Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Stepping out

Thank you for being so supportive in my journey into new territory trying to develop my design skills. As many of you asked me to keep you informed of how I was doing, I thought I would share my first chapter.  Of course this could be just a new 'fad' too, but  hopefully I can keep coming back to the path even if I stray.  I have lots of vague ideas in my head for pieces of work, but I don't know how to 'realise' them, so I am hoping that a bit of formal skill acquisition will help me on my way.

Firstly I drew up a 'mind map' and wrote down all the things I could think of relating to design and specifically textiles. I did refer to a few internet sites and found Kim Thittichai's book 'Experimental textiles' useful. Clicking on the images should bring them up larger if you're interested.

Out of this exercise I decided the two main areas I need to develop are my ability to extrapolate a design out of my initial ideas and secondly, my ability to translate that design into something workable. For example I have lots of photographs that I think could become interesting textile pieces, but it is getting from the photograph to the textile that I need to develop. 
My workshop with Marian Murphy at Art Van Go has got me started. I have had two sessions so far and this has mainly been about techniques, but Marian does suggest design ideas as we go along.  Having been inspired by her books of designs I got myself an A3 and a A5 Pink Pig sketch book to keep my work in.  I especially like the cartridge paper that these books are made of as it will take a bit of punishment which my Art Journals give testimony to.
Here are my samples that I made during her class.
 Above, just playing with free stitching and tension with the use of a mirror tile to create a little symmetric motif ...
...and some much more exciting techniques we covered the second session, including reverse applique.

I also decided to go back to basics and in my A5 book did a few exercises with the colour wheel.  When I was doing water colours I purchased a set from Michael Wilcox who wrote a book entitled ' Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green' so it was fun to look at his theory again.  Of blue and yellow can make green, but he is talking about the fact that traditional water colour paints are not pure pigments and you get violet blues and orangey yellow and so on ... it was a good exercise to tune up my colour sensitivity.

Above is the free embroidery face I stitched after my first workshop. 
Marian told me how to stretch it over a piece of card so here it is with another page of a colour mixing exercise.
I am sure you are all familiar with the follow colour concepts...
...however triad harmonies, split complementaries and mutual complemetaries were new to me (Thanks to Kim Thittichai's book.
Below I have followed up one of Marian Murphy's techniques of stitching channel in a sheer fabric over a plain one and threading different coloured cords through the channels.
I am going to snip the channels and pull out loops of cord and embellish with some beads and stitching.
I think this could become a purse.

There are also lots of techniques to try out from 'Beginner's Guide to Machine Embroidery' by Pam Watts so I have probably got lots to keep me going for a week or two. I am hoping to go on a printing workshop run by my friend Sally, so I can use that opportunity to develop some designs rather than just going and having a ''play' ... it is all rather exciting.

I even managed a short walk with my new shoe orthotics today and heard a sky lark here, on Sharpenhoe Clappers (photographed here in December a few years ago)

Into 2009
Thank you all again for your lovely support, I really do appreciated your comments.