Saturday, 23 June 2012

Part Five: A Piece Of Your Own


Stage 1 Reviewing your work so far

Some of my work!

I was really surprised how much work I've done since starting the course. Seeing it all spread out (all over the living room floor!) made me realise how much I have learned this year. I feel I've come a long way from when I first started the course.Experiments with printing and painting (project 4 Stage 4) caught my eye especially block printing so I decided to experiment. I also had a look at The 62 group of Textile Artists (which my tutor recommended) website, which was very inspiring.

Stage 2 Focusing on your theme book

I've been looking through my herb books:
  • Jekka's Complete Herb book in association with the Royal Horticultural society by Jekka McVicar.
  • The book of Herbs by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely.
These gave me great ideas for sketching herbs in my Gardener's Delight themed book. Herbs have great blends of colour.
In my mind I wanted to create a piece that was really different. I had seen these herb boxes at a friends house, I thought if I could make some sort of boxes, fill with dried herbs then add different designs on top it would be a bit different, so out came the pencils, gouache paints, paint brushes, sponge blocks and tooth brush to see what I would come up with.

I have sketched the above herbs in my themed book, this gave me a feel for the herbs, I now need to work with the colour I want to involve.








Stage 3 Developing your design

 I did a bit of studying first on the following books:
  • Connecting  Art to stitch by Sandra Meech
  • Stitch Magic Ideas and Interpretation by Jan Beaney & Jean Little John
  • Beginners Guide to Machine Embroidery by Pam Watts
  • Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers & Textile Artist by Kate Greenlees
After looking for ideas in reference books I started with making paper collages first just to see how the colours blended.

I also painted small amounts from different pictures which also allowed me to see how the colours worked together to give an exciting blend.

 I used some block painting to see how the different effects would come out.

Chives worked in soft pastels

Chives worked in soft pastels

Experiments for making  the boxes(which materials worked!)
To make the boxes I spent much time seeing which way I would make the box, in the end string was the answer.
Idea of how I wanted the box to look!

Net version of box

Stage 4 Making your textile piece

The boxes have came together well, even though my hands are sore knitting with string, it is a very tough material to work with but holds really well. Not sure yet how I am going to join them up!

I thought it would make a great wall hanger, specially if it smelled of really nice herbs, so I made muslin bags the correct size to fit into the knitted boxes.

Making muslin herb bag (Lavender)


The first box  (Marjoram) was weaved, I used different types of wool (chunky, double knit & coloured string).


The second box (Chamomile) was weaved with similar wools to the Marjoram but on top of it I stitched a large french knot and chain stitched.


The third box (Sage) I did Hardanger for the holes in the centre, then fabric painted the muslin that went through the holes. I then quilted round the edge and added french knots.To finish off I knitted with coloured string the pink/mauve butterfly and added french knots to it also.

The fourth box (Thyme), I got some plain white calico then splashed wax over it then put kitchen paper over the wax (when dry) and ironed it. Then I blended green, blue, pink, and yellow fabric paints over the top. I then got some muslin cotton fabric and blended greens and yellows onto the muslin.I then stitched it on top of the waxed blend held together with french knots.

The fifth box (Lavender), the green,white, blue,pink effect was achieved the same way as Thyme. I then used water soluble stabilzer (water soluble fabric) on the sewing machine (going back and forward lots of times to give a lace effect (this was to represent the flowers on lavender). I then dropped both pieces in water and was left with blue lace. I then used my machine again and sewed these onto the waxed effect area.


The sixth box (chives) was done by hardanger for the holes then cotton weaved material weaved through the holes then finished off with french knots to represent the chive flowers.

The seventh box (Rosemary), I used hessian and knitted the valour then stitched over the top (the purple representing the flowers).

The hanger (not yet joined)
Next was to make a hanger, I decided to knit in string a V hanger so to get that effect I had to do two separate sections then join them together and attach to the top of the boxes.
Keeping the same style I knitted the above to connect each box together. I made six at first for the front and attached these. To me it was not hanging as well as I thought it would so I made four more for the back of the boxes and this made it more firm for hanging.

almost complete!

 The photo is showing my project before I have put the extras on to make it firmer, I
 then found the top still wanted to flop, so I the unattached the extra and re-designed (see below!).

Final project completed

  • Can you see a continuous thread of development from your original drawing? And samples to the final design?  
          Yes to a certain point, each box doesn't look like herbs but the colours I used
          worked well also the different techniques, the knitted boxes came out as
          I expected.
  • Do you feel you made the right decision at each stage of the design process? If not, what changes would you make?
          Most of the time yes, the only part which didn't work out as planned was the
          joining together of the boxes. It wasn't firm enough at the top to hang correctly.
          I had to make adjustments to correct this point.
  • Were you able to interpret your ideas well within the techniques and materials you chose to work with?
          I think so, the string was great for the boxes, really firm and solid.Using the wax
          effect on Lavender and Thyme came out much better than I imagined also
          the lace effect on Lavender.

  • How successful is your final design in terms of being inventive within the medium and coherent as a whole?
           I think it was quite inventive, due to knitting with string (not the easiest thing to
          do, you really end up with sore hands! but I do think it was worth it. I am really
          pleased how it has turned out and the smell of herbs is wonderful.

Reflective Commentary

This course has been a huge learning curve for me, it has given me great confidence in drawing which I was really worried about. It has made me be very strict with my self discipline,I've been able to keep up with deadlines. One of my questions was " Will I be good enough?" this I'm working on, I think there is room for improvement!. I think "getting there" might be more in line.

The final project I've really enjoyed doing even though the string did frustrate me sometimes I kept losing loops. I've loved how each separate box has turned out. I think I'm changing my mind on weaving, because I've enjoyed including it on the project. Trying the wax experiment was great fun, it was brilliant how it kept the dye from staining.
I also enjoyed the water soluble fabric, it was amazing how it held and the rest just fell away in the water. I will definitely try that again.

I've really enjoyed the past year, it's certainly gone very quick and it's been a very interesting and learning year!.

Sketch Book Work

Amended final project.

After my tutors report came back I was advised to think about amending my final project. I did have
a think about what I had done and with alot of unpicking I re-designed the final project in various area.