Module 4 – Chapter 12

Study of three artists

Cas Holmes

Cas Holmes spent four years at art college training in painting and drawing before becoming involved in stitch.  This background combines beautifully in her work which has been described as ‘painting with cloth’.  Cas collects overlooked ‘ things’ left behind by others on streets and hedgerows and uses them in collages to create meaningful artworks.

Relevance to this module:

  • using scrap paper to create artworks.  Whilst I used scrap paper to make paper pulp, Cas often uses it as part of a collage
  • creating interesting book forms – Cas combines fabric, stitch, paper and print to create fascinating ‘books’.  I created several experimental book forms before settling on a design for my final assessed piece.
  • text in art – many of Cas’s artworks feature a word or phrase either printed or stitched in to the piece to help tell a story.  The base fabric of my assessed piece was designed by overlapping several layers of text as a rubbing, print and stitched form.
  • stitching into paper and fabric – having created a mixed media background, Cas stitches on top.  I experimented with ways of stitching into handmade paper on a fabric grid and used this technique for the sails on my assessed piece.

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Images 12.1 and 12.2 Stitched books combining papers and fabric

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Image 12.3  Using text in artworks

Lois Walpole

Lois Walpole graduated from Saint Martins School of Art, London with a B.A.(Hons.) in Sculpture in 1975 and obtained City and Guilds qualifications in Basket Making from the London College of Furniture in 1982.   Since then she has worked full time as an artist/ basket maker .

The materials used are often recycled materials…“These artefacts combine the techniques and often the forms of basketry with the detritus of consumerism and the natural materials of my immediate environment” Lois Walpole.

Relevance to this module:

Using recycled materials – in this module I used waste paper such as old dress-making patterns to create pages for some of my experimental books, as well as the basis for paper pulp, and old vegetable nets for paper-making grids.

image Image 12.4 – Basket made of recycled paper

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Image 12.5 – basket made from drinks cans

Ineke Berlyn

I bought three of Ineke’s books last year and was very sad to hear of her death earlier this year.  She was an international prize winning textile artist, who combined her love for colour, fabric and travelling to create a collection of work and sketchbooks. 

My reason for selecting her for this chapter is because of her frequent use of text in her stitched works.  Sometimes these were used as ways of turning sketchbook pages into quilts (image 12.6 below) and sometimes as a way of creating pattern (image 12.7 below)

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Image 12.6 – Obama’s inauguration quilt

image Image 12.7 – Indigo words

Relevance to this module:

Ineke  used text as a way of both creating narrative in her artworks as well as layering the text to create pattern.  This was a technique that I used in my assessed piece in which I used the words ‘Jolie Brise’ and the degrees of latitude e.g. 42°N, to tell the story of my travels, as well as layering the text in several ways to create pattern.

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Module 4 – Evaluation of assessment piece

The completed embroidered assessment piece for Module 4 is a photograph/sketch album based on the design topic of media.

How do I feel about the resulting conclusion?

I am very pleased with the final piece.  It feels very pleasant to the touch as the Calico has softened due to handling and has a slightly brushed feel.  I feel that it shows quite a lot of creativity in the various elements that I used to decorate the fabric and in creating the marine parts e.g. sails, rigging, ropes and cleat.  It also has an emotional connection in that it represents a special sailing adventure that I am undertaking.

Is it fit for purpose?

Yes.  It meets the brief as it is an embroidered panel, larger than A4 in size, which has been folded to create an item related to media.  I used several techniques from the Module including:

  • lettering made from rubbing over raised letters
  • machine and hand embroidery lettering and doodling
  • making grids from drawn thread work
  • paper making
  • stitching into handmade paper
  • making interesting book forms

If I was asked to make it again, what changes would I make to the way I designed it and the way I made it?

  • I would probably dye the Calico a slightly darker manila colour before starting stitching as it has become slightly grubby-looking after all of the handling, printing, stitching etc.
  • I think it would be interesting to have a contrast of the text size by adding in some tiny text in as well as the larger ‘Jolie Brise’ lettering.
  • I would overstitch the ‘rigging’ and ‘rope ladder’ with a silky thread in order to give a contrast to the matt surface of the cover and make it stand out more

Module 4 – Health and safety considerations

Item

Safety precaution

Machine stitching

Use chair with back support and easy access to pedal.

Keep flexes out of the way of tripping or damaging wires.

Mono printing

Protect surfaces with newspaper to stop inks and paints transferring where not wanted

Bleaching

Wear protective gloves and clothes

Work in ventilated area

Dispose of excess bleach safely

Cutting with blade / rotary cutter

Use self-healing mat

Put cover on blade when not in use

Cut away from yourself

Gluing

Protect surfaces.

Do not touch wet glue when using hot glue gun

Ironing

Switch off when not in use

Ensure flex is not trailing to cause trip hazard

Dying

Protect hands, clothes and surfaces from dye

Paper making

Ensure proper use of blender when making pulp

Module 4 – Storage of materials and sample

Storage of materials and samples

Item

Storage place

Ideal conditions

Design work in progress

Flat pieces attached in sketchbook, 3D pieces kept in plastic containers

Away from sun, dust, children, pets, liquids

Completed embroidery

Attached in sketchbook

Wrap in acid free paper

Completed design work

Stored in plastic container with lid

Wrap in acid free paper

Papers for design work

In sketchbook

 

Inks and paints

Stored in plastic container with lid

Upright, lids secure, cool dark conditions

Glue, bleach, sprays

Stored in plastic container with lid

Upright, lids secure, cool dark conditions and away from children and pets

Embroidery work in progress

Stored in plastic container with lid next to my desk

Accessible to continuous work, away from usual hazards

Fabrics

Stored in plastic containers with lid. Sorted by colour and type of fabric.

Dry, away from sun. Flat or rolled in colour or fibre order. Acid free tissue paper

Threads

Frequently used threads are on a wall mounted bobbin holder, others are in plastic lidded containers by colour.

Dry, away from sun, untangled and in colour/type order

Beads, metal threads etc

Stored in plastic container with lid. Beads in small plastic pots.

In acid free tissue, not plastic bags.

Dyes, paints etc

Stored in plastic container with lid

Lids secure, cool temperature, lidded container.

Sewing machine

On desk in working position with cover over it when not in use. I have separate desks for sewing and messy work

Normal room temp and humidity. Kept upright. In working position ready for use.

Other electrical equipment

Stored in plastic container with lid

Dry place with flex tightly wound.

Module 4 – Costs and time

Module 4

Chapter

Time (hours)

Cost

1

1

£0

2

10

Ink and bleach – approx. £3 as already had it

3

2

Approx. £2 – for small pieces of grid materials that I already had

4

8

£0 – used scrap paper for pulp

5

6

Approx. £5 for linen and dye which I already had

6

14

Approx. £10 for linen, threads and beads that I already had

7

5

£0

8

11

Approx. £5 for fabric and threads that I already had

9

14

Approx. £5 for

10

27

Approx £10 for fabric and Khadi paper that I already had

£8 for Procion dyes

11

2

£0

Total

100

£40

Module 4 – Chapter 11

Book structure with embroidered panel – related to media

For my final piece for this module I decided to create a photograph album / sketchbook with an embroidered cover.  In June/July 2017 I am very fortunate to be taking part in a Tall Ships Race from Boston USA to Nova Scotia, on a ship called Jolie Brise.  My idea is that the decorative elements of the album will be inspired by my trip, and the pages inside will be used to house photos, sketches and mementos of the trip.

In chapter 10, I made various different book forms and particularly liked one which folded in three and decided to use a similar form for this piece.   The colour scheme for the piece was based on my ‘media’ page i.e. the base fabric is calico which is a similar colour to manila envelopes, with blue elements like the inside of envelopes, and some red like the stamps.

My starting point was to create a base fabric which would have several layers of decoration added on.  I chose a mid-weight Calico and cut a piece approximately 20in x 10in (slightly larger than the final piece will be ).  I made the lettering ‘Jolie Brise’ using a hot glue gun – see image 11.1 and used it to rub the lettering onto the calico with a blue oil pastel (image 11.2).  I chose a shade of blue which is similar to the ink in a biro pen to continue the media theme.

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Image 11.1                           Image 11.2

I did several layers of rubbing in different directions in order to create shapes and the suggestion of words rather than legible text (Image 11.3).

imageImage 11.3

Next I used free machine embroidery to trace over the lines of the rubbings with a dark blue thread (image 11.4)

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Image 11.4

In one of the earlier chapters I had created different examples of text, and then doodled around them to create new designs.  I decided to use this technique with hand stitching.  I added hand stitch using a navy perle thread.  I ‘doodled’ around all of the dots on the ‘i’s in the words Jolie Brise with a running stitch (image 11.5)

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Image 11.5

Once this was completed I added some pale gold stitched doodles around some of the loops in the writing (image 11.6)

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Image 11.6

And then I added some lines of straight stitches to fill in some of the shapes inside the ‘B’s and ‘J’s (image 11.7).

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Image 11.7

To finish this base layer I then added some monoprinting of the words Jolie Brise using white and blue fabric paints on a gelli plate (image 11.8). 

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Image 11.8

Next I started working on some decorative elements.  I wanted to use the drawn thread technique learnt in this module and decided to use it in two ways.  Firstly, to create a net to represent the rigging on the ship (images 11.9 and 11.10 below)

image Image 11.9 (rigging with dolphins visible through it!)

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Image 11.10 – net made from drawn thread-work,

with zig-zag stitching over the remaining threads to add strength.

From this net I cut sections to stitch on to the base layer; one to resemble the rope ladder up the mast (image 11.11) , and one to represent the rigging.

imageImage 11.11

I stitched these on to bse layer as shown ion image 11.12

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Image 11.12

Next I created some sail shapes.  The Jolie Brise has five distinctive red sails (see image 11.13)

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Image 11.13

My second use of drawn thread work was to create a base for some handmade paper sails.  Firstly I stitched the sail shapes on to a piece of course linen (image 11.14)

image Image 11.14

I then used a mix of Procion cold water dyes to create the red colour of the sails (image 11.15)

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Image 11.15

I then withdrew some of the threads to create nets (image 11.16)

imageImage 11.16

I created some paper pulp which I dyed with the same Procion mix and added it to the nets (image 11.17)

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Image 11.17

Finally I machine stitched lines into the sail shapes and hand stitched ‘DS2’ which is on the Jolie Brise main sail (images 11.18 and 11.19)

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Image 11.18                                                       Image 11.19

The final extra to be added to the base layer was some numbers representing the journey from the race starting point (42°N) to the end point (46°N).  I created these in Word and then printed them onto photocopy fabric (image 11.20)

imageImage 11.20

I tried a few different layouts as seen in the images below:

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Image 11.21 – discarded as it reminded me of a fish skeleton!

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Image 11.22  – random positioning of the sails – discarded as it didn’t really look like anything in particular

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Image 11.23 – I chose this layout with the sails in the correct Jolie Brise position, and stitched the sails and numbers in place.

I then used a rotary cutter to trim the piece to 7in x14in (image 11.24).

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Image 11.24

Next I started to create a second fabric for the reverse of the album cover.  I started with a lighter weight calico and wrote on it using a white oil pastel.  I intended this to act as a resist and painted over it with a blue Procion dye solution (image 11.25)

imageImage 11.25

imageImage 11.26

I then machine stitched all over the fabric with white thread, writing ‘Jolie Brise’ in different directions as shown above.  On top of this I added mono-printed lettering in blue and white fabric paint (image 11.27)

image Image 11.27

The final decoration on this fabric was hand stitched doodling in a cream perle thread (image 11.28)

imageImage 11.28

I then trimmed this piece to the same size as the front cover piece (image 11.29)

image Image 11.29

To create a fairly stiff cover, I used a piece of pelmet stiffener which had iron-on adhesive on both sides and sandwiched it between the two covers.  To hide the raw edges I made a long twisted cord using navy and cream perle threads and stitched this around the edge (image 11.30)

image Image 11.30

Next, I decided to add a boat themed fastener, like the rope and cleat used to moor a boat (image 11.31)

imageImage 11.31

I used an off-cut of embroidered fabric and created a tight roll which I then stitched in place to make a cleat (image 11.32)

imageImage 11.32

I used another length of twisted cord as the rope  attached to the edge of the front cover and twisted around the cleat to close the album  (image 11.33)

image Image 11.33

The images below show the finished cover.

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Image 11.34

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Image 11.35

My next task was to create the pages of the book.  I decided to have a concertina style book made from pieces of Khadi paper connected together by fabric hinges.  I chose Khadi paper as it is made from rag fibres and so would be less likely to tear when stitched.

Firstly, I made some fabric strips to connect the pages together.  I cut 1-inch strips of some Shibori fabric (ready made) and ironed them to make binding strips (image 11.36)

imageImage 11.36

I used some fabric stiffener to help the fabric hold its shape when ironed (image 11.37).

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Image 11.37

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Image 11.38 – verification photo of me making binding strips.

I then carefully tore the Khadi paper into the required size, and made 8 pages.  I decided to decorate the top page with a map showing the race route which I hand-stitched  (image 11.39).

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Image 11.39

I used the binding and a large running stitch on the sewing machine to attach the pages together in one long strip as shown in image 11.40.

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Image 11.40

I stitched two of the fabric hinges of the middle page to the cover.  This completed my album, as seen below.

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Image 11.41

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Image 11.42

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Image 11.43

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Image 11.44

I am really pleased with this piece.  I have used techniques from every chapter of this module, and cord and toggle making from a previous module.  When filled with mementos of my trip I think it will become a well-treasured keepsake.  I spent a long time thinking about how to make this piece.  Initially I had planned to make a rectangular cover for an album with a simple construction.  I’m glad that I changed the design to this folded version with the cord and cleat closure as it feels like one is unveiling something precious when undoing the fastener to reveal the pages within.