Sunday, 27 April 2014

Experimental Journey

In the beginning: either an actual map, or a printed scan
(this is the latter as it means I can re-use my limited supply of 
specific areas)
Whenever I have occasion to create a new piece, or series of paper/textile pieces, I spend time working through a self-determined series of trial pieces to weed out what does not work. Discarding these allows me to discover those techniques that 'speak' to me, from what I have created. I rarely trial something completely new if I am working on a feature article; usually my focus is on a new topic for which I adapt - and move on from - past successes.

Coming up in a couple of months I have two exhibitions. I was invited to participate (a great honour for me as a non-artist). I have to make a number of stitched paper/textile booklets and know that to achieve the required quantity in time, I must use tried and tested practices. As is my wont, notes are scattered everywhere, but I spent this last week whilst away in Wales sorting everything into folders, allocating images and word-whispers to same, creating a 'base' experimental piece - all finished pieces will be different but based on what I completed today; only the subject matter will vary. (This piece was made a few years ago, experimental in its own way at the time: an actual map plus on this page mounted photo-prints fused and stitched to cheesecloth.)

A print of the map above, onto which I have 'waxed' paper napkin motifs
(this now constitutes the 'base' upon which further experiments will be conducted)
So here is what I trialled whilst away last week. Base of each finished 'book' is likely to be an old map, or to allow replication in different formats, a map scan printed onto the special paper I use. To each base map, I will fuse relevant napkins or photo images mounted on cheesecloth. N.B. The scan of this first stage is then printed, ready for stage two which follows.

I 'monigami' the print shown above - an extra stage but the one I guess
from past experience I may well opt for.
Now comes my first 'Summer Project' decision. If I opt for a printed map-scan, do I immediately fuse it to muslin, once the wax is dry, or do I 'monogami' it? (Monigami is a technique I discovered in 'The Found Object in Textile Art'  by Cas Holmes). 

Smoothing out the monogamy print, ready for ironing and fusing to muslin
I love the results, but if I go for this, at what point do I add hand-written words and free-machine stitching? Of course I trial both! 

Remembering that each map-page is to be folded and cut into either a zig-zag or conventional book-form, I took both the 'plain' sheet and the 'monigami' sheet and fused both to muslin, using Bondaweb (wunder-under I think it is called in the USA). If you look closely (click on the image) you will just about see where I have machine-stitched around the top flowers, and then hand-written the words - very badly; it would have been a good idea if I had sat down for the calligraphy part!

A subtle difference between the first version and the second.
This one is the monigami sheet. If only 
you could feel the texture.
I did the same exercise with the fused monigami sheet, though was most unhappy with the slithery nature of the paper-on-muslin when it came to stitching. I've done this before and it worked perfectly but fear that what with arthritis and a deteriorating brain, I just could not manipulate the cloth in the machine sufficiently quickly. 

Final experiment. Need to do the writing using my magnifying lamp.
What to do? I re-fused the monigami sheet to a piece of calico and stitched through that. Much more controllable though it would make the pages rather thick for folding. Should be OK if I fuse the paper print straight to calico and omit the muslin. I found that with care I could write direct on the textured surface, and the added thickness of the sheet allowed the stitches to sink into the fabric. This will be my chosen process (but then I guessed it would be!) - it does mean extra time and thus would make each piece more expensive to purchase. As yet, I have no idea how to cost my creative work - a feature article, no problem, but I am on new territory here. Very scary.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

It's been a while ...

My new online journal (week four edition)
Creativity moves on a pace and although I haven't posted since January, I have not been idle. And this post is in what may seem a strange format: the new online journal I began four weeks ago is actually appearing on another of my blogs, but as this week's diary is mostly about experiments for two new exhibitions for which I have been invited to submit pieces, I thought you might like to read my news here, rather than link you to another blog.

A lot of fun!
Double click on either page and you will be able to read it at a larger size. My apologies to those of you who follow both blogs. If you'd like to follow each week's entries and don't already follow my 'Wild Somerset Child' stories, here's the link for future editions: http://annsomersetmiles.blogspot.co.uk. Ann's Journal covers many topics; I launched it to avoid endless notifications on Facebook - and because I can prepare it when I don't have WiFi coverage. I hope you enjoy what you see.