Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Chapter 2: Paper Relief Investigations

Time to turn away from hedgerows, wildflowers and weather.  Time instead to turn towards more abstract things and samples created from paper.

                                            1) Tissue     2) Thin Plastic     3) Japanese Paper
                                             4) Newsprint     5) Kitchen Roll     6) Glassine  
                   7) Brown Paper Bubble pack     8) Plastic Bubble pack     9) Cartridge Paper

Rip and Fold:


Manipulated Tissue Paper:


                       1) Torn and Rolled   2) Torn and Looped   3) Pleated Long Trapezium
4) Pleats both Ways  5) Pinked Strips Hole Punched  6)   Scrumpled and Holes Punched and Sprinkled  
                          7) Square Pleated   8)Torn and Stabbed   9)  Rolled and Knotted


1) Irregularly Torn and Loose Rolled  2)  Circles Part-scored with Bradawl 3)Torn and Pleated
4)  Torn Strips and Holes  5)  Pleated Triangles  6)  Scrumpled, Torn, Finger Pushed from back

Though some of these samples are the same as the examples given, I can see in many of the others how my trips to the field have been influential.  The examples that spring to mind are 3 and 5 on Sample Sheet 2:4.  These to me have a look of the beech and nettle leaves I've observed gradually unpleating themselves.  Samples 2 and 6 on the same sheet are a nod to the rough ground.  Many on both sheets have a sense of growth about them.

I like the torn edges very much more than those which are scissor or pinking sheers cut, though tearing is much more difficult to control.  I would have liked in 2 on Sample 2:3 to have torn the rolled strips more finely, but when I tried they tore off. 

I have a range of white tissue and I did notice that the finer stuff is easier to work with, and has more translucency.  You may well notice a double sided type of tissue (one side smooth, the other matte) in 2 and 7 on Sample Sheet 2:3, and 2 on Sample Sheet 2:4.  It is also a softer shade of white.

Although I like the effects tearing paper can give, I only reached that conclusion by experimenting with the tools I had to hand.  Scissors and pinking sheers came easily to hand,  and a scalpel too.  My imagination took me to the kitchen, thinking, hoping I would get some nice edges with a pizza wheel or a pastry cutter, only to discover both only scored the tissue paper.  It wasn't a matter of pressure, the tools wouldn't cut.  Back to my workroom finding a rotary cutter there which would not only cut paper but could give a degree of unpredictability producing a nice sinuous line, as in 2:12 below.



Another useful tool for scoring and with the ability to pierce paper and cut it in a ragged and unpredictable way was a bradawl.  Hole punches though are another matter.  Both it and my paper drill didn't respond very well to tissue paper and with yet another hole punch used for office work, I needed to fold the tissue a number of times for it to cut.  This approach was successful in one regard: I never knew where the holes would appear!

Manipulated Tissue Paper:

I remember so well years ago making smocked dresses for my daughter using Vogue Patter 1824.  I'd iron on the pale blue dots, rows and rows of them, then stitch across picking up each tiny dot.  The final stage was pulling up the threads tightly to create tiny pleats on which the embroidery would sit.  Whilst mostly self-taught I did go along to a class to add some refinement.  I also remember sending a fabric sample to a firm making silk thread and love the thick and lustrous stuff I bought probably from  Mulberry Silks .

No Princess Pleater then, and none now.  Do I need one?  I think I need to have a discussion about this.

Below are my tissue manipulations using long stitch machining and hand gathering.


  First of all narrow strips of tissue with a central line of machine gathering set on 5.  When I pulled these up they twisted and looped.  They seem almost like bands of seaweed.     

I've machined two bands of gathering on 2:8 and it behaves more even playfully, spiralling round.  The dense band of compressed fabric in the middle make a subtle contrast with the bands either side. I've used this idea flattened out to soften the V-neck of a dress.



Again two rows of of gathering on a much wider band, again set on 5.  When pulled up, already there's more control: the central band has a suggestion of pleats and either side the two edges ripple and flair out.  The sample is also flatter.

And below three rows, showing how the tissue becomes flatter still, but that's also because I've pulled the gathers up less.


This time in 2:11 two pieces of tissue have been overlapped and gathered along the overlapping edges.  Before drawing the tissue up a further a band of tissue was threaded through the middle to make the white more dense.  After drawing up, the tiny edge on the top was separated  to make a raised frill.



In 2:12 a strip of tissue was cut using a rotary cutter to create a sinuous edge, wider in some places than others.  This is gathered on stitch length 4 along one edge.  Pulling up creates a curl which is completed by cutting the two ends at an angle.


This time in 2:13 nests are created by running a line of gathering up the centre.  Pulling up brings each shape into a ring, though I did hold one of them in place with a pin for the photograph.


Finally, a strip of tissue torn irregularly on both edges is gathered along the centre.  This time pulling up creates a twisted and ragged sculptural form.

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