Thursday, September 29, 2011

Animating pictures of my Artland piece.

I have tried to make a flip book to encourage people to play with my Artland, interactive art work.  So far, the flip book is almost made, it is quite thick and I am finding it tricky to bind it so that it holds together in a way that allows for the flipping to be successful.

However, I have also played with animating it with stop motion pictures.  I downloaded a free program that put it into animation but it saved in a format that I can't get YouTube to recognise, so I can't post it.
Then I had the brilliant idea, if I do say so myself, of borrowing someone's laptop and using MovieMaker to animate the pictures.  So now you can see two of my designs animated.

I made each design piece by piece and photographed them in order, selected the time for each frame to be visible and then imported them to the program.  Hopefully it shows how a design can be made, then altered by turning the pieces over to show the fabric on the other side of the shape.

In my technological impatience, I have somehow managed to get two designs in the one movie, not what I intended but I am not going to spend any more time on this - it is purely an indulgence and does not go with the actual exhibition, it is just a chance to play with technology and see how it looks presented differently.
I should be working on my other assignments but couldn't resist playing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


As part of the Moreart public art show, Artland is an installation based art exhibition for RMIT students, at the Brunswick campus.  The exhibition opens next Sunday. There will be tours around the campus as well as along the bike track between stations.  Go to the Moreart website for more details.

I set up my piece today, it is developed from the work I did last semester, based on Pattern Blocks and quilting.  I have made it slightly bigger than the last prototype and hope that students at RMIT will play with it, developing different patterns and mandalas.

Here is it, incomplete so that participants will play with it, I hope.

I am looking forward to the exhibition as so many of my fellow students have made work for it, lots of it interactive also.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Machine Embroidery Lace

Just for something extra to do, in all that spare time I have (not!), I enrolled in the distance education course of Machine Embroidery as an Art Form at SWTAFE.  This may have been a good idea, I'm not sure yet - I'll have a better idea when all the work is due, for both my courses.

However, I am currently enjoying playing around with the making 'lace' aspect of machine embroidery.  I have used a product called Mac-rinse that is good for sewing on and will dissolve when I put it in warm water.  I think I prefer it to water soluble film as it seems firmer, doesn't stretch as much.  But you can't see through it, so the transparent film has some advantages.

I am working on a design that is derived from the bark tapestry I did last year, so still on the same theme - not that it looks much like it.
I haven't washed it out yet (as I haven't finished it) and I hope I am getting all the connecting pieces done properly or I'll be very disappointed when it all falls apart. I have included some sari silk pieces for extra texture and colour.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Workshops at RMIT

As part of our fundraising for graduation, we are running some workshops in various textile techniques.  It goes for two days and we started today.
It was good for us to have to go back to some techniques we had learnt earlier in the course and remember how to do them.  Teaching someone else to do something always makes you have to be really clear about what you are doing and the correct sequence in which to do the various steps.
We started with the Dyeing and Shibori class.  First we dyed small pieces of cotton using two primary colours, graduating the colours from one to the other (eg, red for one piece, blue for another and then variations of blue and red in between).
The first lot of dyeing batching in the sun.
While the cotton batched, we did some silk scarf dyeing using shibori techniques, including clamping, pole wrapping, beans surrounded by elastic bands, etc.
Silk scarf using one colour only.

Two colours used.

Pole wrapped.

Elastic bands around beans.

Pole wrapped.

Also in the morning was the machine knitting workshop.  In this class, there was an equal number of students and teachers.  The students made a scarf.
We were able to use the knit room, an ideal space for the workshop.

The afternoon classes were Screen Print and Making Embellishments.

Screen Print
The screen printers made lovely designs on calico pieces, using paper resists.

The Making Embellishments class had three teachers and one student!  But we had fun.  Actually, the three teachers all learnt, or became a bit more proficient at, a different technique taught by each teacher.
Two of the teachers having fun.
Our one student doing some felting.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The tapestry group

Well, we had our inaugural meeting today.  We had a lovely time catching up and showing and telling about what we have been up to lately.
 Linda showed us the beautiful weaving she is currently working on for her Studio Textiles and Design course, Glennis showed us some of the work she is doing for the SWTAFE tapestry course, Marion got on with some of her en plein air weaving (not outdoors today, finishing off  a piece started earlier) and I got some advice on a design I am thinking about doing (after I complete my course, only 6 weeks to go!).

A sample that Linda has made for her planned tablecloth.

As you can see, the venue was bright and comfortable.  There is a good library there as well as dyeing, spinning and weaving supplies for sale. 

We also discussed future directions for the group.  There were two calls for entries that we looked at and have decided to go with the tapestryweaversoz one, based on circles and squares (the 2012 file).  So the idea is to think about how we might approach the topic and bring along ideas for the next meeting. This will be a good incentive to start a visual diary on the topic.

I have had a fascination with optical illusions for a while, so I might play around with that for a while.  After I do all my other work that is due for various courses. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Tapestry Group

We are going to have our first tapestry weaving group meeting next Saturday.  It is being held at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild, 655 Nicholson St, Carlton North, between 1.00 and 3.00pm.  We are going to meet every 4th Saturday of the month.
As it is our first meeting, we do not have much planned.  We are hoping that members will come with ideas for us to work out an agenda for our meetings, something to focus our weaving.
It is a group that has started up because we met in tapestry class in our Studio Textiles and Design course at RMIT and we want to keep up the skill.  Unfortunately, tapestry will not be taught at RMIT anymore, so we are especially keen to keep in touch and maybe find another outlet for inspiration and skill development.
I haven't done much tapestry weaving this year although I did design two in my Design Concepts course in first semester.  Hopefully this will give me the impetus to actually start.  I did get as far as warping the loom but no further, other subjects have taken priority.  This is my big chance - if I don't get bogged down in doing my graduation piece - and my work for the Machine Embroidery as Art course that I am doing through SWTAFE.  Hmm, maybe I should just make sure I am in touch with the group and let ideas mull around in my head till I have the mental space for them.
Anyway, if you live in the area and have the time to come, please do so.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Textile Workshop with Petra Meer Day 3

On our final day, we shared the text and images we had brought.  This took quite a while as there were some very moving and inspirational pieces. I took the photo I used last year for my tapestry weaving.  I love the way the rocks show time and movement in the geological structure.

We then developed some new fabric collages, incorporating words from our discussions and writing - yes, we wrote more.  We also drew an image that arose from the discussion, appropriate to our own work.
After some time working on the collages, we shared what we were working on this time.

The whole process was very personal.  We didn't have to reveal anything we didn't want to but we did have the opportunity to spend a deal of time exploring ideas without any mundane, everyday interruptions.  I really enjoyed the process and hope to utilise it in my development of ideas from now on.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hot Stuff workshop with Neroli Henderson

ATASDA, the Victorian group, had it's first workshop this month.  Neroli Henderson was introducing us to using synthetic fabrics and using heat to distort them
We started of with Tyvek, painting it and then sewing, if we felt like it.  Then we ironed it and it distorted.  As this is a totally new technique for me, I was not sure what would happen and was not able to predict and try to control it.  Neroli told us that it is unpredictable even when you have some experience, so I will have to experiment a bit more to get some idea of what to expect even if I can't absolutely control it.

This is my sample.  As you can see, I did some sewing at one end but I am not sure if there is a difference because of that or not.  I used an iron that had been set quite high and the bottom edge of the image was the first bit.  It distorted quickly.  I then lowered the setting and don't know if that caused the difference or if the sewing did.  I used Lumiere fabric paints which have mica in them, causing some of the darker areas.

We then played with various layers of synthetic fabrics, free motion sewing and a heat gun.  Some ladies tried very intricate images, I just mucked around.
Here are some images of before and after the heat gun.

Here's mine.  The shiny bits are Textiva.  
We had a few very strict safety rules: to NEVER point the heat gun at a person; to wear a gas mask (even though we worked outdoors); to use the wooden tool to keep our fingers away from the heat.

I like some of the effects and the unpredictability of the process.  I am currently very interested in layering my work, so it suits that.  But I don't really like the actual feel of the fabric after is has been heat treated, it is usually very hard.  I'll have to think about where I might use it and how much handling it would get.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Textile Workshop with Petra Meer Day 2

The second day of the workshop started off quietly, with some sitting and sewing of the fabric collages.  However, Petra doesn't like the 'f' word (finished) so we did not have a long time to work on these.

She showed us some embroidery stitches and we did a small sampler of some simple stitches.  We then had a little time to try some on the fabric collages but moved on to the next item we had brought.

My piece of textile that meant something to me was an old embroidery that I had done when I was young and my mother had been teaching me crochet to edge it.  One piece was finished, one was not.  These were stuck on the wall, beside our clothing and paper and fabric collages.

We wrote again and discussed our pieces.  There was no pressure to talk about our writing if we didn't want to.  Petra allowed us to talk and didn't direct the conversation in any particular direction, it evolved according to the needs of the group.

As it turned out, I didn't feel that my textile piece was adding to the direction of my thoughts, so it came down off the wall fairly quickly.

One thing I have learnt from this workshop is that it is good to have a couple of things on the go at once. That way, if you run out of ideas on one, you can move onto the other while ideas germinate quietly. Another is to have your work on show so you can look at it frequently. I have actually tried to accommodate this at home, having come home and rearranged my workroom so that I can have some of my inspirational images in sight while I am working.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Textile Workshop with Petra Meer

I have been away recently, attending a three day workshop at the Yarra Valley Arts Centre.  It was about taking your textile work to the next level.
The brochure didn't give a lot of detail and the list of things to take didn't enlighten me greatly.  I had to take a piece of clothing that I loved but no longer wear, a piece of textile that meant something special to me and a piece of text or image that grounded me or has special meaning.
As I wasn't sure what we were going to do with the clothing, I took something that I loved wearing but was not bothered about cutting up or working on.  (Actually, I cheated a little, I do still wear it, just not in public.)

The workshop turned out to be about taking our work to the next level through our mental processes rather than learning a particular technique. There was a lot of thinking, talking and writing, as well as making.  It was quite intense as we had to focus on our ideas and try to draw them out.

On the first day we taped the clothing to the wall and wrote words it made us think of.  Then we drew some small sketches from it. The top I had chosen has moth holes in it and some staining.  When I looked closely I really liked the fluffiness of the the hole.

After this, we then did some paper collages based on our sketches and the piece.  My top is blue which is not a colour I would usually use, so I was instantly out of my comfort zone.

The collages were either pinned or tacked, no glue.  We did them at about an A5 size and had to work relatively quickly, making three.

After more reflection and discussion, we tacked them on the wall with the clothing.

As blue is not my colour, I used fabrics from the pile that Petra had provided as well as donations from the other participants.

The next step was to make some fabric collages based on the paper ones, once again just tacking or pinning.

That was about it for the first day - we had done a lot of talking and thinking.  We had thought about taking some home and doing some 'homework', finishing off the fabric collages but decided that we didn't want to change the feel of the work.  The working space was wonderful and we decided to do all the work in that environment.
The working space.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Textile exhibition at Yarra Glen


Last week a friend and I called in at the Acme et al gallery in Yarra Glen to see the Common Thread exhibition. There were works from a variety of artists, showing various types of textile arts.

Gayle Burgess

Unfortunately, it has finished now but here are some pictures (yes, I did ask) to give you a taste of the work.  Each artist had a different textile technique and the work was wonderful.

Jude Craig 
There was felting, dyeing using recycled materials, rug weaving, hand embroidery, free motion machine sewing, lace making, spinning and knitting, tunisian crochet, crochet and beading.
Anne Churches

I hope  I have remembered all the techniques, there were quite a few to take notice of. It was great to see so many different artists in a group show.  Some work was for sale and many of the artists also had other work for sale in the shop.
Another interesting thing was that the shop had books on sale that reflected the type of show that was on.  I called in again this week to have another look, only to discover it had finished, and I noticed that the books for sale now are not the same, presumably they are selected to go with the new exhibition that starts next week. I think they get their books from The Avenue bookstore.

Meg Lowery
Some of the pieces incorporated several textile techniques, making them mixed media I suppose. (I always used to think of mixed media as being video, sound, animation, etc.  Same term used in different contexts.)
I have only put a selection of artists' work here, for some fabulous photos of the exhibition, go to this blog.