Category Archives: Coursework

Part 5, Stage 2 – Research (preliminary phase)

22 May 2017


Part 5, Stage 2 – Research (preliminary phase)

As a result of stage 1, I decided to conduct some research along the lines of option 1, which is a constructed surface (see conclusion at the end of the stage 1 post).

I started by making a mind map of all the variations that I might consider, which I illustrated with examples from the Internet, literature, and from my sampling (see below). This has been included as the first page of my sketchbook.

I realised that within the idea of a constructed surface, there was actually scope for incorporating other aspects of sampling from module which had excited me (such as flaps, cut-outs, and other surface treatments). Consequently, although I had initially focused on the Möbious strip sample (part 2, project 1, exercise 5, sample 9), I decided that at this stage it would be helpful to widen my line of enquiry.

A particularly fruitful source of information was Pinterest; I created a specific board for this assignment on the subject of “Geometry”, with ideas from architecture and textiles (Eastaugh, 2017a). 

The diagram allowed me to revisit what type of constructed surface I might consider:

  • Folded/creased
  • Windows/cut outs
  • Twisted joined
  • Folded/creased
  • Flaps
  • Modules
 
I also realised that I could not afford to make my line of enquiry too wide, or I would run out of time. Based on my review of stage 1 and the focus of my mind map, I decided on the following:
 
Definitely:
  • A constructed piece
  • A repeating pattern of some sort
  • 2 visibly contrasting surfaces (either an inside/outside, front/back, on top/underneath). Nature of the contrast to be confirmed with sampling, but could be colour, pattern or textural.
To consider:
  • The use light and shadow
  • The possibility of incorporating contrast of opacity and transparency
  • Whether it would be appropriate to use transition or scale, colour or tone across the surface.
 
 
I selected the three ideas from my sampling which show the most promise and which might be suited to different surface treatments and/or materials:
 
View_one.jpg
Above: Part 2, Project 1, exercise 5, sample 9 – Möbious strip constructed surface
3_circles.jpg
Above: Part 2, Project 1, exercise 5, sample 8 – Intersecting circles
Mult.jpg
Above: Part 2, Project 1, exercise 3, sample 3 – Plastic honeycomb surface
 
 
Instead of writing up my research into relevant artists/designers as a blog entry, I have decided to include the information alongside development drawings, ideas and materials in my sketchbook. Instead of repeating the information in this blog, I will give a summary of contemporary practitioners which I found especially relevant and influential.
 

Deepa Panchamia
  • Orientation of elements across the fabric surface and use of a limited colour palette (Panchamia, 2016)
  • Use of layers and semi-transparent fabrics (Cole, 2008:72)

Anne Kyyro Quinn
  • Use of shadow to present tonal variation in single colour fabric panels (Quinn, 2009: 54, 168-171)Arrangements of repeating elements (Quinn, 2009: 169-170) 

Nani Marquina

  • Textured carpets, interlocking pile components (Quinn, 2009: 255)

Cornelia Parker
  • Sculptures explore symmetry, waste materials/found objects, textural surfaces (Blazwick, 2013)
  • Hot poker drawing (2011) – patterning and surface distortion due to symmetrical burning of folded paper with hot poker (Ingleby gallery, 2017)
  • Sculptural work makes effective use of shadow and is often on a large scale (Waters, 2011)
 

The following sources are not specific to a single practitioner:


Arrangements and patterns:

  • Sources of design for architects (and everyone else!) – shapes, patterns, constructed surfaces (Spuybroek, 2011)
  • Some ideas on how everyday objects can be arranged to make patterns (Mossman, 2008: 60-61, 72-73,  110-111, 120-121, 131)

Found materials and creative reuse:

  • Lots of ideas for arranging and joining everyday materials to make interesting surfaces
  • Cut-through shapes (Renshaw, 2009:72-74)
  • Cording (Renshaw, 2009:30)
  • Joining punched and braided leather belts to make an interesting textural surface (Seo, 2011: 58-59)
  • Using transparent properties of overlapping masking tape to create tonal variation (Seo, 2011: 40-41)
  • Using plaster to transform/stiffen fabric (silk flowers) (Seo, 2011:26-27)
  • Using cut outs from discarded drinks cans (Seo, 2011:158-159), (Johnson, 2009:135, 220)
  • Use of found/recycled paper (Thittichai, 2014:44-52)
  • Using rolled paper for edge patterning and texture (Diane Gilleland, craftypod, USA) (Johnson, 2009:28)
  • Paper sewn together to make patchwork surface (Heather Price, Winemakerssister, USA)  (Johnson, 2009:30)
  • Zipper teeth for textured edges (Johnson, 2009:55, 107, 128, 138)
  • Tyre tread for surface texture (Johnson, 2009:84)
  • Playing cars used as printed pattern  (Johnson, 2009:107)
  • Fraying fabric for textural edges  (Johnson, 2009:193)
  • Transformation of plastics to make sculptures, David Edgar  (Johnson, 2009:256-257)
  • Colour transition  (Johnson, 2009:299)
  

References: 

Blazwick, I. (2013) Cornelia Parker. London. Thames and Hudson.

Cole, D. (2008) Textiles Now. London. Laurence King publishers.

Eastaugh, N. (2017a) Geometry. Pinterest board. At:http://pin.it/j6ZNnRL (Accessed 23 May 2017)

Ingleby gallery (2017) Cornelia Parker: Hot poker drawing. At: http://www.inglebygallery.com/exhibitions/cornelia-parker/ (Accessed 23 May 2017)

Johnson, G. (2009) 1000 ideas for creative reuse: remake, restyle, recycle, renew. Massachusetts. Quarry books.

Mossman, S. (2008) Fantastic plastic: product design and consumer culture. London. Black Dog publishing.

Panchamia, D. (2016) Deepa Panchamia: Paperworks. At: http://deepapanchamia.com/work/paperworks/ (Accessed 23 May 2017)

Quinn, B. (2009) Textile designers at the cutting edge. London. Laurence King publishers.

Renshaw, L. (2009) Textiles handbook: Mixed media & found materials. London. A&C Black.

Seo, D. (2011)  Upcycling: Create beautiful things with the stuff you already have. London. Running press.

Spuybroek, L. (2011) Research and design: Textile tectonics. Rotterdam. NAi publishers.

Thittichai, K. (2014) Reclaimed textiles: techniques for paper, stitch, plastic and mixed media. London. Batsford.

Waters, L. (2011) ‘Interview with Cornelia Parker’ [online] In: The white review: Art. September 2011. At:  http://www.thewhitereview.org/art/interview-with-cornelia-parker/ (Accessed 23 May 2017)

Zilber, E. (2015) Crafted: Objects in flux. Exhibition catalogue. Boston. Museum of fine arts publications.

Part 5, Stage 1 – Review

16 May 2017

 

Part 5, Stage 1 – Review

This final assignment of the course is designed as an opportunity to bring together all the learning within the Mixed Media for Textiles module. It is a chance to consolidate practices, combine methods and take them further; to explore and be creative. 

I was pleased that the course notes encourage students to consider the final piece as prototypes or maquettes. The fact that there is an empasis on experimentation promotes a relaxed and open approach to risk taking.

I decided that I would start by concentrating on the “sorting” stage from each assignment. Mixed media for textiles is my third level one course, and I am now sufficiently confident in my down selection selection process.

 

To recap:

Part 1 was a series of samples selecting 10 exercises from the following projects/categories:

  1. Folding and crumpling
  2. Tearing and cutting
  3. Heating and fusing
  4. Scratching and embossing
  5. Puncturing and stitching
 
These exercises generated lots of samples. The techniques which I found most stimulating were Project 2, exercise 5 “creating flaps” (Along with the related technique of Project 2, exercise 4 “cutting holes”) and Project 5, exercise 2 “stitching”. 
 
Below are the samples from project 2, exercise 5 which I selected as most inspiring and promising for development – from left to right: samples 3, 4 and 5:-
 
Light_differently.jpgSmall_roll.jpgBlinds_from_front.jpg
 
I found that many of my samples could be enhanced by the use of lighting to heighten shadow and tonal contrast. I also found that part of their appeal was that they could be configured into a variety of three dimensional shapes. These pieces also have an element of pattern repeat (or at least a suggestion of rhythm).
 
In Project 5, exercise 2, I started to combine ideas of stitching with holes and flaps, exploring the sampling in the context of sutures or surgical stitching. I used stitching to hold back flaps: Project 5, exercise 2, sample 11 (below left) and emphasise the openings of holes: Project 5, exercise 2, sample 12 (below right), referencing the work of Rozanne Hawkins and Ann Wilson.
 
 Shadows2.jpgFlaps_sewn_back.jpg
 
 
This was a topic which I revisited in Part 3, end of project 1 (thinking about how the techniques in parts one or two could be used to embellish or manipulate samples). 
 
I used a papier mache sphere: Part 3, project 1, sample 28 (below left), into which I cut “windows” which I stitched across to bridge the gaps: Part 3, project 1, samples 62-67 (below middle and right):
 
Transparent.jpgSewn_samples1.jpgBookbinders.jpg
 
Again, the appeal for me was the tonal variation created by the different thickness layers of material which constituted the sphere when it was lit from behind. I also liked the idea of cutting holes, to allow viewing of the interior surface of the sphere (and possibly an object placed within it). The papier mache surface reminded me of the skull bones, so it was natural to consider suturing and the bridging of the holes with stitches. However, for me, samples 62-67 did not really move the idea forwards; the investigation was not bold enough – there was insufficient contrast of materials to make the result exciting. In hindsight I should have taken more risks. However, I had already made 61 samples for project 1, and because I didn’t get the balance of allotted time correct, I left myself short of time to explore the idea properly. The same can be said of sample 72:
 
Part 3, project 1, sample 72 was developed from the ideas arising from a latex mould of an aluminium pie dish (part 3, project 1, sample 48, below left). Coloured with red paint, duplicated and pulled and stretched between holes in a cork backing, it reminded my of a grotesque body part, pulled out ready for investigation or dissection (Part 3, project 1, sample 72, below right). I referenced the work of Rozanne Hawksley and the “bodyworks” exhibition of Gunther Hugens.
 
Pie_dish1.jpgFramed1.jpg
 
Although I really like the concept, I do not feel that the development led to a line of enquiry which was sufficiently stimulating or fruitful. The same can be said of the skull bone and suture idea.  I had found out after selecting the latex moulding for development that they discoloured in a way which I didn’t like because it made the moulding less similar to biological tissue. For these reasons, rather than continue and look for an alternative, I have decided to seek an alternative line of enquiry for my final project.
 
 
Part 2 was about joining and wrapping. 
 
From project 1, all of my favourite samples were three dimensional. I like the fact that they could be viewed from different angles, and that in some cases they were configurable. Part 2, project 1, exercise 3, sample 4 is one such example (see below):
 
Cone1.jpg
 
The strength of it’s appeal is its simple geometry, repeating pattern and shadow. Although I feel that the colour choice is not especially important, I do like the pattern created by the two colours being “randomly” placed. The colours are harmonious, so do not detract from the geometry of the circles, their shadows and negative spaces. 
 
Two other stand out samples for me are Part 2, project 1, exercise 5, sample 8 (below left) and Part 2, project 1, exercise 5, sample 9 (below right).
 
 3_circles.jpgView_one.jpg
They appeal for the same reasons as sample 4 of exercise 3, but I feel more excited about their possibilities for development. Both these have the possibility of using contrasting materials on each surface; perhaps a contrast of colour, reflective vs. matt, smooth vs. textured. There is the also possibility of exploring transparency, or surface treatment such as stitching, embossing or scratching. If these samples were to be developed, consideration would also need to be made as to whether they could be scaled up/down, multiplied and joined to make a constructed surface or more complex 3D shape. The sample made with Möbious strips, in particular, is suficiently developed to show strong potential, so I feel confident that I could develop an excellent final piece from this idea.
 
Wrapping encouraged me to move away from realist representation and to become more abstract. In this respect it is especially liberating and fun. Part 2, project 2, exercise 5, sample 5 was my strongest piece (see below):
 
Photo_1_pan.jpg
 
All the elements work extremely well: variation in texture, contrast of thread thickness, orientation of wrapping and especially the colour scheme and colour accents (which are complementary yellow and violet). However, to me this sample is a finished piece, and does not suggest any immediate ways which it could be developed or taken forwards as a line of enquiry. Similarly, whilst I produced some exciting results using Japanese package techniques (part 2, project 2, exercise 2, samples 5-8, it has not prompted any immediate thoughts for a line of enquiry, so at this stage I would probably bear it in mind to bring into my work as an influence rather than basing a project on it.
 
 
In Part 3, I explored moulding and casting. I have already discussed some of the samples which I chose to take forward and develop. Other than these, the samples which most  appealed to me were: 
 
1. Moulding of bubble wrap – Project 1, sample 36 (with Mod Roc) and Silicone)
  Side_1.jpgBehind_lit.jpg
2. Moulding a sample of knitted string
 
Paperclay_knitting.jpgString_closeup.jpg
3. Moulding the surface of a chard leaf
 
Finished.jpgThumb.jpg
 
The bubble wrap moulding are very geometric with strong tonal variation. The moulding of the chard leaf and the silicone moulding of the bubble wrap are interesting because of their fragility. The silicone cast of the knitted string mould, presents a contradiction; in essence capturing the minute textural detail of the source material and translating it to a material with very different properties. In this respect it draws on principle underlying the success of Rebecca Fairley’s concrete mouldings from knitted fabrics.
 
From this group of samples, it is silicone which is standing out as being the most versatile and inspiring. The suggestions of my tutor to look at the work of Laura Simpson and Xiao Li gave me some ideas as to how it might be used in association with textiles to provide contrast and structure in the handling and texture of a fabric. The work of these artists/designers captured my imagination. I feel that it would be interesting to conduct further experiments to investigate the behaviour of silicone moulding in conjunction with other materials. This line of enquiry would no doubt suggest ideas for how it could be used in a final piece, perhaps in combination with other treatments, such as folding, cutting or scratching, depending on the materials. This would be a highly innovative and risky approach which could easily end up taking longer than my allotted time.
 
My favourite sample from Part 3 was sample 6 from project 2 (see below):
 
Casty1.jpg
 
I decided to rule this sample out for further development on the grounds that I do not have the facilities to enable me to do large plaster casts. For this reason, I view the sample as inspirational, rather than being one which I would develop from directly. It shares many of the characteristics from other samples which appeal to me: the concept of holes to enable the interior surfaces to be viewed, strong tonal variation resulting from shadows and a 3D structure viewable from different angles
 
Mono printing and collatype printing was the subject of Part 4. From project 1, my most successful samples were these in which I combined techniques to make a series of related figure prints (see below).
 
Additive.jpgWiping.jpgPrint_2.jpgRework_of_4a.jpg
 
These were prints which I developed from the samples which I produced for project 1, exercise 4 (stencilling). This line of enquiry opened the possibility of using stencils as a means of embossing as well as printing. It also got me thinking about combining mono printing with cutting holes or flaps, to emphasise part of the negative space. An obvious development was to join and fold the individuals prints to make a concertina book. Another thought I had was to consider scratching and distressing part of the surface. Although my results of my surface scratching sampling had been underwhelming in part 1, project 4, exercise 2, I now wondered whether contrasting effects might be achievable in conjunction with printing (either distorting the surface after printing or before printing).
 
Although I achieved some interesting textural results with collatype printing in project 2, I do not feel that these samples present such an interesting line development as the figures which I produced for project 1. Below are my favourite examples: project 2, sample 2a (left) and project 2, sample 3c (right):
 
Fabric1.jpgSample3c.jpg
 
The landscape and portrait prints feel less developed technically and are not suggesting to me a clear line of development. For these reasons, I would favour the figure prints for development.
 
 
Conclusions:
 
From my review of the work I have completed for this module, three possible lines of enquiry have emerged:
 
1. Constructed surface
 
Pros:
  • Themes of three dimensionality, repeating pattern, geometry, light and shadow have consistently featured in samples which I have selected as visually appealing.
  • It offers possibility for investigating and combining surface treatments from other parts of the course.
  • It offers the chance of strengthening what I see as one of my weak areas (i.e. not being sufficiently bold an innovative with material combinations).
  • Sample 9 from Part 2, project 1, exercise 5 (Möbious strips), in particular, is sufficiently visually appealing to be developed in it’s own right.
Cons:
  • It would be easy to get carried away with permutations of shape, surface treatment, materials and scale and run out of time.
  • Overcomplexity of surface runs the risk of detracting rather than enhancing the visual aesthetic.
 
2. Silicone moulding textured surfaces in combination with other materials:
 
Pros:
  • Silicone has proved to be a versatile and interesting material during sampling.
  • There is a strong element of risk an innovation in pursuing this idea.
  • It would push me to explore dissimilar and novel material combinations.
Cons:
  • Moulding with silicone is an area of relative technical novelty for me. It is not a technique which I feel comfortable with, so the project would rely heavily of additional experimentation, which is highly risky.
  • Because my sampling is not well developed/resolved, there are no obvious directions in which to take the development of a final piece at present.
  • This line of enquiry could be seen as simply an extension of the sample-making process, rather than leading to resolution.
 
3. Mono-printed figures in conjunction with other surface treatments
 
Pros:
  • Mono printing is a technique which feel comfortable with and enjoy
  • It utilises my drawing skills (one of my strengths)
Cons:
  • This is the least risky proposal of the three because the idea is already well resolved and I am comfortable with the processes.
  • Less scope for being innovative with materials or material combinations (which is one of my weaknesses).
 
At this stage I have decided to rule out option 3 because it is too safe. Presently, option 2. feels too risky, and probably too large an undertaking for a single assignment of 7 weeks duration. However, at this stage, I haven’t ruled out incorporating it in my final project. In particular, the fragility of surface interests me as does the contrast between very thin areas which are translucents, and thicker, opaque areas.
 
Next, I will conduct some preliminary research along the lines of option 1., reveiwing other practitioners work into constructed surfaces.
 
 

Developing printmaking samples for an exhibition

14 May 2017


The Print and Stitch Group Exhibition – developing my printed samples from Part 4


I belong to a group of printmakers and textile practitioners called The Print and Stitch Group, which was founded in July 2015. We have been working towards our first exhibition in September 2017, on the subject of “Identity”. I used my sampling with fabric stencils which I produced for Project 1 exercise 4, and developed the figure prints in conjunction with techniques of back drawing, mark-making (reductive process) and drawing onto the plate.

The prints for the exhibition are shown below:

 

The first print (above) is a rework of Project 1, exercise 4, sample 4a. First I made a print of the negative space with a burlap stencil, which also gave me the embossing in the white (masked) area. When dry, I used back drawing techniques (project 1, exercise 3, samples 3), to fill in the detail of the figure.

This second print (above) also uses the back drawing technique, this time applied over a ghost print of the stencil plate used in the first print.

The print above is taken from the one of the plates which I used for back drawing. I have used reductive technique (Project 1, exercise 1, mark-making), to remove additional ink from the background areas before printing. The results are similar to project 1, exercise 4, sample 4d, except I have managed to achieve a better transfer of the burlap fabric texture, and I have also been more consistent with my mark-making within the negative space.

This final print (above) was produced by first taking a ghost print from the inked fabric stencil (see project 1, exercise 4, sample 4c before back drawing was added). In a second stage, I then used a paper stencil to mask off and print the negative image. Finally, I used Akua liquid pigment and a needle nib to draw the figure’s outline and clothing onto an acetate sheet, which I printed from using the direct drawing method (project 1, exercise 2, sample 6).

I am really pleased with the way in which I have been able to combine the texture of the burlap into all of these prints in different ways. The common shape, colour and texture of the fabric provides unity to the set, whilst the different methods of printing and line generation provides variety and interest.

I have entitled this series “Covert figure”. In keeping with the theme of the exhibition, I wanted to portray these images in a way which left their identity open to interpretation by the viewer. The way in which the image is framed top and bottom, suggests that the figure is perhaps lurking in a recess, window or balcony. Who they are and why they are waiting is the question which is presented. Their identity is almost hidden; we know the figure is female and have an idea what clothing she is wearing, however there is little else to give us a clue as to her purpose. I hope that this adds a sense of mystery and intrigue to my prints. 

 

I have also produced a second series of mono prints, based on the techniques in project 1, exercise 3, samples 3 (back drawing), in which I used first prints and the ghost prints for background texture before adding detail by drawing into the prints with charcoal.

These three prints (above) were made by drawing into mono prints which were initially very similar to sample 3a from Project 1, exercise 3.

I also took ghost prints from the plates (similar to sample 3b of project 1, exercise 3), and once again draw into these with charcoal to add detail (see below):

I have entitled the series “Blue” (being the name of the model). Although I feel taht there are is some suggestion of domesticity and female vulnerability in the prints, I wanted to keep the title neutral so that the viewer could make their own interpretations of the possible identity and roles of the subject.

In contrast with the “Covert figure” series (A4), these prints are A3 size and are more dramatic and imposing. By incorporating the charcoal over drawing, they have become very distinctive of my artistic style, whilst still retaining some of the subtlety of line from the original printing stage. The printing helps to soften the images, add texture and a feeling of depth and shadow.

The Print and Stitch Group’s exhibition runs 14-20 September 2017 at Aldeburgh Gallery, Suffolk IP15 5AN.

 

Assignment 4 – Reflective commentary

11 May 2017

 

Measurement against assessment criteria

I used the assessment criteria as the benchmark against which to make my critique. I also referred to the course aims and outcomes on page 5 of the notes.

 

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Before starting the assignment, I had only limited experience of mono printing and no experience of collatype. Consequently, I found project 2 more technically challenging than project 1. 

I was careful to limit the number of samples I made for this assignment, so as not to overstretch myself. This made time management easier, and when it came to writing up and analysing my results, I feel that I had achieved a good balance between practical work and analysis.

Initially, I had to overcome technical challenges of finding the right thickness of printing plate to run properly through the press and to understand how to prevent smudging with Akua liquid pigment. Through trial and error, I learnt how much ink to apply, how tacky the ink needs to be, and the correct pressure. These skills can only be acquired empirically, and as result of the exercises, I feel that I have a firm grounding on which to build knowledge and experience.

As well as techniques, the assessment criteria mentions observational skills, visual awareness, design and composition (course notes, page 11). I was pleased that I was able to begin the process of resolving quite a few of my samples, in particular, in the latter states of project 1 and in exercise 3 of project 2. I was sufficiently confident to start combining techniques and to develop multi-stage/layer prints. This proved especially fruitful, and I feel that I have a secure understanding of how to take the methods forward and use them in future in new and different ways. In the collagraph portrait and seascape prints of project 2, exercise 3, I was able to use design and compositional skills to produce balanced and visually interesting prints. 

  

Outcome

In addition to quality of visual output, outcome is also concerned with the application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, the conceptualisation of thoughts and the communication of ideas (course notes, page 11). 

More so than in any of the assignments so far, I feel that my sampling produced pieces which were either more fully resolved, or I could see the direction that they needed to be taken/developed. Sometimes I feel that my sampling produces lots of distinct, disjoint elements without obvious connection or application, but in this assignment, the read across between techniques was clear and straightforward.

My tutor raised a question about a dissonance between my use of colour to represent the samples in my Part 3 sketchbook. I am now confident that I understand the problems and the reasons why certain combinations did not work. I have explained this in a blog post and I do not believe it to be an issue, either in Part 4 or going forward.

 

Demonstration of creativity

This criterion looks for experimentation, invention and development of a personal voice (course notes, page 11).

I found it very easy to generate ideas for this assignment. Perhaps it’s because I have a natural affinity with printmaking? I feel that the loose and expressive style of mark-making fits my creative style, whilst allowing me to exploit my drawing skills.

I have been experimental, but not as much as I would have liked. I had to spend a lot of time understanding ink behaviour, so limited most of my printing to plain paper. More experimental backgrounds I tried included envelope paper, brown paper, paper bag, Japanese paper and cotton muslin. I feel that I had only scraped the tip of the iceberg in this respect and I would desperately like to expand and experiment further.

The ‘sorting’ stage was much more straightforward this time round because the direction in which I need to take/develop samples was clearer. It was also easier to pick out samples with the most potential, because techniques like back drawing, reductive mark making and stencilling are very much in tune with my creative voice/style, so I was naturally drawn to these samples. I am beginning to make mental links between the assignments of this module, especially between printmaking, and surface distortion, joining and wrapping. There are lots of exciting avenues which could be explored in my final project.
 

Context

I have continued with the format of my previous two assignments; completing a detailed piece of research into several artists relevant to the assignment in a dedicated blog post. I have taken on board my tutor’s comment from part 3 and tried to more closely relate each artist’s work to my own practice. I have particularly considered techniques, style and composition, and the emotional response prompted by the use of colour and tone. Although my style of contextual research is quite formal, it is a process which allows me to mentally rationalise and sift the information, and to present it is a format which I can easily a quickly return to and refresh my memory.

The difficulty with presenting research in a separate post (with a password, so as not to breach copyright), is that it is not presented next to the project work/samples to which it relates. I have tried to redress this by mentioning relevant work/practitioners in my write up for stages 2 (sample-making) and 3 (recording outcomes). 

When commenting on the merits of my sampling, I have been especially careful to explain exactly why I find a piece appealing (or otherwise). I have also taken on board my tutor’s comment about recording the emotional response to each piece as well as the technical merits.

 

Part 4, Stage 4 – Sorting

10 May 2017


Part 4, Stage 4 – Sorting

Project 1 – Mono printing

Project 1 consisted of four exercises: 

  1. Mark-making (reductive, removing ink selectively from the plate) 
  2. Drawing onto the plate (additive, painting or applying ink directly onto the plate)
  3. Back drawing (using pressure to transfer a mark from an inked plate onto a piece of paper laid on top of it)
  4. Working with stencils (using simple masks to create printed shapes)
In the initial two exercises, I found that I was concentrating on learning about the behaviour of the ink and paper/fabric, rather than focusing on the images which I was producing. As I progressed to exercises 3 and 4, I felt more confident and was also able to combine techniques effectively.
 
From exercise 1, the only image which I felt was successful as a stand alone print was sample 7a (below). This was a sample which I made after completing exercise 3. 
 
Seascape_reductive.jpg
 
Exercise 3 produced another successful image using reductive technique (exercise 3, sample 4d below). This was made by reworking an inked plate that I’d used for back drawing on exercise 3, sample 4c. I am very fond of this image because it is dramatic and suggests lighting and shadow around the character. I’m sure that with more practise, I would be able to refine my marks and make them more controlled and subtle.
 
Reductive.jpg
 
Exercise 2 produced lovely simple drawn outline prints, of which my favourite is sample 7b (below). Despite it’s simplicity, the lines in the print are characterful and have a spontaneous, playful feel.
 
Character_lines.jpg
 
Also, there was the very detailed still life (exercise 2, sample 5a, below) which I consider to be a technical success due to it’s boldness, vibrancy and the way which a variety of marks have been controlled. As an image I don’t have immediate plans for how it could be developed, although I can imagine using the techniques on other projects in conjunction with perhaps with backdrawing or stitching.
 
Monoprint1_fruit.jpg
 
I had to spend a lot of time experimenting before producing bold, readable prints for exercise 3 (back drawing), many of the prints were being too feint to give meaningful images. Although I consider sample 3a (below) a technical success, for me it felt as if the print still lacked interest and character. Perhaps it was because I’d traced the image, and my mark-making needs to be more fluid and spontaneous? This characteristic is one of the reasons why Tracey Emin’s mono prints are so successful (see for example her Royal Academy bird print) (Eastaugh, 2017a)
 
First_ok_print.jpg
 
I successfully re-worked a couple of my back drawing “failures” (exercise 3, samples 1 and 2b), which contributed background depth and texture to my stencil prints (see exercise 4, samples 1 below by way of example):
 
Finished_print.jpg
 
Exercise 4 (working with stencils), was the most exciting exercise for me. This was because of the success which I had experimenting with textile samples and the exciting images I produced by combining them with back drawing techniques (see exercise 4, samples 4a and 4c below):
 
Backdrawn_over.jpg Sample_4c.jpg
I can imagine that I could develop these samples further to produce a series, perhaps combining them with a joining method, using cutting to enhance negative space (for example around the crooked arm), or by using areas of translucent material in conjunction with the prints. I could also look at introducing a second colour into image 4a (for example gold or red, as developed in my sketchbook pages 47 and 49-50).
 
Although I also made some lovely prints with plant stencils, I feel that I would need work on my composition and colour to improve on the images which I produced – by comparison see the plant stencil collage by Mary Margaret Briggs, which is much more striking, modern and appealing, and which would make an excellent cushion cover or wallpaper design (Eastaugh, 2017b). Artists like Brenda Hartill use plant stencils within her collagraphs (Eastaugh, 2017c), so this is an alternative way in which I might consider using plant material/stencils in future.
 

Project 2 – Collatype printing

Although there were three exercises in project 2, the first 2 were concerned with producing sample boards from collage and textured polyfiller, to gain knowledge and experience. From the first two exercises, I particularly liked the beautiful prints which I achieved in sample 3 (extracts from which are shown below). I’m sure I could develop these into transitioned textured surfaces, perhaps incorporating stitch and/or textile manipulation.

Cotton_bud.jpgTwig.jpgBottle.jpg

Technically, I found project 2 much more challenging than project 1 and consequently, I do not feel that many of my outcomes from exercise 3 were generally as successful as stand alone pieces. The exception being sample 2a (see below):

Fabric1.jpg

Although I felt that the outcome could have been better balanced, I would also consider developing exercise sample 3c (below), because I feel that the combination of collagraph texture and back drawn line were starting to work. I can see that with a bit more experimentation, this sample has the potential to become very engaging.

Sample3c.jpg

 

Summary:

Thinking about which techniques I would develop further from project 1, it would have to be mark-making (reductive process) and stencilling in conjunction with back drawing and extending and exploring the use of fabric stencils. In particular, I can see a lot of scope within both these processes to develop my figure prints. I would use the samples below as a starting point for refinement and development.

Reductive.jpgBackdrawn_over.jpgSample_4c.jpg

From Project 2, I would like to specifically extend my knowledge of printing with collage materials (including plants) and polyfiller textures. The beautiful outcome from exercise 2, sample 3 suggests that there is much more unexplored potential. This knowledge would help me to develop sample 3c from exercise 3 (below left) and to improve landscape prints such as sample 2a (below right).

Sample3c.jpgFabric1.jpg

  

References:

Eastaugh, N. (2017a) Tracey Emin RA Bird print. [Pinterest pin] At:http://pin.it/GefagN3 (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Eastaugh, N. (2017b) Monotype collage, Mary Margaret Briggs. [Pinterest pin] At:http://pin.it/UVvtj95 (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Eastaugh, N. (2017c) Brenda Hartill. [Pinterest pin] At:http://pin.it/KK89Dh_  (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Part 4, Stages 2&3, Project 2, Exercise 3 – Collatype collage prints

1 May 2017


Part 4, Stages 2&3, Project 2, Exercise 3 – Collatype collage prints

The course notes stated that should produce 4 collatypes using the techniques I had learnt from Project 2, exercises 1 and 2. They also suggested that I should complete the first print before going on to make the other three.

I thought about making separate collage blocks and taking multiple overlaid prints using a registration system. However, this seemed too complex and time consuming, bearing in mind that I still needed to experiment and understand how the relief surfaces would translate to print. Consequently, I made the decision to concentrate on images which could be made with a single collage block.

 

A postscript from exercises 1 and 2

It was a week since I had taken prints for exercises 1 and 2 using Akua intaglio inks, and some of the prints had still not dried, leaving a wet sticky pool of ink which still transferred onto my fingers when handled. Not surprisingly, sample 2 from exercise 2 was one of these. In addition to the ink not drying, it had visibly separated, so that the “oily” constituent formed a ring around the edge of the pigmented area (see below).

Other samples which stayed wet were those printed onto Japanese tissue (exercise 1, sample and exercise 2, sample 4). I ideally I would have repeated exercises 1 and 2 with other types/brands of ink – maybe fabric paints, acrylics or an oil-based printing ink. Unfortunately I didn’t have time. I decided to continue with the Akua intaglio because I had a good understanding of it’s viscosity, how to manipulate it and how it behaves when printing on different materials. This meant that I had to made the decision not use the Japanese tissue for this exercise. I suspected that one of the reasons why the ink hadn’t dried with the Japanese paper was because of it’s fibre content (Akua intaglio was designed to dry when it reacts with paper which is a wood pulp). I used what I had learnt about the Akua ink to select rice paper as an alternative which I thought might work (being thin, but strong and absorbent with no fabric content).

 

SAMPLE 1: Scallop semi-abstract

I decided to start with my interpretation of Maggi Hambling’s sculpture “The Scallop” (2003) (Getty images, 2014) (see sketchbook pages 22-26). I chose this because I thought it would make a good semi abstract print, and would be reasonably straightforward to simplify for a collatype.

I selected a pencil sketch in which I had used line to suggest density of light and infer contour:

It reminded me of some of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings (Phaidon, n.d.) , and I thought that simplifying the image might allow for the possibility of multiple readings.

I started by tracing and simplifying the outline, but I found that this exercise was more difficult than I was expecting:

My initial drawing had been tonal, but this was an outline. Compared with this original, the simplification seemed flat and 2D. I also had to “close” the edges of the shape – something which I had not done in my initial sketch because I had focused on an area of detail and the sculpture extended beyond my field of view (the paper). I thought that I might be able to address this with inking (by inking very lightly around the edges and not pressing firmly, so that the transfer of ink was bold in the middle of the collatype and soft and tonal around the edges).

I was obviously not going to be able to replicate all the detail, so I referred back to my samples from exercises 1 and 2 to think about how I might represent the shell texture and regions of different tone.

To cut out each section and glue it onto mount board backing would have been very difficult, because the shapes were so thin and narrow, and difficult to cut out precisely. I decided to apply fruit netting a large shape, with smaller areas of corduroy stuck on top. I chose the cord because of the naturally stripy appearance which I felt would emulate the surface ridges of a shell. 

I also used a small amount of the candlewick fabric to represent a ridge and used twigs to suggest outlines and surface contours. There were practical difficulties in sticking down the twigs with pva glue (they kept springing away from the surface), and waiting for the block to dry was time consuming.

The photo above shows the finished print block.

At this stage it didn’t seem very appealing. It was difficult to imagine the textures as distinct from the colours which were rather distracting. I wondered also if by layering my relief surfaces, the fruit net would give a print which was too faint, and visa versa, that the solid print lines from the twigs might be too bold. The only way to find out (and learn form the process) was to take a print!

The next day, once the block was dry, I inked it using Akua intaglio ink, applied with a brush. I tried to vary the colours to get a transition of related blue/green/greys across the shell surface. The inked plate is shown below:

 

The first print was made onto cotton muslin and is shown below (sample 1a):

 

I used my fingers to work the fabric into the relief surface. 

I am really pleased with the transfer of ink and particularly with the patterning from the cord fabric and fruit net. I am slightly disappointed that the colour variation was not more obvious (I feel that this image needs more contrast to add drama).

 

My second print was made onto rice paper without re-inking (sample 1b):

 

This is a bolder print which shows embossing from the relief (a really interesting textural addition). Of the two prints, however, I prefer the print onto fabric, which being softer, seems more dynamic. The white background of the paper print in particular, feels very stark and harsh. I would have preferred the image if it had been printed onto a coloured surface.

I mentioned when discussing my choice of image that I hoped that this design would have multiple readings and I think that it could be successfully interpreted as either a flower, shell or abstract. I have displayed the paper print “upside down” as I think it reads better as a flower that way around. It is quite orchid-like in shape and texture and the twig impressions could be interpreted as stamens.

 

SAMPLE 2: View from Aldeburgh beach to Sizewell – polyfiller and stencil

The sketchbook work on page 14 (see below) seemed perfectly suited to simple textural monoprint using a polyfiller block, masked by stencils.

However, if I used an un-inked paper stencil to represent the dark areas in my collage, then they would have appeared white/negative spaces on my print. Instead, I decided to use “funky foam” as the stencil and to ink it too – in effect making an almost plain print block. 

First, I started by tracing the outline of the collage onto a piece of mount board and I then made up some general purpose DIY powder filler to the consistency I wanted (the same brand that I had used in exercise 2). I spread the filler onto the areas where I wanted texture and marked into them with a stick (sea), the end of implements (shingle) and the edge or a ruler (tree-line and buildings).

 

I then cut shapes for the negative space in “funky foam” and applied these to the board whilst the polyfiller was still wet (so it acted as an adhesive). The completed board is shown below:

I waited until the next day for the print block to dry before inking the plate ready for printing (see below):

I used a paint brush to apply different colours of ink to the areas of polyfiller, then I used a roller to ink the sky and main beach areas (which were foam). Where I used the paint brush, I thinned the ink slightly by adding a few drops of Akua blender medium. 

I had reservations that the foam might be too thick compared to the height of the polyfiller relief and I felt that there was a strong risk that only marks from the foam areas would transfer. In the event, I needn’t have worried. 

The first print which I pulled from this plate was taken using cotton muslin (sample 2a). I pressed and worked the fabric into the plate using my fingers.

I am delighted with the detail, textural qualities and softness of this print. I also like the way that some of the ink from the polyfiller areas has transferred to the foam. It helps to soften the image, making it warmer and more inviting. I like the way that the print is broken and diffuse in the foam areas rather than forming a solid block of colour. I could not have hoped for a better result.

However I made one big mistake: I forgot to reverse the image on the print block! It doesn’t matter for this sample, but anybody who knows the scene would instantly realise that the view is back to front – a valuable lesson for the future.

The only other change which I might consider is to dye the background fabric first. However, I like the white areas showing though the sky which resemble clouds. An alternative might be to lay the fabric over another coloured surface. One of the aspects of using muslin which I like is that it is semi transparent and this is an opportunity where this feature could be exploited.

I feel that the image is sufficiently detailed for it to merit being a stand-along piece, but it could also be embellished further with stitching, if desired.

 

The second print I pulled from the block was using rice paper and was made without re-inking the plate (sample 2b):

Despite being a ghost print this image is brighter and more definite than the print onto fabric. Unlike the fabric print, there is some embossing from the relief surface. I love this print also, for it’s slightly different qualities, although if I had to choose a favourite it would be the slightly more subtle print onto cotton muslin. This is more an issue of personal preference.

 

SAMPLE 3: Left-handed portrait

The idea for using this image was inspired by the oil transfer (back drawings) of Paul Klee, which often have similar naive drawings as their subject. 

Left_hand.jpg

This sketch was derived from a left handed and blind drawing which I made as a warm up exercise for a portraiture class (also see sketchbook pages 51-52). Although the facial features are “symbols” and somewhat juvenile in style, I liked the freedom and spontaneity and the way that the face doesn’t quite fit together correctly, with overlapping eyes and eyebrows. It struck me as an image which would be suitable for translating into collage, so a collatype seemed a logical extension.

The image exhibits a distorted shape, with the jaw appearing large and the head receding to a small point. This is upside down to the shape which you would expect a face to be and is suggests that we are looking up at the subject from below (perhaps he/she is standing and the viewer is seated?) It adds an heir of haughtiness to the portrait as if he/she sees themselves as superior and is looking down on the viewer.

I was attracted to the use of large but subtle areas of colour to denote shading in the textile portraits of Emily Jo Gibbs, such as Slaley (2014) (Gibbs, 2017a) and Why don’t you? (2014) (Gibbs, 2017b). I incorporated these ideas into my collage printing block by using the crocheted bathmat fabric from my experiments in exercise 1 (see below):

I was intentionally not too precise about where I placed the textured materials. My intention was to do a back drawing on top of the collatype print and to use the initial print to provide depth and interest to the outline.

The next day, when the glue was dry, I inked the plate using Akua intaglio ink. I chose not to ink the background on this occasion.

For my first print (sample 3a), I used a piece of rice paper which I had previously patterned with Derwent Inktense sticks, followed by a wash of water, then allowed to dry (see below):

I was surprised just how well the paper held together when wet, however, eventually I kept working too much and produced a small hole/tear. I have learned to love such such impurities, so I used the paper regardless.

Because the background paper was quite bright and patterned, I chose muted tones for my collatype print; dark olive green, muddy pink-tinged grey for the face and sand colour for the hair. 

Once the print was dry, I used back drawing technique to add the outline of the face. I used a graphite pencil to transfer the marks because I wanted a thick, bold line. Registration was easy, because the paint from the collatype print was visible on the reverse side of the rice paper. I used a soft pink-brown ink for the back drawing, because I didn’t want it to appear too dominant nor to jar against the background colours.

The finished print is shown below:

It is an interesting print, full of character. The collar and shirt textures are crisp, but the hair is rather pale and is lost somewhat in the background. The plastic netting which I used for the hair was a new type which I hadn’t tried before and it gave a print which was too subtle. I like the contrast between the bright pink and olive green colours in the lower half of the print. Had the upper half had a similar contract then I think the print would have been very attention-grabbing. In the event, I feel that there is not enough interest in the upper half of the image.

I also took the opportunity to pull a ghost print from the back drawn plate (sample 3b) (see below):

 

The print has transferred well, being crisp and bold. The rice paper is sufficiently strong that it could be worked into with stitch, manipulated or printed over again to add extra detail.

 

The for the second collatype print (sample 3c), I used plain white rice paper. This time I re-inked the plate using different colours (see below):

I wanted to use a brighter flesh tone and more lively collar colour, as I didn’t have any interest coming from the background paper (plain white). When the collatype was dry, I inked a plate with Payne’s grey Akua intaglio ink for my back drawing. I used the same method as sample 3a). The finished print is shown below:

I feel that this image is more successful than sample 3a. I think that it is easier to “read” the portrait, and also that there is better balance of tone and hue between the collatype print and the back drawing. I like the skin and clothes texture from the collatype, but feel that the hair would have been better had I used a different material. 

This sample shows that despite not leaning my hand at all on the paper during back-drawing, quite a lot of the Payne’s grey ink has transferred to the background. It works well in this image, but in sample 3a), where there is more background pattern, it makes the portrait appear rather confused.

Once again, I took the opportunity to pull a print from the back drawn plate (sample 3d):

This is also an attractive image which could be further developed in similar ways to sample 3b).

 

When I look at these portrait prints I get a feeling of curiosity and intrigue. I think the prints are characterful, and although not as well balanced I would like, still received favourable responses from fellow OCA students and artists when uploaded to Facebook for comment. One respondent commented that she liked the image because it was “organic, loose and expressive with a narrative too”  (Eastaugh, 2017).

 

SAMPLE 4: Field near Bradfield wood

I returned to this simple image which I had used for the in project 1, exercise 2, samples 1-3 (drawing onto the plate).

Field_in_suffolk.jpg

I decided to work this image completely in polyfiller. It has similarities with the image in sample 2, and I wanted to use it as an opportunity to be responsive and reactive to the medium as I worked. 

Using a palette knife, I spread filler over the whole of the board. I worked into the field area intuitively, using sticks, edges and the palette knife itself. Working across the sky, I spread the filler thinly and drew it across to form bare patches. I used a sponge to achieve foliage textures along the tree line. The process was very enjoyable and completely absorbing, almost like applying impasto paint.

 

From the photograph of the textured board it is already possible to make out the main sections of the image. To the right, I intentionally distorted the perspective by bending the skyline, inspired by the work “Salthouse IV” by Laurie Rudling (Rudling, n.d.) I wanted to give the impression of looking through a curved lens, and by doing so to make the image more intimate.

I first inked the plate with Akua intaglio ink, using a roller, decorators’ paint brush and cotton buds for the fine detail (see below):

The first print which I took was onto white cotton muslin (sample 4a):

 

I was initially very disappointed, because I felt that there was too much white background showing. The funky foam which I had used in sample 2 had allowed me to make a very precise and detailed image, and I felt that by comparison, this print was much too loose and lacked detail. However, as this print has dried, I have given some thought to the fact that it does not have to be viewed as a “finished” and “stand alone” piece. The white areas provide the perfect opportunity for infilling with stitching to add another later of texture. Seed stitching could be used, for example to define the undergrowth along the tree line and the rooftops. All of a sudden I could see potential in this print.

 

Ideally I would have like to dye some cloth brown and use that as a background. Because I didn’t have time, I used a piece of black cotton muslin which I was able to buy. I re-inked the plate, including more white ink, which I hoped might suggest snow laying in the furrows and clouds in the sky (see sample 3b below):

I was disappointed that not much detail transferred and I find the white areas too crude and heavy-handed. Stitching into this image, might also be an option to develop it (in a similar way to that I have suggested in sample 4a), however, the detail of field texture has not transferred well on this print and the quality probably doesn’t merit further development.

 

As there was still plenty of ink on the board, I took a final print using rice paper (sample 4c below):

This is a more detailed print than sample 4a, and I like the lines in the sky and foliage texture centre left. The textures transferred much better on paper this time than fabric. I still feel that this image is too white, so I would need to use an ink wash on the field or, maybe do a two stage print where I used a stencil to lay a background colour on the field and tree-line first.

 

References:

Eastaugh, N. (2017) This is what I’ve been up to for the past 2 days – experimental printmaking. 4 May 2017. At: https://www.facebook.com/nicky.eastaugh/posts/10211358845264921 (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Getty images (2014) Scallop sculpture by artist Maggi Hambling, on shingle beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England. At: http://www.getty-images.com/detail/news-photo/scallop-sculpture-by-artist-maggi-hambling-on-shingle-beach-news-photo/558237539?#scallop-sculpture-by-artist-maggi-hambling-on-shingle-beach-at-picture-id558237539 (Accessed 2 May 2017)

Gibbs, E. (2017a) Slaley, 2014. At:https://www.emilyjogibbs.co.uk/portrait1/ (Accessed 3 May 2017)

Gibbs, E. (2017b) Why don’t you, 2014. At:https://www.emilyjogibbs.co.uk/portrait1/ (Accessed 3 May 2017)

Phaidon (n.d.) What do you see in Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers? At: http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/art/articles/2014/february/05/what-do-you-see-in-georgia-okeeffes-flowers/ (Accessed 2 May 2017)

Rudling, L. (n.d.) Salthouse IV [collagraph] At:http://www.laurierudling.co.uk/asp-pages/etchings-and-collagraph-gallery.asp (Accessed 8 May 2017)

Part 4, Stages 2&3, Project 2, Exercise 2 – Polyfiller block

25 April 2017


Project 2, Exercise 2 – Polyfiller block

This exercise was about exploring textures for print using a Polyfiller block. As in project 2, exercise 1, I used a piece of mount-board between A4 and A3 which I was able to dive into 12 sections.

I wasn’t sure what type of polyfiller to use (there are flexible/silicone ones as well as those which are powder-based). In the end, I opted to mix up my own paste from a general purpose DIY filler powder. This gave me a large enough quantity of paste and allowed me to mix it to the correct consistency. 

Having spread the paste onto the mount-board, I had to work quickly manipulating each area with mark-making tools to achieve different textures. The finished board is shown below:

The tools which I used to create the textures were as follows:

Top row, left to right: Dabbing with a sponge, hair comb, nail brush, the circumference of a plastic bottle top, rolled in vertical stripes.

Middle row, left to right: Inscribing with a wooden kebab skewer, plant stem pressed into the filler to form ridges, woven leather and synthetic belt (the same one that I used in project 2, exercise 1), the edge of a plastic ruler.

Bottom row, left to right: The tip of a cotton bud, a plastic bottle top, section of crocheted bath mat (the same as used in project 2, exercise 1), the sole of a flip-flip (underside).

 

Because the filler tends to be powdery when dry I decided to also coat the board with a couple of layers of pva glue before taking any prints. I used different paper and fabric with Akua intaglio ink which I applied undiluted with a decorators’ paint brush. Before taking fresh prints, I replenished the block by re-inking. In all cases I worked the print by pressing and massaging the paper of fabric across the block using my thumb and fingers.

 

SAMPLE 1: 130gsm cartridge paper


I was rather disappointed with this print. Although the textures were captured, the ink only transferred to the “high points” of the polyfiller relief and consequently the print appears dot-like, rather disjoint and lacking depth.


SAMPLE 2: Brown paper

I used the type of brown paper which is used to wrap parcels and printed onto the glossy side. The coating had the effect of repelling the ink, and the transfer was sporadic and inconsistent.

It was a poor facsimile of the relief with little transfer in some areas and large pools of ink in others. For this reason it was my least favourite of the prints in this exercise.

 

SAMPLE 3: Cotton muslin

The detail and beauty of this print surprised me. In fact, the very process of working across and into the surface with my fingers was enlightening (in so much as I felt as if I was learning about the quality of the surface from the process); it was akin to throwing pottery.

The relief made by indents with a coton bud is shown below. I love the rings of ink around each of the round holes and the diffuse transfer of ink in the negative spaces between them.

Another texture which worked particularly well was the plant stem – the effect is like ripples in sand.

The final texture which I have chosen to highlight is the rolled circumference of a plastic bottle top (below). I was able to create different effects by rolling in perpendicular directions. The fine ridges gave very detailed impressions, and consequently a print with a great deal of delicacy and movement.


SAMPLE 4: Japanese tissue

The final print was taken onto Japanese tissue (see below):

Although some of the textures transferred well, it lacked the detail and depth of the print onto muslin.