Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ideas for a Hanging

I have started working on module 4 chapter 1 (study sheets on flowers in Elizabethan and Russian embroidery) but have been diverted into working on a site-specific hanging after being invited to exhibit some work in Gloucester in August. I wrote about this over on Quodlibet but have now decided to make it as one of the assessment pieces for the diploma.

I actually meant to write this blog entry last Thursday while the first thoughts were all fresh, but somehow ran out of time and then carried on working with some ideas. So before I get too carried away (and forget what I was going to say) it is time to get my head together and put it all in writing - I find posting to this blog helps to sort things out for me when the brain is buzzing.

So, I started with two thoughts which I brainstormed 1) I like the idea of a long narrow hanging based on the designs I posted about here and 2) the church (which is no longer in use for services) is dedicated to St Nicholas and I would like to reflect this in some way.

Because of the height of the space available, I want to make something on a large scale. I looked back at the prints I had played with before and found that the one I liked had sides in a ratio of 1:7.6. If the hanging is to be a simple rectangle, it is important that the proportions look 'right' while keeping the long narrow look I am after, so I checked a table of silver means to find the nearest one, which turned out to be 1:8.1231. If I scale this up, I can make a hanging that is 3m long and 37cm wide - large enough to make a statement without becoming unmanageable. To get a feel for working at this scale, I cut a roll of cheap lining paper to size and just scribbled on it with some Markal sticks, making big marks - picture 1.

Picture 1

Going back to the original design, with its swirls of colour on a dark background it looked a little like a night sky so this could tie in with St Nicholas being the patron saint of sailors and giving protection from storms. I played with enlarging and cropping the image again and chose a section that did not have any of the gold lines but had some particularly interesting swirls that suggested chaos and storm clouds. Picture 2 shows the image in the correct proportion.

Picture 2

Next step is to consider ways of getting this image onto fabric - these are the ideas I noted down as possibilities
  • dyed fabric base - could be joined pieces; stitch together and then dye to get colour variations
  • use Markal sticks on midnight blue background, add detail with stitch
  • digital print for background
  • add texture with gesso or crumpled tissue
  • use padded or raised areas
  • discharge colour to get swirls
  • add line sketches of nautical/navigation images - layered
  • is it to be opaque or translucent?
And here are some paper samples printed to scale to play with

Picture 3, left to right - the print untouched, shaped at bottom (don't like this), drawings of sextants and astrolabes.

Picture 3

Picture 4 left to right - astrolabe drawn on print. I thought this was a bit too literal so tried just circle segments to suggest the instruments. On the right I have printed a small part of the background larger and gone over it with Markal sticks. I would like to illustrate or represent the idea of the chaos of a storm being calmed or overcome.

Picture 4.
Picture 5 - another rough sketch on a small piece printed full size.

Picture 5

Picture 6 - I took two of the papers from picture 4 and stuck them up outside so I could see them from a distance - the larger one is not quite at full width.

Picture 6


Hazel said...

How exciting - which venue will you be exhibiting at?
I love the shape, the colours and the theme and on the garage wall it already looks striking.

Heather said...

That's an ideal way of combining two commitments into one Jane. Picture 2 design is stunning and the widened sample stands up well to being viewed from a distance. I always find it difficult to select just one working method from all the possibilities buzzing round at the start of a project. Looking forward to seeing how the hanging develops.

Daniela said...

Jane this is f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c.
Thank you for sharing this great project in such a detailed way. It's almost like being there while it's being created. I hope you bring along your notes at Summer School.

JaneO said...

Hazel, I will be at St Nicholas Church in Westgate alongside an exhibition of quilts - it is part of Three Choirs Plus. I'll post details nearer the time.

Maggie said...

I so enjoy reading your explanations Jane, along with looking at the picture progression. It always inspires me to 'play' around more with my own ideas. Will keep watching to see how the hanging develops.

ferinn said...

This looks beautiful already .The colours are luscious can't wait to see how it develops.