Word Work

Week 1

I’m really hesitant to commit to a word as I can see potential in all of them and also don’t want to regret my choice later on. I’m also struggling as I’m trying to stay open minded and not look too far ahead into the project so it’s difficult to pick one without considering what the final result may be. After looking over the artists that were in this morning’s PowerPoint I think that I have at least narrowed it down to two, submerge and overlapping. As you ‘submerge’ fabric when dyeing that could give me a starting point to look at various artists who specialise in dyeing fabric. Choosing submerge would also make sense as we have such easy access to the sea as well as a ‘Go Pro’ underwater camera and so I could use underwater photography as a way to capture images that could then later translate to a screened print. After looking online I also came across some wonderful underwater fashion photography. This would open up possibilities of experimenting with fabrics and their reaction to being underwater.

To begin with overlapping left me with a slight blank, but after looking into it could mean exploring various styles of pleats and the Avant gaud designers who use the most exaggerated versions of them.

Eventually I decided to settle on the word ‘overlapping’ partially as I was more clueless as to what to do with it which I thought would push my research and development skills further, as opposed to going with the obvious ideas that sprung to mind with submerge.

Week 2

Nw it’s time to begin researching inspirational artists. I’m eager to keep them diverse and varied and although fashion designers will be an important aspect of my research I want to make sure I look beyond the fashion industry to get ideas from more obscure artists. Overall of the eclectic collection of designers and artists there are 3 that particularly stand out to me. The first is fashion designer Issey Miyake, who I came across when looking into fashion designers that incorporated pleats in their work. His collection ‘Pleats Please’ involves an unconventional way to pleat fabric, which is to construct the garment first and to use heat from a special pleating machine to hold the pleats in place after. This results in an array of wildly silhouetted garments that are incredibly visually appealing. This could be recreated by the use of and iron and possibly a great deal of starch to hold it in place. The next artist is Rosemarie Fiore who uses an array of household objects in abnormal ways to create various images and patterns. The initial piece of her work that I was drawn to was where she used fireworks and exploded them across a surface. The brightly coloured shapes layered and overlapped with each other, which resulted in an incredibly original piece. I particularly like the unpredictability of her work, more often then not her mark making techniques rely on chance, which I thought, would be an excellent way to ensure innovative and original results.

Finally Gabriel Dawe amazed me with his installations constructed with Gutternam thread. His intricate displays create an illusion of rays of light. One exhibition was in the unlikely setting of a historic building, which was a great contrast to his lively and vibrant colours. It did in fact give the illusion of a rainbow inside the building.

 

Week 3

I now need to create a range of samples that reflect the artist’s work that I have researched. I’m unsure as to how I’ll do this for B=Gabriel Dawe and Rosemarie Fiore and so I’ll begin with Issey Miyake.

I ended up folding and pleating fabric, drenching it with starch, then ironing it to hold it in place. I was delighted to find that it did in fact hold it in place although the combination of the starch and the heat did cause the calico fabric to turn brown so if I was to use this on my final piece I would have to be careful with the starch to heat ratio. I could see some imaginative creations made with this technique, it seems as though it would be a simpler way to create a full and dynamic garment then would be possible with ordinary stitching techniques.

 

Rosemarie Fiore had me puzzled for a while, I wanted to be able to do something as extreme as she did with her fireworks but of course this wouldn’t be possible with my lack of resources and appropriate workspace, or knowledge of exploding fireworks. The closest thing I could come up with initially was to use party poppers, which despite seeming incredibly tame, I decided to give a go. So I rolled out some lining paper onto my floor to give a plain backdrop and popped my party poppers across it. They went in different directions, overlapping with each other, causing a fairly attractive pattern. I began to consider how I could incorporate this in my work and decided that this kind of spontaneous mark making could lead to screened prints. I wasn’t fairly thrilled with the party poppers but was unsure as to how they would look once screen-printed so decided to remain open minded. Next I decided to explore this mark making further which lead me to consider using a fire staff to create patterns. With the help of my partner to capture the images I used a lit fire staff to create flaming lines in the air. This combined with a low shutter speed and aperture created a series of patterns with excellent texture and in keeping with my theme as the flaming trails intersected each other. I was more impressed with this then my party poppers, partly because of the how much more visually appealing it was, but also because it felt like more skill had gone into its creation.

I then decided to try and take an entirely different approach as I came across a plastic syringe. I filled it with fabric dye and splattered it across some fabric. It settled on top of the fabric leaving raised pools of coloured water. I captured this with a camera, as the sample itself was on temporary as moving it would disperse the water. I then tried the same technique but with paprika and water which gave an entirely different shape and texture.

For my last Rosemarie Fiore inspired technique I was searching my house trying to discover some plain household object to transform into my metaphoric paintbrush. It was then that I remembered a method of dying which I had come across when browsing ideas for submerge. Ice cube dyeing is a method where you place an array of ice cubes onto fabric, layer various powdered fabric dyes and allow them to melt. So compiled several piles of ice cubes and on each one used a different combination of colour. Once I had done this I decided to take a picture to capture the start of the process. I found that photographing the ice was more intriguing then I had anticipated and so I continued to do so from various angles. Just at the point where I was ready to walk away the ice had melted slightly and so the appearance had changed. I found myself caught up in the process, every time I felt I had sufficiently captured the brightly coloured, glass like objects they had changed some more. I was amazed at how beautiful they were. As the light reflected through them it highlighted the colours suspended within the cube. At points they looked like boiled sweets and then like a hot fire. Finally they melted into smooth pools of rich colour and as the water spread they created more shapes, which would change from each angle. I ended up with 100’s images, which I then had to critically examine in order to whittle them down to the ones which best conveyed the process from beginning to end. The final result was an array of colours the blended in varying ways and overall complement each other nicely. There were also areas where the dye hadn’t completely covered the fabric, which meant you could see how the edges had bled, which added texture. I think that I could have achieved far superior results if I had put more thought into the placement of the cubes and colours. In doing this I could create more purposeful images, patterns and shapes. Also if I had used less ice then there would be more fabric left without dye, allowing for more contrast.

 

When I came to revisit Gabriel Dawes work I was clearly not going to be able to recreate the scale of his work. I began to consider how I could interpret his installation into a more textile relevant sample. It was then that I decided to do this by sewing multi-coloured rows of thread. At first I found this to be really difficult as for it to be effective it would need to be incredibly precise. I measured and marked the lines onto the fabric before sewing, which helped. I had decided to do then just half a cm apart as the closer they were the more similar they would be to Dawes work. After a while I began to find it easier and was happy that it was giving me excellent sewing practice, which will benefit me in the future. After I had completed my first sample, which I was very happy with, I decided to push myself further and in the same way as Dawe had in and installation, cross the lines over each other, allowing then to fan out on each side. Getting the centre part accurate where they all overlapped was particularly hard but again I got used to it. I did want to continue to develop this and to make it larger and more complex but as I was pushed for time I had to move on.

As well as looking into my selected artists I also looked for overlapping in everyday places. My favourite example of this was an image of tress with spindly braches that all intertwined and overlapped. I loved the detail to it and felt that it would make an excellent print.

Week 4

Now that I had a diverse range of samples I decided to focus on the screen-printing aspect of my work. I carefully selected what I felt to be the strongest samples, which I could take forward into the next stage of my project. Before I actually went through with any printing I decided to look into some more artists who screen-printed or specialised in surface design in order to keep my work fresh and inspired. I found myself being drawn to artists who use particularly vibrant colours, which may have been down to a combination of Dawes work and the results I had achieved from the ice cube dyeing. I was drawn to the work of David Weidman and his child focused prints. He seemed to incorporate a great deal of layering along with using sections of colours within an image, which was something I was eager to use myself. I also noticed a texture in his work, which looked like a roller brush effect. I attempted to recreate this myself with a foam roller and some fabric dye, which I think was quite effective.

I also looked into screen print artists Dan Ibarra and Michael Byzewski who collaborate on limited edition, hand printed concert posters. Their reputation for designing and printing high quality posters has led to club owners handing over complete creative control and not even proofing their work. I could again see I theme of overlapping images, using layers to build up to a complete image. Finally Jacky Tsai attracted my attention with his pallet of blues, pinks, purples, yellows and greens appearing separately as well as merging in places. This reminded me slightly of the results of the ice cube dye and seemed like a complimentary mix to use when printing.

 

And so I had to prepare my images to be transferred to a screen. I used Photoshop to removed the backgrounds and adjust the colour levels so that the part of the image I wanted to show would stand out when photocopied to acetate and consequently exposed onto my screen. I had chosen the party poppers, fire staff and syringe with paprika/ fabric dye from Rosemarie Fiore, the bundle of thread from Gabriel Dawe and the trees from overlapping in everyday places. I began by printing each one in plain black to see how they turned out. I then tried moving the screen slightly to the side in a different colour to mirror the style of Dan Ibarra and Michael Byzewski but this didn’t turn out as I planned. I think that it was down to doing it with the black, which was too dark. . I then decided to try using lines of various colours as I had seen Weiddeman do. It turned out perfectly which I had not expected. Unfortunately as there was a group being given a presentation in the print room I had to be incredibly quite and therefore couldn’t keep washing my screen to change colour. This really limited my experimentation but also changed the direction that I went in. Instead of washing my screen I reapplied different dyes and began to create a multi-coloured prints. I was aiming to re create a similar feel to the ice cube dyeing and the work of Jacky Tsai but this didn’t really come across and needs further developing. I had wanted to attempt to use the images as part of a repeat print but found it difficult to line up them up in order to achieve this.

Week 5

With the first set of screen-printed samples completed I could now see which ones worked well and which ones weren’t up to being developed further. The syringe splatters didn’t interest me all that much. They felt unoriginal and weren’t anything ground breaking and so they went into the ‘no’ pile. The thread was one of my more favourable samples; its chaotic scramble of wavy lines was very appealing to me. The fire staff images came out nicely with the detail of the flame being picked up nicely on the print. The tree was my favourite, but still appeared to be too ‘tree like’ and so would need adapting.

I had to now adapt and manipulate my images to make them more effective. As I wasn’t able to repeat the fire staff images the first time around I decided to turn them into a repeat pattern prior to printing. I used Photoshop to overlap them in a line, completely transforming the image, which I was very pleased with, not because I didn’t like it previously but because it was amazing to see how far the image had developed to this unrecognisable state. In order to de-tree the tree image I took a section from the bottom right then mirrored it, its symmetry was very effective.

When I came to printing again I decided that for some of the samples I would pre pleat the fabric, then print on top, giving me the option to show the separation of the image as well as giving the 2d image more depth.

I had decided to put a lot of focus into colour during this printing session, I was impressed with the results of the multi-coloured printing I had done last time so decided to work on this further. One thing I noticed was because of the multi-coloured nature of my printing if I used the screen too much without washing it the colours mixed too much and became quite brown. At this point I decided that I wanted to use my tree image as my final print, but after flipping it more to create a much larger screen-print. It seemed to me to be the most interesting and intricate. I also thought it would work well on a garment as well as being abstract enough that would suit being pleated/folded etc without looking out of place.

Week 6

Up until now I hadn’t been certain as to what my final piece would be. I had either wanted to create a series of prints combined with various stitching methods and pleats or to make a dress. I hadn’t been too sure if I would have time to make a dress but at this point I decided to that I was going to risk it anyway as I was so eager to see the print used for a garment. I already had Issey Miyake for inspiration but I had to look into other fashion designers to get inspiration for design ideas. Under the advice of Sarah I collated my research into a mood board. I looked into various pleats, catwalk designs and generally extravagant dresses. One example I came across reminded me of a tutu and so I completed second mood board focusing on ballet dancers outfits. I wanted to keep my research diverse and so I utilised the library, fashion magazines as well as the Internet to gather then images.

I used these mood boards to complete a set of 30 potential designs. I found this challenging, particularly due to my limited drawing abilities as it meant that I wasn’t able to convey all of the ideas I had. At the same time it was good practice to free up my drawing and get me used to churning out designs, similar to what would be needed if I were working within the industry. Out of my designs there were some I loved and some I particularly disliked but in order to select the final one I decided to get the advice of Sarah who happened to choose my favourite which to me was conclusive that it was the one I should go on to make.

 

Week 7

I was running out of time and needed to get the fabric printed to use to create the dress. I had my large screen all ready to use and an array of brightly coloured dyes. I struggled to get the balance between then colours being completely separate and too mixed up, in the end I had to wash the screen after every two uses, which was very time consuming. It was also a challenge, particularly on such a large screen to get the right amount of coverage and so some of my prints came out patchy. One technique I tried was to be used on the bodice was taken from an earlier sample of Issey Miyake where I coated the fabric in starch, screwed it up and let it dry leaving the fabric with a bumpy texture. For this part of the project I did it on a much larger scale and then printed on top of the scrunched fabric which was an idea taken from an image on my original mood board. I thought it was very effective and created and entirely new pattern, unrecognisable from the original. In the end I managed to get an all right amount of usable prints although I had wanted more to work with.

Week 8

With just one week left I had to pick up the pace and it was finally time to constrict my dress. I began by using the scrunched up fabric and started on the bodice. I decided to use a pattern I had already manipulated from a basic bodice block to give it both side and bottom darts. I had to adapt it further to remove most of the top and bottom of the bodice also as well as allowing space for three pin tucks to be added in the centre which would add depth to the garment. Although I did I trial with plain calico when cutting into the actual fabric I must have made a mistake as the darts where far too low. I spent almost an entire day trying to move them, sewing and unpicking stitches until finally I decided to take I break and start on the skirt. For the skirt I cut out 3 of the prints and sewed them in a row. I think used box pleats to make the to small enough to fit the waist whilst still maintaining the volume of the skirt towards the bottom. After I had done this it was time to starch and iron the skirt in the style of an Issey Miyake dress. Unfortunately I hadn’t developed my earlier samples enough to discover that this method was not effective enough on a larger scale. The skirt simply would not hold the shapes that I was attempting to iron in. If I were able to do this again I would have looked into using the heat press in college but unfortunately at this point it was too late. I was disappointed as from the beginning I had expected to use this technique but instead I took inspiration from my bustles mood board and stitched the fabric in sporadic places, bringing it up and bunching it randomly giving it a great deal of volume. I then used an underskirt I already had to get an idea of what it would look like with more layers. Next I stitched together another six prints creating a piece of fabric that as the same width but twice the depth of the first. I then applied the box pleats and attached it to the top layer. The skirt was by this point getting very full and with some more hand stiches gathering it here and there it became even fuller. I began to gather the bottom layer similarly to the princess dresses on my mood board, which worked well. I turned my attention back to the bodice, it took several more attempts but eventually I managed to get the darts to fit to the bodice. Then pin tucks weren’t as perfect as I would have liked, I wanted them to be very accurate and even, but I had to leave them as I was running out of time and it was extra tricky doing them on the crumpled fabric. I had to now decipher how to fasten the dress, although ideally a corset would have suited the style of dress I ended up settling on a zip as it seemed the most likely to work. I had made it difficult on myself, as the layers of bunched up fabric at the back would be a challenge to work with. Also I had never inserted a zip before so I had to figure out what foot to use on my sewing machine. The first couple of attempts, despite measuring where it should go, where placed too far apart to be zipped up on the mannequin but on the third attempt I got it right. I then began to attempt the sleeves; I had in my mind that as with the