Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Funky Face

Lol, this is just a quickie! Wanted to share with you a little bit of fun I spotted today whilst in town!


One of my favourite shops to visit in Leicester is Evolution- there is also one in Brighton and various other places (link to their website here) and the things they sell are absolutely gorgeous!! Every time I go in there, there are loads of things I want to buy and it takes a lot of self restraint not to.........that didn't work a few days ago though when I succumbed and bought one of their really lovely mosaic bowls.

I am just totally in love with it!! Especially like the pebbly bits. It looks really lovely when the sun is shining on it as well.
I also bought a tea light holder (although we aren't allowed candles in halls) because the colours are just so pretty and glittery. Again, it is at it's best when the sun is shining on it- or, I'm assuming, when there is a candle inside it!

The End of Construct & A Stressful Weekend

I always seem to be apologising for not blogging enough, although this time I do have a really really good excuse!!
I have been finishing my construct (weave and knit) project and there was a very strict deadline on Monday for which I had to get my eight samples, two trend and development boards, two sketchbooks, a technical notebook and a 500 word critique of the project finished and presented as professionally as possible. Not only that, but I had to hand in the previous project (the drawing project) as well. As the title of this post says, it was 'a very stressful weekend'.
Now of course I have to wait until we break up for Christmas- three weeks!!!- before finding out whether I passed or epically failed, lets hope it's not the latter!

Would you like to see the photos of my final samples?

I really like my weaves and think that they work well together, although I'm not so keen on my knits. They were kind of rushed which didn't help. But because of the knitting machine, I couldn't use the same pink yarn that was used in my weaving for my knitting. So there is hardly any pink in the knitting which makes them look  a bit out of place. I also wished I had used more of the fair isle (the circle pattern). Never mind, I think the colours do vaguely tie them both together and I learnt quite a lot about knitting machines...not my forte though I feel!!

This is the rest of my work, with the trend boards, evaluation, sketchbooks, technical notebooks and books of my weave and knit experiments.
Some people hardly had anything on their desks, which I don't understand because we had 6 weeks of this project- what have they been doing??!!! One girl only had one sample pinned on her board looking a bit bedraggled and lonely. Still, it is quality not quantity so maybe her sketchbook was amazing.

There is no rest for the wicked either, we are straight into the next projects- one is looking at our treasure boxes (regular readers will remember my decoupaged box of inspiration that I had to make) and finding themes and colour palettes from it.
We are also finding inspiration through poems, and to round it off we are doing a colouration project where we are looking at how to dye fabrics and the different ways of doing it. So all very exciting. We have already had a workshop on dyeing fabrics...

I dyed the blue samples using a direct dye. The samples themselves are all different types of fabric, starting from the bottom and working up we have nylon, ,wool, cotton, acyrlic and polyester. For the types of dye, working left to right, we have disperse, direct, basic and acid. So not all dyes will work on all types of fabric. It's quite interesting really.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Eager Christmas Beaver!

I just wanted to share some Christmas cheer with you. Some may think it odd or too early, but I have put up my Christmas tree already!

I am not the only one getting in the Christmas spirit though as at the weekend Leicester's lights were switched on to the delight of many. They are really very good and are all covered in tinsel! I have tried to upload a video of the countdown, although I'm not sure if it will work or not as it is the first time I have tried uploading videos. Here's hope they work though!!

The lighting ceremony was amazing, there was an Ice Prince and Princess on stilts wandering around, along with a snowman and a lovely lady in a ballgown who I had a picture taken with.
There was a stage where we were entertained with carols from the Super 8 Singers (called so because there are eight of them...whether they were super or not I couldn't tell you because I was at the back and couldn't quite hear them), the Leicester Youth Brass Band and a Status Quo tribute act. There was even fake snow!!!

 Our town Christmas tree!!

Also at the moment there are two set ups near the town hall with animals from Beatrix Potter and Alice in Wonderland, these were all lit up and the characters move which is charming.

All in all a very Christmassy evening. Especially considering that me and a few flatmates had spent the day wandering around the first Christmas market. It had some lovely stalls, although a disappointing lack on mince pies. There were only two stalls with mince pies, but several selling samosas!

Weaving, 100th Post and Massive Apologies

I will begin with apologies for my neglecting blogging for so long- my only excuse is that I have had project deadlines and a university blog to write (definitely not as fun as this one, but more referencing is needed which takes time!!). On a brighter note...this is my 100th post!!!!! Whey! celebrations all round.

Although being terribly neglectful, I have been collecting bits and pieces to write about so hopefully it will keep you going for a while. As you know (if you have been following, tsk tsk if not!!), I have being doing a constructed project (knitting and weaving), with weaving being my favourite part-- especially as I was viciously attacked by the knitting machine the other day! We have been learning loads of techniques and weave patterns, my favourite is the gauze technique which I will show you a bit later.

A very exciting part of weaving is that you can easily design your own weave patterns. Because I have a bit of a circle theme in my project, I have been experimenting with making circles appear in the weave. The image below shows my most successful design, and I am using this quite a lot in my final samples. The red and blue bit is the front, but when I was looking at the underside I found I liked that more, so turned the weave round, the result being the white and black section.

A recently learned weave is called the waffle or honeycomb which creates instant texture and shape by playing around with how close to the surface of the fabric the weft threads are woven...if that makes sense? I have actually learnt this one off by heart I have used it so much. It works especially well in a textured yarn (like the pink bouclé one at the top of the below image).

At the end of each weave session we have to weave a strip of plain white and write our names on it as lots of people will weave on the same loom and then all of the samples will be taken off every two or so weeks- this is why there are random names all over the pictures.
Now we come to one of my favourite techniques, the gauze twist. This literally involves taking the warp yarns and twisting them over each other before inserting a stick shuttle to keep the twist in whilst you go along the row and twist the others. You can do all the way along like I have done, or twist sections...all sorts of ways to create different effects. Once you have finished twisting and turning your threads, twizzle the stick shuttle to separate the warp threads and insert your weft, push the weft down with the shuttle and then draw out the stick. After that, continue weaving normally, although it may take a while for it to go back to a close weave due to the twisted warp threads, it will go back eventually don't panic!

Another technique I have looked at creates little peep holes or slits in the weave. I am quite impressed with this sample because I managed to combine the waffle weave with the slits on my first go! There is quite a bit to think about because you have to keep it level and do both sides at the same could have all gone horribly wrong!

Some more experiments with the gauze weave, with more emphasis on creating a pattern with it.

Playing around with adding colours to the waffle weave.

I have also been looking at some weave artists which may interest you- I won't go into massive detail but I recommend that if you are interested in weaving then click on the links and have a peek at their websites- in fact; look at them even if you aren't interested in weaving, they are still lovely!

Eric Markow & Thom Norris- Handwoven glass sculptures with really lovely colours. I especially love their bowls and would dearly like to have some of my own. Probably ridiculously expensive though!!

Lynn Tandler- Woven fabrics combined with various kinds of metals. She was a guest lecturer at my university and I was able to feel some of her latest fabric designs. In some of them you aren't really aware that it has metal in it until you get stabbed by the edges!!

Laura Thomas- Woven textiles which have been cast in acrylic blocks. An interesting take on how you can use a simple woven structure as a decorative object in it's own right without making it into something else.