In pursuit of upcycling and having knowledge of an under used resource of ex-hire bed linen I engaged my brain in thinking of ways to use this source. After a lecture by Tim Parry-Williams on his practice and his time spent in Japan. I combined two Japanese techniques. These techniques were Saki-Ori, shredding and weaving cotton reclaimed textiles, and Shifu, the art of creating paper yarn. These techniques combined showed a way forward in the use of the bed linen. The sheeting being of significant size pure washed and bleached able and ready to take dyes or lend itself to numeral processes.
I created Illustrator files to mimic the zigzag form that paper yarn takes after rolling and cutting. This would then be taken through the laser cutter to create the yarn. These files contained three gauges of yarn 3mm(as in Saki-Ori), 5mm and 7mm. Choosing these three grades to trial was to then test in knitting and crochet samples using a variety of needle and hook sizes. Then study the effects on aesthetic, strength and appropriate uses.
The flexibility of the yarn to increase its desirability can occur at several stages. In the first instance the fabric can process through dye baths screen or hand printing/dying.
The next stage of colour manipulation can occur after shredding and treating and traditional yarns; dye baths, dip dying and space dying etc.
The final stage of colour manipulation is when the item/product is finished and experimenting with all printing and tying technique can take place treating it as a piece of fabric.
Also a few decision need to be made of how to create the zigzag to have it running aligned to the well or with the warp of the laser bed as the shorter turns could create and interesting texture when knitted.
Initial testing in the feasibility of creating the yarns has delivered promising results and the excitement of opportunities of more trials and possible outcomes.
Lessons learned from the initial tests taught me to have control over the yarn as it leaves the laser cutter bed to prevent tangling which are difficult to free. In disentangling has created an interesting frayed edge that could add to the aesthetic and charred edges creating in the laser cuts.
On discussion with my tutor another prospect of yarn technique was discussed spinning and developing the yarn to refine the finish even moving into plying the spun yarn. This could lead to another technique of cord making form plying or braiding the spun yarn using traditional techniques as in medieval times with a ‘lucet’.
There is much to do and explore in developing this further
David Maisel Salt Lake, Utah. 40,000 acre site of mineral extraction via evaporation ponds.
David Maisel’s photography collection “Terminal Earth” has been a leading inspiration in colour and technique exploration. The images displayed here have been used to inspire a collection of hand/machine embroidery, displayed here along with the original artwork created from the photographs.
I enjoy sketchout idea with machine thread and whatever there is to hand. The artwork as a guide and expression of stitch, mind and hand step forward as the machine rumbles and thought is focused. The ideas that flow from needle and tread are food for thought bringing life and colour to ideas. It feels good to let it out.
I used squares from the hand brushed fabric spamples crated int the Brush technique experiment. The square form was selected to represent the patchwork square traditionally use in basic quilting and echo the shapes of the evaporation ponds in the original imagery.
Avenues to explore
To up scale the samples
Introduce ways of adding texture to fields of colour
Move scanned samples into Illustrator to experiment in machine embroidery.
Refined small samples for individual use on products such as
Patch Pocket details.
The small ideas can be explanded in detail and explored in colour and pushed forward to form more individual pieces or a large faux patchwork piece.
The Scanned artwork and embroidery can be taken into Photoshop and manipulated to create digital print designs for interior or fashion design.
Working on these samples re-engaged me with previously learned techniques and will always be a way of expressing my idea as much as using mixed media art materials. I must remember to start here as well as dream big.
Experimenting with screen foiling velvet using a variety of adhesives and their application.
Screen foil glue
Then using the heat press to adhere the foil to the various glues. Results were satisfying and delivered a series of possibilities to be retested and moved forward. The aims of the trials are to discover a pleasing aesthetic that would also give enough foil density to trial in laser etching and embroidery; to render the design visible.
Inspiration for the fabric aesthetic came from viewing the Chancellor’s purse at the Holbourne museum. The fabric’s worn and faded and in places threadbare, the lived in look adding to its value and respectful age.
In testing proved too dense making the fabric un-pliable for stitching although would work well in laser etching but the foiled area lacked texture and desired worn appearance.
This gave a desirable sprinkle twinkle to the foiling, although the application of the powder needs to be refined to give an even effect or controlled to use in designed line. For this trial it will remain untested as the foiling is not dese enough to show the laser etch or embroidery as it is too busy.
Practise needed in getting even coverage but a pleasing effect giving the appearance of distressed painted surfaces. Again the trail will be left to a later time, as before the foil coverage is too busy.
Although the glue has been too heavily applied the coverage is sufficiently dense and even to move on the further trials to improve glue application, with a view to move into laser etching and embroidery.
Using ex-hire bed sheets in an experiment in mark making using a brush and screen-print pigments. The aims of the trial to enhance upcycled fabric to then test the appearance after laser shredding for use as yarn.
Securing the material to the table I applied the diluted pigment in strokes across the length to have the colour vary in density as the stroke went from application to faded end. The inspiration for this technique came from a visit to the Tate Modern viewing a painting displayed in Techniques and Process exhibit by Lee Ufan called From Line 1978. The philosophy of the piece speaking through the stroke application appearing at first bright vibrant dense transforming, diminishing, thinning and vanishing; echoing life vibrant and full to the waning and end. Connection all things have a beginning and end. How can we extend the life and when it’s over has it truly vanished or merely transformed?
Exploring the brush stroke learning to reduce the amount of pigment on brush where to start and finish. Thus increasing the desirable aesthetic.
A number of years ago I hand cross-stitched a design of a Chinese dragon on the back of a second-hand denim jacket for my eldest child, Nathan (soon to be 21). Since then it has been in almost constant use and is now in need of restoration rather than mending. As you can cans the cuffs are almost off and a considerable amount of the sleeves are lost.
Longevity of ownership of this garment is purely due to the earlier customisation, which took approximately 18 months. The long period was taken for regular rest periods to allow sore fingers to recover from pushing the needle through the tough denim.
To enable the restoration it was clear the cuffs first needed to be secured. I chose to re-attach using a machine rather than hand stitch due to the thick nature of the fabric and ensure a strong fix. Remnants from a previous modification were used to re-enforce and patch the worn areas. Keeping true to the visible mending ethos I deliberately chose newer looking fabric to distinguish between old. Enhancing this by allowing the frayed edges of the worn areas to remain exposed. In using these conscious design choices to continue the garment’s narrative and augment sentimental value.
When replacing the worn area of sleeve I had to ensure that the sleeve wasn’t reduced in width, which would restrict movement and hamper fit. To echo previous workings I chose complementary coloured threads and cross-stitched the patches in place, which were stabilised pins. After being stabbed several times by the securing pins in future I will tack the patched in place before sewing with the design.
Again experiencing sore fingers I explored different types of thimbles as I found the traditional fingertip thimble cumbersome hampering sewing and expriencing loss of touch. The thimble that proved most useful was the one that took the shape of a ring the shield area angled perfectly to allow for ease of use and being a ring gave finger agility and sensation.
At first I spent time securing the patch in place stitching around the worn area moving to filling in areas that aesthetically pleased. As I continued to sew shape and form grew building up stitch in varying sizes and changing colour the area appeared to take the shape of a dragon. I continued to grew and enhance the form increasing its dragon-like appearance adding frill, eyes and teeth.
This took place on the first sleeve to be restored; the second I chose to leave with less detail and use the cross-stitch as a re-enforcer for the worn and weakened fabric that remained.
When approaching projects like this give more thought to the finished result maybe sketching the area and adding stitch detail to plan rather than letting it take shape. This was fine on a personal project but as part of practice then a more professional and planned approach would be more appropriate being the sketch and stich plan will help and refined the finish and enable discussion of outcome with the client.
Sharing of the work in progress and finished item will lead to more work of this type to enable my abilities to grow improve engagement with people and clients.