep the tension going!

 i was greatly aided in this venture by: 
'The Technique of Porcupine Quill Decoration among the Indians of North America' by William C. Orchard, Eagles View Publishing, 1984.

'Quill and Beadwork of the Western Sioux' by Carrie A. Lyford, R.Schneider Publishers, 1983.

They both have excellent diagrams.
My favourite place to get fine beads is J.G.Beads Ltd. They have a wonderful selection of Japanese made beads.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Chapter 5 is all about creating a totem. i thought i would look up the definition which said, 'a being, object or symbol representing an animal or plant that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan or tribe reminding them of their ancestry or mythic past'. it can also be a personal spirit helper. i looked back over my past modules and the thing that came out strongly was my use of and liking of repetitive items. i came across this image of 'Crayola' totems which made me laugh.

i was very keen to revisit the face/head shapes i had worked on in a previous module.

heads and faces are very much a part of graffiti which is my research project and i wanted to make something and use materials that i feel are me and where i have got to now! i also looked back on an image i took at the beginning of the Diploma.
i remember Siân saying she saw eyes in the wire mesh.
 and recently i came across this image which reminded me of the above image.
Barbara Hepworth by Ida Kar
so i was very keen to use wire shapes to capture the facial features.
my one worry was the brief which asked for them all to be linked in some way and i was very keen to have them all standing upright (stubborn).

my first attempts, left rusted paper with resin, middle recycled can and right, paper with self portrait print.
  i wasn't very pleased with my first attempts although looking back at them there might be something that could be used!

my next attempt was based on the right hand one above, using a wire frame with layers of paper stitched to it and then a final outer layer stuck over the top with PVA, essentially paper maché. they are 15cm high. i was keen to keep the self portrait!

here is my group so far, some are plain some are graphite (yes the liquid graphite i raved about on Facebook), some just wire and some are organdie.
detail, i have used horsehair to stitch through punched holes for the eyes and eyelashes.

i then placed then in a piece of plastic i found that has holes but they are only held in loosely.

then i took a few and secured them in a strip from a drinks can with holes.
i then took them and the plastic and put them in horizontally to hang up.

i got some great shadows.
the above horizontal ones reminded me of the lenses used by opticians. so these are my first attempts although i have more ideas and would like to try and link them into a circular necklace type thing but i thought i would get some feedback before i plunged in head first!