Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Research for Spirals

Spirals seem to appear everywhere! 
My first thoughts were to spelling out my thoughts and literally applying these to types of spirals.
                                                         Ref 1 a) Radiating and thickening       Ref 1 b)scrolls uniform and random 

                                                      Ref 1 c) open end and double                        Ref 1 d) even, changing direction and wrap

The initial samples had bought to mind other connecting ideas Reference 5 and 3 D objects.  My 3 D objects sit beside my story boards for further inspiration from past pieces of works - am hopeful they can be cross referenced in later chapters of the module.
While exploring the types of spirals and investigated how these are designed I began to like the idea of random spirals that appear in wood knots, waves, skyscapes and wind patterns in fields of barley and stretches of sand. But that will be for later! Now I will concentrate on making spiral designs.  I have decided to do a spot of free designing of shapes and patterns and made up three few 'stamps' .
                                                              Ref 2 Spiral doodles                              Ref 3, stamps made from foam and paper covered wire
I was also delighted to come across the work of Trinh Vu and to see how she made her spiral creations, please see the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mmuGWw0frU, just  2.30 minutes to show the simplicity of an idea but the complexity of the process!  
For my way forward  I referred to George Bain's wonderful dictionary, Celtic Art; The Method of Construction and Janet Edmonds three-dimensional Embroidery (specifically her page on shells!)
                                  Ref 5 the opening continuing and curving of spirals      Ref 6 Spiral circles and 3 d 'cuts and bands'

Spiralling into colour - Introduction

After the discipline of black and white my first musings on photos and objects that should show 'spirals of colour' seemed subdued.  My thoughts turned to an object I had made for a recent exhibition and the piece of poetry that inspired it.  Above, in the header of this blog, you see the coiled object made from string and a silk thread mounted on a piece of curled birch bark and below the poem:
The Cocoon by Robert Frost
As far as I can see this autumn haze

That spreading in the evening air both way,

Makes the new moon look anything but new,

And pours the elm-tree meadow full of blue,
Is all the smoke from one poor house alone
With but one chimney it can call its own;
So close it will not light an early light,
Keeping its life so close and out of sign
No one for hours has set a foot outdoors
So much as to take care of evening chores.
The inmates may be lonely women-folk.
I want to tell them that with all this smoke
They prudently are spinning their cocoon
And anchoring it to an earth and moon
From which no winter gale can hope to blow it,--
Spinning their own cocoon did they but know it.

So hopefully this module will see the emergence of a beautiful piece at the end of Chapter 12!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Resolved sample and admin

Moving towards the last part of the process, making the sample stable by firming the corners: all pieces had been machined together and placed on a cardboard shell with double sided tape and bondaweb or pelmet vilene, in the case of the lid where I wanted to ensure that the curved shape would hold.
After much experimentation I decided that wooden skewers would be the answer to the corners allowing me to cut into fabric edges at 2 inch intervals and slide alternate sides or hinges onto the skewer. Doing three of these to each corner made a secure finish; putting a forth skewer on the inside edge proved to be somewhat problematic!

Satisfied with the solutions to the corners the tops of the skewers were cut and I then set about with the finishing touches to curved seams of the lid.
Triangles were sewn on a tape that could be cut to fit the curve and this was handsewn to inside and outside of lid, white triangles to outside, black triangles to inside.
The finished sample:
Having badly bruised my arms and right hand in a fall the process of hand sewing the finishing touches took far longer than I expected.  I was pleased with how the overall shape held together but decided to let a few feathers 'fly free'..with a bit of hidden support!  

Back view

                                                          Back details
                                   Hand stitch in perle thread

 Bottom view: positive and negative  shapes

                                                                                                        Front view:  'Birdsong'

Right Side                                                                          Left side

The camera seems to exaggerate an uneven edge, particularly on rightside, so will re visit!
My overall reaction to the finished piece is positive.  There is a sigh of relief and thoughts that I should have considered 'bite and chew', it has been a longer project than I envisaged
For Health and Safety I have updated my paper on Module one.
STORAGE AND HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUES DISTANT STITCH Module 1 and 2 ( new additions in blue for Module 2)

As the course is taking place in my home the following three criteria have influenced the following decisions regarding storage and health and safety issues:
  • My own convenience and safety
  • The convenience and safety of my family, and friends who may visit
  • The well being of the environment in which I live – a remote rural location where we have a private water supply and septic tank.  I endeavour to recycle paper, fabrics  and am know for collecting ‘thrums’- waste threads in Scotland - from not only my own work but our monthly sewing groupies inevitable come armed with bags of their thrums for me. In trying to maintain a low carbon footprint car use is considered carefully and as craft suppliers are a sixty mile drive away I do use the internet! But again I try to look to my collection first before pressing the order button!
I maintain two work areas:
  • a wet area within the garage, where there is easy access to water
  • a dry area in an upstairs study where there is access to a computer/printer and sewing machine, threads, fabric, books and sketch pads/pencils. My ironing area is in another part of the house
As an excuse for my hoarding tendencies I need to have a variety of storage options.

Wet Area
With grateful thanks to Mike who not only allowed me a space within ‘his domain’ the garage, but also built the bench and shelves and cut various boards and acrylic panes I have:
  • a bench,  150 x 70 x 70cms
  • stool
  • two shelves
A series of three plastic containers for paints/printing inks, fabric medium and stamp/mould making and adhesive materials allows easy, visible access.
Rollers are hung on wall, brushes are kept in containers and cutting tools are kept in original boxes.
A plastic sheet is used to cover work surface- particularly useful when Mike is having a wood working day or when I have a printing/painting day
Apron and shirt are hung for easy access
 Dry Area
With great appreciation again to Mike for making me three mobile tables and a bookshelf I am able to expand and contract the area I take up relatively easily. 
Storage is in colour blocks as we use the area for living and like to keep it ‘attractive’:
  • A series of glass cookie jars hold my threads, for sewing; separate Kilner jars hold more varied weight threads; old glass sweetie jars hold fabrics.
  • A 4 ring binder sketch book to log my progress for upload onto blog with A5 rough note pads at my side for thoughts and ideas
  • A4  plastic display folders hold Distant Stitch module chapter notes and templates made and not included in sketch/log book
  • A3 plastic display folders hold papers and fabrics that have been printed for project
Ease of access on working samples
To ensure that materials for the project I am working on are easily accessible I have made and covered two cardboard trays:
·         one for threads being used on project
·         one for fabric that could be useful in the project
and specifically for Module 2 were lots of pieces of paper were used a plastic envelope for papers
·         a story board, serves as a billboard for each chapter . Key pieces are kept on it for reference and inspiration
The key concerns that have arisen when undertaking Module One include:
 Ensuring that I work in a space that is:
·         light, well aired
·         cables for any equipment are well concealed reducing any hazard when moving around the work area
·         all items to be used on the specific part of the project are close to hand
·         and, take regular breaks to help stop fatigue.
     Dyes and colourings: 
My main colouring agents have been:
·         acrylic and water colour paints, pencils and
·         inks.  Concerns on using an old set of inkjet printer refills made me research the product and Appendix A gives the advice that I followed.  As the containers had sharp ‘injection needles’ empty refills were disposed of at the local Doctors Surgery where they have a ‘sharps disposal’ facility.  Any other waste was disposed of away from the water system. 
·         Dylon fabric dye has been used.  The warning that it is an irritant are heeded and gloves are warn when working with the dye.  The fact that it can be an irritant to eyes, might cause an allergic reaction and one should not breathe in the dust  makes one vigilant while and after using the dye.  As the hints include the fact that the dye may run after several washes I only use this dye on items that will not be washed thereby ensuring no contaminated water gets into the water system.  When mixing this dye I only make sufficient quantity for immediate thereby reducing storage issues or waste disposal. In instances where too much has been made and I have insufficient material to dyeI contacted Dylon who have informed me that it can be disposed of in our land drains.
·         Bleach is toxic and should be used with great care.  It can not only damage clothes but make an impact on the environment.  When used to lift colour from dyed fabric I placed a small amount on a china plate to ensure no waste remained.  It is advised that your wear gloves when using bleach and work in a well ventilated space.  While I do have a face mask I was able to open doors so did not use it in this instance.
 As I need to replace my stocks I have looked into more user friendly items.
·         Glue sticks, sellotape, double sided tapes and PVA  is easy to use and apart from ensuring it does not stick on work surfaces.  However, I have found that is best not to use PVA on typed paper and place in sketch book as it diffuses and turns some images green!!!
·         When working with papers in Module 2 I have used a spray temporary adhesive.  This is a highly flammable substance in a pressurised container and should be kept away from heat/flames or electrical equipment that are in operation.  It should be used in a well ventilated space and in short bursts without extended spraying.
Cutting implements:
·         Scissors – the work has alerted me to the fact that my scissors are not particularly sharp!!  I have found a person who will sharpen them so hopefully not only will my cutting be easier but also more accurate. 
·         Knives - The main concern centred on my craft knife which was used on flat, stable surfaces with a cutting board underneath the item.  The protective cover was replace as soon as any cutting had been completed
·         Olfa Rotary cutter should be kept with black click cover on when not in uses to ensure that it does not have sharp edge protuding.  When using to cut into fabrics or papers it should be only used on stable surface and one should push away from the body.
·         Seam ripper – While seemingly innocuous this little implement is sharp and when used for cutting channels one is exerting pressure and the cutting edge can slip off line so one should be sure that they are treated with respect.
·         Sewing implements and accessories, again simple things like pins and needles are stock and trade in sewing but in the wrong position they can cause discomfort and wounds.  To minimise risk of needles and pins dropping into carpets or chairs I always have a pin/needle cushion to hand and tend to ‘count them out and count them back’ i.e. I use glass topped pins and only have the needles I need to hand. 
·         Sewing machine – to ensure smooth running of machine, particularly when using frequently or running thick thread, it is important to ensure that spool area is cleared of dust.  When sewing various layers or thickness of fabric loosing tension and using a slow speed seems to be good practice  Ensure that needles are not blunt.
         Hot Tools
·         Domestic irons, this is in a separate area and as well as using non stick baking parchment I have invested in an ironing sheet to protect my ironing board.
·         Soldering irons, this is kept and worked with in the garage where a work surface and stand are available and I am close to a source of water.

As I progress through the course I will add notes to this report that identify concerns and actions taken.

Module 2 Supplier Cost Amount used Cost for module 2
A4 Sketchbook W H Smith 5.99 5.99
Glue stick 2.99 two thirds 2
Letter clips 1.99 stock
Cartridge weight paper HP 3.99 half 2.00
Fabrics & threads Seattle Quilt Co 13.40 quarter 3.35
Fabric painting for embroidery Amazon 12.17 stock
Dylon, Black Mitchells 3.25 all 3.25
Adhesive spray Ario 6.98 two thirds 4.64
Sub total stock for module 50.76 21.23
From previous purchases
Bondaweb tenth 1.03
Double sided tape third 1.83
Printing paper quarter 1.25
Printer inks quarter 18.75
Total Module 2 £44.09

28 weeks of work with an average of 6.25 hours a week
82 days of work with an average of 2.13 hours a day
Chapter    Hours
1              5
2             12          
3             15
4             13
5              8
6             14
7             13
8              8
9             10
10             7
11             9
12            10
13            49

Books and websites
Machine Embroidery stitch techniques, Valerie Campbell-Harding, Pamela Watts. Batsford

Fabric Painting for Embroidery, Valerie Campbel-Harding. Batsford

The Art of Manipulating Fabric, Coletter Wolff. Krause

Creative Embroidery Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. Batsford

Quiltmaking in patchwork & applique, Michele Walker. Ebury Press

101 Patchwork Patterns, Ruby McKim. Dover

Creating Handmade books, Alisa Golden.  Sterling Publishing Co Inc

Quiltline/Studio Quilts, Pauline Burbidge,

 DR  Digital reader symbols

 Museums and exhibitions and observations
  • Birmingham art Gallery
    • Lace African Textiles
  •  Platt Hall Manchester Exhibition Group 62 50th Anniversary
  •  Ludlow architecture
Authenticity Document

After each module I change my blog design so this is a reminder of the header used for Module 2
Stitch mark