Sunday, November 03, 2013

One More Time With These Engines

Well, the exhibition at Bristol Guild is over and all packed away, but here is one last picture of Engine 21 on display, courtesy of my daughter. Have a look also at the Gordano Textile Artists blog for more images of everyone’s work.  Seeing it on the wall, I realised I prefer the image on Engine 18 so the plan is to make that at the larger size as well and hang them as a pair.  I will try and get some other projects on the go so that I don’t go totally doolally stitching the background – there is an awful lot of it and it does get a bit tedious after a few hours (am I allowed to say that?  Just did).

IMG_3321

If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed that I didn’t write in as much detail as usual about designing and making these pieces.  Part of the reason is that I finally got organised and planned a series of articles for Design-IT, the magazine of the Computer Textile Design Group.  Sadly, the first one was published in what turned out to be the last edition.  I had written the second and roughed out the final two, and was going to cover splitting a large image up into bite sized pieces for the embroidery machine, playing with deleting sections and stopping the machine randomly.  I’m not quite sure what to do with this now.  It is a step by step “press this button next” tutorial using Paint Shop Pro and Embird, so probably a bit too specialised to offer to any other magazine that I know of (suggestions welcome).  If I finish off the series, I am happy to put it online for free but then it would make more sense to use screen capture to show how it works. So, more thought needed.

Friday, September 06, 2013

The Same but Different - Work in Progress

My machine has been red-hot since my last post.  Engine 18 is officially finished and mounted on stretcher bars (approx 16 x 28 inches).


And work continues on the larger piece - working title Engine 21 (don't ask what happened to 19 and 20.  Just don't ask).  Using the same photo and background as a starting point but rendering it differently.  The finished size will be 54 x 36 inches - much larger than I am used to working so quite a challenge.  Here's a taster.


You will be able to see both of these in October if you come to The Gordano Textile Artists exhibition 'Distractions' at Bristol Guild Gallery, 68/70 Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JY.  Open Mon to Sat 10am to 5pm from 5th to 26th October.  Head across to the Gordano Textile Artists Blog to see some more of our work in progress..


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Almost Finished


Engine 18 wip (4)
Engine 18 with the stitching completed (probably); overall size is 43cm x 72cm.  If you look back to the last post, you can see I have gone back over some parts and added solid stitching and also repeated some sections slightly offset.  I am going to live with it for a while before deciding if it is definitely finished while I  work on the design for the larger version and think about some smaller pieces.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Engine 18 – Work in Progress

Why engine 18?  Simply because this is the 18th version of the design, modifying and tweaking the stitches in Embird  (embroidery software) to get the result I am after.  Some of the earlier versions have been partly stitched out, most have not but I like to keep all the stages as a record.  Think of it as being the equivalent of a series of sketches before the final drawing is made into a screenprint.  Actually, I am finding it increasingly useful to think of using the embroidery machine as a way of printmaking  and using some of the same techniques of layering and deconstructing or masking off parts.

I found in my experiments with Embird that I can break down the design and leave the machine stitching only the underlay (which is intended to stabilise the fabric ready for the filling stitches).  Randomly removing parts before transferring the design to the machine means I can make a series of similar but not identical pieces, or a limited edition of fragments.  This still leaves the option of stopping the machine while it is stitching and skipping or repeating parts on the fly.

So – the fabric arrived from Spoonflower last week and I have cracked on with the first version. To give you an idea of the scales, here are the two pieces together, the smaller is a fat quarter and the larger is one yard with the same print but bigger (and so more pixellated/broken up).  You can see them more clearly (and buy some if you like) on my page on the Spoonflower site.

SAM_4313

And here is the work in progress on the fat quarter, with the background grid complete and about half of the engine stitched out.

SAM_4314

As I work, I am thinking about the next version – in view of the size, I think I will have less empty space at the bottom but have not decided quite how.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thinking Aloud - Engines

Centaurus Engine cropped
Tidying up all my folders etc now the diploma course is finished means I have been rediscovering images and notes I haven’t looked at for a while,  which is useful as I need new work for an exhibition at Bristol Guild in October.  At the moment, I am playing with ideas inspired by photographs of aircraft engines taken in 2006 at the Industrial Museum in Bristol (now re-opened as M-Shed).  This is part of a Bristol Centaurus, an engine developed in the late 1930s.  I have reached the stage of having a file full of samples and notes scribbled on scraps of paper, so I am hoping writing a blog post will get it organised for me so I can see what I am doing.
My initial thought was just a small piece to use this background (from an earlier post) with some digitised stitching, but I soon found I was thinking bigger.
Essay images (7)
I simplified the image and printed it out a couple of times at different sizes across multiple sheets of sheets of A4 using the online tool Blockposters as an easy way of enlarging it – I find it helps to see the impact at various sizes laid out on the floor before making a decision.
SAM_4273
Next, I took a part of the photograph and converted it to a stitch file.  I had an image in my mind of a sort of stitched screenprint looking quite crisp on top of the looser (messier) grid and printed background.  I took a number of photos while it was in progress as the half completed underlay is also interesting, and this led me to some more playing and sampling with different stitch densities, colours and sizes (not that you an really judge that in the photos).  I used a piece of canvas painted roughly with acrylics as I had used my only sample of printed fabric.  I also did a couple of mock ups with the printed backgound at different sizes.
Centaurus Engine  Design Trials (2)Centaurus Engine on Grungy Background
I stopped at this point because I needed to sort out what I am doing.  The questions to be resolved are 1) printed background or painted canvas and 2) size.  I really like the look of the image printed big – about 80cm wide – and with the proportions of image to background as in the photo above (it is about 1:1.41)  but if I use digitised stitching, I am going to have to split the design into probably 24 sections and take great care lining them up.  My latest sample (no picture as it is still in the machine) is with the image at just under 40cm wide, which works out as splitting into 8 parts.  The final choice of stitch density and whether to leave some parts with the underlay showing will also make a huge difference in the stitch count and therefore how long it all takes.  Free machining is another option; I haven’t tried a sample, but I don’t think it will give me the crispness I am after.  I also thought about printing the engine design as well as the background and overstitching, but then I wouldn’t be able to have the grid underneath
I also have lots of variations floating around my head – different colour schemes; layering on sheers (remembering these design ideas from 2009); colour splitting and letting the colours slide; a series of fragments as small mounted pieces or as another way of making one large piece.  Decisions, decisions.
Postscript – thinking aloud has helped.  Since I typed this yesterday (Sunday) I have decided to make one version at 40cm wide on a printed background and have ordered enough fabric to either a) make the bigger version as well or b) recover the seat of my bench (which is what I originally intended to use the design for and the reason I had a sample, only I hadn’t got round to actually doing it).  It will take a couple of weeks to arrive, so I can finish sampling, make sure I have enough thread and maybe play with some of the other ideas as well.  All of a sudden, October doesn’t seem very far off.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Upcycled Nuno Felt Scarf

On Thursday, I went to a workshop at Heartspace Studios in Bristol run by  feltmaker Kirsten Hill-Nixon to learn more about nuno felting with silk.  I have tried samples before but only small pieces using very open weave fabrics such as muslin, so I was interested to see how it would work with silk, and also to take advantage of the table space available to work a larger piece.

Kirsten had asked us to bring old bits of  fine silk such as scarves and had some she had bought at charity shops.  The lovely pink is a scarf passed on by a friend; it had gone into holes but as it has sentimental value,  she asked me to use it and give her something back - you can see in the picture that I made a separate piece for her.  The long strip of orange/brown fabric is a charity shop find and the rest are odd bits and offcuts I have dyed.  I didn't have a planned colour scheme so just made a patchwork of rough squares and rectangles and hoped it would work.  The felt is going to shrink by around 50% ,so at this stage it is around 2 metres long and 50cm wide.

Next stage is laying out the wool tops.  I chose some lovely striped wool from Kirsten's stash which had all the colours in my fabrics. They have to be laid very thinly (which took rather a long time) and then lots of rubbing and rolling - at this point I stopped taking photos and got stuck in, but you can see more work in progress shots on Janet Haigh's blog.

And the finished piece - now about 90cm by25cm.

 It is a bit too short to knot around my neck, so I stitched together the rolled edges from the pink scarf and made a little strap (woggle? is that the right word?).  I love the feel of this material, the silk has scrumpled up and has a soft sheen while the back is cosy soft wool.  Using the striped wool top has calmed the colours down and brought them together.

Finally, I made the little piece up into a wobbly notebook.


 

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Behind the scenes with Zandra Rhodes

Just a quick post to recommend this website Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection: TUTORIALS -a collection of short videos going through the design process.  I like her comments about keeping a sketchbook, even the pages you are ashamed of.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

North Somerset Arts Week

Well, the course may be finished but there is still plenty to do.  Next week I am at North Somerset Arts Week with Gordano Textile Artists so I have been enjoying myself making some things to sell. 

Acrylic Pendants (5)

These pendants combine acrylic with weaving and bonded fibres – I drew the shapes I wanted for the acrylic and had them laser cut by RazorLAB.

NSAW cards (1)

NSAW cards (2)

And some cards using my machine embroidery designs.  The dragonfly is on bonded threads and the heart is tiny strips of fabric with butterflies.

We are showing at Purbeck Lodge, Lake Road, Portishead BS20 7JA from 9-12th May, open 11-4.  It is easy to find as it is opposite the cafe and car park, and if the weather is kind we will be serving tea and cake in the garden.  Pop in if you are in the area, there is sure to be lots to see.  I am stewarding on Thursday and Friday if you want to say hello

Friday, April 19, 2013

Admin for Module 6

Costing
Most of the materials used for this module were recycled or scraps/offcuts, often from earlier modules, so I am just listing a few items that were new or previously unused.
FuseFX – used half a packet each of black and white            £2
1 sheet of shrink plastic                                                        70p
Bondaweb approx. 1/4 metre                                               80p
Photo paper                                                                         £2.50
Assorted fabric pieces/beads/threads                                    £5
Potassium permanganate, used small amount                         £2
Eggs (for tempera) box of 6                                                 £1.70
A3 presentation folder for storage                                        £6.99
Total                                                                                  £21.69

Additional Health and Safety Notes for Module 6
  1. I keep a separate set of (old) saucepans, measuring jugs, trays, wooden spoons, plastic teaspoons, tongs etc. for dyeing, marked “not for food use” and stored in an outbuilding.  I always use these even when dyeing with natural products such as onion skins. 
  2. Handling potassium permanganate – be aware of the COSHH regulations for any chemicals you handle or supply to others.  When purchasing, you should be given a safety data sheet (often also available online).  Always wear gloves when handling potassium permanganate and avoid contact with skin and eyes; ensure adequate ventilation.  It is an oxidising agent and should be stored away from flammable and combustible materials, heat and sources of ignition.  Always store chemicals in their original containers.
Heating plastics and other unusual materials – be aware of the possibility of fumes and work in a well-ventilated area. Protect your iron by using baking parchment and take care not to overheat your materials.
And finally - to prove it is me, a photo of me stitching out the sample for the illustrated essay.


Module 6 Chapter 12 Written, Illustrated Essay

Below is my study of three artists to complete module 6.  Where possible, I have included in the text links to websites where you can see the pieces of work I have referred to in the essay.  However, there were a couple that I could not find online, so I have scanned in some postcards and part of a magzine.  There are plenty of other images online; see the list of references for the artists’ own websites.

Textile Art and Digital Technology
Throughout this course, I have been experimenting with the use of digital technology as a means of designing and creating stitched textiles, so for this final essay I want to look at three artists who use digital design in their practice.  In particular, how they are able to create work that is partly made by machines but still expresses their individuality and style, and how they combine digital design and/or production with other techniques.
My first choice is Michael Brennand–Wood, an internationally renowned artist who became interested while an art student in using thread in place of paint “the idea of drawing with a needle and thread and working with three dimensional line”.   Over the past three decades, he has embraced the use of many different materials and his style has constantly changed and evolved while remaining rooted in textiles and their historical associations.  One such change took place around 2002 when he introduced flowers as a subject.  Initially, real flowers were arranged in geometric patterns and photographed (Stars Underfoot); this led on to making flower heads by scanning drawings and sewing them out on multi-head embroidery machines, a technique he continues to use in conjunction with hands-on making.
The series Consequence of Proximities (2003) presents flower head motifs in carefully arranged geometric patterns using regularity and repetition as key features. It is interesting to compare the postcards below of Invisible Architecture (which is a photograph of real flowers – top) with All Night Flight (embroidered – bottom).
MBW Postcards001
The two pieces use the same composition of five large circles joined by spokes and surrounded by smaller circles; although one is clearly man-made, the uniformity of the machine embroidered flowers is matched by the uniformity of the natural ones.  However, Brennand-Wood does not allow the  individual stitched elements to be identical, so while he is taking advantage of the machine’s ability to produce multiple pieces at speed, each one has been slightly adjusted at the design stage.
You can see this clearly in later works that incorporate repeated motifs.  For example Holding Pattern (2007) has dozens of copies of a motif (it could be a butterfly or a fighter plane) stitched mainly in the same five colours.  Looking more closely, each one is different, sometimes in the arrangement of the main colours, sometimes in the addition of a tiny fleck of a new colour or an extra stripe.  There is no attempt to disguise the machine made nature of the elements; they use the satin stitch edge, brightly coloured shiny threads and textured fillings familiar from commercial mass-produced items, but each has been made individual by the artist’s touch. His use of these motifs in his recent work is also unusual, often they are presented as blooms attached to the end of wires protruding from three dimensional forms, referencing flowers while creating a commentary on war and death.
In contrast to Michael Brennand-Wood’s constructions, the most striking impression of Nigel Cheney’s work is of many layers of imagery overlapping and building up to a complex narrative.  This British artist is now resident in Ireland and is an expert in industrial multi-head embroidery, having worked for a commercial company before taking a post as a lecturer.  His work process always begins with drawing but he describes the finished pieces as “enjoying a full palette of textile processes including digital printing, hand and machine embroidery” and stresses the need for the contrast of weight of a hand stitch.
An example of the way he works is the pair of pieces Rabbit Moon 1 and Rabbit Moon 2 produced as part of the schiffli project at MMU in 2007.  The schiffli  is an early 20th century machine that was built for commercial mass production embroidery.  Long since superseded, it is controlled using a pantograph to trace a drawing, and the operator directly controls each stitch of the machine, so there is a clear physical relationship between the maker and the machine. Cheney’s pieces were inspired by the Aztec legend of Nanauatl and Tecciztecatl, who became the sun and the moon.  He created a digitally printed background by combining satellite photographs of Mexico City with the shape of a bay tree to form a symbol of the moon.  Two copies of the print, one rotated at 180o, were then stitched with the schiffli using a small all-over pattern, one with black thread and one with white, creating different moods.  The rabbits are drawn with a combination of the ‘mechanical drawing’ of the schiffli, computerised machining and hand stitch, and are similar in the two pieces but not identical.  The various complex processes sit happily together to create unified images with great depth which do not come across as obviously machine made.  Each is an individual expression of the story.  
To demonstrate the effect of overstitching a printed background, I have made a sample on a piece of digitally printed canvas.  I imitated the approach by freehand drawing a simple linear pattern  into digitising software using a graphics tablet.  This pattern was rotated and repeated to cover the area (about 8 inches square) and stitched out several times, overlapping in places and changing colour for the second layer.  It makes the background much more interesting and adds texture without losing too much of the original image, retaining the character of the hand drawn line.
Essay images (4)
Finally, l would like to look at the work of Clare Lane who uses free machining on digital prints.   Lane came from a background in architecture and surveying before studying for a textile degree, and her inspiration comes from urban dereliction.  She regards these as our contemporary ruins, which are rarely looked upon as kindly as those that are hundreds of years old, yet they can hold as many stories. She describes how she is interested in the 'visual cacophony' of the urban landscape, the way that buildings are surrounded by all sorts of other things that are there without an overall design - rubbish, street signs, road markings. 
Lane describes what she does as 'unashamedly process driven', starting with walking the streets and taking hundreds of photographs. The next stage is working with the images in Photoshop. She may use a single image or create a montage, cutting elements from several photographs to make her composition. For example, to create Doric Colonnade (below), one of a series of works based around images of Stanley Dock in Liverpool, she used her own photograph of a line of columns and added layers in Photoshop that include the original engineer’s drawings of the columns and dock wall, text relating to the industrialisation of Europe in the nineteenth century, and a scan of a textured surface she made from paint, glue and sand.
Doric Colonnade - Clare Lane
The key part of the process is digitally overpainting the whole picture, concentrating on colour and shape and working at such a high level of detail that she may spend hours on a tiny part of the image, looking at it as an abstract arrangement of colour and shape. Because of the size of the finished canvases (most are over a metre square, some much larger), she cannot  truly see the final effect until it has been printed on fabric. Then comes the stitching, using an old industrial Irish machine to fill in solid blocks of colour on parts of the image, which relieves the flatness of the digital print. This is so subtle that on first glance you may not realise it is there, and it is not always apparent in photographs of her work.
Unlike the other two artists, Lane takes advantage of the print process to produce limited editions of her work (in very small numbers) but the stitching on each one will be different.   Again, it is the personal touch of the artist’s hand that makes the work unique and this is the key to using technology effectively.
References
Michael Brennand-Wood
The Bigger Picture, Embroidery Sept/Oct 2012
Pretty Deadly exhibition catalogue
Interview with Diana Woolf Feb 2011 www.themaking.org.uk
All Stitched Up, Embroidery March/April 2011
Crafts Council Photostore www.photostore.org.uk 
Artist’s website http://brennand-wood.com/
Nigel Cheney
All Stitched Up, Embroidery March/April 2011
Manipulate. Construct. Embellish and  Bombarded With Distractions – two part-interview at TextileArtist.org www.textileartist.org
Mechanical Drawing, the Schiffli Project, exhibition catalogue and DVD
Yarns and Tails, Embroidery Sept/Oct 2012
Artist’s website http://www.nigelcheney.com/
Clare Lane
Urban Fabrication,Clare Lane, Design-It issue 76 (Computer Textile Design Group),2011.
Toil and Rubble, Jo Hall, Embroidery July/August 2008.
Stroudwater International Textile Festival Catalogue 2008.
Artist’s website www.urban-fabric.co.uk

















Friday, March 29, 2013

Craft + Technology at the Watershed, Bristol.

Yesterday I went to the showcase event marking the end of these 3 month residencies which saw makers working with technologists to explore ideas which combine craft, culture and technology.  They came up with three very different projects that incorporate human/digital interaction in unexpected ways - a flying skirt, a memory box for people with dementia and a hug and pay system. It was fascinating and intriguing, both the ideas and hearing about how the collaboration worked.  You can read about the project at WWW.watershed.co.UK/ished and  they will be uploading a film from this event soon.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Module 6 Chapter 9 and Chapter 10–Bonding and Resolved Samples.

These two chapters are all about experimenting with the use of transfer adhesive to create new surfaces and bond fabric layers.  I have used Bondaweb which gives an even and solid layer and FuseFX (from Art Van Go) which is a very open mesh and is available in black and white.  The fabrics and threads are offcuts and scraps from earlier coursework/projects and remnants from dyeing sessions.

Photo 1
Lacy surfaces made from loose threads trapped between two layers of FuseFX  (threads leftover from drawn thread work, thread ends from sewing projects and short lengths of wool from an old catalogue).

Mod 6 ch9 (2)

Photo 2
Mod 6 Ch 9 (2)
Using natural materials.  Top – I ironed pressed leaves onto Bondaweb but they immediately disintegrated so I added some sheers fabrics to keep it all together and then used a heat gun to burn some of it away.  Bottom, raffia in FuseFX.

Photo 3
Mod 6 ch9 (1)
FuseFX painted with acrylics and then used to trap some more leaves – these were not quite so dry and brittle and stayed together.

Photo 4
Mod 6 Ch 9 (9)
Bonding with heat-reactive surfaces using a heat gun.  Top left is painted Tyvek (from used envelopes) with dyed bamboo cleaning cloth on top.  This has buckled to make an interesting texture but unfortunately I seem to have scorched the cloth in places. Top right is more successful, my favourite of this set – the Tyvek has been slashed randomly and pieces of crystal organza scattered on top.  This time, black FuseFX has been added as a decorative top layer rather than underneath.  This has allowed the Tyvek to move freely and the organza to melt while being sticky enough to keep it all together.  Bottom left – a tiny sample of little pieces of Tyvek bonded onto organza which has moulded itself around them.  Bottom right layers of organza and FuseFX heated to make a textured bubbly surface.

Photo 5
Mod 6 Ch 9 (5)
Combining bonded shapes with a solid ground.  Pieces cut from the lacy samples are based on the grid developed in the work for chapter 5, using both the positive and negative shapes, and have been bonded onto coloured papers from chapter 2. In order to blend the shapes and colours on the lefthand sample, I added some of the painted FuseFX on top, and on the righthand sample added some torn pieces of the black.  I particularly like the way the random threads and the FuseFX mesh echo the crackled effect of the crumpled and painted paper on the left hand sample.

Photo 6
Mod 6 Ch 9 (4)
A few more of the shapes, this time layered onto  another sample and then painted fabric.  Although less successful  in terms of colour and overall look, as a technical trial this is interesting in the way that the strands of wool have formed a thin transparent felt-like layer floating above the random threads, giving more depth.

Photo 7
Mod 6 Ch 9 (8)
More layering of samples, using the greek key shape from chapter 4 onto crumpled lokta paper.  This time the top layer is more solid so the bottom layer of threads does not show through.

Photo 8
I painted pieces of Bondaweb and FuseFX with acrylics and then tore them up to use in the remaining samples.  This first one is strips of fabric and the transfer adhesives on plain calico, with the adhesives going over and under to add more colours.
Mod 6 Ch 9 (6)

Photo 9
Then I wondered why I needed the fabrics and made another sample using just the transfer adhesives and layering up the colours.  I really like this effect and the way the colours combine (although I can see some straight edges left in that I should have torn).
Mod 6 Ch 9 (10)

Photo 10
Mod 6 Ch 9 (12)
I tried some of the painted bits on black silk to see the effect but is doesn’t really work – somehow they look more rubbery than on the white.  For the left hand sample, I scattered thread ends onto painted Tyvek and overlaid FuseFX – again not really happy with the look.

Photo 11
Mod 6 Ch10 (1)
Moving into the stitched samples, I made up a sheet of bonded thread ends (left) and experimented with using machine stitching as a resist to heat applied to layers of organza (right).

Photo 12 and 13 (detail)

Resolved sample 1

Mod 6 Ch10 (2)
Mod 6 Ch10 (4)
I forgot to put a coin on this one for scale, but it is about 25cm square and again based on the greek key shape. The layers are (from the back)
  • calico
  • painted transfer adhesive in various colours, torn up
  • organza
  • shapes cut from sheet of bonded thread ends
  • more fragments of transfer adhesive
  • hand stitch
This is a sample I am excited by – I have made a mental note for the future to try combining this with the techniques I used for the Irish dance dress as a way of intregrating the digitized stitching, and it would also be worth trying with a stiffer transparent fabric in place of the calico to let light through, or even making it doublesided.

Photo 14 and 15
Resolved sample 2.  I added two photos as the light was poor; photo 14 (left) is more accurate for colour but a bit out of focus. This time I remembered the coin and the length is roughly an A3 sheet.
Mod 6 Ch 10b (6)Mod 6 Ch 10b (5)
This one was based on the symbols I was playing with in chapter 5 and the layers are (from the back)
  • dyed silk from chapter 3
  • fragments of painted transfer adhesive
  • triangles cut from sheet of bonded threads
  • fabric circles
  • handstitch
  • black transfer adhesive.
I think I have overdone the top layer on this one – too much black is in danger of becoming clich├ęd.  Another time, I would use less and choose another colour.

Photo 16 and 17 (detail)

Resolved sample 3

Mod 6 Ch 10b (4)
Mod 6 Ch 10b (3)
This one wasn’t based on a previous design but was inspired by the fruit shaped paper pulp beads from chapter 6 (moulded from a sweetie box).  The layers are
  • dyed silk
  • fragments of painted transfer adhesive
  • frayed threads pulled from a similar piece of silk
  • paper pulp beads (they are about 5mm deep)
  • fragments of painted transfer adhesive
  • handstitch using frayed silk threads.
Using the painted transfer adhesive as a net over the beads makes it look as if they are naturally part of the background (bark? forest floor?) and is a useful way of trapping them securely.  I ironed carefully around the beads using the edge of the iron, so the adhesive is only stuck down where it touches the background and stretches across between some of the beads.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Module 6 Chapter 8

Creating surfaces for stitch with plastic carrier bags. I used a mixture of heavyweight bags and the very thin, scrunchy sort and joined them by ironing between sheets of baking paper.

Photo 8.1

I scrumpled up two bags and cut strips, letting them fall randomly on the background.  The thin pink bag gave the most interesting results as the layers show through.

SAM_4120

Photo 8.2

Shavings of wax crayons were melted in a clear bag which was cut up as before and ironed onto a background.  I added a layer of pink on top for more colour.  I like the way the hot wax has made the plastic melt and distorted the text, and also made holes in the background.

SAM_4125

Photo 8.3

Strips of lime green and light blue ironed onto dark blue and then cut up and applied to another background.

SAM_4122

Photo 8.4

More of these strips applied to a striped bag (this over heated and distorted rather a lot) and a couple of experiments with folding and ironing the striped bag. (At this point I feel I should be awarding points to anyone who identifies all these well known shops!)

SAM_4123

Photo 8.5

Three samples adding colour with thread ends.  On the left, threads ironed between layers of clingfilm then ironed onto the back of the handle from the lime green bag.  As this is another thin bag, the threads show through as a texture.  I cut circles from the remaining ‘fabric’ and ironed one onto another piece of the clear bag.

SAM_4121

Photo 8.6 and 8.7 (detail)

Incorporating stitch onto resolved samples.  I noticed that the well worn bag handles are the same ovoid shape as appears in formline art so I made a sample inspired by that style.  To represent the grid structure I created a patched background by ironing and emphasised the lines with machining, letting the colours spill over.  I ironed the handles on top and machined around the outlines.

SAM_4130

SAM_4137

Photo 8.8 and 8.9 (detail)

This sample was made with some tiny bits of bags (left over from a previous project) applied to a supermarket bag.  I made a patchwork again and machine stitched around some of the shapes.  These bags were all very thin so some of the writing comes through from the back and the layers give additional colours.  I changed to a thicker top thread and added some of the key shapes used in earlier chapters, taken from a Mexican bag.

SAM_4133.

SAM_4136