Category Archives: Stage 2 Experimental workshops

Part 3 Workshop 2 Knitted nets

I have had a set of huge knitting needles for several years and not found the opportunity or inclination to use them. So, given the workshop offered I decided to give them a whirl.  The results were obvious before even starting the exercise, but I was also understanding that many of the experiments I had already done on this section of work also yielded results I hadn’t anticipated. I used tapestry yarn used for making rugs, so it was a tough , course yarn to use and also proved quite heavy coupled with the large knitting needles.

I knitted a piece that measured 1m x 18″.IMG_5538

 

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How I could develop this? I am intrigued as to what I could produce if I crochet in the spaces between the stitches. This could be something I do at stage 3. reviewing materials and processes.

 

 

 

Part 3, Workshop 4 Woven structures

Earlier in working on this workshop I had explored simple nets, using vegetable nets and hessian but I wanted to explore finer structures such as lace. I also wanted to try using a candle which would I imagined produce a subtle shadow.

I glued together 2 empty CD cases to form a cube. I lit a candle and placed that in the middle and used this structure to drape materials over. I recorded the shadows on the wall as well as the effect of the light coming towards me through the fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

crochet fabric.

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

bubble wrap

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

lace fabric

I returned to using text. I have a real itch to scratch with text? It seems to be the hardest thing for me to get a comfortable result from. Why I am obsessed with this? I’m not sure. I do keep seeing a large piece of fabric with some story or poem upon it with light shining through. I am unsure why I am pursuing this as it isn’t related to part 1 of Exploring ideas, where I looked at my ancestors. I do think it would be a beautiful piece of work that I would like to produce at some stage.

text written onto an empty cd case with glue from a glue gun

text written onto an empty cd case with glue from a glue gun

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

text written with a marker pen onto an empty cd case

I am finding it difficult to find a way that suitably applies text to fabric or other item in order to get a good shadow. No doubt this will be a feature for me until I do find the one thing that I can work with.

text written onto greaseproof paper using pva glue

text written onto greaseproof paper using pva glue

Above the light was shone from behind as the paper did not cast a shadow behind it. I then coloured the paper, rubbing ink onto the paper and allowed the light to shine forward again.

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It did emphasise the lettering but how would I use this? Maybe I don’t need to think that far in front?

Part 3 Workshop 7 De-constructing and disintegration

I think I am drawn to disintegration and decay. It started back in part 1 with looking at my ancestors, my tribe and it has become a metaphor for my great Grandmother and Grandmothers experience of wealth turned to poverty due to my Great Grandfathers death. The soaking of fabric in rusted items from the same workhouse they lived in, and using distemper from the workhouse walls caked on fabric, to see how it would decay or wear were the first steps. I was also drawn to how the cine film threw its shadows onto the workhouse walls and, how the light played my memories against the backdrop of their lives long gone. In playing with materials I had around me, I started to de-construct/burn fabrics using devore acid and a soldering iron.

Shining a light at a distance through the fabrics created subtle shadows, some of the words were legible, others more muted. I decided to work using their names so I would have something recognisable to test the clarity of the shadows.

Linen acrylic mix using devore acid to write onto the fabric.

Linen acrylic mix using devore acid to write onto the fabric.

Tis produced a scorched effect but at no place did it burn away the fabric completely.

This produced a scorched effect but at no place did it burn away the fabric completely.

text written in pva onto silk screen fabric

text written in pva onto silk screen fabric

This proved to produce a nice clear shadow. It was optimised by the spot light being around 6 foot away. The closer the light got to the object there was a reduction in clarity.

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silk screen fabric burned into using a soldering iron.

silk screen fabric burned into using a soldering iron.

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This wasn’t a crisp shadow by any means. It was a struggle for the camera to pick it up. I would use this method as a fabric piece but not use it to cast shadows, as it is very effective as a material in its own right.

this is fine nylon curtain netting which has pva text on it.

this is fine nylon curtain netting which has pva text on it.

This produced a clear and crisp shadow. I like how it is almost invisible until you shine a light onto it. I am committing this to memory as it is intriguing. I am fascinated by being able to hide text or other information on a fabric for it to be revealed at some stage. maybe requesting the viewer to move the fabric or it being shifted by a breeze? I can see me somehow incorporating this in a piece to tell my ancestors story. No idea how as yet, but I am finding that some discoveries in doing this exercise I want to explore and expand.

linen/acrylic mix fabric bunt using a soldering iron.

linen/acrylic mix fabric bunt using a soldering iron.

I liked the brutality of this. It was crude, yet deliberate. The soldering iron burnt some of the threads so there were areas where you could see through the fabric. Again a good result for the fabric that didn’t cast a shadow but the effect of taking a  photograph with the light behind it was very effective.

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shadow cast on the wall

shadow cast on the wall

Nylon net curtaining burn using a soldering ireon

Nylon net curtain burn using a soldering iron

This threw a reasonable shadow onto the wall but it is far more effective as a piece of fabric in itself. Unless I later see how I could use it in a different manner. I am aware that I am commenting on my initial thoughts about the samples, yet am expecting to revise my thoughts in future when I take my ideas further.

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Nylon net curtaining burn using a soldering ireon

Nylon net curtain burnt using a soldering iron

Tick polystyrene packaging burnt through using a soldering iron.

Tick polystyrene packaging burnt through using a soldering iron.

This cast no shadows at all, though the light shining from the reverse was effective.

I began this exercise with few ideas of what the results would be. I am inspired by what I have found and am looking forward to seeing where I could take some of the samples.

 

Part 3, Workshop 4 Woven structures

The experience of photographing knitted/crochet nets yesterday left me curious about shadows. I still was pondering why some shadows showed clearly what was casting the shadow and others not. I decided to gather as many net like structures as I could to see how they cast their shadows. I had some vegetable nets, the kind you get from stores and I also found I had a range of metal mesh samples, all from various sources. Some shadows were difficult to photograph as they were more subtle. I found the best, clearer shadows were created by having the spotlight further away, at least 4 foot and the object nearer the white wall. Saying that, I do like the subtle shadows,even though the focus looks blurred, it isn’t and that is in fact the shadow.

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Hessian sacking

Hessian sacking

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By far the images that appeal and excite me are the ones looking into the wire tube and the one looking under the hessian. This has left me thinking I would like to create something that I had to look into, that had added interest because of the angle of looking into it as well as of the shadows it cast. My initial thought was of burning fabric to create holes for the light to shine through, I was thinking perhaps working a mesh/net similar to the metal ones, but enlarging the whole formation. I shall play with the fabrics I have and look at ways of manipulating them to re create the mesh.

Part 3 Workshop 7 De-constructing and disintegration.

Since May 2015, and this workshop in mind I have had some cotton fabric wrapped in two iron grate covers that I liberated form the old workhouse buildings in Sheffield. I wanted to see if the rusting iron would corrode the fabric over time. I have in the back of my mind the story of my ancestors journey from Scotland and affluence to poverty and a life in the workhouse in Sheffield, and how I could tell the story through my textile studies with the OCA. I also collected distemper that was coating the walls of the Receiving house building. This was the portal all inmates of the workhouse would go through. I had no idea how coating cotton and muslin fabric with it would change the fabric over time. I wanted to find a way to capture a past lifetime and meld it with my life in the 21st Century. Nine months later I unwrapped the fabric and hung the distemper caked fabrics to dry. I couldn’t see any areas that had rotted completely away, but It was certain that some echo of the past was encapsulated in the fabric.

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The bowl that has been home to the cotton, rusted grate covers mixed initially with vinegar and salt, then left out in the elements for 9 months. There was a growth of something that originated from the iron. It looked like a spongy fungus like with tendrils.

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The reflections on the water as I took the photograph also intrigued me, because of the shadow of me taking the picture. My mind is on shadows because of the workshops of part 3.

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Above is a smaller grate cover which had a small amount of cotton fabric around it. This fabric had become attached to the iron by the rust.

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The odd growth was determined to stay adhered to the iron rust.

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The fabric fresh from the bowl hung up to dry.

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Below is he dried cotton fabric. The colour is quite vibrant which doesn’t show on the photograph. Most pleasing.

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The fabric with the distemper ground into it, I can only assess after it is dry I feel. I wonder how much of the distemper will fall away? Again I left these outside open to the elements to hopefully help any decay along.

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I had no idea what the outcomes would be or, if it would be possible to use the results in some way, but I knew it would be a good exercise in looking at a variety of ways fabric could be manipulated.

 

Part 3 Reveal and conceal Workshop 2 Knitted nets.

I had a clear idea on which workshops I wanted to explore, but in looking at the research photographs I had collected I saw that in fact my eye was far more interested in netting or open textured woks. It was obvious to me that I needed to look at this closer and go with where my instinct would take me. I am not a skilled knitter or with a crochet hook and this also appealed as it was where I would stretch myself, it was out of my comfort zone. I worked in crochet on a large hook and found a simple enough pattern of which I could produce a length of open patterned work.

length of crochet in a simple shell pattern.

length of crochet in a simple shell pattern.

The pattern isn’t remarkable though it does have a repeat pattern that I thought would create a pretty regular pattern in shadow. I was wrong.

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The spotlight was positioned on the ceiling approximately 4 foot away from the piece of crochet. I loved the subtle effect of the shadow, but wondered how useful this would be? How would I replicate this with other materials, should I replicate this, what could this effect be used for? I then brought in another spot light to the left and this light was harsher and was positioned about 6″ from the crochet. The effect wasn’t dissimilar to the previous shadows. I had thought that this would show the actual pattern of the crochet a s a shadow. I wonder why this diffusion of the pattern was happening.

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When I had been researching artists use of light and shadow I had been intrigued by the work of Tim Noble and Sue Webster, who had compiled a formless array of random objects which when light was passed over it formed a distinct and recognisable shadow onto the wall beyond.

1

Noble, Tim. Webster, Sue. 2012 Young man [wooden step ladder, discarded wood, light projector] At: http://www.timnobleandsuewebster.com/youngman_2012.html (Accessed on: 23.06.2015)

2

Webster, Sue. Noble, Tim. 2009-2010. Wild mood swings. [2 wooden step ladders, discarded Wood and light projector] At: http://www.timnobleandsuewebster.com/wild_mood_swings_2009-10.html (Accessed on: 23.06.2015)

My only conclusion was that because the yarn and thus the crochet was a soft material with no real hard edges the light must have played through it in some way. The materials used by Noble and Webster where all solid materials that have hard edges and, distinct opaque areas where light could not penetrate. If I wanted to create a solid crisp shadow I would need to keep this in mind. Given that I decided to see what shadow something solid cast. I placed some plates, spoons and forks on a friends glass dining table and using the light above managed to create some shadows onto the floor that had the crisp , easily recognisable forms.

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I then took a photograph of the shadow this pattern cast on to the ceiling. This light was cast from the ceiling light through the glass table then reflected up from the floor back onto the ceiling. Complicated yes, but that was the journey the light had taken to give this effect on the ceiling.It was diffused as I expected but some items are recognisable. My thought then is how would I use this information? I have no idea but at least I was beginning to understand a little of how light, reflections and shadows can work.

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I am not sure why I find myself looking for what creates a crisp shadow but I needed to follow my curiosity.

I had a couple of Heddles made form metal, and wanted to see what shadow such a dense material would cast.

I began with a spot light close to the heddles positioned at the front about 8 inch away.

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Nothing obvious in shadow on the wall behind?

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The shadow behind is not obvious even from taking a picture close to the heddle.

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The thick edge of the heddle is casting a bluish tinge onto the wall but still not much sight of the hard vertical lines? There is only a small amount of the bars showing to the right of the picture.

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This photograph was taken closer to the heddle which shows some of the shadows but they are still not clean and crisp as I thought they may have been.

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I switched to the heddle where the rods were spaced father apart. This was showing more of the form of the heddle.

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Above is a photograph where i am peering over the heddle onto the wall. Here we are seeing the vertical rods which are further away from the heddle.

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Here I positioned the spotlight above, shining around 4 foot above the heddle. The shadows I had expected appeared.

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Here I like the cross hatched effect created by the heddle and the shadow.

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In this picture I have the heddle leaning against the wall the light again from above. These are the shadows I thought I would get regardless of where the light originated from. It is becoming clear that I need the light further away from the object. In Webster and Nobles images the light since was quite a distance away from their composed item. No doubt they will have gone through the exact same process I was working on. Where to place the light source for the best shadow effect. This would account for the shadow starting to appear on the first projections of the heddle farthest away from my spotlight.

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Here the shadow is getting more defined and crisp.

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And there it is!

My thought then turned to what shadow I would get if I stretched the crochet length over the heddle? I was chuffed and very pleased with the effect.

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Whilst it wasn’t a crisp shadow of the pattern, I found the effect was almost like a marbling effect. It was slightly stronger shadow that my first crochet experiment, but on reflection not too dissimilar. Was my expectations different, or had I simply taken a step from wanting to predict and stage a shadow to one of being excited by whatever the outcome was? Had my mindset shifted? I was sure it had.