Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lines and dots designs

As I posted previously, I have been doing some work on designing. Our focus for the first session, and the homework, has been on dots and lines.
We did some exercises using lines and dots to come up with designs.

We had to come up with a textile work based on the designs we were drawing.

My first sample was done on commercial felt. I used a programmed stitch, one lot with the teeth down and normal pressure, the others with the feet dropped and no tension. Then I did some free motion designs as well. And some straight stitching. The darkest lines are of Perle 5 thread used in the bobbin. I didn't use a hoop as I thought it might leave an impression on the felt. I notice that there is some buckling in the felt, I will have to think about what I might do about that.

One thing that has become immediately apparent (I think I already knew it) is that you can't really do dots when you are doing free motion machine embroidery. So a lot of my later designs, on paper, were using continuous line. Hence my reversion to doodling and quilting patterns.

Another exercise was to come up with a design that had three horizontal areas, each representing air, water and land. I diligently did some drawings but was feeling rather unsuccessful. Then I was putting my cliff face tapestry at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild rooms and was inspired all over again.

I traced one of my photos and drew the outlying on soluble fabric, then sewed over it, using doodle patterns.

I was also influence by an earlier drawing I had done, using a similar photo to the one above. 

The sewing on the soluble fabric.
After dissolving the fabric.
This textile work doesn't have the sky or water, I just played around with the earth aspect, not even trying to copy the actual photo, I just used it to get a general shape. I'm not sure what I might do with it, it is definitely an exercise at present.
Unlike previous work I have done, it didn't shrink. I will have to see if I can work out what sort of thread I used. I think it is polyester but can't read the spool. I used rayon for a past piece and it shrank quite a lot, so I am assuming that it is polyester. I'll have to do further research - like visit the Embroidery Source where I got the thread.

I am looking forward to the next class, to see what sorts of textile pieces the others have done. The other participants all do various sorts of embroidery and will not be restricted to continuous line as I have been.

I am also having vague thoughts of trying to come up with a design, based on lines and dots, for a tapestry sample. Of course, I won't get it done by the next class and we will have a new inspiration. Just something to keep in the back of my mind.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

One Goes Down, One Goes Up

The Light and Shade tapestry exhibition that was on at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild rooms has been taken down.
It was great to be able to see the works in person, to really look closely at them all and try to work out how some of the different effects had been achieved. There was a great range of interpretations of the theme as well as different techniques to examine in detail. There is nothing to compare with seeing them right there in front of you.

We had a very pleasant gathering to celebrate the works, then we took them down, ready to post on to the next group.

The guild had a vacancy in the gallery for another few weeks, so we were asked if we were interested in hanging works by members of our group. Of course we were interested!
Carefully stepping over the tapestries!!

Now there is another lovely exhibition (if I do say so myself, who has work in it). We are very pleased to have this opportunity to see our works up in public, and to see them in a different context, with other tapestries.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One UFO got rid of!!

I have had this Jane Sassaman workshop piece hanging around for ages. (I did a workshop with her in 2012, at the Ballarat Fibre Forum.)
Here it is before being quilted - at the end of the workshop but before having time to work on it some more.
I did bring it home and work on it some more, till it was quilted but not bound.

One day I noticed that it is much the same size as my small tapestry loom. Hmm. I wondered, can I make a carry bag for the loom?

I decided that I really need to be DOING something. So I got out this UFO and decided to at least put some binding on.
Then I realised that that will not be good for a bag making exercise. I just made another little quilt the same size - not that well quilted, just threw some scrap fabrics together to use them up.  Then I bound that too.

Now the two pieces have been sewn together and a handle has been put on. It fits my small loom beautifully. I will be able to sling it over my shoulder and carry it to my group meetings with ease.
As there are quite a few faults in it, the quilt police probably wouldn't like it but who cares??

Now I won't be juggling all those hanging bobbins, moving the warps and generally having trouble with getting it from the car to the guild rooms. Hooray.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The water isn't supposed to look like that!

For one of our exercises, we have to do a drawing, using line, that is in three parts, horizontally. Air, water and land. I have been struggling with this for a week now but had an inspiration late one night - these late night inspirations don't always turn out so wonderfully in the light of day but I thought I would persevere anyway.

I remembered that I had used my photo of the cliff in Darebin Parklands as inspiration for a tapestry, then as a black line drawing using patterns.

So I thought I would go back and take another picture. My original photo is quite purple and I haven't seen those colours for a couple of years. This photo has not been touched up, it really came out looking like that.
It is much browner now. I am not sure if it is because of the time of year, different weather or the clean-up of the creek that has been done in the meantime. It is not nearly so colourful now but it is still interesting.

I took Penny for a walk today and we ended up in the same park - it is wonderfully local, off-lead in places and very peaceful - usually. Today there were trail bikers there, they are not supposed to be there and they were very noisy.

The creek was a peculiar colour too! Whatever was in the water was making its way down the waterway. It didn't smell but it certainly looked bad.

So, being a good citizen, I rang the number and reported it. When the phone was answered, the person on the other end said "You're reporting Darebin Creek?" I think they must have had quite a few calls, very few people go out without their phones these days!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Design for Stitch

I have enrolled for a course through the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria. It is being run by Marianne Little. 
Marianne is not a textile artist, per se. She is teaching us about design and is not relating it specifically to any particular embroidery technique. I am finding this very satisfying. I am not trying to think of how I will apply the design exercises she is getting us to do, I am just trying to do the exercises.

We started off with looking at dots and lines.

Our homework it to look at the world in terms of lines and dots. It is amazing how it changes your perception of the things around you!
I am not a great drawer, as you will know if you have followed my blog. So I have taken some photos and hope to use them for inspiration.

Here are some taken on the way to the station and then at the tram stop near Flinders St.  So many dots and lines!

Who knew that the station platform could be so interesting?

And the dry and wet bits too. 

And the train electricity lines. 

And the deciduous trees.

It is making me look at the world differently - and I feel inspired to LOOK again.
Not that I have done any actual drawing or sewing yet, but I am at least thinking about it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Supermoon and playing with Photoshop

We had another super moon yesterday. I went outside with Penny and saw the moon behind clouds. By the time I had rushed in, got my camera and got outside again, it was emerging from the clouds. So I only got one photo that I thought I could use.
I have played around with it in Photoshop today, just because I could. No plan to use it, no design in mind. I pretty much wanted to see what would happen.

Here is the original.

Here it is with the glowing edges filter.

Cropped further.

I cropped this one further till it was quite pixilated.  Playing around with lightness brought out lots of little areas of colour that I had not seen earlier.

I also played around with hue, saturation and lightness. The filter I used for these was Poster Edges

All these from one dark photo - amazing. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Benefit of Being in a Group

I have been working on a small tapestry with the main aim to improve my technique rather than to have a tapestry to hang on the wall. One of the main things I have been having trouble with is pulling in the sides.

I think this has become more of a problem since I finished my course. I find that working alone is ok but you definitely need to have people around with whom you can discuss ideas and problems.

I took the loom to my monthly tapestry group meeting. I didn't particularly take it for advice, more because I wanted to be doing something while we chatted. However, two people offered good advice. One because I was asking but the other person came later and hadn't heard me asking for ideas. But she observed me weaving and came over quietly to say that I was doing a particular thing and it would cause exactly the problem I was having.  I was so glad that a) she noticed it and b) she had the courage to come over and say something - which was probably the more important thing.

What was I doing?  I was holding the wool too tightly before I beat it down. Sounds simple, doesn't it? I instantly remembered being told in class that it is best to leave the wool in a looser line, I had just forgotten.

Now the sides are going straighter. I didn't pull it out again, for about the 5th time. I decided to just try to be straight from where I was up to.
I find that I am getting some ridging (it is clearly visible in the blue part) and I am not sure if that is because the weaving underneath has been pulled too tight in the centre or if it is because of how I am weaving differently. Not to worry, I am about to do the hitching off and can try again. Looks like I'll have to work on another sampler.

The other thing I am using the tapestry for is to play around with colour blending. I have based the design on the optical illusion that I used for my small banner quilts. The interpretation is slightly different but I have enjoyed doing the blending.  The illusion is not very complicated, just that the surrounding colour will make the fuchsia bits look different when they are actually the same colour.

I used 4 strands of Australian Tapestry Workshop wools. I only did one pass each of a colour. Then I would change one of the strands of wool, moving on to the next colour. Some of the colour changes are quite subtle but others are much more marked.
I started each pass from the opposite end in the hopes that I wouldn't have all my loose ends on one side, making it bulkier.
Overall, I am happy with the work. I have learnt lots.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Light and Shade tapestry exhibition

The travelling exhibition is up!!
It arrived early in the week and we put aside a few hours today to get it together.
It is in the Handweavers and Spinners Guild rooms, 655 Nicholson St, Carlton North, Victoria, 3054. Opening hours are 10am - 3 pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
As usual, it was amazing to see the great variety of works and the varying interpretations of the Light and Shade theme. The works were limited to a maximum of 20cm square which makes it ideal to travel around the country (and New Zealand) for viewing.
As usual, too, I didn't quite see some of the images until I had the chance to hang them and then move a distance away. I constantly amazes me how much better some of them look when you stand back.