My final ideas for samples are as follows:
- Section of design printed onto brown paper then crumpled
- Section printed onto bondaweb then applied to crumpled paper / brown paper or patched fabrics.
- Section inkjet printed directly onto patched fabric
- Using bondaweb wet to transfer the design leaving some of the paper to further work into or removing all of the paper background
- Transfer paper printed and then ironed over a textured surface
- One plain sample patched from many types of fabric for reference including different strengths of tea dye.
My first sample is made of patched fabrics. In an aim to create a worn and distressed background for the piece, I have stitched into the layers and ripped and torn away areas. I followed this by attempting to iron on a tee-shirt transfer printed with the chapel design. Unfortunately the tee-shirt transfer I used was quite old and did not release from the backing paper properly, leaving a very plastic coating which did not adhere well at all. I have ordered some new transfers to try the process again but in an attempt to experiment further I took a heat gun to the sample to see if I could distress the surface further; even though I had lost the pictorial detail I was interested to experiment with this the resulting sample is below.
As you can see there is still a slight pattern and colouration and the distressed, deconstructed surface works well to add texture and age. I am going to try the sample again when the new transfers arrive to see if they can be distressed in the same way.
Above is the remnants of the transfer that did not transfer. I really like the worn surface effect. I am going to try and capture this by photocopying and developing it further into a design for a panel or hanging. I will try printing it onto a transfer as a comparison. I am also going to look at my printer to see if the raised patched fabric can be printed straight onto. I am pretty sure that it won’t work as I have only had success with thin, flat fabrics before. The other option is to print onto a very fine fabric like chiffon which might allow the background texture to come through. The colours are more subtle and more closely related to my original theme than I am achieving with the other methods.
My second sample was made using the same fabrics this time more roughly patchefd then dyed with rust and tea. This would work well as a background to the piece but the tyvek would need to be dyed or coloured in another way as it didn’t take the tea very well. I will need to try different ways of adding the pattern as it has such a raised texture.
Holding up the sample to the window with the reverse towards me has a very interesting effect: the textures show though really well whilst the uppermost layer is flat which opens up some possibilities of stitching on the reverse and hanging in front of a light source to create shadows. Perhaps the shapes from the design could be stitched rather than printed or the design itself could be created using patch-work? I tested a small sample using lace and paper pulp to see what effect it would have. It certainly made an interesting texture but unfortunately was too unstable, when I tried to colour it with the tea it disintegrated. A small amount of pulp would help to raise the surface slightly but I would need to find an alternative way of colouring it.
Lace & pulp sample
For my next mini set of samples I thought I would try following Maggie Grey’s method of printing on to brown paper and then scrunching and re-scrunching it to ‘weather’ its appearance. I cut my piece of printed brown paper into 3 pieces and tried using it in different ways:
Inkjet printed crumpled brown paper sample
This sample is left as is, not attached to anything else as a control. Obviously it would be quite difficult to stitch without tearing but it does have a wonderfully aged feel to it textually.
Inkjet printed brown paper over non woven sample
When ironed onto a non-woven, tea dyed background it almost took on the feeling of leather with a very worn and subtle,soft surface. As it is backed with a non-woven backing it has a more substantial handle and would be easily stitched. The backing can still be torn if needed to further deconstruct the sample
Inkjet printed brown paper over blue cotton with printed bondaweb sample
This sample was made using the same printed brown paper ironed over hand dyed blue cotton. I attached it using some printed bondaweb and ripped out sections to expose both the bondaweb and blue layers. Again the surface is very stable as it has been ironed onto the cotton and it has lost it’s papery feel. Picking details out or over stitching with machine embroidery would undoubtedly add more life to this sample which feels a little flat at the moment. It almost reminds me of a very old tattered photograph which makes it fit well with the memory side of the trend.
Inkjet printed tissue paper
My next set of samples concentrates on using more or less the same techniques as those used with brown paper but using tissue paper instead. This was also crumpled after printing to add texture.
Inkjet printed tissue on brown paper
This little sample is one of my favorites. It has a real aged look and feel to it almost like a really old oil painting. The tissue paper takes the print really well. So well that if I were to repeat this I would have to lighten the picture and adjust the saturation. This design has the tendency to take on a purple hue when printed. I think this is down to my printer but the colours I see on the screen are altered a lot when printed. The purple hues of the brown seem to become more prevalent than the yellow. This has caused me trouble all the way through this assignment. I have found that printing on a tea dyed background and adding a yellow wash over the top adjusts the colour sufficiently to conform with the palette but on a larger scale I may need to adjust the colour palette slightly.
Inkjet printed tissue over patched background sample
Again this sample has taken the print really well. I definitely prefer the textured background that the patchwork provides. This samples background was made using the lighter weight fabrics and is slightly transparent when held up to the light. This adds another dimension and could be used to good effect to make a hanging to go in front of a light source. It also has a very fragile feel to it which fits well with the trend.
Inkjet printed tissue over blue cotton
This sample was made in exactly the same way as the brown paper sample above and has very similar qualities. The tissue paper does rip more easily and can be removed in a more controlled way even after ironing on with bondaweb.
Using Bondaweb to transfer designs
This is a technique that I had never tried before. It involves printing the design onto paper and ironing it (face down) onto a backing using Bondaweb. The paper is then dampened and rubbed to remove the paper leaving, (hopefully) the image behind on the backing.
As you can see from the samples below this creates a very delicate almost water colour effect. the first sample worked quite well leaving a very slight impression of the image. The second however did not work so well. I had over wet the paper which blurred the image completely. Neither are the effect I was looking for but it is a useful technique to add to the tool box as it were to colour backgrounds.
Bondaweb as a transfer
After my disastrous first attempt I had ordered some new transfers which would hopefully release from the backing. I had the same trouble with saturation as I had had previously with the tissue paper which means that the colours would need adjusting in the final panel but overall the samples worked well. As with the previous sets of samples I applied them over various backgrounds to see what effect they would have.
T-shirt transfer over tissue paper
Applying the transfer over tissue paper produced a very aged and delicate, fragile sample which would need to be applied to a backing if it were to be stitched. Sections can easily be removed by tearing which would be useful in further deconstructing the surface. The surface itself is very smooth with little or no texture. This could be changed by scrunching and stitching into the sample. The t-shirt transfer also leaves a slight sheen even though I followed the instructions to create a matt surface so this also needs to be taken into account as I feel the surface needs to look old and weathered not shiny and new.
T-shirt transfer over teabags
I have discovered a real love for the use of teabags as a material during this project. They are strong and liable and patched together, create a slightly textured surface. I really enjoy recycling and I do drink A LOT of tea so they may well become a favourite material in the future. The t-shirt transfer worked well although the colours were a problem again. This time I went over the sample with an orange oil pastel which I don’t feel worked very well; it covered what little detail there was in this part of the design and is too obvious. A cream coloured chalk or pastel used with slightly less vigour might have worked better.
T-shirt transfer over blue cotton
Again the colours were an issue with this sample as the brown looks far too purple. The technique itself work relatively well but it did not achieve the look or feel that I was wanting. it does not have the age or deconstructed feel of the other samples and really does not fit the trend because of this.
T-shirt transfer over patched background
Again this background works really well. Although the colours are not quite right the texture and over all feeling of a deconstructed surface is there. I think this sample needs to be redone using a slightly darker tea dyed background but it is definitely one to take further in development.
Next I decided to develop this (my original) patch worked sample a bit further to refine it. I overprinted the dyed background with an inkjet printer using of the images I had made previously then worked into it with oil pastels and basic stitching to give a feel of how it would look. The aged texture and muddy colours certainly remind me of ruined dessert buildings and I am glad the detail did not really come through. The overprinting adds some colour and texture to the background without being a main focus. This gives the sample a desolate look and accentuates the aged rag-like texture and feel of the sample. It almost looks as though it has been buried or left out in the elements for a very long time, left behind and forgotten. The loose threads of the unfinished fabric edges and stitching also add to this aesthetic. I think that this may be an exciting idea going forward rather than the more pictorial route that I am following at the moment and it is something I would like to investigate further, perhaps with more precise stitched architectural details as a contrast to the random nature of the back ground. If I were to stick with the pictorial design, dyeing it with a weaker solution of tea and rust would possibly enable the print to be more defined. I may try this later as a more refined sample to test this.
Evaluating the samples:
- Am I successfully translating my visual research into sampling? I have strongly based by samples on my visual research particularly a loved local building and how I would feel if the building was ruined due to war etc. I have tried really hard to stick with the palette which was based on the original Syrian buildings and towns ruined by war and translated that into ‘ruined textiles’
- Am I capturing and communicating the nature of my concept well successfully? I hope by using deconstructed techniques throughout such as those deconstructing and distressing the surface, loose, sketch like stitching and loose threads to create the nature of deconstruction throughout the piece.
- Does the colour palette work well? Does it effectively communicate my concept? The colours are all very earthy and communicate the dessert and architectural feel nicely. I am really struggling to create the correct darker brown as the ink in the printer has a habit of going purple when printed on some materials. If I were to make the panel and still wanted to adhere strictly to the colour palette I would need to explore ways of correcting the colour.
- What else can I do with this material or technique? What haven’t I explored? The materials I have explored have been quite varied and I’m sure I could go on indefinitely using different combinations but I needed to set parameters which i think I did quite successfully
- What are the most exciting / unusual parts of my samples? I think the most exciting and unusual parts of my samples are the surfaces created especially by the patched background with the transfer or inkjet printed design. I had based the trend on the idea of war torn ruins and feel that this texture really does convey it well. I also feel the blue background makes them unusual. I could have left the tattered rag like background as was but decided to use the blue breaking through to signify hope for the future.
- How could the audience view or interact with textiles like these? Most of these designs I feel would work best as hangings or panels either hung on walls or in front of a light source. Some however could work well hung in multiple large scale long strips hanging from a ceiling so the audience could walk through the ruins.