First of all, I really enjoyed the projects in this assignment and I was very lucky to have been able to take a fabric manipulation workshop locally which complemented the raised and structured surfaces stage perfectly. Also, I am comfortable working in the medium of fabric more than I am with drawing and painting so I was able to work quickly and efficiently without the self-doubt that inevitably takes over when I try to achieve something with a pencil or a paint brush.
The research point at the beginning of this part was challenging as I have accumulated a mass of textiles and yarns over nearly 40 years and I was interested to find that, although I am surrounded at home by a pretty traditional taste in soft furnishings, that my personal preference veers towards more Scandinavian and folksy influenced design. I am very grateful to be able to use the furniture and accessories that my husband and I have been given over the years by our families but it would be nice to be able to afford to choose furnishings that reflect my taste and preferences a bit more.
The Developing ideas stage was initially challenging but once I had chosen 6 initial images I got quite carried away with using computer software to manipulate some of the images and found some amazing textures and colour variations. I used sketch book work in combination with Paint.net software and found some effects that will be very useful in future work. I have begun to be more aware of shapes and textures around me, finding I had to stop a film I was watching to sketch a shape I saw because it was so inspiring.
Appliqué is something I have already tried and enjoyed a lot. I like the way you can alter the surface of a fabric in a simple way by adding layers or even taking them away and I prefer using the sewing machine to stitch with for this technique, although I do enjoy embellishing with hand embroidery. When making my large appliqué sample I experiemented with heating plastics and this is something I am definitely going to do further work on. It is very addictive and I can’t stop saving chocolate biscuit and crisp wrappers to experiment on!
I was able to produce a good variety of samples for future reference and most enjoyed producing samples inspired by contemporary Indian fashion design at the fabric manipulation workshop I was able to attend. I recommend trying Indian gathering.
I was quite happy with my final sample from this stage. The tucks took a long time to do as, although I did them by machine, I was using an old hand crank machine so it took longer to finish the ends as I couldn’t reverse by pressing a button in the modern way and there were a lot of ends to finish! The result was effective and I would like to do some more of this type of work, incoporating colour and pattern for more interest. I have just now been given a new sewing machine for my birthday, which will make the task all the more enjoyable.