Monday, 23 May 2016

Chapter 8 : Beads

 Reading the comments of others about these beading tasks I recognise their surprise at enjoying getting to grips with this type of work.  There's something exacting about it: the mere threading of such fine needles until you discover those with the very clever collapsible eye, though they're not suitable for every task.
I marked the area to test out each idea making it I thought quite small (4cm x 4cm), though in many cases I reduced and reduced it again.  I tested out shapes, sizes and colours of beads in combination, many I rejected as too clumsy or unsubtle, discovering on the way that tiny mauve seed bead with a gold core was indispensable.
The samples were stitched on calico and hopefully show a balance of both structured and free.

My samples then are as follows:

Key to Beading Sampler

     Row 1
1. Graduated lengths of dark grey shiny bugle beads to create a spiral.
2. Grey straight bugle beads (as above) arranged in alternating lines with multi-faceted oval crystal          beads.
3.  Tiny spiral in matte grey-brown seed beads.
4.  Brown medium and tiny mauve seed beads worked densely in rows.
5.  Bugle beads as in (1) worked in four pointed stars to create a diamond pattern.
6.  Stitched diamond pattern studded with small silvery beads and the tiny mauve seed beads.

     Row 2
7.  Rows of clear sequins threaded and arranged in alternating directions.
8.  No beads, but knotted wire in plastic randomly arranged.
9.  Bronze and grey shiny seed beads densely, but randomly arranged.
10.Oval copper sequins (the hole at one end) stitched so that they pivot and created a raised irregular        surface.
11.Circular and oval rings paired and stitched randomly, anchored with a tiny mauve seed bead.
12.Clear sequins topped with small brass cupped sequins and tiny mauve seed bead arranged in rows      and stitched with metallic bronze thread.
13.Dark grey bugle beads threaded with tufts of ice-blue floss and arranged in rows alternately with         groupings of metallic grey seed beads.
14.Oval copper sequins acting as a leaf shape and enhanced with stitching in metallic brown-black.

      Row 3
15.Parcels of long twisted gold and shorter grey bugle beads couched in position with thick soft gold        thread.
16.Groups of three brass cupped sequins interspersed with loops of mauve seed beads.
17.Rows of grey metallic bugle beads a brass cup sequin and mauve been attached to each end.
18.Chevrons of gold bugle beads.
19a,Dark grey bugle beads attached as towers with ice-blue thread.
19bTiny gold sequins arranged in rows and couched with a cross in metallic brown thread.
20.Clear large beads topped with tiny mauve seed beads and couched with three double thickness            stitches.

      Row 4
21.Spirals of small brass cupped sequins face downwards with self-dyed silk organza seed stitched on      top, then beaded with mauve seed beads.
22.Double holed grey oval beads applied in rows with brown metallic thread.
23.Grey beads as in 22 topped with two mauve seed beads and edged with metallic grey bugle beads.
24.Curves of metallic grey bugle beads alternating with curves of mauve seed beads.
25.Rows of a range of different beads from the selection.
26.Double holed clear oval beads stitched to create beetles.

Beading Sampler

I decided to mount the beading sampler on a piece of foam board covered in polyester fleece.  I then beaded three edges in the same way, initially a long grey bugle bead followed by a medium sized brown bead.  In a row behind this I stitched loops of five mauve seed beads, as is shown below.

Beaded Edging -- top and two sides

The sampler's lower edge shows a range of fringing ideas:

B. Lines of grey bugle and brown seed beads arranged in various ways with loops of mauve seed              beads to finish.
C. Three lines of mauve seed beads with a gold bugle beads, sequin and double holed oval to finish.
D. Single line of mauve beads, grey bugle bead, clear sequin, finished with a brass cup sequin and yet      another mauve bead.
E. Continuous edging alternating large clear seed bead and grey bugle bead.

Beaded Edging - lower edge

A final word on mounting: in spit of, I thought, very careful measuring and cutting it is difficult to be really accurate.  I also found spacing the beads for the edges needed a combination of measuring and eye.

This is complete, and yet when the edging was half stitched I wanted to add some sort of border as a bridge between the density of the centre and the lightness of the edging.  Unfortunately I'd stitched through so many of the calico layers and though I might damage the sampler if I started unpicking. What I had in mind was to allow the little bead beetles to scurry amongst the copper leaves with trailing foliage (26 and 14).  Maybe there will be time to test out the idea, certainly it was something that needed careful planning and well before the mounting stage.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Chapter 7: Simple Button Making

This collection of buttons has been waiting on my desk ready to photograph and write about. During that time I've continued collecting threads and beads excited by their colour, texture and potential.  Worse than that the books on my self are full of post-it notes, to say nothing about the browsing and borrowing of library books.  What did Victoria Wood sing, "Just do it!"

So here then is my button collection using fabric, threads and beads in my ice-blue, rich brown and greys colour scheme.

Wrapped Cores, starting from twelve o'clock:

1.  Round core covered with self-dyed  cotton,with gold rub on spiral enhanced with beading.
2.  Round core covered on matte silk gathered in several small spirals topped with small gold sequins.
3.  Rectangular core covered with silk and enhanced with threads and bits, then wrapped with beaded       threads.
4.  Padded wrapped rectangular core wrapped in chiffon and beaded threads.
5.  More obviously wrapped rectangular core (parcel-like), using bought patterned hand-dyed fabric         and wrapped with beads and small sequins.
6. Round core covered in chiffon and decorated on the top with a hand-dyed chiffon strip gathered to     create a flower the centre studded with tiny springs, beads and sequins

Buttons using wrapped cores
  Toggle Buttons, from left to right:

7.  Layered and different width fabric (cotton and silk) rolled round cylindrical core and tied with            faux leather strip.
8.  Another cylindrical core wrapped in cotton enhanced with threads and bits, then decorated with          band of velvet which has been beaded.
9.  Layers of corrugated card covered with cut thread stretching beyond the core.  This was then              wrapped with a gathered and beaded strip of chiffon -- utterly impractical as a button, as many of        these ideas are.

More buttons using wrapped cores

Dorset Buttons, starting from nine o'clock

10.  Metal ring wrapped in soft silk floss.
11.Double card ring wrapped randomly with soft silk floss and strips of blue nylon knotted at                  intervals.
12.Metal ring wrapped in multi thread cords, leaving the centre free.
13.Metal ring wrapped in multi thread cord filling the centre.
14.Medium size ring wrapped in hand dyed sari silk the ring then parcelled round in fine irridescent        thread.
15.Double card ring solidly wrapped in a silk strip and enhanced with beaded thread.

Dorset buttons

Domed Buttons:

Domed buttons

Four samples showing a combination of felt and thin copper sheet then machine using spirals or zigzag to distort the shape.  Further distortion created by applying pressure in a circular motion to the copper.

Tyvek Toggle Buttons:

I haven't used Tyvek before so I carried out a little bit of research including watching Carolyn Saxby's blog which was very helpful.

 I had a Gwen Hedley pack languishing in my cupboard already cut into A4 pieces.  I painted both weights of the Tyvek on each side using acrylic paint in my colour scheme. I also sent for some Lumiere light body metallic acrylic in old brass, metallic rust and pewter which I'm hoping to use at some stage.  The instructions about using Tyvek given by Carolyn Saxby on her blog were very helpful.

Painted Tyvek sample colours 

Sample 1
Above are four samples of Tyvek layers molded by playing the heat gun over them creating interesting surface textures and profiles.  Tempting though it is to try and speed up the process it's not a good idea to hold the heat gun too close as the Tyvek can become molded on to the kebab stick and become impossible to remove.  Slower is also good for another reason: it's important to consider the effects made by the heat gun: is it time to stop or push distortion even further.  Ensure that the ends are treated.

Sample 2
The above four samples show the addition of threads and beads.  The colour combinations are more subtle and therefore more pleasing.

Sample 3
These three samples show an experimental sequence in the use of adding text.

From the left the first sample uses a strip of an art flyer (advertising the Giacometti exhibition at Sainsbury Centre in Norwich which is now on).  Although I thought the strip was fairly narrow it was too long and the paper too thick for the heat to mold the Tyvek and in so doing change the shape of the paper.
The middle sample uses a small piece of newsprint and here I was concerned about setting fire to it. This did not happen and the hot Tyvek and the newsprint together with the threads are melded into one, though maybe the proportion of newsprint to coloured Tyvek leaves the newsprint too dominant.
The third sample  shows better proportions of newsprint to Tyvek.  I also included some metallic fabric in copper and this has also partially melted.  The threads too -- silk slub and a polyester rainbow thread works well.

I do like the idea behind these samples.  There is something of John Dee, the Elizabethan spymaster, about them, as if some secret code or instructions are wrapped inside and only half revealed.  I could also imagine using pieces of map, a postcode . . .

Incised Toggle Buttons:

Toggle buttons incised with a Soldering Iron

Flat buttons incised with a Soldering Iron

Like some new skills I found using a soldering iron quite tricky.  The design needs  careful forethought as the soldering iron affects the materials instantly.  Some of the buttons I layered with a number of fabrics both man-made and natural, but unlike my heat gun samples I don't feel the effect shows this. Maybe a soldering iron is a tool for very specific work, though much more practice would be needed to answer that question.