Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Monoprints= yum

Some of my development work from a week or two ago- i think the images work pretty well. A really quick way to produce good simple images.

Stuff. Stuff. Stuff.

So me and the sewing machine have become buddies... kind of. I started on my epic battle to make 15 embroidered pictures for my book. The first one was almost quite a narrative image, however I wanted to leave sections of it 'unfinished' as it looked more affective like this and it ties through with the idea of these people being missing. I also half way through the sewing decided to leave the threads loose as an experiment to see how it looked and I think it worked well so I took this further in the other images. A friend made a comment that he thought the image looked better on the reverse side of the fabric and when I asked another person's opinion they agreed and also mentioned there were not sure how affective the coloured fabric was. So with this in mind I moved onto some other images, always turning the fabric over to see the reverse affect. I also altered the needle thread tension in places, which is what produced the loop affect in the thread on the bottom image, though it is not that clear on here. I was really pleased with how they came out and I think leaving the images partially 'incomplete' worked well- making the images slightly ambiguous but also still conveying basic shape and form.

However, I am now feeling a bit hesitant about the idea of a book, as I think the images might work better on just one huge piece of fabric, which would be hung, then the loose threads will fall naturally. Also using intertwining images would be another advantage of one big piece of fabric. I also need to consider different coloured threads and if that may add interest to the images... I need to quickly sketch out some ideas in terms of layout and how this may work and a very mini version to see if this would work on the sewing machine. I'm also really conscious that time is running out now, so whatever decision I make, I need to make it in the next day.... I think I need to take advantage of the last tutored day tommorow to get some feedback.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Another Change in Direction

Over the past few days my ideas have changed a lot and although I am still doing essentially what I planned to do at the start, my final outcome is taking a slightly different shape. I had quite a few ideas... one was to produce a quilt, almost a homage to the missing people in my family. However, I felt this was too big a project and even with screen printing and combining quicker methods like cross stitch it would be unlikely I could produce something I was satisfied with. I screen printed the finished crowd image below but it was not particularly successful or best suited for printing so I don't think I will carry on that idea any further...

I did however produce some quick sketches from photographic material, where I was trying to mimic the movements and patterns of the sewing machine and I much preferred them.

Initially I was drawn to people like Jenny Hart. Though beautiful images, for my project these types of images are too time consuming and if I wanted to produce something of a slightly bigger scale, I would have to consider other methods of image making. Therefore a more sewing machine based image would be suitable and I experimented with that and I was pleased with how they came out. I also came across another illustrator, Gillian Bates on who's work is mainly machine based and she has given me a lot of ideas about composition and colour.

I then moved onto the idea of creating a space you could walk into and it would act as almost a giant photo album. I had the idea of producing embroidered images from my photographic material and framing it and hanging the pieces in the exhibition space on my own screen printed wall paper. I was going to make my own wall paper from memories I had of my grandparents house, taking patterns etc from fabrics and wallpaper in their home which I associated with them. Or I was going to screen print hand-drawn text containing stories, facts and information about the missing people. However after talking to Jen I have decided instead of producing a space which represents a photo album, I am actually just going to produce a giant photo album with about 20 embroidered images possibly with ink in caption, but I will probably leave that and decide if that is necessary when it is all put together. Before I start this I am going to quickly make a mock up book, to give me an idea of appropriate materials. So this is my new plan..... Jen also recommended I look up The Marvelous album of Madame B: being the Handiwork of a Victorian lady of Considerable Talent, which contains images which have been manipulated combining photography and hand drawn images. I had been wondering whether to combine photographic images, this may become too complicated, but whilst I was researching I stumbled across this website which is useful for anyone wanting to transfer images simply and cheaply.

So plan for next two weeks... WORK WORK WORK
  • Experiment with transferring images to fabric and adding extra embroidery
  • Finish worksheet of images to be used in the final book, considering colour and composition mainly
  • Consider incorporating text- type face? How much? if any...
  • Research old photo albums and how to bind my book together
  • Quick experiment with cross stitch (using photoshop to create an image suitable for cross stitch)
  • Find some old scrap wallpaper (possibly from portobello market) to use in exhibition
  • Consider how it will be showed in the exhibition

Friday, 7 May 2010

Slow Progress..

This is the drawing I was working on yesterday, I'm expecting it to double in size though but this is my progress so far... Even though the figures are fairly simplified it is still taking quite a while to draw out. I'm having to consider composition pretty carefully. It feels a little sterile at the moment but hopefully once I finish and add colour it will come to life a bit....

Looking back at a few drawings I made from life at the start of the project, I think I may be going off course with the drawing above.. it seems too rigid and I think that is because I am mainly working from photographic material. Even though this is a really quick sketch and a little bit awkward looking, I still think I prefer the looser style, so I may alter my plans a bit....

Monday, 3 May 2010

A few Aims for this week

  • Produce an image to be screen printed to potentially form the patches of the quilt
  • Consider fully composition and different methods of putting the quilt/final outcome together (maybe use work sheets for this...?)
  • Start producing some cross-stitch images on photoshop and sew the patterns
I need to decide if I'm going to make a quilt in the fairly traditional form using patches with images on each and maybe a main image or whether I am going to manipulate the fabric to form one main image. For example like the work of Siggi Eggertson, which can almost be compared to a 'painting by numbers' technique. There are so many ways I could go with this quilt, I really need to pin point one main idea in terms of composition and stick to it.

Pick Me Up

Last thursday I went to Pick Me Up at Somerset house- the first contemporary graphic arts fair in the UK. The Work was by an international selection of graphic artists and illustrators who used a diverse range styles and techniques. It showcased Collaborations such as Peep Show , Nobrow Press and Nous Vous . I thought the work was fantastic and it was great seeing illustrators at work, for example Rob Ryan who had moved his studio into a room in somerset house for the duration of the exhibition. It was also really refreshing to go to a space and see purely graphics and illustration work being displayed.

I found the work really inspiring. I really liked Le Gun's work of which I can't remember the name of, but it was basically a giant plastic white bum (about 2m by 2m) and a hole was made between the bum cheeks and you looked through it and the wall behind it was covered in black and white illustrations. I thought it was a great way to present work and you kind of hand of walk from side to side so you could see all the drawings through the bum hole. Plus the fact there was a giant white bum attached to the wall was quite eye catching in iteself.... I was also drawn to Nicholas Burrow's work who is part of the collaboration Nous Vous. I like his simplified interpretation of figures and the slight awkwardness of them reminds me quite a lot of Luke Best's work. In my project I will be drawing many figures as the first step in my process, possibly in a crowd so his work was very relevant in that respect.

Andrew Rae's work was also very relevant in the way he builds up crowds of figures. His images have quite a clean cut, finished quality which I like and after looking up more of his work I was really impressed by how well he instantly characterizes people. I picked up his Postcard book at the fair. The image below made me think I might like to build up a similar crowd of people, working from old family photos and then possibly using screen printing onto fabric to produce the final image. From there I could then cut the fabric up into smaller squares to make up the patches for a quilt or the image itself could form the final outcome and I could possibly work back into it, embroidering certain sections.

Another find was Natsko Seki's work . She seems to combine photos of faces with hand drawn and printed imagery, which was extremely effective. In general I thought her work was really clever and executed perfectly with clearly a lot of thought put into composition. It has lead me to consider making my original photographs more prominent in my work as well as considering composition more as that is usually something I find quite difficult and her work made me realise how much it affects the quality of the work.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Ideas Ideas Ideas

So I had a tutorial today which I found extremely useful and it triggered some ideas. A lot of what we discussed was how to get away from a purely embroidered piece which would be highly time consuming and incorporating different techniques to create a possibly slightly larger final outcome. Some Ideas...
  • Screen printing my own images and patterns onto fabric
  • Block and pattern squares of material to form a larger image- ambiguous from close up and becomes clearer from a distance
  • Combination of detailed embroidery, faster sewing machine work and transfer printed photos
  • Simplifying the images completely creating a kind of series of symbols to represent specific family members and then this code could come together to form one main image
  • Using a cross stitch method

A Change of direction

My initial trigger for this project was the word missing. I was going to focus on missing people who leave their families unexpectedly, either by choice or by a series of random events which lead to their disappearance. However, I decided to start my research by looking through old photo albums (some photos below) and look at in detail the people 'missing' in my family, who I did not meet but were still integral to my family and obviously had a huge influence on my parents and therefore this filtered through to me. I also find it fascinating how little a lot of us know about our families, almost assuming we have no need to know it. The photos were beautiful in themselves and I was really drawn to them. Therefore, I have decided to focus my project on the missing people in my family and create a final outcome based around the idea of making their absence a presence. I also see my final outcome as a product of a learning exercise about family origins etc.

My drawings as a whole will be created from photo source material and luckily I have a huge range to choose from. My experiments so far with image have been fairly crude, simply trying to get a good grasp of the figures, however I will soon move onto developing the images more. I have done some initial work on the sewing machine with some hand stitched pattern added later. Though I like the image I may stick with all hand done embroidery, though it will be time consuming, I think it will be more effective or I will try a combination of the two techniques as a labour saving device.

"Quilts are repositories of memory"

I recently went to the V and A to see the Quilting exhibition which I was really impressed by. The sheer time and discipline which must have gone into making them (especially the earlier quilts) was really clear. I was also really aware that the materials were recycled, with quilts being made up of a once treasured dress or a child's pyjames
giving the quilts a great history and highlighting their use as memory collectors. This is really relevant to my project and although I could create nothing in comparison to these quilts in the exhibition in terms of scale, it was a good source of inspiration. I was particularly interested by Natasha Kerr's work who was using her quilt to convey a little of her heritage ...

Another exhibition very relevant to my project was 'American Servicemen and Women' by Emily Prince at the Saatchi Gallery. The portraits of 5,158 American soldiers fill a room at the Gallery – all of them different and all of them dead. They are meticulously drawn in tribute to each American serviceman and woman killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2004 – the year President George W. Bush was re-elected. Frustrated by the direction America was headed in, artist Emily Prince began channelling her energy into creating this memorial project. The pencilled portraits appear on small cards corresponding to skin colour, forming a study of the racial demographics for soldiers sent to war. Since the Saatchi installation was finalised, there have been 169 more American soldiers killed. Prince, who has returned to her home in San Francisco, has continued to add to her portraits and she says the project won't be complete until the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq stop for good. I found the work very poignant and also very impressive in terms of scale and her commitment to the project.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A little development...

Working from my life drawings (some below) I began to develop some of the images, adding simple flat colour. The use of line and pattern has become particularly interesting to me recently and Julia Potts work has been quite a big influence. I used fairly muted tones as I felt this suited the images I was drawing.

Here you can see Julia Pott's Work

Initial Research

I was a little unsure how to start my research in terms of drawing so I am keeping it fairly simple and started drawing from the huge pile of photos I found, using images I found particularly interesting, to see where this would take me. Most of the photos were black and white so i either used a simple colour palette or stuck to black and white images. Here are some of my sketch book pages. The middle two images were observations from life.

Some Source Material

It was a mammoth task searching through piles of photo albums with crumbling pages but it was definitely worth it for the material I found. I am pretty sure they were taken on a box brownie camera as that was all my mum owned at the time, yet the images are surprisingly crisp. Searching through all the photos made me really wish we still arranged them in albums like this. It is time consuming but there is something so much more satisfying about physically turning the pages.

Starting Point

I have decided to explore the issue of Missing Persons. Both exploring the 'missing' in my family and also missing people on a wider scale. I am going to explore temporary absence and also permanent absence, and then hopefully as the project develops it will become clearer which element I should focus on. The aim of this project is to create a body of detailed research and a final outcome. I will use films, documentaries (referenced in bibliography) and relevant books as a secondary resource. Primary research may comprise of interviewing family members and using relevant internet resources. I am not definite of what physical form my ideas will take, but embroidery is a medium that I would like to explore more fully. I hope through this project to make an absence a visible presence.