Friday, April 30, 2010

half drop and reflect repeat

Parlance has asked me what I mean by half drop and reflect when working with repeat designs.  Here is my attempt to explain.
I have reduced the original design, copied and pasted it.  Then I dropped the second block down, halfway, beside the original block.  This is a half drop.  When you do this repeatedly, you can get a repeat pattern.

Here I have reduced the original again, flipped it horizontally and pasted it as a block repeat.

You can use this flip horizontal as a half drop also.

As you can see, there are many permutations that you can play around with.  One easy difference is the brick repeat, which is like the half drop but done in a horizontal orientation rather than the vertical that I have used in the above examples.
I hope this helps.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Playing with spot repeat

Ok, now I have played some more with the spot repeat.
Here is the same repeat as in my last post, but this time I have reflected the design and then copied and pasted it in a block repeat.

Here is the same design, this time I have done a half drop of the design in the same orientation, no reflection.

Once again,  the same design, this time with half drop and reflection.  The possibilities for play are enormous and I need to stop and go to bed!  The trick is to keep track of the various ways you have oriented the design.

Working hard on design assigment

I have not posted for over a week - not good.  I have this pointless aim to post once a week.
My excuse is that I have been working very hard on my design assignment and have been doing a lot of learning with Photoshop and Illustrator.  It has been a case of wanting to do something and then messing around trying to think of ways to do it.
They are fantastic programs but there is just too much to know!!
I have been practising repeat designs for screen print.  We have been learning about a technique called 'swiss repeat', which gives a multidirectional design that will repeat in a block print (one that is repeated side by side on all four sides).
I have also been trying to devise a spot repeat - it seems to work like a logic puzzle.  (I love logic puzzles.)
You have a grid and when you fill in a space, that row and column are unavailable again.

The motif does not have to fit exactly into the space, however, so that you can vary the size and direction of the motif, giving a more random-seeming effect.
Here is an example I have played with, trying to work out how this design repeat works. It is a 7 spot design. (Ignore the grid in the background, it does not relate to the 7 spot grid.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Felting excitement.

Yesterday I attended a talk by Raewyn Penrose at the Brunswick campus of RMIT.  She was talking about her felted clothing and had some samples for us to handle.  I couldn't get over the softness of the felt and its drape.  One of the interesting things about Raewyn's work is that she comes from a tailoring background and likes to make clothes that fit well.  So she is not afraid to cut the felt.  The pieces were lovely.

Raewyn has been invited over from New Zealand to show her work in the Fabricate Invites 2010 exhibition being put on by the Victorian Embroiderers' Guild.  It is opening tdoay at the Malvern Artists' Society, 1297 High St, Malvern, Victoria, and runs till May 2nd.

Raewyn is running a workshop in June, at Crockett Cottage 43 Studio in Mansfield and I have booked to attend.  I am feeling even more excited about it now that I have seen and handled her work in person!

Textile Fibre Forum magazine had an article about Raewyn's work in Issue 4, no 96, 2009.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Using colour in the felting

As I said in the previous post, colour can bog us down when trying to design.  After our white on white exercise, we did a piece based on an image we had brought. (This is a root of a pine tree at Darebin Parklands.)

First we used a 'window' to choose an interesting part of the image.

Then we used a prefelt that we had made on the first day. We pinned the fabrics we had chosen, then sewed them on.

Then we felted it to another prefelt and this is when the interesting textures appear.

Then we completed the design with decorative stitching.  I have not completed mine yet.

I found that if I stitched just prior to going to bed I slept much better.  Must see if I can carry that over into my normal routine and whether it will make me sleep better.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fibre Forum at Ballarat

I have just spent an exhausting but exciting week at the Ballarat Fibre Forum, run by Glenys Mann.  I enrolled in a class taught by Leeanne Davis and we experimented with surface design on pre-felts that we made, then felted some more to make small samples. We tried a variety of fabrics, many that do not felt well, and looked at ways to make them attach to the felt as well as observe how they ruched when felted, giving some very interesting textures.
I do not like white very much but Leeanne got us to work with white on white to try the technique without getting bogged down in colour choices.  This worked well for me, despite my initial resistance (being an ex-teacher, I was able to employ many of the work avoidance techniques that I had observed over the years). Our pieces were small, so that we actually completed a few samples, allowing us to experiment and see more than if we had tried to do a large piece.

Leeanne gave us a pack she had prepared, so the initial step of making the prefelt was not done by us.  Here is my first application of fabrics to the prefelt.  Some of them will not felt but they are attached by the stitching.

Then we felted the piece to another prefelt.

Some of the stitching felted in interesting ways also, depending on what threads we used. 

Finally, we sewed more decorative stitches after it had dried.

I was not happy with my piece but Leanne gave us an exercise to do, drawing lines to show our path to the morning class, and it helped me pull my piece together better.  I am not sure it is finished but I finally declared it so.  (Actually, I have done a bit more since this photo.)

I am still to be convinced that I like white on white.  I think I need to loosen up a bit also, perhaps I can make my stitching more 3D, as Leeanne showed us on her samples.

Leeanne emphasised that this technique is for decorative pieces and might not work for pieces that are going to get hard wear.

I really appreciated the fact that we were experimenting and not expected to finish a large piece, the pressure was right off.  Some people produced more work than others but there was no pressure about that either. We just worked at our own pace and had a lovely week.

Friday, April 2, 2010

V&A Quilt exhibition

A friend has sent me the link to the Quilt exhibition at the V&A museum in London (thanks Anne).  It is showing English quilts ranging from 1700 - 2010.  There are also some amazing packs of replica fabrics for sale. I'd love to go over to see the exhibition but it is a bit too far and a bit too expensive.

In our design classes we have been discussing varying size of prints, stripes, repeat print layouts and colourways.  It is fascinating to see these elements represented in the packs of fabrics.  I can see many hours spent studying these packs.

Maybe I'll have to take up patchwork and quilting again.  I think it is the patchwork that I love, the quilting is a highlight but the working out of the patchwork is the thing I love the most.
Here is one that I designed and made for a friend, using a tricky background fabric that had quite a lot of circles on it. Getting the design to flow took hours of moving blocks around but I am quite happy with it. From memory, it has 23 different reds in it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tapestry continues to grow slowly

I have been working on my historical piece, copying a mediaeval tapestry and trying to work out the techniques used.  As I said in my last post, the technique of cut-back is useful but I am having some trouble interpreting it as I must be using thicker wools than used in the original and so the height of the work is slightly different, giving me longer spaces than I had anticipated.  But I have decided to persevere with them as they do provide a texture and differentiation between areas.

I think I have done about one third of the time with unpicking as with weaving but have been told that this is usual.  Hopefully I can improve.

It is tricky working on someone else's design, it is obvious when you deviate from it.  If I were working on my own design I could just say that it was supposed to be that way.  Our next assignment will be more of my own design, so, hopefully, it will be a bit easier in terms of interpretation.