Stage Four – Sorting
There were many sections to Part One of this course. After reading through the twenty exercises I produced some simple samples for each one. From the written descriptions I found it difficult to decide which exercises to take forward so made the samples to try and form some ideas in my mind about where each exercise could be taken.
This worked well for me as I found it difficult to fold some of the paper samples in part one so could immediately discount those exercises. Also I felt that some of these exercises could be open-ended and almost never-ending in terms of the number of materials that could be used or the samples that could be produced. I decided to give myself four days to produce samples for these exercises. This worked well for me as I could focus only on producing samples and documenting these before returning to them for the sorting stage.
Project 1, Exercise 4
I enjoyed producing the twisted pleat samples. These definitely would benefit from scaling up as the smaller samples did not sit flat. There was too much twist in the paper surface which would be alleviated in a larger sample.
The back of these samples was also interesting as the pleats formed valleys when viewed from the reverse.
I also chose Exercise 6, crumpling tissue paper to form an elastic surface. I had never thought of using a crumpled surface to form a stable three-dimensional surface. It worked well and held the shapes press into it well.
The Supersurfaces book helped with the samples in Project 2 Exercise 2, Cutting edges. There were several samples in that book that I reproduced but these then led me on to forming several new samples based on that work. I would have been afraid to have done this prior to reviewing the Steal Like and Artist book (A. Kleon) as I would have seen it as cheating or not thinking for myself. However what I did was use those ideas and build on them to give my own samples.
Project 2, Exercise 5, Creating flaps was by far and away my favourite exercise. I enjoyed cutting each section directly in to the paper with a craft knife. And especially liked the final photographs I took of these samples were two were layered up and lit form behind. The shadows cast gave some interesting patterns. I found a Giles Miller Studio produces ‘Hoxton Cladding’ this is a metal sheet that has small flaps cut out of it. When pushed up they reflect light back at the viewer, when pushed in they form a shadow. This allows pictures and motifs to be made visible in the cladding surface. I tried this method to produce shadows in my paper samples. It didn’t work in exactly the same way as my paper had a matte surface finish but this may be possible with a shiny or metallic surface paper.
I feel that my ‘flap’ samples may translate well to stencils or prints.
Project 2, Exercise 6, Tearing. I found these the least inspiring samples while I was compiling them. On reviewing them these would form good backgrounds for larger stitched samples. Using many different types, textures and tones of fabric a fabric sheet could be formed with much more interest than a flat sheet of a single type of fabric.
Project 3, Exercise 2 Heat gun. I’m not drawn to plastic. I don’t tend to use it in my work, I prefer more natural surfaces and threads. I don’t like the feel of these samples, while I can see how they might add texture to work, I cannot see myself working in to them directly. They would however be good surfaces to print from. The textures on the surface could then be transferred to fabric or paper and used in that way.
Project 4, Exercise 1, Embossing
This is a good way to lay marks in to paper, rather than drawing marks on the surface of the paper. This could be useful to add a drawing element to work, rather than using colour or art media.
Project 4, Exercise 2, Scratching
This simple lining paper sample, scratched with a sewing needle is probably my favourite samples produced. I mentioned previously about my birch tree bark photos and this immediately reminded me of those. I’m not sure how this could be translated to fabric as scratching fabric can often lead to nothing or large tears.
Project 5, Exercise 1, Puncturing
While all I was required to do was put holes in paper I seem to have ended up with some holes and some sections where the paper has not quite been removed from the paper. This exercise is where my indelicate hand came in to its own. I used a paper punch to form uniform, well cut, circles but when it came to using other tools I began to hit the paper with them rather than try and push them through. This has given me some good surfaces however.
Again the shadows cast from the raised sections have given some interesting areas, especially on the paper hit with the corner of a metal ruler and the straight blade screwdriver.
Also I’m intrigued by the small circular pieces of paper that were removed when hitting the paper with the unrolled coat hanger. I like the combination of the defined circle and the torn section clinging on to it. This would be good scaled up and maybe each section rendered in a different colour or material.
Project 5, Exercise 2 , Stitching
I found that stitching in to paper requires a very positive stitch. If the needle isn’t pushed forcefully through the paper it can bend the surface and leave folds. A set of pliers is also useful if there are several layers of paper to get through.
I can see progression from one set of stitches to another in the large A3 piece.
The cards where holes were punched in to the surface and then thread passed through has given some good results. I especially like the geometric shapes produced which could be used individually or as part of a repeat print.
I still don’t think that I have got to grips with stitching with material other than designated ‘sewing’ threads. Something to work on.
Most interesting samples
I have chosen the samples above as I feel they could be taken forward to make interesting prints or surfaces for future work or sections could be used as repeat patterns.