Saturday, 12 April 2014

10a: Resolved Sample 1



Even though I have really enjoyed this course, I feel a bit as if I've never quite got into my stride with this course. I started all behind-hand, because of the weather, and printer problems, and seem to have been playing catch-up ever since. I eventually had to buy a new printer - and now the computer is playing up, and I'm having problems accessing files and the internet, and the computer is refusing to talk to the printer! Anyway, my final Resolved Samples are complete. Since the sketch book is really crammed, with just a few pages left, and since these pieces, and my samples, are quite bulky, I've pasted and stitched these on to A4 cartridge paper (there was a pad among the art supplies my elder daughter left here). I've scanned the pages in, but they are not very clear, as the scan quality is poor, and it's not easy to read my writing, so I've typed by observations out as well!

I wanted to try working with more unusual threads, on a bigger canvas, but wasn’t sure what to use, so I worked a few stitches on rug canvas using string, thick thread and sari ‘ribbon’, but it was quite difficult to work, and I felt a bit intimidated by the size of those holes!  
So then I stitched on part of mesh sheet for baking chips (it was new), with thick threads, string, suede strips, a shoelace and more sari ribbon. The effect was interesting, and you could use really unusual threads, but the surface was very rigid, which made it a bit tricky to work on, and I didn’t feel very confident about using it.

So I tried this (see next sample) because the holes seemed a nice size, but it was vile to work on because even if you work on a frame, with thin thread, the canvas distorts – it seems to be much too soft for this kind of stitching. I must admit I have no idea what it is, although it seems to be about 8 holes per inch. I acquired it from a friend of my mother! 
Finally I had a go on double canvas, which isn’t an obvious choice perhaps but it forms nice squares that are larger than 10HPI canvas, but nowhere near as big as rug canvas. Basically, I used the bigger squares, but occasionally use the smaller ones if I felt it improved coverage. 
Image from Weaving 
I cropped in on this bit, because it gave some colour contrasts, and included that lovely viridian!  

Canvas:         Double canvas, about 5 big holes per inch.
Threads:        Oliver Twists ‘Happy Bag’ in dark grey shades
                       Mixed threads I dyed light grey (see ‘Extra: Dying’)
                       Other oddments of thread
Needles:        Needles (tapestry) 

This sample was planned out to some extent – I made myself a ‘mood’ board for inspiration, and wrapped threads around a lolly stick to get a clearer idea of the colours and textures I had, and to see what they would look like. Due to technical problems, I can't upload the photo, so I laid the on the printer and scanned them in. And I used squared paper to make diagrams so I had a kind of framework to work to. However, I didn’t stick to it rigidly, and the stitching evolved as I worked. I was going to pot a photo of the board, but I'm having problems with new photos, so I put them on the printer and scanned them in!
Canvas: I pinned the canvas to a small, rectangular wooden frame, and used watercolours (tubes, mixed to colours I wanted) to sponge over the surface of the canvas, to try and create a greyish-green effect, like the background colour of the wall. I have a photo of it, but it won't post.
Threads: I used a variety of threads, mixing colours and textures as I went along, picking up different threads as I went along, so most of the squares had quite a lot of changes of colour. 
Stitches: Tried to include a variety of stitches, but still not clear what constitutes a canvas stitch – I suspect some of these (like the spider’s web, French knots and couching) are not. 
Resolved Sample 1
This is what I ended up with!
And here is a photocopy of Resolved Sample 1, with my notes! 
I tried to get way too much of the woven design into my stitching. On a larger hole count it would have been better to cut in to far fewer squares – perhaps a maximum of four. Then I could have portrayed markings and shadings more effectively. There wasn’t enough room to get those details into small squares, so everything became clumsy, cramped and childish, and looked more like a sampler than a representation of the weaving of the wall. 
I wish I’d been less formal, and tried to avoid the ‘blocky’ effect of the squares – blending the edges in with staggered stitches would have been better, and given a more uneven effect.  
And I’m not happy with some of my colour choices – some of those yellows and greens are too bright and seem to clash, and I should have left some areas unstitched to give more textural variety. Perhaps some of the ‘markings’ could have been stitched on the canvas, rather than over the other stitches, to show the canvas, which I went to the trouble of painting, then covered up!  
The couching with the suede strips (which I dyed myself) didn’t really work – I was after a more gradual gradation of colour than this gave, and I didn’t get the technique quite right. .
Somehow, nothing seemed to come together, and by the time I’d completed the first three vertical rows I nearly gave up, but I threw caution to the winds, and tried a different approach on the final, fourth vertical row, using a much more random approach, with stitches going in different directions, using silk strips and raffia that I’d dyed myself, and blends of green and my dyed grey threads. I had more ragged edges, and left some ends hanging. This is a bit of a contrast to the rest of the stitching, but I feel it somehow pulls it together a bit more.  

I would have to say, I loved working with torn strips of fabric – the silk, the scrim, and the sari ribbon. And I adored being able to use threads I dyed myself.  
Finally, many of the things I’m not happy with could have been resolved if I had sent my work to Sian on a regular basis (little and often), rather than waiting until I started these two final pieces then sending everything up to that point! It would have helped her as well I think. Her feedback was very positive, and very useful but, due to my ineptitude, by the time I received it I was already working on the Resolved Samples.


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