I have finished module 1. I should be delighted but actually I feel a bit sad! I will miss my little stars!
Anyway sentiments over, I will get on with the important details of my final journey on module 1.
I had a few ideas floating about in my head for what I might do for this final piece. I also made a list of the techniques I thought might work to show disintegration and growth and what I found was that many of them fitted in both categories. Naturally Applique had to be a major part of the final design and I had enjoyed the ripple technique and melting using the soldering iron.
I used the motif which developed throughout this module and started when I was looking at asymmetrical shapes in chapter 4. It can be seen in the top right of the image bellow.
This was then used in several designs in following chapters including chapter 8 where padding was added to appliqued , stitched designs.
I made lots of copies of the above image in different sizes so that I could experiment with a variety of layouts.
1. 2. 3.
4. 5. 6.
7. 8. 9.
The permutations were just about endless so I had to put a stop to my madness! It was fun experimenting though! 2. above really appealed to me although it was nothing like my original plan which was more like number 4 or 5 (same images rotated).
I began by making a support material for the background out of bondaweb and snippets I had collected all through this module. I also wanted to make cords from threads I had gathered over time too.
I used the cord to create a grid for the stars which were still to come. This idea came from the yellow machine stitched lines on A. above.
I sewed the basic motif from A. onto layers of organza in yellows and purple.(Di). I made them as small as I could (approx 3-3 1/2 cm square) with a close zig-zag stitch. They turned out rather well! (Dii).
D. i. D. ii.
I cut away layers in different places on each star. This was to create an impression of the changes taking place as each star grew or disintegrated. (Dii).
I then positioned them on the grid I had made earlier (E).
Throughout this process I had thought about the colours I wanted to use to complete this sample.
The colours were purple and yellow but I wanted them to change from pale and dull to bright and more intense as the shapes became larger.
In keeping with my idea of recycling ‘bits’ of fabric which had evolved since chapter 4, I layered purple pieces onto bondaweb. I was going to use this to make the next layer of stars.
At this point, I began to feel like I had lost my way, my brain seemed to seize up and I could not make things happen! I had to leave this work for a wee while, while I got myself together again.
Once I felt able to continue with this work I could not recall exactly how I had planned to use F.
I was not convinced that my plan to emulate layout 2. above was going to work either. The small stars were not far enough apart and there was not enough room for two layers of increasingly larger stars.
Nothing was actually stitched down at this point so I started playing around with the shapes again.
Rather than having the little stars around the outer edge, I placed them in the centre so that they formed a cluster . This was looking better and less uniform than the original plan (2.).
Plans 4 and 5 above were looking more interesting as they were more natural looking and less regimented. Also I had not really noticed this before but they were much more like a print I had made at summer school which I had always found appealing and had been one of those ‘ideas floating about in my head’ referred to earlier.
Mono-print from my Distant Stitch sketchbook.
(G) I thought a darker background would look better against the small stars so I moved the cords onto the bonded scraps shown in F.
(H) I then had to make slightly larger star shapes. I used the same materials from the original motif (A.) for this and as in (D. ii) I cut away varying amounts of surrounding layers and padded one of the shapes too.(I.)
I also added some hand stitching but this is not seen in this image.
(Ji) (Jii) (Jiii)
For the largest star I wanted to try the ripple effect technique shown in chapter 9.
(Ji) I layered lots of strips of alternating yellow and purple layers. I sandwiched these layers between my homemade material (B).
(Jii) I cut away a layer then sewed as close to the edge ready to cut the next layer. It was difficult to see what I was doing at times and the stitching is not as straight as it should be in places.
(Jiii) I cut down to the purple layers on some parts. I added hand sewing (French knots and straight stitching) .
The piece was nearly finished at this point, I just had to do some distressing with the soldering iron.
I burned away areas of the background material and parts of the small stars, the snippets attached to the cords and the large star itself. I used a round tip to create holes in some areas, these look like the natural disintegration you would see on vegetation where insects have eaten away at it.
(J). Basil ran his expert eye over the finished piece but didn’t voice an opinion!
The final part of this design was to decide whether to have a coloured background or not. I quite liked it on it’s own when I took photographs using a white background but also wondered if other backgrounds would make a difference to the overall effect. I stuck it against my window which I felt, did nothing for it! I quickly moved on to a bright yellow background which was used in parts of the ‘finished’ sample. The other option was a purple background. (unfortunately here it looks more blue!).
I have now given myself another dilemma because I like both backgrounds for different reasons. Although there is too much yellow and it is a bit overpowering, if I reduced the amount showing it could enhance the sample because it makes the darker area look like a dark hole with the stars emerging from it. The purple background does not overpower the sample in the same way. To me it supports a feeling of the stars emerging from a distance at the top and finishing close to the viewer at the bottom of the sample. This was originally what I was trying to do but before I make a final decision, I have to experiment further with the yellow!
And here we are!
I took the risk of cutting up my last piece of yellow fabric and sewing the stars sample onto it. I think I should have left a bit more yellow around the edges but what is done is done!
I’m not sure what I should say now… ta-dah! voilà! hurrah!
Evaluation of completed work!
I forgot to do this bit I was so pleased with myself for completing the module!
I am quite pleased with my final piece although I am still feeling divided about the background as I felt the purple worked well too although the colour does not look as good on the blog as it does in reality.
I think I have captured the idea of growth and disintegration well over the whole of the sample although I can also see areas for improvement. I have used a range of colour and size across the sample to suggest changes as the shapes grow or disintegrate. The interpretation of what is growing and what is disintegrating is up to the viewer as there are suggestions of duality within each piece. I think this is particularly strong within the top part where I have made the very small stars. The middle section concerns me more because these shapes look more disconnected from the sample than the top and bottom parts which have more in common because of general shape and colour. I was trying to add variety of colour and interest to the shapes by cutting more away from the outside of these motifs. I realised later that I could have made more use of coloured threads around the stitched lines. I did use yellow to begin with but then thought purple would be a better idea! One of these shapes was reversed and added into the background of the top part because I felt this place needed more material in it.
In the original design (2) above I was going to use the cords as a way to support the shapes. This final piece may have worked just as well without them and I can’t really claim they have any real purpose here, I just liked them, and they work for some reason I am not sure of!
I also think the bottom shape is probably too large, I could have had a size in between this and the medium ones. I had to make this one larger because of the technique I was trying to use. I think it has hints of rippling but I should have perhaps cut more away for this to be seen properly. I decided not to do this though, as I felt it could also influence the balance of colour. With hindsight I can see that I should have used more layers of material.
I think the bright background works well at highlighting the asymmetrical shapes which have been randomly removed from the purple layer. It helps to suggest the dark areas are receding and the stars are coming forward.
I have used a variety of techniques across the sample. I tried to think through how they would work together to enhance the work. I padded one of the middle section’s stars before sewing them on to the main body of work. I did not feel it made any difference and was afraid I was adding techniques for the sake of it, but now I see it gives the shape depth and interest which the others lack. I do not particularly like the frayed edges around the sample, I should have cut this wider and sewed a hem around the edges.
I think the small amount of hand sewing works well and the burning into parts of some of the stars works well too.
I would say I have constructed a resolved sample which fulfils the brief reasonably well. I have enjoyed working on this task and am happy with the progress I have made throughout this module to be able to do this.