Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 7 - Free Machining

Our first activity at College this week was to make a colour wheel. We had all brought in objects of a particular colour and then arranged them into the wheel. I took in 2 colours  - yellow and purple - as there are only 5 of us on the course and 6 colours in the wheel. We photographed the wheel to use later.

Then we got our sewing machines out and set them up for free machine embroidery. This is where you attach a small flat foot and lower the 'feed dogs' (the teeth that usually feed the material through your machine automatically). This allows you to move your material through the machine in any direction you want, effectively 'drawing' with your needle and creating patterns and effects that would be impossible any other way.
We were given a sheet of patterns to try and copy, including writing our name. You have to have your material stretched in a hoop, which is why mine has a strange shape. Incidentally, I have not gone colour blind - we were advised to choose our strongest threads as they frequently break.

Finally we stitched a circle a few times and then cut out the middle. We then stitched backwards and forwards across the circle - the machines really complained about stitching over thin air! However at the end you can cut out the stitched centre and you have created an interesting flower decoration, or in my case a kind of squashed spider - see orange and purple blobs on my sample!

Using our new skills we then created a colourful piece. Starting with unpromising blue felt, we ironed on Angelina (very thin strips of iridescent fusible plastic) and other snips of fabric and thread. A top layer of sheer fabric sandwiches it all together and then we did free machine patterns to hold it all in place.

As you can see I went very bright on mine, with free machining based on triangles in a variegated thread, augmented with free machine zig-zag blobs in red and blue. Finally I free machined triangles in orange and green and cut out the centres. This was a desperate attempt to make the piece look interesting - it looks much better in these photos than in real-life!

I have done some more work on my Line book pages. The page on 'emotive lines' (right) was quick and easy but the one for 'Overlaid' lines (below) took a lot of agonising. I originally wanted to do a design in strips of tissue paper based on tartan, where the colours change at the intersections, but this didn't work. So I ended up with a simpler, more abstract version, with my additional source images as a border round the edge.

I have now decided to run strips of white and black bin-liner through holes throughout the whole length of the book. This took ages as I had to punch out over 140 holes by hand!
Just the front cover to complete now. It has taken ages because it has been like creating 6 new works of art but I have really enjoyed doing it.

Finally, it was the birthday of my friend's daughter at the weekend and I only remembered at the last minute so I made myself make a card in 10 minutes flat so that I would catch the post! I hope it was well-received.

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