Thursday, November 24, 2016

Module one, Cost

After completing the first module, now I can see where I can improve this for the future.  Instead of just putting the cost, I am going to start calculating a unit cost which is a better method for finding a true cost of a piece.  For example,I might buy several spools of thread but it would be great to simate how much is being used to cover a four in square heavily versus medium coverage.

Most of the work in process was kept in my sketchbook.  I even attached most of my working samples in there too.  Some of my design sheets, composition sheets, and more developed samples were stored in an acid free, archival quality presentation book. This way, if I need to refer back to module one, I can easily reference this work as well as my notes.
While working, my papers were kept in a plastic storage pin.  My fabrics were kept in another plastic storage pin.  Paints were kept in plastic storage bins by type of medium (acrylic high flow, watercolor, brush, all kept seperate) so they could be quickly accessed but also stored when it was time to move on.
I have two sewing machines which are always kept out and available.  One is kept covered with a cloth to keep the dust away when not needed.
All of my dry dyes and chemicals are also kept in a large plastic storage bin that shuts.
Machine threads are kept in plastic cases specifically made for thread storage.  They are organized my weight of thread and metallics.

Module one, Time

This was my time  record.  In future modules, I am planning on trying a different method.  Instead of trying to work out what each chapter took, I am going to start keeping records per sample and see if I learn more about estimating how long something will take, which I think is more of the purpose of the exercise.  This doesn't tell me what each process takes, so it doesn't really add to my abilities going forward.  However, just this realization is a real improvement.

Module one, Health and Safety conerns

I printed out the above safety instructions years ago.  When I would teach dying, I always gave students a link to the print out as well as having a hard copy with me.  With this course I reviewed the information.  One I no longer found the information quickly n dharma trading website (my source for dyes), but Pro Chem has it and it is Great!  I have also now saved it to my cloud account so it is easier to reference when I need it.

Cutting and using rotary cutter. Be mindful when walking with sharp objects- in the middle of the design process my mind is in the clouds and I am not paying attention to where I am walking!  Seems simple, but a real issue with me!

When using a rotary cutter, always lock the blade before putting it down.  Also, don't lay it down on the cutting board but have a container to hold this type of tools, off the cutting area where it can be covered up quickly.

Using dyes, follow precautions listed on link above.  Dyes are safe if you follow basic instructions.
1.  Wear a mask when mixing dyes in powder form
2.  Mix powder into liquid ti minimizes letting powder become air born.
3.  I mix my dyes into concentrate with just the dye and water, I then store these in an extra refrigerator. I wouldn't do this if I had small children.  These are also in a set of containers that are different from any I use for food.  They are then placed in a larger plastic show box which is placed in the refrigerator. Both the individual bottles and the shoe box all having warning labels  in large black letters.

Burning fabric
1.  Using a heat gun - Do it outside and still wear a mask!  The fumes will make you and family members sick if they inhales it.  Also always have some water available; it doesn't have to be a hose, but a bucket of water.  If you like to push things just to see what happens eventually something will catch fire!  Always try to hold the piece with tongs or tweezers (sometimes I have used a stick), try and work on a glass or metal surface which can't catch fire.
2.  Test small piece first.  Polyester is my favorite to use as Kunin felt melts beautifully, but I have thought a piece was synthetic but it wasn't and it caught fire!  Unless you are 100percent sure, be careful.
Remember the heat gun nozzle gets very hot, be careful where you but it down.

Using the soldering iron
1. Use the same precautions as the heat gun.

Try and use a large box as a spray booth.  Take a large box and cut out one of the la get sides and part of the top.  It is just a great thing to have ready for when you need it.  It isn't a salfety concern as much as a clean up thing.  I also cover the bottom with a piece od n newsprint.  It can be stored and used for future projects.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Working on module one in my art room

Module One, Chapter 13, Elly Sienkiewicz

I choose to write about Elly Sienkiewicz.  Through her series of books on Baltimore Album quilting, I learned most of what I know about both regular applique and cutwork applique.  I have completed 21 blocks from her books.  I also appreciate that she incorporates hand stitching on the blocks as they did in Baltimore.  She studied American quiltmaking, specifically the type made in Baltimore in the 1840’s.  In her first book, Spoken Without a Word, she not only teaches hand applique but she also talks about the symbolism of the images.

Elly learned to quilt from her relatives in West Virginia.  She attended Wellesley College and the University of Pennsylvania and then become a teacher.  While staying home with her children, she not only began to teach quilt making but started a mail-order quilt supply business.  She took a break from teaching to become a tour guide of historic Washington, D.C.  It has from this period, that she really began researching and writing about this historical type of handwork.

She is the other of twenty-three books on applique and has received the Silver Star

Award for significant influence on the contemporary quilt world.  She has lectured at the Smithsonian Institute as well as the Rockefeller Museum.  Her work has been shown at numerous shows as well as at Glen Echo-The National Art Park, The Textile Museum, The Decatur House, The Art Barn in Rock Creek National Par, and The Decorators Showcase in Chevy Chase, Maryland. 

Module One, Chapter 11, Composition Worksheet

For this composition worksheet, I focused on one basic shape and showed the stages of design as I played with it until I came to two designs that I developed all the way to embroidery samples that I liked.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Module One, Chapter 13, Kandinsky

Vasily Kandinsky is one of my favorite artists.  This isn’t just because of his revolutionary creativity but more because he did not focus on art until late in life and still had such a lasting influence on artists decades later.  He was born in 1866 in Moscow and studied law and economics.  It was not until he was thirty and visited Paris that he was so inspired that he quit law to become an artist.  He moved to  Munich, a center for experimental art.  Another thing that is very interesting about Kandinsky, and many artists of that time, was their involvement in more organized art movements, from Phalanx, to Neue Kunstler Vereingigung (New Artist Association), which also included Franz Marc.  It was during this period that Kandinsky began exploring nonobjective painting and become the “father of abstract painting”.  In 1911, Kandinsky, Marc, and several other artists formed Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Riders).  

Also in 1911, Kandinsky wrote a book called Concerning the Spiritual in Art.  He was studying the “dematerialization” of the object in art and felt that art should represent the spiritual rather than the material and mirrored the music of the time.  He began naming his paintings “composition”, Improvisation” and such.

With the beginning of World War one, Kandinsky moved back to Russia and did not return to Germany until 1921 when he joined the faculty at Bauhaus.  It was during this period that his work moved to more geometric abstraction.  He also wrote a textbook, Point and Line to Plane. His work of this period lines, and curving shapes with defined edges, as in Composition VIII (below).

Composition VIII, 1923 -  Wassily Kandinsky
Kandinsky moved to Paris in 1933, where is work is influenced by other artists such as Miro and Arp and the Surrealists.  Kandinsky died in 1944.  I love learning about Kandinsky and his artist path.  Although his Blue Rider period is my favorite, I love the way he continued to grow 
and change with the times.  He didn’t try to “say” something in his art, but to make the viewer feel. 

Module one, Chapter 13, Herta Puls

Herta Puls

Born in Germany in. 19. , Herta Puls originally studied radiography and was a medical technician.  She move to England in 1939 where she was introduced to embroidery by Constance Howard.  She went on to study both embroidery and textile design as a part time student.  She moved to London with her husband and was able to continue her study by passing the Advanced Certificate in embroidery with distinction from the City and Guilds through the London College of Fashion.  She was a member of the world famous 62 Z Group.  Herta has since passed.
The above is an image from her book.

Herta is best known for her research into the cutwork appliqué of the Kuna Indians, specifically molas..  She began this research in 1969 in the British Museum and the ethnographic museums of Gothenburg and Hamburg.  She also made over eight trips to the San Blas islands off the coast of Panama to study this unique application of cutwork and embroidery.

When first examining a mola, the viewer is struck with the beautiful use of vibrant colors.  After closer study the complexity of the layers of fabric used to create these pieces can be admired. Herta was not just interested in the techniques which was unique to this area but also in discovering the source of the imagery used.  She researched the designs and documented the stages from religious symbols to environmental themes to story-telling.

This is from her book.  It is one of her drawings and then her cutwork design inspired from the drawing.

Module One, chapter 12, Resolved piece

This is my resolved sample for module one on Growth and Disintegration.  I think it speaks to the theme while still using several techniques from the module. The burnt Kunin felt is disintegrating, but at different rates.  The star is morphing from simple to complex.  Placing the foreground directly on the fabric created too stark a contrast so an additional layer of thread work was used to strengthen the them of disintegration.
The piece fits with the theme not just through the techniques used, but also with the idea of growth and disintegration. It has been a very trying time in the U.S. this week with the election.  While working on this piece, I was able to focus on the cycle of things.  Although this is a low period, soon it will shift to a period of hope and growth.

If I were to make it again, I would probably make it larger.  Also, I would not have used four elements,  in the original design, small petals were floating in the background.  As I was putting the resolved piece together, it looked too busy with them.