Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Part Two: Project 5 - What have I achieved?

I have enjoyed project 5.

It took the drawing through to the design, and then, from the design to a finished sample in a simple progression.

Did I feel that I made a good selection from my drawings to use as source material for my design ideas?
I felt happy with the selection of drawings that I chose as source material for my design ideas.
There was a lot of potential in each of the original sketches.
I had many ideas in my head of how each drawing could develop before I started the samples, and of course the results were very different from how I imagined they would be.
I really enjoyed creating the repeat patterns, the unusual shapes that appear when reflecting and rotating the shapes added interest to the design.

Which fabrics did I choose?
I chose mostly fabrics with a smooth finish: satin and cotton.
I wanted to be able to produce a clean, crisp finish to the prints that I would be making.
I also chose neutral coloured fabrics: off-white and white, so that the print would show up clearly.
This may be something that I explore further as I work through the course.

Were the scale of the marks and shapes on my samples appropriate to the fabric? Would any of my ideas have worked better on a different type of fabric? Was I aware of the negative shapes that were forming in between the positive shapes? What elements were contrasting and what elements were harmonising in each sample? Is there a balance between the two that produces an interesting tension?
The scale of the marks and shapes on the samples were appropriate to the fabrics chosen.
I chose fabrics that were suitable for the ideas that I was working on, although sample 1 in stage 3 could have worked equally well on a sheer fabric.
I was very aware of the negative shapes that were forming in between the positive shapes - that was the aspect that I found the most exciting when developing the designs.
I found that the starfish design has the most 'interesting tension' in it: there were diagonal lines, unusual negative spaces; the lines created in the design made your eye travel to all areas of the image.

How successful do I feel my larger sample is? Do I like the design? Have I recreated or extended my ideas from the smaller samples so that there is a visible development between the two? Does my repeating design flow across the surface, without obvious internal edges? Do they make an interesting composition on this larger scale?
I really, really like my larger sample. It is not at all how I envisaged it would look.
It wasn't until I finished working on it that I realised how well the design turned out.
It is the negative spaces that make the design work; the starfish aren't the predominant image that you see when you look at it now.
I extended my ideas from the smaller sample: I kept to the same design, but developed the colour scheme.
The repeating design does flow across the surface of the fabric - there are no obvious internal edges, just lots of interesting shapes.
The composition works better on this larger scale, I think it is a very interesting composition.

The assignment is now packed in its red bag, I send it off to my tutor in the morning.
I am so glad this assignment is finished, I can't believe the amount of work that I have produced for it.
The really nice thing about collating all the work to send off to the tutor is seeing all the work together - the mountains of samples that I have made.....

Monday, July 2, 2012

Part Two: Project 5 - Stage 4

A Larger Sample

I sit looking at the range of samples that I produced for stage 3.
I enjoyed the process of making the samples and creating the designs on fabric - this was a very different experience from working with paper.

For Stage 4, I have to produce a larger sample. The choices are:

1: To make an extended version of a repeating pattern: a design that can continue beyond the edges of the sample and is not a complete unit in itself.

2: To develop an image or motif built up or extended to make a 'single unit' piece: the design will be complete within itself.

I had intended to experiment more at this stage, to work on the design in my sketchbook, to perhaps amalgamate several of the design ideas into a new motif.
After dwelling on this overnight, I decided to choose my favourite sample and work with it.
I thought I would see where the design took me.

The sample I chose to develop further was the starfish design.
The original sketch
Close up of the starfish
Repeat pattern of the starfish
Repeat pattern of starfish: Project 4; Stage 4
Stylised design of the starfish. Based on the repeat pattern above
Stylised starfish sample: stage 3
I initially thought that I would reverse the stencil, making the background neutral and emphasising the starfish.
Looking back to the repeat pattern, I realised that what I liked most about the design was the negative shapes that were produced.

I decided to keep the stencil the same - but just make ALOT of them.
I cut out 16 stencils from sticky backed plastic.
My starfish stencils
I prepared my fabric: approximately 40cm x 40cm of off-white cotton sheeting taped on to a printing board.
I placed the stencils on top of the fabric to see how they would fit together:
The fabric allowed for 12 stencils.
I realised at this stage that each stencil did not require a frame around it, as I attached each one to the fabric I trimmed off any parts of the stencil that was not needed
Laying out the stencils
I chose the colour scheme based on this sample:
I liked the colours in this sample
I started to apply Napthol Red to the fabric.
At this stage the suggested guideline of 10 hours seemed a long way away.
Applying red Markal Stick to the design
This was where I realised just how long the project might take.
I stopped to have a tea break and to gather my thoughts.
Work in progress
Second tea break, half way through applying the background colour.
Half way through
Another tea break, at this stage I could see how well the design was working out.
Near the end ....
Having completed the bright red background, I added Dioxadine Purple, Light Gold and Pearl White to some of the shapes that were repeated throughout the design.
Adding more colours to the design
I really liked the way the colours were working, but felt it needed 'something else'.
Turquiose was added to areas in the design
Adding turquiose
I decided to see what the design looked like once the stencil was removed.
I thought it may have needed over printing with small stars.
Once the stencil was pulled away I realised my design was complete.
Finished design with stencil removed
A close up of the finished design.
Close-up of the design

I am very happy with the finished design.
The colour combination works well.
Using strong colours in the negative spaces of the design makes the design look very different to the original repeat pattern.
The starfish are now almost lost in the design.

The stencils worked well, occasionally part of the stencil would come unstuck and there are some blurred edges.
The fabric was also a good choice. The smooth finish helped produce a nice crisp design.
Markal sticks worked well to colour the fabric - the shading worked very well. Applying the initial layer of red took a huge amount of time - maybe try to learn how to use my silk screen next time.

I have such a feeling of relief that I have now completed this project - now to send off my second assignment.
Finished page:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Part Two: Project 5 - Stage 3

Printing and Painting on Fabric.

Having been away for several weeks, it was hard to start the course work again...
I sat, cleared a space, gathered my ideas and art supplies around me and re read the outline for Stage 3.

Stage 3 asks us to work closely with the design ideas pinned up on a board. I selected my ideas in Stage 2.
We are to experiment freely with printing and painting techniques on different fabrics and to concentrate on developing ideas rather than on producing neat, finished samples.

Working mainly with the shell images I produced the following samples.

Sample 1:
I fixed my fabric to the printing surface and cut a stencil based on my shell drawing.
I used an off-white cotton sheeting for the fabric, the smooth surface would help produce a crisp outline.
Sticky backed plastic was used for the stencil, it would adhere well to the fabric surface and prevent colour bleed. 
Stencil cut from sticky-backed plastic
I prepared several individual stencils so that I would be able to produce a multiple image of the shell.
Markal sticks were used to apply colour to the fabric surface.

Having placed the stencils on the fabric surface, Raw Umber was applied from the Markal Stick with a toothbrush.
Sample 1: repeat pattern of shells
I liked the image that was produced.
The way the Markal Stick is applied by brushing colour on to the fabric, means that you can build up depth of colour gradually. The result isn't 'flat'.
Having chosen several colours to be applied to the fabric - I like the result using just the one colour.

The problem that I encountered was that the stencil was quite delicate - it didn't stand up to repeated use.
The toothbrush was too strong a tool to brush colour onto the fabric where the stencil was fragile.
Next time I wouldn't cut as many small pieces from the stencil, this would make it stronger.
Also I would choose a softer brush to apply colour to any fragile areas.

I really like the design, it is a stylised version of the original shell.
The repeated pattern leaves areas of negative space that will be interesting to work with.

Sample 2:
I used the same materials to produce sample 2: off-white sheeting; stencil made using sticky backed plastic; markal sticks.
This time I produced a repeat image to print with rather than four individual starfish stencils
Stencil cut from sticky backed plastic
Again I limited my colour pallette to one colour: Red
Sample 2: Starfish stencil
Knowing the limitations of the stencil I brushed colour on to the fabric in smaller areas, this seemed to help keep the stencil in one piece.

I liked the result of the repeat pattern, but I think it would have been better to have the starfish as the positive image.
Although, some interesting shapes have been created using this technique.
There is some potential to develop this design further.

As a point of interest I tried overlaying the Markal sticks to see how well the colours would work.
Overlaying colours with Markal Sticks
You can achieve some really nice effects with the Markal Sticks.
The fabric hasn't lost any of it's feel by adding the colour in this way.

Sample 3:
Using the round shell as inspiration I made the following stamps.
I cut out 3 different circles from dense foam (funky foam) and glued them to a stiff cardboard surface.
My intention is to use the cotton sheeting as a fabric base, and to stamp images with fabric paint.
Stamps made with funky foam on cardboard
I have some Marabu textile paint which is ready mixed.
I applied the paint with a brush and achieved the following:
Sample 3: concentric rings of fabric paint
I didn't like the result.
It may have been better if I had been able to cut the circles so that the paint didn't overlap.
I was disappointed in the thinness of the paint, it was almost translucent.
I hadn't really thought about the colour combination for this sample.

Sample 4:
I went on to make some more stamps using funky foam and cardboard.
Stamps made from funky foam on cardboard
Using the same background fabric and fabric paint, this time I was more careful in my choice of colours.
I overprinted the paints: the largest foam circle was yellow; the middle size circle was green and the smallest circle was a dark blue.
Sample 4: rings of colour.
This had a nicer finish than sample 3 - but I still didn't like the translucent finish of the fabric paint.

Sample 5:
For this sample I painted sheets of paper with transfer paint: Scarlet, orange, lime, yellow.
I cut these into circles to carry on with the design I used in samples 3 & 4.
For transfer paint you need a synthetic surface; I chose a white polyester satin.
Fabric transfer paint cut into shapes for printing
Using a second sheet of copy paper I glued the shapes in place.
I placed the paper face down on the satin and applied heat from the iron.
Transfer paint circles
This print is actually the second time the paper was used to print from.
The first print didn't work as well.
Transfer paint circles: 1st and 2nd print
The first print, on the left, I didn't leave the iron on long enough.
The colours were too pale and there are gaps in the colour from where the glue must have accidentally got on to the transfer paper.
The fabric has also been scorched where it wasn't protected from the iron.

I then tried a different colour combination.
This time I placed the shapes face down on the fabric and covered with a sheet of paper.
I was hoping to avoid scorching the fabric and the problems I had using the glue.
Transfer paint circles
This was also the second print, below are the first and second prints together (first print on left).
Transfer paint circles: 1st and 2nd print
Not fixing the shapes in place before ironing meant that the shapes were prone to moving and this created a shadow image.
It is probably better to fix the shapes in place with a dab of glue, but to be more careful in the process.

The repeat pattern using both colourways:
The repeat pattern created with transfer paint
This is a nice simple design.
I like the bright fresh colours in the sample, but I think it would also work using monochromatic colours.
I also like the smooth, shiny finish of the fabric, the design has a clean, crisp finish. 
There is again potential to develop this sample further.

Although I have spent the time in preparing these samples, I probably haven't been as 'free' as we were asked to be.
I am however happy with the results.

I intend to work on linking the images; to use mark making techniques; to combine images and create more interest in the finished piece in Stage 4.
I aim to develop my ideas further for a larger sample.

Finished Pages: