Saturday, 12 April 2014

Reveal Stage 1: thread pulling

The next stage of the coursework is materials-led design exploring the effect of light and shade. Reading through this section I am keen to start, as this is an approach that tends to bring me lots of new ideas and have its own momentum.

Atton Conrade ecouture making gowns out if light photography.

Conceal/Reveal sketchbook work

I wanted to look at how translucent fabrics were, so I made this translucency wheel.

There were some surprises
- polyester is nearly as dense as curtain blackout fabric
- vest netting doesn't let through as much as I thought it would.
- the crinkles and folds in the thinner polythene sheets and parachute silk were emphasised by reflection rather than by the change in translucency.
- There was no as much emphasis of the textures of woven fabrics as I expected eg muslin

I tried pulling threads from a linen fabric, and holding it up against the window. I chose black because I expected it to enhance the contrast. In fact, it showed that just allowing light through can reveal interesting texture as well as the effect of folds and crumpled bits.

This is attractive, and reminds me of some vintage tablecloths etc.

It is limited by being restricted to straight lines, so it would be tricky to use it for 'shadowing' but could be used in several layers together.

This one shows me playing around with this technique a bit. The right rectangle is plain pulling, leaving no verticals. The middle one shows what happened when I tied sections with a thread along the middle. The left hand one I didn't tie them but painted the threads with PVA so they were stuck together a bit and fixed in those shapes. The left hand stripe was done by removing 2 threads and missing 2. The right hand one was alternate threads.

All of these produce different light effects, allowing different amounts of light through, and producing different patterns.

This shows early progress on the last thing I did during this session, which was to try layering, using a thin black fabric. And at the same time to try exceeding the limitations of straight lines by curving the cuts.

This thread counting and pulling took a long time. I'm not really a patient person, and tend to avoid doing slow things like this, but when I commit myself to it I often find that it lets my mind filter through possible ideas. This time, as on many other occasions, I ended up with a finished sample of layers, and a long list of new things to try.

This is what the sample looks like
against a window. 
This is more of a close-up of the
fabric layers. 

Following my tutor's suggestion that I work on my drawing, I have been working through the Light/.shade section of 
 'Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain' by Betty Edwards Harper Collins London 2008 edn. I am looking at how great artists have used rubbers, or crosshatching, to indicate light and shade in portraits, and this exercise above seems to be one way to 'crosshatch' with yarn. The different layers allow a wider range of shading than one layer on its own.

Close up, the crosshatching is what I see. Further away, the lightest shapes are the most visible, and the subtle variations in distance between the threads appears to indicate three dimensional shape. 

I am wondering what difference using white or transparent yarns would make to the effect. And whether I could use this technique to make an image like the 'woman's body is a jug' image from my last sketchbook. Or in fact, a portrait/ face. 

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