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 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.