Monday, 11 April 2011

Made with Metal

I am on a definite role this week with my ATC manufacturing, I think these will be the last for a while as the next lot aren't due in until May. The idea behind these was that it had to be predominantly made of metal (or completely made of metal) or at least mainly decorated with metal. I did have lots of ideas for this one, mainly thinking about recycling old cans and staples etc, however in the end I settled on lots of wire spirals on a copper metallic fabric.
Several things went wrong with this plan- firstly I didn't have enough of the metallic fabric to cover all three ATCs so had to just have bits of it on each one, then I got very into making the wire spirals and stitched them on before realising that I should have painted the calico underneath first....THEN when I was trying to edge the fabric (which I always have issues with for some reason) the needle kept catching on the wire and pushing it through the fabric so I would have to take drastic measures with the pliers. Still, apart from the very wonky edging, which hopefully my group are used to by now, I think they turned out OK in the end...


Mermaid ATCs

Here are my latest batch of ATCs with a mermaid theme! I was a bit worried about how to do the top half of the mermaids, then decided that just doing the tails would give an air of mystery to the cards. It took ages to individually stitch each scale on but I think it was worth it!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Shibori Madness

I have been going mad with shibori at the moment, experimenting with using different sized marbles, folding, securing with elastic bands and all kinds of things! For those who have no idea what shibori is, it is a Japanese term for dyeing cloth, sort of like tie-dye, using various different methods of stitching, twisting, binding etc...(click here for the Wikipedia definition).
I initially had it explained to me as a term used for any materials that are textured through the use of steam so that is what I think shibori is, but I reckon that is slightly different- if you know more then please leave a comment. :D
So I thought I would show you some before and after pictures just so you get kind of an idea of the things you can do with shibori and marbles etc.

I pre-dyed this organza, but didn't fix the colour as I was interested to see if it would run when steamed, then secured marbles into it at random points. The tighter you secure under the marbles, the more successful your end piece will be.

Then after steaming for about five minutes (the longest part is actually putting the marbles in!! It's all in the preparation) I let the organza dry and removed the marbles. The colour didn't really run in this sample although did shift around a bit, and some areas are now darker than they were before.

This one I pleated then wrapped elastic bands round to get a sort of double whammy- as I would end up with the pleats being fixed and also the tension of the bands.

When stretched out, this actually has really interesting zig-zag patterns in it from the elastic bands. Imagine if this was a really big piece, all pleated and beautiful!

This one began as two layers of organza, one yellow and one pink (yellow on the top which is what gives it the slightly peachy colour) with big marbles!!

The colour ran quite epically so that in the end only the edges of the top piece of organza was very slightly tinged with yellow, and on the top of the bubbles- where it was touching the bottom of the steamer- the colour has been steamed right out!! In this image I have stuffed the bubbles with tissue to bulk them out a bit and add a different texture.

Having experimented and deciding what I liked and what worked well, I decided to go for a big piece! Taking a 3 metre length of pre dyed organza, I secured different sized marbles and also scrunched and secured other areas to see if that would give a different texture. It didn't feel hot enough after five minutes in the steamer so I gave it another five until it was boiling hot and I burnt myself trying to pick it out (use tongs!!!). Then after it had cooled down I took out the hundreds of marbles and was left with this...

...which didn't really look that special, and the bits that I had scrunched weren't textured enough for me so I started stitching into it, adding pleats and little circles and just generally going mad with the sewing machine, until I ended up with....


...which actually is really exciting and tactile and people can't help but touch it when they walk past my desk which was the effect I was going for so that's fantastic!!!

Incidentally, I have come across quite an interesting shibori artist called Michelle Griffiths who has done the most amazing things and is well worth a look at!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Embellished With Beads

I have also been getting on with ATCs for another swap I am doing, called (as the title of the post suggests) Embellished with Beads. I have started trying to design and research my ATCs before I make them, although this is an example of going away from what the design says and improvising as you go along- the best way of making in my opinion! Not sure whether these have got enough beads on but I like them the way they are!

Edging could do with some practice I think.... :S

Tangled In A Fish Net

It feels really good to making ATC's again, having had a bit of a lull after the last batch. We have to sort of wait around a bit to decided what our next load of themes should be, then six weeks making, and then all of a sudden, ten lots have to be in at once!!
I am actually really exciting about this swap as I am the host!!! My first hosting responsibility!! Although as yet, I haven't received any from the lovely ladies (and possibly men) who are in this swap so am still waiting for my duties to sort of begin. They aren't due in until the end of the month so there is still plenty of time.
I am trying to get through them though and have already made mine...!


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Painted Tape

Have spent a few hours today playing around with painting masking tape and getting paint everywhere!!! The plan was to come up with a idea of hanging and twisting vines, and remembering an accidental sculpture I made earlier on in the year I thought I would have another go- it seems that wide sellotape is very different to thinner sellotape and doesn't curl up as well. Never mind...

I ended up covered in paint of course (luckily none got on my white t-shirt!!!)

Friday, 1 April 2011

Lost in the Jungle

I couldn't think of a catchy title for this post (or my FMP as this is the same title) so 'Lost In The Jungle' will have to do. :D
I have been endlessly finger knitting 3 metre lengths of knit to make 'vines'- the beginning part of my knitted jungle- if you ever feel a pressing need to do the same, sitting on the kitchen counter listening to the radio is a good way of passing the time and before you know it you have a long length of wool spilling all over the floor!
The idea behind this supposed madness is they will end up flung over trees as an outdoor installation. Here is my first attempt in my back garden...

I wasn't really sure that it had the right effect though (might be all the rubbish that has collected in the garden), so I did some more knitting and listening to the radio, then invited my friend to come and model the vines for me in a nearby wood. These photos went much better, although it was typical that as soon as I want a proper photo shoot, it rains!!! Mud everywhere! Still, it was hilariously funny and I think the end photos really get across the idea of it being an interactive installation. We were being surreptitiously watched by a couple of dog walkers who were hiding behind a bush which sort of added to the hilarity.

I also played around with using different buttons on my camera- for example, the top right image is using the chrome colour setting, definitely makes the colours brighter.