Category Archives: Stage 5 Translating ideas in to samples

Part 3 Stage 5 Translating ideas into samples.

In starting to look at producing samples I wanted to explore further distressing materials and began by burning. I continued the theme from earlier work about my tribe, my ancestors stories from part 1.

I printed out images of my ancestors and also burnt text from a census report giving details of them and began layering. I used as heat gun to apply the heat and in doing so I melted the heat gun. Not what I expected.  I am intrigued by the melting away of text on the silk screen fabric to reveal the underneath layers. I have no knowledge where this may take me and if I am on the right lines with my enquiry, but it is an itch I need to scratch.


In this sample I have burnt the muslin beneath. It strikes me as looking similar to the rust marks produced by soaking fabric and wrapping around the grate cover.



Stitching the fabric to paper doesn’t give me a flexible fabric to use, nor does it stimulate any further ideas of how I could use or develop the idea. I wonder if I have taken myself into a cul de sac with the subject as well as the approach?

One sample I did like was the burning of the negative print. It obliterated areas of the print, burning away faces or turning them unrecognisable. I keep being drawn to samples and experiments that act as metaphors. I need to be conscious of this as it may be the thing that is limiting the process of experimentation/exploring.


I am lost. I have no idea as to what to do next and thoughts of producing samples from what?

I need to produce samples, and I am thinking fabric samples but nothing I have done so far can I see me taking further. I can continue to burn and distress fabric but is that enough, do I need to produce samples towards producing a piece of work? Again I cannot see anything I have done so far  being taken further. I want to produce something that has more of a process to it that simply burning. I could layer the pieces I have but I am not sure that that is enough? I am feeing that I need to do something more involved again back to a process that has more components to it than simply burning and layering.

I have decided to play a little further with something that is abstract to begin with, and has no relation to what I have already been working with,  pianola scroll. I picked it up at a market a few years ago and for some reason it came to mind. It has a pattern on holes along its length which would dictate which hammer was lifted and dropped within the Pianola in order for a tune to be played. It has a kind of musical Morse code. I am hoping that by playing with something that has no relevance to my existing thoughts and which is also not of any definite form may jolt me forward. I have scanned some of its length and I shall recreate its pattern using a variety of materials. Hopefully this will take me to producing samples that will satisfy the OCA brief.



I puzzled how to attack this. Struggle is becoming synonymous with part 3. So looked for something that light would pass through and I found some flexi plastic and decided to transfer the markings on to it. I did so, and then baked the sheet in the oven to shrink and harden it. I did this to two sections of the pianola sheet. I then suspended the plastic from a dowel and allowed a spot light to shine through it. The reflections from the light plus the shadows it cast onto the white wall were pleasing.








The link below shows video of the sample installation.


From this I wanted to see how an image of a face would translate to this medium. I was drawn back to the work fro part 1 and I printed off onto the plastic a photograph of myself and baked it again to harden. I then stood it in front of an image of my Great Grandmother. The photograph of her was printed on to opaque plastic and hardened. I imagined that I could cast a shadow image of myself onto her image, blending the two.


Above my Ancestor printed onto opaque plastic which was hardened, and below the print of myself. It isn’t as pronounced as the previous print. The two images below are the image with a spot light shining through to cast a shadow on the wall.




Above the image is slightly clearer by looking at it from the side. The plastic is glossy and therefore creates a lot of refection off its surface which makes it difficult to photograph. I do like the distortion though and find it would be something that I would want to work with given this effect.



Moving the light to the side, the image is becoming clearer.


Below the two images with mine casting a shadow on the photograph of my Great Grand Mother. This works not because of the shadow but because of the placing. The two together in life, create an atmospheric installation and I can clearly see how I could use this moving forward. This is the kind of discovery that excites me and gives me impetus to develop the idea further and to also pay with scale. I would like to find a way of reproducing this but having the images life size. Walking through the plates would be quite emotional for me but would the viewer who didn’t know the relationship, have a similar or comparable emotion? I do feel the larger size of it would increase the impact.





The image above has some foxing on the front plastic. It gives the piece the feeling of looking at your reflection in an antique mirror. The foxing appeared because the gloss and shiny surface of the plastic resisted the inks from  my printer. The ink dried when it was in the oven baking. This would be easy to replicate should I wish to.

I think the main source of my frustration has been my inability to see how I could produce fabric samples. Though at this stage I have had a revelation about what a sample needs to be and I have made my peace with not producing a ‘fabric’ or fabrics with the samples. I feel that my samples for this section are looking at how I can use light not to just produce a 2 dimensional fabric but to explore a 3 dimensional piece of work. The nature of light reflecting or passing through something, already facilitates that you think of some supporting structure, in order for this to happen or at least to record and photograph how the material you use and light play together. I believe this also has knocked my judgement sideways when looking how to produce a sample.

In part 1 I produced many samples of prints onto fabric and using light to play with and through them, and in part this has been a stumbling block, as I feel I have already started the workshops in earlier parts of exploring ideas. This does not mean I think I have explored them thoroughly only that I stumbled with duplicating something I had already been working with, and didn’t feel my time would be best served doing this. I also thought getting to grips with new materials may help me get back into working with textiles.

Whilst I have been fretful in my inability to think and produce two-dimensional fabric samples, I now am at peace with it when I have seen where the stumbles and playing has taken me. I am quite relieved that the struggling through my insecurities and lack of vision has taken me to explore plastics. I had no notion this would happen. I must learn again to trust the process. This way of working has become lost during my time working on the Printing course, as the process there is learning the exacting methods of producing various prints. The reduction lino cutting especially  shaped a new way of working, where I needed to plan several moves in advance and precision was key. I found this drilled my thinking to a small space in which to work which I found restrictive. It also took away the ability to be experimental for me. Returning to textile work and a materials led approach has involved some unlearning of those habits and establishing a trust in working with the process again. I would imagine that this flux in process and methods will continue throughout my time working in textiles.

Given that I was now feeling confident about not producing the samples I initially thought I needed to make, I decided to stitch together the cine film that I used to create the video installation in part 1. I also decided to stitch some negatives I had from photographs of my wedding. I then took photographs of the shadows cast on the wall when light is shone through  them. All that wrangling in my brain to then decide to produce ‘fabrics’. I have just mentioned the flux of methods? I want to insert LOL here but I don’t think it’s appropriate.





I particularly like the textures the cine film casts juxtaposed by the actual film. The two meld together in a way that creates spectacular interplay of the shadow and film. The shadow is an integral part in the sample. I see the sample being the installation of the two together.








Above I placed the photograph of my Great Grand Mother behind the film as I wanted to impose the images onto her. Her image isn’t as clear on the above photograph as in life. I do like the ghostly apparition of her it does create.



At this angle the photograph below is more visible.


Above and below I replaced the photograph of my Ancestor with my own photograph that I had printed using a sepia colouring to mirror the previous photograph. My image was distorted enough for it not to be obvious behind the negatives. The reflection of the spot light also distorted the image behind. It made the whole thing look quite fluid. I took the spot off the image and just used ambient lighting to see if that would bring the photograph clearer. It did but also lost the movement the illusion the lights reflection gave.


At the end of this exercise I feel quite relieved at gaining a new level of understanding of myself, though the process. I had to keep pushing through doing the exercises and playing with materials in order to see that I didn’t necessarily need to produce what I deemed to be a sample. The formation of a two-dimensional fabric or material. I see that the samples I needed to make were in fact plastics, cine film and negatives used in a way they were not made for and also how they were formed for me to record them.

Taking this work a step further I wanted to see how I could burn the cine film and negatives. I didn’t want to simply scorch the film randomly I wanted to see if I could make an clear image. I am thinking of part 5 and my own project coming up and thought these samples could play an integral part in what and how I could produce something.

I stitched together the cine film and negatives as per the previous samples and then I printed out some photographs of myself and my Great Grand Mother. I wanted to use the   photographs as  an image to trace over using my soldering iron.I was pleasantly surprised at the result.




I then began to layer by placing cine film and negatives in front and shining the spot light through in order to see the effects.



I also cut into the film and negatives, creating a silhouette and used these to project onto the  photographs.






Again I am unsure where these samples will lead me, but I am sure they will inform how and what I begin to work on for Part 5.

My 3D viewer below.

3d viewer

3d viewer


I have had this little viewer for many years and whilst I have been looking for some way of finding a structure to support film and plastic recording layering of images. Fumbling around with cardboard that proved unsuccessful and then I tried to use a blank CD case. It worked to a degree but also cast the frame of the CD which was disappointing.



Where the magic happened. I say that in jest as the scene belies the amount of work that has gone into producing the samples.