Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Part Four: Project 8 - What have I achieved?

The first question asked is
Did I enjoy inventing constructed surfaces?
Yes I did - I was unsure of many of the techniques when I started, which made me unsure of the way to go with each of these exercises.
Once I started, the ideas grew and the samples started to be produced.

I think my sense of achievement and enjoyment grew because I hadn't made 'constructed surfaces' before. It seemed a daunting project at the start, but by the end I have more ideas that I would like to try out in the future, using some of the techniques that I learned during these exercises.

Was I surprised by the results?
Yes, having tied, manipulated, threaded and got tangled up... to then achieve a surface that I liked was a great surprise.
Having to find a way to strengthen one of the samples: Stage 2, Exercise 3, Sample 3: here and for that to work, surprised me. I started exercise 3 with an image in my mind and was unable to reproduce that image - but, I think I found a compromise with the sample that I made and I was happy with the result.

Can I see a connection between my choice of materials and the types of structures that I made: Eg. regular, irregular, small or large scale?
Reading this question makes me wonder if I should have been more adventurous - but at the back of my mind is the fact that at some point this work has to travel to the UK, large unruly pieces would be difficult to pack.

BUT.... as an answer to the question, "can I see a connection?" - yes.
I have made smallish, regular pieces with smooth, fine threads - in some ways the unfamiliarity of the techniques may have led to a more conservative attitude when constructing the samples. Once I master a technique I am usually more willing to be free in the application of it.

Some of the braids became larger and less regular - there is the piece made with fleece: Stage 2, Exercise 2, Four Strand Flat Braid - sample 2, here. This is a big, squishy, rough edged braid - this sample has a very different look to the other braids made from soft wools. It is more tactile than the other samples.

Which sample worked best?
My favourite sample is this one: Stage 2, exercise 4, link here
Sample made for Stage 2, Exercise 4
I like the fragility of the piece.
The sample has given me some inspiration for my final piece in part 5 - the idea of using maps and grids - the possibility of having areas that will have been distressed.
It was a piece that I wasn't really sure where I was going with it; from my initial idea of how I was going to construct the sample, I was then able to make a piece that I was happy with.

Each stage of the sample produced a 'nice' result - I felt brave making changes that were irreversible. I held my breath when I used the heat gun, I wasn't sure how much of the Tyvek would burn away, whether the threads would disappear forever.
I still haven't plucked up the courage to cut the piece from the frame and stitch it onto a background - maybe this one will stay on the frame?

How accurate was I in matching all the colours in my postcard?
a) with paints
I felt happy with the paint swatches I made to match the postcard colours.
With the printed picture there is a flatness to the colours - the image in the book is glossy, the photocopy is matt. The reproduced image is very 'flat' - the texture and the liveliness of the paint in the original work has been lost in the copies. But, having mixed and matched the colours, they were pretty close, I probably missed out several of the shades and tones of some of the colours as there were just so many.

b) with yarns / other material
I was unsure even with a fairly good collection of yarns, that I would be able to accurately match both the colours, and the textures of the pictures.
However, looking back at the results from the interlude exercise I am fairly happy with the thread wraps that I made.
It is one of those exercises that, I am sure, will get easier the more times it is done, I also think that it helped me look at the image more objectively. If this was part of my design process for a finished piece it would also help me to buy the right materials, it would reduce the need to 'start again' because I would have already planned and sampled how the fibres worked together.

Finding the right texture - it certainly made the thread wraps more interesting, this is hopefully something that I will experiment more with in the next project - weaving.
I think working out the proportions of each colour and texture was possibly the hardest part - a skill to be built on?

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