Monday, May 28, 2012

Week 28 - Making beads

This week at college we made beads out of all kinds of paper and fabric. They are all made in a similar way - cut a shape like one of these patterns and roll round a knitting needle or kebab stick (use a kebab stick if heating with a heat gun so it doesn't get too hot). Paper beads are stuck with PVA glue and fabric can be held by stitches or wrapping with thread.

We also used salt dough to make some beads - poke a large hole through as it can puff up and close the hole up.
Here are my best ones. From the top:

  • Green fabric wrapped with gold metallic thread and red glitzy trim glued on in bands.
  • Salt dough painted with acrylic paints and highlighted with metallic rub-on oil paint.
  • Salt dough disc as above
  • Outer beads are rolled patterned paper, next two and middle centre are craft vilene daubed with fabric paint and wrapped with thread, middle top is two layers of sheer fabric with neon thread in between rolled and heated with a heat gun, middle bottom is gold card.
  • Outer beads are blue tissue paper wrapped round a drinking straw, covered in PVA glue and wrapped with gold metallic thread, inner two are Kunin felt wrapped with metallic thread,
  • Outer beads are white Kunin felt heated with a heat gun, second from left is ordinary felt and sheer fabrics wrapped together and heated with a heat gun, third from left is Kunin felt wrapped with green thread.
We also made sequins from found materials all sewn here onto scrunched brown paper. Clockwise from top left are 
  • pumpkin seeds with hole punched using a leather punch highlighted with silver metallic rub-on once sewn on, 
  • squares of gold card some with holes punched out all sewn on in different ways, 
  • pieces of cereal bag inner sewn directly onto the backing
  • triangles of plastic drinks bottle distorted in boiling water - the ones cut from the length of the bottle curl up more tightly than the ones cut across the width of the bottle
Quite a fun activity this week - my favourite beads are the blue tissue paper ones and the cereal bag inner made a surprisingly beautiful trim.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Week 27 - Hand-stitch piece completed

My handstitch piece is finally finished! I really pushed myself this weekend to get it done.
First I tackled the Knapweed petals. I used 2 slightly different colours of pink and stitched multiple rows of Velvet Stitch and then cut the loops to make the tufts. 

Then I stitched the Cow Parsley leaf. The central stem is in Split Stitch like the main stem and the leaves are in Twisted Chain, which I have never used before. I like how it has come out although I had my doubts whilst stitching it.
Then I completed the Cow Parsley heads. I modified a star Blackwork pattern to create the small flowers and then free-stitched the joining lines in Back Stitch.

Finally I added some Running Stitch 'clouds'. These are in 2 strands of white floss but I think they should be bolder in hind-sight.

This is the back of the piece - always interesting to see! It will be hidden forever once I mount it properly.

Finally, I have had to make a folder to present all my supporting info, designer/maker research and samples in. It is an A3 folder with a pocket in the back. In the centre I have stitched 4 pages to display my design artwork and mounted the stitch samples on the front. I have called my piece 'Wasteland'.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Week 26 - progressing hand-stitch

I got the green light at college to my machine-stitch piece this week. However, we have been asked to focus on finishing our hand-stitch piece first. So this week I have been doing that. I have completed the flowers on the Goosegrass, put in the large stem of the Cow Parsley and put the 'halos' on the Plantain heads.

The large Cow Parsley stem was easier than I was expecting. It is multiple rows of Split Stitch - once I had got the first line right, I could just keep adding rows to make it thicker.

The flowers of the Goosegrass are just blobs of Satin Stitch with small black French Knots on top.

The Plantain flowers are tiny flat sequins held by a French Knot. I found out in my research that the Tudors used to use rings of silver hammered flat to make Spangles for their Blackwork pieces.
I am now working on the pattern of flowers for the Cow Parsley heads. This is proving tricky because my original design won't fit into the canvas (I've drawn it out to check) and I have already done diamonds on the Plantain heads, so I am a bit bored of those!

After that I have to put the pink fluffy petals on the Knapweed heads, the parsley-like leaf on the Cow Parsley stem and possibly a few spots of colour on the Plantain leaves and then I will be finished bar the mounting.

I have also finished my written research that has to accompany this piece this week. I came across a textile artist called Debbie Smyth who also started her career with a fascination with pylons so I have written about her. She uses pins and black linen threads to create large pictures that look like line drawings. Her website is copyrighted so I haven't re-produced her pylon piece here but I urge you to click on this link.
Finally here is the poster for the final show in which our work will be appearing.