Sunday, September 28, 2014

Still seeing lines, even when not trying to.

Yesterday was the Grand Final of the AFL and my team was playing. We were lucky enough to be able to queue for tickets on the morning, in case there were some seats left. So we got up early and caught the first train in!
It was very well organised, the queue stretched a long way but in sections. We waited patiently for the gates to open. A couple of hot air balloons floated past. It was all very peaceful. The morning was cool but once the sun came up it warmed up quite a bit.
I had taken my camera and took a few shots. Here is one of a balloon, the light tower and some of the top of the stadium.  The rising sun is shining on the clouds. The waiting was very pleasant, well organised and all the people were happy and chatty.

Yes!!!! We got in. We were in our seats by 8.30. The stadium was empty and looking pristine.

Go Hawks!!  I just couldn't resist putting this in, it isn't that often that your team gets to win two Grand Finals in a row.

All those lovely lines.  I'm still seeing lines all around the place.

Later in the day, with the pre-match entertainment and the stadium filling. Lovely shadows.

These pictures remind me of the silk rugs I saw in Turkey, they were woven in such a way that they seemed to change colour as you saw them from different directions, the light making the same fabric look very different.

The teams warming up, the stadium almost full. 99, 454 people in attendance. Beautiful weather, great result.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Out walking

As  I have been taking Penny out for our usual walks lately, I keep seeing dots and lines in the trees - spring is full of branches with budding leaves and flowers. Lots of lines and dots!

I suppose I should be drawing some of these as well as just observing and taking photos. But, at the moment, this is enough.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

More cutting up of shapes

I have been trying to do my homework for the design course. We had to continue on with some aspect of the class work, if we wanted to.
I decided to do some of the simple shape cutting. I chose a circle that I had already produced. I traced it, attached the black fabric to Vliesofix, cut them out and ironed  them onto the white fabric. I didn't reverse the tracing before I cut the fabric, so it is in reverse of the original. I decided that it wouldn't matter as it is an abstract design.
I sewed the pieces onto white fabric. I then did some more sewing on the black shapes to give it texture and to flatten it in the black areas, leaving the spaces puffy. I had used high loft polyester batting on the back.

Then I decided that I needed to flatten the background a little and give it some added texture.

I'm not sure if I like the effect, I think the background is not flattened enough. If I do it again I will try for a less noticeable background design. Live and learn.

As I reread the homework notes, I noticed that we were supposed to do a collage of fabric and thread. I wasn't sure that the previous piece would qualify as a collage, so I decided to have another go.

I chose a piece of scrap fabric (that I later noticed had a stain on it). I ironed Vliesofix onto the black fabric again, cut out a circle and cut it into pieces. I then ironed them onto the scrap. It was then that I realised that I had intended putting in extra layers of fabric and should have done that first.

Soldiering on, I decided to use high loft polyester batting again, I had it there, of a size that is of no use except for small pieces. No deep thinking required. All I was doing was extending lines from parts of the design - another little exercise we had done. 
I had used spray adhesive to attach the white fabric to the backing for the previous sample but used a hope for this one.  I don't like the smell!
 I scored lines into the fabric using a wooden skewer and a ruler. That way the lines would be relatively straight but there would be no pencil marks.

After that, I drew around the design on tracing paper, making a wider circular shape, and traced the needed sections. I did reverse them this time so that they would be in the correct orientation. I had decided to use some fabric I had, not to buy anything new for these samples. I dug out some grey polyester organza.

Guess what, Vliesofix doesn't attach to it, it just makes a sticky mess and the fabric frays when you try to pry it off! (And the glue stays on the backing paper.)
Back to the tracing board. I copied the shapes again, making little templates and traced around them to cut out the necessary sections - again. Then I pinned them - old technology. I sewed them on and flattened them with some free motion sewing.

I decided to flatten the background further and roughly echoed the central circle.
As it is only a sample, I don't feel the need to bind it but, if I do, I think I will try to keep the grey in the border and the rest white. That will be fiddly, so don't hold your breath waiting for it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Victor Hugo exhibition

At our design course we talked about using line to draw. I saw some amazing examples this week, at the Victor Hugo exhibition. It is at the State Library in Melbourne and is timed to coincide with the newest production of Les Miserables.

One thing I learnt was that I don't know much about French history!  It was quite enlightening and made me think I should learn more.
There were old manuscripts, paintings and old photographs about Victor Hugo and his times.

Of special interest to me, in terms of line drawing, were the prints that appeared in his time - they use line extensively. I had never thought about it in that way before. Doing courses and learning about design make you see the world differently.

We weren't allowed to to take photos in that part of the exhibition but there was another aspect, related to the various stage productions of the musical Les Miserables. It was in a very interesting space. It seemed as if it was outside the original State Library building, using the walls to set the scene. I am not sure if it was really the outside that is now enclosed or if there were some really good props. Whatever it was, it was impressive. I was more taken with the space than with the exhibition - but I am not a Les Miserables oficionado.  (I have looked at the map and it seems that there is a space that is temporarily closed, suggesting that I am right, we were looking at the outside of the building which has the appearance of some of the French buildings. It was probably built around the same time. It was a fabulous space.)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Working on Lesson Two of the design course.

This is the weekend off between classes. They are going to be every fortnight for a few months, until Christmas and summer holidays interfere. That should keep the brain ticking over - I hope.

Our second lesson was about using black paper and simple geometric shapes. I have decided to develop some of my square shapes this time.

The original brief was to keep the square shape of the paper.

 Now I have decided that I much prefer a rectangular shape. So I have used the same size square paper (left over from my teaching days), still black. I have decided to stick with black, in the main, so that I am not being influenced by colour choices, trying to keep it simple.

I have pasted the design, traced it, drawn on it and generally had a quiet time playing.

I even went so far as to trace the overall design and draw lines on the soluble fabric so that I can keep to much the same design as I have put in my visual diary, no improvising as I go along.
I didn't use a hoop, I just held the fabric firmly and sewed the straight lines I had drawn. Then I doodled with the needle.

I used some black fabric that I found in my stash. It doesn't feel like pure cotton, it may have polyester in it. I used pure cotton thread though, just ordinary sewing cotton.
I thought it might not shrink as much as some of my previous works have done, because I used the cotton, but it has!

The fabric hasn't shrunk, the sewing has. Something to keep in mind if I ever decide to develop this sort of work further. I will have to be a bit more organised about what fabrics shrink, if any, to what extent and which of the various threads shrink most - and whether having different sorts and amounts of fabric changes the equation. Hmm, that sounds like a lot of sampling. I'm not sure that I will be that scientific. Something to aim for, I suppose.
However, one of the things I am enjoying about this course is that we are encouraged to come up with samples, no final product mentioned at all. So there should be time for me to do that experimenting. As long as the next lesson doesn't take me in some wonderful new direction.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Changing Seasons again

Talking about posting about the same things year after year, I noticed the change from the footy to the cricket seasons today. (You might think we only have two seasons here, the football season and the cricket season!) We were at Chelsworth Park and one lot were practising their bowling and batting while others were kicking for goal.

I'm having my usual reaction to the onset of spring, tiredness!!  I don't seem to suffer from spring fever in the normal way, no mad burst of energy leading to cleaning up for me.

I did go to another of my design classes this weekend. I even did a bit of extra work at home. For one exercise, we used small squares of black paper and cut them up. Our cutting was based on basic geometric shapes, square, circle and triangle. We just had to cut the shapes up then rearrange them so that they still resembled the original shapes. 

Here are some examples of the basic cutting and playing with extending lines from the circles. I scanned the images and then played around with Photoshop to do the very simple drawing of lines.

One of the good things about this sort of work is that you are not aiming to produce anything in particular, you are just playing. Sometimes it works, mostly it doesn't - but it doesn't matter.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More dots and lines

Penny, sitting in the recently mown grass.
I seem to take photos that are similar from year to year. Not to worry, this time I was looking for lines and dots. So they may be similar (mostly because I walk the dog at the same parks) but I am looking at things for different reasons. But I am looking, which is good.
Today we went to Warringal Parklands, a lovely off-lead park where I can take my time while Penny has a lovely play around too.
I forgot to take the camera so the pictures are from my very minimal phone (not a smart phone or iPhone but it does the job, I can talk and text - and take photos). It makes it harder to get just the bit I am looking at, there is no zoom capability and I tend to get more information than I want. It makes me realise how selective we can be with our looking, able to ignore extraneous information.

Here are some of today's photos, that look a lot like other photos I have taken. I have cropped them a bit to hone in on the aspect I was looking at, and being inspired by, but that does make some of them pixelated. Not to worry, they are only for inspiration.

I can definitely see does and lines in these.
Actually, this was yesterday at Rosanna.
I was looking at the lines of the bark, how I might possibly draw it.
One of the things I have noticed as I have been doing my minimal amount of drawing, and sewing, is that I tend to do a lot of continuous line work, probably because of the free motion machine sewing, so I am attracted to images with lots of lines.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Something new

As if I really need to be playing around with a new technique!
Last week I spent several hours playing, such fun, with a couple of friends. We played with 'rust dyeing' on paper.
It took me ages to realise that we weren't actually going to use rust! Silly me. Maybe this is why I can never get fabric to do good rust dyeing. I have been using rusty items rather than chemicals that will react together.

We used tea bags - 50 0f them! A bath of caustic soda, another of ferrous sulphate and one of copper sulphate. We had various types of paper and dipped them in the different baths. It was fascinating to see the effects the chemicals had on each other.

It was a perfect day to be doing this, lovely warm sunshine - not your usual August weather at all. It has been very spring-like lately. The birds were singing loudly before 6.00 this morning - I heard them and turned over and went back to sleep!

Eventually we used some fabric. As the caustic soda wouldn't be good with the fabric, we quickly dipped it in and out!

I am not sure what I will ever do with the papers but it was a fun day. And one of the household members thinks that the papers could be very good for miniature work - as in dolls' house miniature, 1/12th size. I will wait with bated breath to see what eventuates. Or not.

As I have forgotten most of what we learnt about dyeing in our Textiles and Design Course, I have just looked up some of the ingredients we used. It turns out that tannin (tea bags) is a mordant, as are ferrous sulphate and copper sulphate. So our paper and fabric should be fine - not that I know what I might use them for. I looked up caustic soda and was a bit taken aback about the warnings. Fortunately we had been careful and no adverse effects have been noted.

Who cares what I am going to use the paper and fabric for? We had a lovely social and creative day. And who knows, I may even use them some day.  Something to add to the stash, as if it needed adding to.