My last assignment was encouraging, clearly showing my improvement. But was told to use the coursework as a guide not literally. Assignment five has allowed me freedom to develop (as there is little course structure) enabling me to produce stronger work from sketches
The initial idea using witchcraft was naive and not a good choice, due to lack of source material. So I thought of associated ideas which produced mushrooms. This led to the discovery of the microscopic world and the butterfly tongue. Having studied Biochemistry and my interest in viruses, this seemed the right path to choose.
Dutch for butterfly is called Flinder, which sounds magical, reminding me of the delicacy of the butterfly. I wanted to convey this in fabric and to use embroidered voile only. But felt that it did not fit in with the waistcoat design as too flimsy.
I thought about what I perceive as a butterfly. A very delicate pretty and almost magical creature. Although under the microscope it changes and becomes almost alien like. So maybe a mysterious feel would be an interesting concept. And maybe a change from the gold to silver would convey delicacy.
Research on the internet showed varieties of butterflies. My aim was to emulate iridescence of the wings. In doing this my knowledge of colour combinations has expanded.
‘The poem below seems to fit the chosen theme.
It can clearly be visible to the sight of a man.
Not with the eyes but through the act of seeing.
It can be of two kinds; know them if you can.
First the unseen world after death is surely for all being.
Then the unseen world here on earth dwells in our mind.
That world full of glimmering light can make us confused.
Learn to deal with that world if you want to be kind.
And dealings with your own mind mustn’t be abused.
It also is of two kinds- the world in mind I mean.
One comes from heaven and one from the hell.
Learn to see both of them though they’re unseen
Learn to fight the conflict, even not ringing the bell.
Now open your mind by closing your eyes.
See the unseen world within you which lies.
Written on the Evening of the 15th February,2010
Referring back to the Butterfly tongue, I carefully thought about the coiled shape.Replicating this accurately wasn’t easy as it lost its uniformity, so adapted the spiral and use the ‘mistakes’ to design. I found sacred spirals from geometry which helped, but was still not correct.
I had more success with manipulating fabric into circles. Butterflies tend to be used extensively from children’s clothing to curtains. I wanted to change the perception of a butterfly. I tried draping material on a tailors dummy to see what the effect was. By manipulating the material I achieved a variety of designs and served as a construction tool to decide whether to use on the end product.
A useful tool was mind mapping as it was useful in organising my thoughts.
The butterfly’s shape produced a number of interesting designs which differ in qualities, whether colour, texture or composition. i feel this has been an effective exercise and by using Photoshop has enabled me to produce images quickly rather than one image on paper that has to be redrawn each time.
Further exploration using the wing of the butterfly showing tonal values, within the work. I was inspired by this and allowed me to be creative and translated well into stitch. i am beginning to see how this experimentation in essential in the design process. Colour balances were altered, although these colours would not be in the final piece.
By changing the coloured images to black and white, changed the whole ‘feel’ of the image.
A butterfly wing has been manipulated by Photoshop and shows an almost comic like feel to the images. This is something that i would like to explore further.
An image of a butterfly was taken from the internet, and changed from what we all know to a surrealist picture. which i feel i have achieved.
By using the butterfly as a whole i wanted to alter it so that it wasn’t recognised as the preconceived idea everybody recognises. I this I achieved this
Butterfly scales on the wing were not what i expected them to be. But produced some images that reminiscent of children’s illustration. for example Hansel and Gretel and being in the woods. The series of photos aided by decision of how to approach the machine embroidery. it wasn’t exact by how the drawing is perceived. the results of this were better than expected.
Time lapse photos were used to show progression of an image.
By zooming in on the tongue, the image showed a texture not previously seen. by using this textural picture translated well into textiles. Careful consideration was given to the base fabric and enhanced the overall result.
various shapes were used and was particularly useful in placement of the design which was determined by the shape used.
The shape within a shape was extremely useful in showing areas that as a whole were lost, also it is useful in placement of a design which is determine by the shape used. Waistcoat drawings showed varying possibilities through pattern, colour or texture.
My tutor said in the beginning that she was concerned that I hadn’t produced enough drawings in my sketchbook, to be able to choose from. This has been addressed, giving a huge variety of ideas and have evolved quite easily. By using this has allowed me to discover new things and broaden my horizon. However it was found some of that the drawings wouldn’t work with this technique. More work is needed in trying different mediums, however some i don’t like handling, such as charcoal.
Colour is problematic to me, but having looked at a variety of butterflies colour combinations has enabled me to progress in how I see the ‘actual’ colour not what i think it is.
This poem describes colour perfectly.
Color and the Soul: “Color directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposively, to cause vibrations in the soul.”(Anon, 2012)
An experiment with monoprint gave an interesting texture. I found this quite easy to do and also very quick to do. This is something to be explored at a later date. Texture within my drawings has been difficult as some of the drawings appeared flat in design making me look at various textures around the house.
Having laid out all of my work I was aware how useful the exercises undertaken were to the design process. Research on the Internet has shown a diversity previously not considered.
The strongest technique that emerged from my samples was machine embroidery, as it’s a freer way of working and comes easy to me. I like the unpredictability of the fact, no two stitches are the same, so couldn’t be replicated easily and is therefore bespoke. Hand embroidery was considered and a few samples made, but found this to be time consuming. However i do like this.
Using machine embroidery, I did find that it hindered the creative flow and it was difficult to keep to a pattern. By adapting the way I was working, it allowed freedom to create straight from my head.
Having used my sewing machine for over 30 years, I never realised the potential it had creating things, apart from dressmaking. My machine has been used for creating embroidery before, however discovered an array of things to try. I was quite pleased with this outcome, resulting in some interesting work. And found the direction I wish to go.
Previously having looked at the work of Annemieke Mein has encouraged me to pursue machine embroidery. The work I have produced is rudimentary in comparison and want to aspire to this level of expertise. It has also led me to research the designers. Suggested materials from my tutor, although interesting, were not a direction I wish to pursue.
Personal inspiration came from my grandmother and her reworking of clothing. I also made all of my children’s costumes and have always enjoyed this work.
Experimenting in this way was a useful exercise in determining what technique to use for the final project.
Some samples showed interesting ideas, either by design or in some cases by accident. For example, one was missing the backing, ruching the fabric a useful exercise in construction. An interesting discovery, but irritating to have done it wrong. Some samples were flawed in their design, so were discounted. However it would serve as a reference for future projects.The experiments done were circular small scale samples, allowing numerous ideas to evolve quickly. Whilst some were time consuming, this allowed a decision to be made on the final composition.
The samples needed edging to improve the appearance. Cotton was the best example of this. The voile did not turn out the way expected and ruffled the material, showing fluidity of the fabric, resonating with the gentleness of the butterfly. I did try burning the edges, but found it volatile proving to be dangerous and needs consideration so when making a garment flame resistant fabrics should be considered.
I tried numerous ideas but the technique that emerged from all of the samples was machine embroidery. This was the most successful.
Fabric scraps were over sewn randomly with machine embroidery using contrasting thread producing a ‘new’ piece of fabric.however by using scattered scraps rather than a base fabric which made myself more work.
Doing this shows layer diversity and would not convey delicacy, it is thicker in places than others. Despite this the fabric shows depth.I found this to be very successful, however due to the nature of the pieced fabric, some areas were thicker than others adding to the surfaces texture.
The brief discourages discarding the debris of an work undertaken. As a pagan, I am environmentally aware and feel strongly about waste, so save all scraps and threads from projects leading to a more cost effective way of working.
The pictures below show manipulation of wool oversewn with gold thread and manipulated into a circle. I had an idea of created a ‘piece’ of fabric made up of numerous circles. however felt it was wrong for the final design. This needs further work, as could be quite innovative.
Sample of drawings
Various mediums (such as crayon, chalk etc.) were used showing tonal values and texture.
3D shape allowing me to see dimension within a shape. By drawing these allows us to visual how the end product might look like. In the second picture, i wanted to take the general shape of the coil, but totally alter the end result. I am particularly drawn to these and feel they stand out from the rest of my work. In the third picture, i wanted to play around with composition and loosely chose elements of the coil.
I wasn’t quite sure in which direction i wanted to go. But I had an idea of doing a functional piece, a waistcoat.
However, if it were to be waistcoat, what purpose would it be used for? Would it be for evening or day wear. This would have an impact on the construction and what materials used. But not necessarily surface design.
The drawings show various possibilities, some that were good and others that didnt.
The next idea was to do a soluble fabric vase. This however was discounted for the product as the fabric taken from the internet, was too flimsy for what i wanted to achieve. However many of the designs were kept as i found it was useful for shape compositions.
A series of drawings using red and blue biro and highlighting with gold. This is something that I enjoy doing. I am constantly doodling, as it declutters my head.
But one thing that emerged, when looking through my work, the doodles are too complicated and need simplifying. Most image involve swirls or circles, which resonates with the theme chosen, as I find square edges, harsh in design and hampers the drawing.
Therefore, elements were chosen from various drawings, and overall this choice fits in with the theme. Scale was a consideration when drawing, and explored various sizes. But feel I need to do more work on this. The drawings generated from my chosen subject were easy to do and translated well into the samples. Many of which were time consuming, but this assisted my final decision.
I was originally going to make a soluble fabric bowl, but decided not to as the fabric was too flimsy. Also it was the easiest option and wanted to push myself.
I made a sculpted collar blouse, but this did not go to plan as I rushed the whole process and was not happy with the design. It was useful in highlighting that the design process should not be rushed. So gave careful thought to what I wanted to achieve. I am generally an impatient person, so have to be more mindful and research further which is invaluable for development.
The first design was based on a waistcoat pattern. However, having cut out everything realized one of the pieces were missing, so settled on the second pattern which proved to be the better choice.
A dress made and not worn was deconstructed for the material. But I hadn’t taken into account there wasn’t enough, which was frustrating and an invaluable lesson learnt. When starting in future, I must make sure all materials are to hand.
Having researched waistcoat design found the basic shape hasn’t altered drastically since the 1600’s, however the length of the waistcoat did shorten. In the 17th and 18th century, they were highly decorated (with spangles, silk and silverwork) and were very bright, worn mainly by women. Waistcoats worn by the peasants were simpler, practical and coarser than the ones worn by the upper classes.
I decided that the piece should be functional. But I needed to decide whether it is Traditional or modern?
I decided that if it were to be heavily embroidered, it was best suited to the evening. As it was embroidered it would better to have a plain background and need to compliment rather than contrast. However I think there are elements of both in the waistcoat.
I got quite carried away with this, as i really enjoyed this part of the course and feel it reflects in my work.
Consideration firstly was given to the base structure (faux velvet and satin) which would show the luminescence of the wings, adding richness overall and creates special qualities. However the slippery surface of the velvet was difficult to sew, having not tacked first. The embroidery threads chosen also needed to compliment rather than contrast. The source material was limited, and was going to alter the theme, but decided to keep this idea.
The front collar would have to be plain as the embroidery would have been lost.
I had thought to use a two tone opposing pattern as I wanted to balance the design, but decided against this, as the embroidery would not have the effect desired. Machine embroidery had a number of possibilities for development, by trying different stitches, tensions and designs. By altering the images changed the way I wanted to approach the final design and gives me the enthusiasm to master machine embroidery.
The pattern showed buttonholes which I have yet to master, so changed to hooks and eyes. Although they are functional would have preferred buttons.
Although various fabrics were looked at, was drawn back to the original and the more appropriate for the design overall
The moodboard for the box helped with narrowing down choices of material, thread and colour, as I found the choice a little overwhelming. However, my colour perception of what I see in my drawings and how to use them has increased immensely from the first, somewhat naïve project.
Having looked at work done so far it was decided that the colour choice had to be narrowed down. My preference were turquoise, gold blue and purple and different tones of these. It is felt that this needs more exploration.
Draping fabric over a tailors dummy showed that by manipulating fabric various design could be fashioned.
firstly the outer part of the garment was stitched and put on tailors dummy. at each stage of the design, this was used often. i wanted to make sure it ‘sat’ well.
The colour of the waistcoat was manipulated to see if this would fit in with the work to be produced. Colour was played around with to see what the effect would be, giving very different results. I was extremely pleased with the effect a colour change would give.
This is the final design using burgundy velour, with three different colours of net embellished with machine embroidery.
I got carried away with the process and made a box. Having asked my daughter for her opinion said i was quite capable of making a waistcoat and to think outside of the box. I did take it as criticism as i have with some of my tutors feedback, however I gave consideration to how peoples opinions are diverse. So learnt from this advice and literally made a box.
The box ideas was useful in showing a 3D effect. But posed problematic in its construction as i hadn’t considered that by using separate card inserts would prove to be unstable. I addressed this by using one piece of card, which added to the rigidity of the structure.
Once this had been done, I had to consider whether the stitch work would be machine embroidery or hand. The majority of it was machine stitched, but decided to add hand stitch sparingly. However i had to decide when enough was enough, I didn’t want to overwork at this stage.
I was happy with the design process. However, if I were to change anything, I would experiment more with machine stitching. i was told to do a cartoon prototype, but felt this hind
Whilst researching, I discovered Su embroidery. A traditional hand technique that is unique in the way the picture can be seen both sides and is something that could be explored. This is something that i would like to research more and attempt.
The waistcoat produced fulfilled all the criteria of design, materials and pattern, and overall was extremely pleased. Attention to detail was my priority, removing threads and ironing for maximum effect.
Doing the process, I had asked for advice, but made me doubt my abilities.
I feel that I have achieved a high standard within my work, in the waistcoat and the box. The latter being preferred. Initially the box design was not thought out properly and fell apart. I would have saved time if I had thought of this before constructing.
Looking back at the work as a whole made me realise how much I have improved and become more aware of all the elements of designing, colours, texture, composition etc. And is now reflective in clothing choices and in adapting clothing for my personal tastes.
I do find it difficult to manage my time, and needs to be worked at. If it were to be commissioned then I would have time limits. I find myself constantly doodling for further ideas and take a notebook to bed do some before going to sleep. I find it therapeutic.
I have found in this assignment that my drawings have improved from the naive first assignment.