Thursday, 27 August 2020

Chapter 8 : Final Experiments

 So here are the final few experiments where I've stitched into paper using the research on lettering to inspire me.



First of all a loose grid with paper pulp filling some of the holes, others open and ready to have the lovely space dyed flat paper yarn looped through them.  I added a looping machine stitched border with space-dyed machine thread.  Trialling ideas is now something I frequently do.  In this piece I made some sample border strips and tried them against the original, not going ahead until I was sure.

Secondly, a rather wiggly grid embedded in paper pulp and with a border.  This detail shows repetitive hand stitching in a blue/brown floss with lots of spring.  These markings are in response to the calligraphy image 4:1:29.  I didn't pursue this idea, although I do like the lines of markings which are lovely and rhythmic.



The final piece shows free machining along embedded threads responding again to the calligraphy examples from my research.  You can see where the paper is thin and the pull of the machine stitching reveals the muslin underneath.

Final Thoughts:

Handmade paper is a very lovely surface on which to stitch.  The stitching does need careful planning because the surface can be fragile, though, as I've discovered it is possible to correct the position of a individual stitch and the hole heals over.  Surprisingly it is strong enough, if attached to a piece of muslin with repositionable adhesive, to stitch quite densely both with hand and machine stitch. 

The other thing I'd like to comment on at the end of this chapter is how good it is to have to hand other  module materials, but even more my own sketchbooks.  They are a great source of how to achieve things as well as inspiration.  Module 2's work is especially like this and because most of the work was flat instructions and samples are stored together and I was especially diligent about taking notes.  I wish I'd been able to work out a better solution for Module 3 where the work was largely 3D; this module will have similar issues.

Monday, 24 August 2020

Chapter 8: Borders

 I made up the paper pulp vat again using the cat litter tray which is good for making part sheets with my small deckle.  The paper sheets adhered best to the pieces with embedded threads, less well to the drawn thread pieces.  This in spite of putting all the sheets in my press.  As you'll see below this was not entirely wise: the drawn thread sheets were, of course, pressed all over squashing the paper pulp which had pushed its way through the holes and removed those lovely dramatic shadows -- a hard lesson!  Of course you have to be very careful when reapplying pulp, water travels a surprising distance wetting unintended areas.

The right coloured thread was something else I needed to consider.  From stock I found some nice linen thread and then from The Handweavers Studio I ordered some paper yarns and one made from abaca.  All have a lovely degree of "spring", or "memory" as the helpful girl at HS called it, this quality would work best with the lettering I wanted to embroider.  All these threads I then dyed using my blue recipe.


A final preparation was looking out my spray glue, only to find it had degraded and I had to throw it away.  As shopping in person is now something I hardly do I've ordered a replacement on line and it will magically appear tomorrow.


A little more warming up with charcoal.  I like a number of things about these results: the angularity of the letter forms, the thicks and thins, the light and dark, all achieved by a change in hand-pressure.  Printing, rather than embroidery might achieve this effect, but I'm not doing that, I'm embroidering . . .



I've used temporary spray adhesive and stitched in to 4:7:4, the piece which had become squashed when I pressed the border and sadly removed that 3D quality.  The hand stitching is in linen thread: its colour and spring give it just the right kind of prominence.  Much less successful are the paper letters spelling TIDES, also mounted on muslin.  When the letters were white they hardly showed so I coloured them blue, but they still remained too well camouflaged so that wasn't successful either. For the stitches on the letters I chose the finer silk thread used in the machine stitching.  The stitches are a little repetitive and restrained until I reached the "S", where they more closely resemble the linen stitches and that works better.  

Below is the final version of this piece and really a return to my starting point -- simplest is best!  In this image the lighting is right.


What is a great success is the silk piece 4:7:11!  My first thought was to weave upright sticks through it, then decided paper strips with poetry on them ("Sea Fever" by John Masefield") would be better.  Better still might be lines from a gansey knitting pattern and I may well make that change.  Much fiddling about with font and font size and the width of the strips, but these I think are just right.  It would be lovely to use my own handmade paper which would be a less stark colour, though I'm not sure my printer would like it. Or, I could machine stitch the words onto my paper.  The paper could also be used as a mount.

As I guessed in an earlier post, too much handling does soften the work.  


Lastly, in this group, a piece of some purity though this too has undergone some experimentation. I tried using some of the removed threads from the other dyed pieces, but even the softest tones were too strong: wrapping threads, of course, intensifies the colour.  So in the end the needle weaving is white on white.

My intention here was to create some half and whole lines achieving intersections randomly.  In doing so I hoped the tension of the stitching would develop angular holes, which has happened to some degree.  Is it possible to achieve the effect I'm describing?

The replacement border is much better.  Learning from a previous mistake I pressed only the border this time so that the drawn thread work wasn't crushed.  So much needs to be planned in advance and I think I made a wrong call in leaving the withdrawn threads rumpled along two sides. Withdrawing the threads in two directions would have been better, evening out the bulk, and probably covering them completely with the frame yet another better step.  I stitched into the border extending the needle woven lines diagonally and liked that effect, shown in 4:8:15.   A further thought: without the paper border I might have woven clumps of threads  into the surrounding linen something I'd tried in 4:6:9 and liked very much, though the threads there were variegated but with white on white the impact might not have been as great.




It's interesting how some ideas become part of a personal repertoire.  Here is a small section of my resolved sample from Module 1.  Extended lines stitched into the border.  To me it is a very attractive way of pulling a piece of stitching together.  Of course embossed lines on the border might be another nice idea.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Chapter 8 : Stitchery into Paper

 I'm almost spoilt for choice, but have decided to start stitching on the two wire frame samples.  

First what looks like a cratered moon surface, pock-marked and with random holes scattered over the surface but with a concentrated area in the bottom left.  I used the space dyed linen thread drawn from another piece and looped it over the surface.  The thread is really too fine to make much impact and when taken from the frame the piece is very fragile, particularly where the stitching is concentrated making me think that a thicker thread though more visible would probably be impractical.



In another session and with much smaller frames (5 x 7 cm) I dipped netting in pulp.  The frames took such an age to dry, weather conditions I think, that they have begun to rust.  Another attractive addition?These samples don't quite have the variety of surface in spite of using the same plastic netting.

Why such small samples you might ask.  Well, I had a notion that I might join a number of them together in rows and columns to make a bigger piece.



And now off the frame and looped with paper tape on the left and abaca yarn on the right.  Except along the edges these pieces are surprisingly resilient.

Altogether stronger is the wrapped and knotted string sample.  Again I stitched this on the frame.  By way of preparation, a sort of warm-up exercise, I went back to my source material and first with charcoal made marks imitating aspects of letters.  I then cut short lengths of thickish yarn to mimic components of the printed letters in 4:2:19.  I sprinkled the yarn along the two left to right horizontals.  This was an attempt to break away from too literally copying the source material and also getting away from being too neat and careful with my stitching.  I photographed the results and with that image on the computer screen used it as a stitching guide.  It strikes me that stitching into paper pulp is a one attempt only affair.                                                                                





Again, a smaller unstitched version of the same technique and taken off the frame.  I'm surprised with the string samples just how fixed the shape becomes with so little paper pulp.

Then finally below are two further paper pulp experiments.  The first  is linen selvedge wrapped round the larger frame. Not much paper pulp adheres to the linen, but the fabric is stiffened by it.  The second, is my favourite,  a more successful version of 4:8:5.  I won't cut it off the frame but will try to ease it off in tact.  I have an idea that I can slide it over the front of a board book cover which has been printed and embroidered.  This string version will add another layer to the book cover and complete the design.  The knots look really good and they definitely have room to breathe.