Sunday, 6 September 2015

Irka's Gingko

Here's the finished piece I started in Summer School. I managed to get it finished in time to put up at the Summer exhibition for my local creative textiles group (Stitches Coven) in August - hoorah! As well a adding a small amount of stitch I tried to integrate the pieces more by carrying over some lines/details to neighbouring pieces with inktense blocks, inktense pencils and also the odd dab of gesso.

Before stitch etc

The Finished piece - Irka's Gingko

I'm really quite pleased with it (if you are allowed to say so about your own work!) and enjoyed working with a more limited colour pallette. I've also enjoyed the 'assemblage' approach and imagine I will be utilising that a lot in future work.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Sabatical & Distant Stitch Summer School

I've been taking a long break from the course to co-author a knitting book - Elements - with Alison Crowther Smith. Our new collaborative is aptly named Smith & Jones Knits, and designs are inspired by our local outdoor surroundings and bringing the outdoors in, which coincidently was the theme of the Workshop we did with the awesome Shelley Rhodes at Summer School - or Stitch Camp as I call it.

Creating the book has been a hugely exciting experience and steep learning curve, and has left me with very little time for anything else over the last 12 months. Now it's all been sent for layout before going to print so the project has pretty much been completed so I have a bit of a life again! I am itching to get back into some textile artwork and Summer School was just the kick start I needed..............

Here are a few pictures from the weekend which was a challenge - of stamina as well as learning!

Early morning view from my bedroom window.

Good intention tidy start - co staring Julie's arm

Assorted mark making exercises above and below - and a laminated leaf

Add caption
A little collection of treasures - and the makings of a name badge...      
Elli's box and our 'babies'

Assemblage done - awaiting stitch

I'm pretty pleased with how the wall piece has come together so far - just needs a bit of stitch and it'll be job done I think ......

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Module 1, Chapter 3 continued

Design Sheet B

This set of exercises  explores differences in scale, arranging and/or interlinking shapes to make new units or borders. I worked to one of my A3 sized sketchbook pages and added another A3 page as an extension  which I'll be able to fold in when a re-attach the page to the book.

 I continued to use my 2 motifs from my original research collection - a danish or patchwork style star and the star shapes I generated from images of the new Birmingham Library.

 Exercise 1 involved making a simple design using small and large versions of the same shape. I have also used both positive and negative versions of these.

Exercise 2 involved using these 2 different sized shapes to make a repeat pattern.
Border 1

Exercise 3 then involved a play to use my shape to make a continuous border and navigate this around a 90 degree corner, and here are the 2 versions I came up with.
Border 2

Linking Border

I then moved on to Exercise 4 which involved interlinking shapes to make a linking border. Due to the frondy bits on my shape this made for quite a congested and less than attractive effect. So I spaced them out by adding a different shaped link which was cut from part of a negative shape of the larger scale version, which  I think proved much more successful.

Exercise 5 was concerned with linking 2 different shapes and/or scale in an interesting way. I linked a shape derived form my Danish Stars to link with my Birmingham Library stars

Linking two different shapes 1
Linking two different shapes 2
Linking two different shapes 3

Exercise 6 - Making a new shape from old

My Birmingham star was cut into a different shape derived form the Danish Star. Swapping the colours around makes for quite a different effect.

Original shape

Positive and Negatives of new shape in different colours

 My last experiment involved placing the negative shape of my star over a printed sheet - a kind of reverse of the above process in. This produces a layered effect which  is akin to my observations of the actual library as there are a number of layers of variations of the star shapes as I have studied with my drawing.

As you can see these exercises have meant a whole lot of cutting out of individual shapes and I have to confess there were times when I rather regretted my choice of shape which is rather fiddly to say in the least - but I feel it was worth the effort as I think it makes for some interesting design developments.

Time logged for this activity - 9.5hours

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Birmingham Library - further exploration of design ideas

Drawing made by isolating an area from pictures of the Birmingham library decorative surface using 2 card L's as a viewfinder.  This makes for more dynamic star shapes, and shows a layering of these shapes of varying scale which adds depth & movement. The original photo  was taken at an angle so the shapes appear pleasantly distorted and less regular/formal.

Graphite stick, sketched into with eraser, and worked back into with pencil to add darker tones and definition.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Module 1, Chapter 3 - Design Development of Star Shapes

Design Sheet A
This set of exercises  explores positive & negative shapes, counterchange, symmetry/asymmetry and distortion. I worked to one of my A3 sized sketchbook pages and added an A4 extension which I'll be able to fold in when a re-attach the page to the book.

I used 2 motifs from my original research collection - a danish or patchwork style star and the star shapes I generated form my photo of the new Birmingham Library.

Exercise 1 involved counterchange of colour and also positive & negative shapes. It is striking the different effect this can make.

For exercise 2 I have taken a modified version of the negative Danish/patchwork shape to use as my 'positive' shape and placed them together to form another negative ahpe in the middle.

Exercises 3,4, & 5 involved exploring symmetry, assymetry and distortion which is a great way to modify and stylise shapes.

No. 5 shows the use of the Fibonnacci series to gradually increase the amount of distortion from a central point, giving the impression of perspective.


Exercise 6 involved distorting the star shape into a different shape i.e. circle, triangle and diamond. I drew the shape freehand into the 'new' shape.

My 'library' star is not strictly symmetrical, and neither were my distorted shaped versions - however if they were then my repeat patterns made in exercise 7 (below) would have worked a bit more seamlessly.

Using a simpler shape would have been a lot less fiddly to cut out, but I think it is quite effective when repeated in this way and makes quite complex star shapes.

To speed up the process a little the repeat of triangles was made by scanning in the image, copying and pasting multiple times onto a sheet of paper before cutting out each triangle and assembling.

Time logged for this activity - 7 hours

Monday, 6 January 2014

Module 1, chapter 2 - Star shapes from coloured papers

A3 sheet of paper

Here I have made a collection of star shapes from coloured papers using a number of techniques. I used a simple craft punch shape in 2 sizes to cut the stars on the far left, putting multiple shapes togther to form more complex shapes. Other techniques employed are tearing and cutting with a range of tools (scissors, pinking sheers, scalpel). I have enjoyed having a play with combining various components taken from my original research. some of the shapes are quite precise and structured, while with others I have enjoyed using a looser and less detailed approach.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Module 1, Chapter 2–Printing onto Coloured Papers

From my visual research of the new Library in Birmingham, I made a a print block from fun foam which I carefully cut with a scalpel – this enabled me to make relatively fine detail, and also to make a second block from the piece I’d cut so I had both a positive and negative of the motif.
hard at workHere I am hard at work looking rather serious, mounting the cut out foam blocks onto some thick card.printing

I used a roller to apply acrylic paint to the print blocks to give it a more even coat of paint. I had quite a session of it as you can see – I used a clothes airer to hand the papers to dry as I have limited table space, and this allowed me to keep printing while I had all the paints on the go.
When using a roller you tend to have loads of spare paint on it, so after I finished printing, rather than wash it all down the sink, I kept rolling onto any piece of paper I could get my hands on, using different angles, pressure and ends of the roller for different effect – Also into my sketch book pages – I basically rollered everything in my path and Winking smileit’s a good job himself was out or he may have had a coating too!
I also kept the paper I had used underneath as I was sloshing and printing which had some pretty interesting marks by chance, and will I’m sure come in handy for some collage at a future date. Here’s an A4 section of this ‘drip sheet’ below.
drip sheet
Here are a couple of pages of my sketchbook (A5 opened out to A4). I used up the paint on my stamp and then added a wash of colour once it was dry (below right), and I used a paper star shape as a mask and roughly rollered over the top to use up the paint.
sketchbook pagestar rollering
A happy accident – I the star I used as a mask (below) looks highly decorative in its own right – I used the roller after having dabbed my stamp direct to the pallette numerous time, and these imprints were transferred to the roller and on to the paper – you can just make out some ghostly marks form the print block.
star mask

Here are a selection of some of the more successful pieces

Assorted patterns on A4 Sheets using acrylic paint and procion dye washes