playing with tyvek

for assignment 3 they suggest we try working with tyvek. I tried one experiment a couple of weeks ago, based on a tutorial I saw on December 2014's workshop on the web issue. it said to iron the tyvek then paint it with acrylics afterwards. well, I tried it and didn't like how the painted version turned out. at all. I really liked the plain, white ironed tyvek - the shapes are amazing. very organic. like pebbles in a stream, or cells in the body. I like the ridges on the reverse side also. but I must have painted too thickly with the acrylic paint so I think I ruined them. then last night Hanna posted her watercolour painted versions on the textiles facebook page and they looked amazing. she'd made them look so fluid. she said she painted with really watery watercolour, then used a heat gun to shape the tyvek. so I tried again last night using watercolour, ink, charcoal, brusho, coloured pencils, pastels - this time painting them first, then ironing to get the shapes. much better! I like these attempts much better than the initial ones. Barbara mentioned you can use silk dyes too (setasilk) and stitch them before heating too. that makes more sense as the tyvek I have is soft like paper originally but once heated becomes like hard plastic, so I'm not sure how stitching it afterwards would work.

Fujimoto's twists - shadowfolds

making some geometric fabric folds on cotton since my copy of "Shadowfolds" book by Jeffrey Rutzky and Chris K Palmer arrived. this one is called "Fujimoto's twists" — it's a mixture of stitched squares, triangles and lines, and is a bit like smocking. I need to iron the front side flatter, but happy with how it turned out. I'd drawn the pattern shapes freehand instead of tracing the pattern as the book suggested, so the shapes are slightly uneven compared to the examples in the book, but I'm OK with that. makes it a bit more organic.

they don't take too long to make either — I made this sample over a couple of hours whilst watching tv.

front side:

back side: (actually I like this also as a front side — might do another)

Shadowfolds book:

velvet folds

I'm trying techniques for the fabric manipulation part of assignment 3 and came across this note called gorgeous fabric manipulation (velvet) so I tried it. I only used very small fabric samples to make initial tests, and I should have used a heavier weight fusing/interfacing as the velvet is heavier fabric than the light fusing I tried. apparently this works well for silk too

Use a cooling rack that has both horizontal and vertical grids. place velvet upside down and with a pencil push little bunches of fabric through. Take a fusible interfacing and then place on top of tufted velvet (wrong side) and iron. The grid should have little feet on sides so that the velvet is not crushed.

at first I couldn't understand what she meant by using the pencil — I thought she meant to put holes in the velvet, so I only tried this on a very small piece, in case it didn't work out. which it didn't. but I did like the grid indentations in the velvet, so the experiment wasn't all lost. I was going to try a metal collander also but the holes were too small for the velvet — perhaps silk would be better for this as it's lighter fabric, though it would also be a hard surface to iron.

Australian sugarbag bees - theme and FairyLand zine research

as part of the work on my "bee" theme, and as part of the closing assignment for "Year of the Fairy Tale" illustration class I've been taking this year, to learn more painting techniques, I'm doing an illustration for a Fairy Land zine on magic animals. of course I chose the bee. but as "bee" was already taken, I decided to be more specific and chose the "Australian sugarbag bee" aka Tetragonula Carbonaria bee, which is one of the native bees of Australia. this is a stingless bee, though it can give you a bite instead.

collating info here about the sugarbag bee as part of my research. another Australian bee I like is the blue-banded bee. there are a number of coloured bees native to Australia, which are different to the introduced yellow coloured honey bee that everyone is used to seeing.

for the illustrated page, I need to write a line about why this is a magic sugarbag bee, and draw a matching picture.

Australian bee websites:

Sugarbag Bees blog

Sugarbag Bees facebook page

Aussie Bee

Kin Kin Native Bees

artgraf bee

I've been trying out my new artgraf water soluable graphite tonight with another drawing of a bee for my theme. I think it's sometimes called watercolour graphite. I put water in the lid and found my paintbrush and tried it out. I haven't got the bee shapes right yet but I love the variations in lightness and darkness of the graphite. there's even a slight shimmer and sparkle to it in this dim light. will see if it's still there in the morning daylight.

I shouldn't have tried the background wash though.. :( don't like it atm

another in (hotel room) biro practicing hatching (with wonky bee shape still)

making a dragonscale sample - reverse smocking

I've been making dragonscale (reverse smocking) using Michele Carragher's instructions (she is the game of thrones' embroiderer). I finally got it to work, after unpicking the first few attempts (& realising I've done it on wrong side of the fabric - right side for regular smocking). I'm using this as part of the fabric manipulation topic in assignment 3 work. I'll use this page to add more details and summarise it (with other samples) on the assignment page later.

notes for the pattern:

first attempt - I had only drawn the dots, not the triangles and became a bit lost, so these two didn't work out. I unpicked them and started again.

next time, I drew the triangles as a template onto the fabric also. this helped a lot, and I managed to make it correctly this time

the right side of the fabric - this shows the smocking pattern, but the "dragonscale" uses the other side, so I actually made the whole piece on the wrong side of the fabric. oh well. know for next time.

the wrong side of the fabric - showing the dragonscale. I need to iron/press it to flatten it, though I like the puffy pattern also.

some more progress

etching print class - bee prints

today I went on an etching / print workshop at the ownership project gallery / print room in melbourne. learnt a lot. i made some prints to try different techniques, levels of colour depth, plate cleanup, colours, timings. used one of my bee drawings so I can add them to my theme work. falling in love with printing. you can get some very detailed marks with etching (with practice!)

i'll add more pics / steps later when on the computer

mono / black print

adding colour to sections

ghost print

coloured and hand painted selected colours

wonky washi bee

I tried making a bee from washi tape, but it turned out a bit wonky. I should have drawn the outline first instead of taping from memory. it was a good exercise in blending colours and creating texture and patterns and shapes though.

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woven eyes

testing some woven eyes for my bees. these have a matte black circular warp threaded into cut fabric (calico in the first test), and shiny black stranded thread for the circular weft, travelling across and around the eye. I used the shiny thread to simulate the shinyness of a bee's eyes, and woven circles to remind of the multiple cells / lenses of the bees' eyes.

I learnt this technique from jude hill on her wonderful "considering weave" class / project

the first one didn't work out as i'd threaded both ways instead of one way only.

but the next sample worked out as I had hoped (seen in my mind) so i was happy about this.

bee sketches for stitching

a few more bee sketches in different media — I'm thinking of trying some of these in stitch (a cross between junko oki's work and jude hills' work such as this circle & the final piece in 'considering weave' — my own interpretation of it) and also as the fabric manipulation exercises for assignment 3. (to save time, and work on theme practice plus exercises at the same time).

basket weave for eyes

plus some other general sketches — I'm also trying to practice sketching things from my day or local area. some are done in a small notebook whilst out and about.

I still haven't separated my theme book from regular sketch book — must work on this. it's just more convenient to put everything into one book..


general sketches:

bee sketches

i've read ahead a little this time and on the flight tonight started a couple of bee drawing exercises. i have a new lamy (med) pen and it's lovely to sketch with! would like to try the fine & extra fine next too. I only had one sketchbook so I'll need to transfer the pages to my theme book (and hope i didn't wreck it by drawing on both sides of the paper..)

i did a few separate body parts that I'd seen on an amazing closeup photo found whilst googling "bees" images.

this is the original close up photo and bee photo and honeycomb photo. i combined a couple of these in my drawings. i made some notes about how i can see the tests in my head. some black satin, hand stitching, shiny white/clear fabric, fraying for the hairs, woven circles for the eyes, some stitches I think will work for centre cirlce on the back and antannea, plus more. i can see it in my head, so I just need to get it to work in reality now!

via bee portraits - sam droege
— bee google image search. I hope to draw more of his photographs, as they are amazing. the colours!

via can bees be trained to sniff out cancer — bee google image search

via cavity bee — bee google image search

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Assignment 2 - Review

Assignment 2 - Review

My learning log for Assignment 2 is at — there are links to the exercises on this page. You can also access the pages via the menus — see Textiles1 - Assignment 2.
Assignment 2 — Review
I enjoyed this assignment and most of the exercises, though I though there was some repetition in the exercises and some of the instructions were a bit ambiguous and unclear. I liked exploring colour and seeing how the colours were created and combined, and being able to reproduce and match colours to other images and objects. I also enjoyed learning more about watercolour painting and how to use watercolour to layer colours to blend them and create new colours. It was good to try many other techniques also and to be encouraged to use different media in some of the exercises to see how they can change the way the image looks, and the feel of the image.

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A2: Proj5 - stage 3 - printing and painting on fabric

A2: Proj5 - stage 3 - printing and painting on fabric

see also previous exercise, printing and painting experiments for other printing and painting work that I did.

painting and printing onto silk:

painting and printing onto calico:

I concentrated mostly on mono printing using the gelli plate for the printing tests on other fabrics. not all of them worked out, which was to be expected, since not all the fabrics were suitable for printing. the cotton based fabrics worked best. the shiny, slippery fabrics didn't work very well - they didn't hold the paint. I left some of the original fabric showing, so I could see what the original fabric was.

a variety of different types of fabric:

A2: Proj4 Stage 3 and Stage 4

A2: Proj4 Stage 3 "Selecting from drawings" and Stage 4 "Developing design ideas"

I combined these two exercises and found new images and drew my versions of them for design ideas.

did you manage to make space move?
I'm not sure. in some of the drawings I think it did, but in others, it didn't really — some of them are too "flat"

what are your thoughts about the drawings you did in stage 1?
I can see how the eye's attention and focus is drawn around the page by the placement of the black squares on the page. and the use of single versus multiple squares. it highlights the idea of using whitespace, and how to draw focus for the objects.

A2: Proj5 - stage 4 - a larger sample

A2: Proj5 - stage 4 - a larger sample

I created a "single unit" piece based on a motif. the background is mono printed by hand, and there's an image of a stylized face hand drawn using fabric sharpie pens over the top of the background. the image is based on an image by Jim Avignon.

I combined a tribal motif border around the image of the face. I was influenced by a photo of a tribal patterned top that I found on the internet when searching for "tribal patterns". also I was influenced by Hundertvasser with the colours chosen, and brightness of the colours. I'd seen "Hundertwasser's toilets" in Kawa Kawa not far from Auckland, earlier this year, and enjoyed seeing his use of bright colours, and wonky, stylized lines. I'd tried some of his style of work in my sketchbook, and had been using some of the patterns in the final piece in exercises throughout this assignment, so it was a matter of combining them altogether.



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