Sunday, April 20, 2014

Surface design - Week 1

Where Week 1 equals Week 3. That is to say the course is in its third week but I am merrily fininshing up the assignments from week one. I blame the initial delay on the fact that the tailend of snowboarding season coincided with week one. As to the other week. well ........ let's just join in a chorus of this song!

I took a 2 day workshop with the fabulous Fiona Duthie here in Nelson in 2012. The first day was Surface design & dying. The second day was more dying and a project. I loved that class but it was A Lot of surface design to fit into that first day. So I was excited to see this course offered online. I liked the notion that I could work at a snails my own pace and spend more time with each technique. I also opted to buy Fiona's fibre kit - despite the bulging stash in my studio. You can never have tooooo much fibre right?

Light application of silk fibre on merino roving.

Both fibres were in the kit. I got more than 50% shrinkage on this piece because I underweighed the fibre. It's a mere 5 gr compared to 8 - 10 in all the other pieces.

Full layer of silk on merino batt

The merino batt was rust short fibre merino from the kit. On top I used a space dyed silk top roving from my stash.

The effect came out quite well but I lost the sheen of the silk. I use room temperature water to felt so it wasn't about the heat. Maybe the soap I use is too harsh? Dr. Bonner's pure castile soap. Organic and rose scented. My hands and my senses love this stuff but maybe the silk not so much?



Full layer of mohair on merino batt

Both fibres were in the kit. The mohair retained it lovely sheen as well as the crimp. The hand of this piece is very soft and pliable.


Exotic fibres on Merino

The background fibre is pink merino roving(kit). On top we have white Yak fibre (kit) dark brown Qiviuk and light brown baby Camel (both from my stash.

The Qiviuk btw cost $14.50 for .01 of a gram. You read that right, point zero one of a gram compared to about $12 for 28 grams of baby Camel fibre.

I would have prefered sharper edges but overall I like the effect. The softness of the camel fibre is amazing.



The next exercise was shadowing. I made three samples in the end.

In this first one all the fibres were from the kit. The B&W are coarser fibres, Icelandic I believe. The coloured fibres were all fine merino rovings. The black fibre came through the front so strongly that until I shaved the piece you could barely see the colours. The white also came through but the effect is much more muted.


I decided to make another piece using the circle design from the exotic fibre exercise to see if I could obtain a sample that would really showcase the light and dark from behind effect.





So here we have the second try at shadowing. All the fibres were in the kit but this time I used grey on the shadow side as well.

Because I hadn't liked the rough edges of this pattern on the exotic fibres piece I chose to first needle the backing fibres to water soluble stabilizer. This is a favourite technique of mine for controlling fibre migration. In addition to creating a bit of a prefelt, the stabilizer has a momentary gluing effect just before it disolves entirely. For this reason I placed the needled piece stabilizer side up before adding the rust merino batt.


I like the result a lot as a visual but still felt that the shadowing effect was not featured as I would like. The black is again predominant with the grey barely making an entrance.

So being behind already I decided to carry on working with the shadow technique.

'Cuz late is late right?




So this time rather use the stabilizer I decided to just make needled prefelt from the black, white and grey and then cut out my shapes with scissors. I am lucky to own a felt-o-matic so this is another techniqe I often employ to control fibre migration.

As you can see from the reverse this should have worked out great.


On the front though the black migrated in some very unexpected ways giving a muddy disjointed circle. The grey stripe made more of an impact and you do get the overall effect of light and dark better under this yellow merino.

At this point Fiona posted Week 3's schedule. And I realized I must move out of the land of shadows and on to the last 3 assignments of week 1!





This is nuno quilting. All of the fabrics (kit) were cotton with fairly tight weaves. The two yellow bits at the bottom were a bit recalcitrant but in the end they did felt in rather nicely.


The fine merino roving is very willing to move through fabric.






This a sample of fabric manipulaton. There are 2 weights of silk - they weren't labelled in the kit so I'm not sure of the mome.

This worked like a dream. Very fun.







The sample above worked so well and so easily that I threw caution and time to the wind and attempted rosettes. I watched the video through twice but could not catch the trick for pleating the fabric just so to acheive petals. I also felt that the centres needed reinforcment. I pulled some wisps of short fibre merino from colours in my stash for the centres. The silk for the flowers came from the kit but all the other silks were stash volunteers. Part way through I dispaired of every getting the flowers to stick but in the end we all managed even if we did look a bit ragged. Its hard to see in the photo but all the leaves used the pleating technnique from the previous sample - I just chose not to lift them up. At the bottom is 4 layers of various silk laid flat on top of each other. The merino pulled them in so tight they look like one sheet.

And last -- though certainly not least - we have the fabric transfer piece. Which, sadly, I'm not very happy with. Irony, you are my shadow.

I've had to stop at the prefelt stage. Some of the transfers, which don't shrink,, are just too large for the amount of shinking that has happened already. The photo of the person in a field under the rainbow is just losing it's power - Here's another piece begging to be redone.

The concept of the piece and the colours are just what I wanted. The background was a piece of prefelt I dyed with Fiona 2 years ago. I used some tonally resonant wisps of short fibre merino from my stash as stitching.



So there you have it. Week One Done!!


1 comment:

Louise said...

Your blog is wonderful! I too am in Fiona's workshop and loving it! Today I went back to the discussions from weeks 1 and 2 to find your blog. Thanks for sharing. I'm learning so much from Fiona and the class participants!
Louise @ Scarf It Up!