Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Monoprint or Monotype?

Charlie told asked me whether I was interested in her showing me how to use mono printing, and said yes, so we are going to have a go at it next tuesday when I see her next.

So in preparation I have been doing a little online research into what is is, how to do it, and what sort of results you can get. I found a pretty interesting explanation at After reading through their website I think that what I will doing is actually monotype, as although pretty similar mono print is when you use a pre-etched plate so you can reproduce the same image with added extras over and over. Monotype is when you paint an image onto; or complete ink up and work into (removing patches of ink with various tools); a blank plate.

According to the website monotype has been implemented by artists including Degas, Matisse and Gauguin. In fact it is believed that Gauguin invented the method of direct trace drawing - laying paper on to a blank inked plate and then drawing the image directly on the back of the paper. Below is a example of Gauguin using this method.

Two Marquesans by Paul Gauguin
image from here

Module Review Day!

Yesterday was module review day with Charlie. We are given a form on which we have to appraise our progress in relation to the module learning outcomes outlined in our module guide. So this gave me, or rather made me, re-read the module guide - which was good because it has helped my to remember the whole point of this module (Fashion & Textiles Development)!

Just so you know what I'm talking about I'll write them down here:

1. Carry out a wide ranging theoretical and practical investigation into traditional and unusual media, materials and processes.

2. Analyse, identify and present the potential and limitations of media for creating ideas and developing solutions.

3. Investigate the work of a range of practitioners who have worked in related media.

4. Understand and exploit the potential and limitations of selected media and materials in their own work.

So how am I doing...?

I think that I am working my way through number 1 alright with the different processes I have used so far. I still have to explore some natural dyes I could use that will fit with my colour palette. Perhaps I need to look further into some more unusual processes?

I think I am tackling number 2 by writing this blog.

Number 3 I can do via this blog too, but need to do a bit more research on other practitioners.

re-reading number 4, I'm not sure what context 'their' is in, (must remember to ask Charlie!)

My module review went well, Charlie seemed really happy with my progress so far. We also talked about whether I'm sticking to my original project statement, which for the most part I am. The only thing that I think has really changed is "I will be using natural fabrics and yarn like wool and cotton". Yes, I have been using natural textiles in my work, but I have also found it necessary to incorporate man-made fabrics and yarn - for cost purposes, availability of second-hand/recycled materials, and the limitation of sticking to my colour palette. (See, this is me being reflective!)

My action plan is to:

  • Draw out design ideas
  • Explore potentional of mono printing
  • Continue to consider possibilities in terms of fashion
  • Add drawings into sketch book to support sample development

In a bid to extend experimentation of printed samples, I tried using a method that Fiona suggested last week. Again-using the back of the rag rug sample as inspiration. I created a couple of rows of 'bobbles' using some wadding, fabric and elastic bands, this was then taped to a piece of sturdy cardboard to create a kind of stamp.

To be honest, I'm not really that sure about the result.

Next up was a pom-pom like bath sponge that I got in a bath stuff gift for christmas.

I really love the imprint that it makes on the paper, it really looks very pom-pom like!

It also reminds me of oriental style chrysanthemum prints

Friday, 24 February 2012

Using Mannequins

Today we meet our new lecture for thursdays - Fiona. She encouraged us to have a go at pinning some of our samples onto mini and standard sized mannequins to enable us to get an idea of how our samples might be used in a garment.

Using the mini mannequins, you can visualise how the samples might look if they were made on a larger scale.

I then moved on to pinning my samples onto a standard sized mannequin....

I think the finger knitting that I did works really well as a collar - a sort of interpretation of the collars of the Maasai tribe.

During year 0 we are only really allowed to screen print using paper stencils or masking off areas i.e. with yarn or lace. Getting a screen exposed is reserved for years 2-3. Although you can still create some nice prints using this method, it does make the task quite labour intensive as you can only use a paper stencil a couple of times before it starts disintegrating. I really can't wait until we get to expose some screens!

I was speaking to Fiona about this, and she suggested I try a process that one of her friends uses in her artwork. You paint thickly with acrylics onto thick cartridge paper and then lay your fabric over the wet painted image of design and press down so the fabric takes the paint.

I used the back of the rag rug sample that I did, the process of rag rugging created this unintentional pattern on the back which in turn reminds me of the rows of tiny glass seed beads used in the Maasai's Jewellery.

This was the first attempted, which actually turned out to be my favourite, I really liked the painterly effect that the print shows.

I found that the paint dries quite quickly, and so you have to be really speedy, so it is difficult to create a very intricate or precise design. As you can see, I have daubed the paint on pretty haphazardly in my haste. I think this would be a difficult process to use on a large scale.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Woman's Hour London Fashion Week Special

I have been struck down with a very bad case of flu since friday evening. I haven't been this ill in years. So my progress has been halted somewhat. But this morning whilst in bed I listened to Radio 4's Woman's Hour LFW special.

The programme included discussions on the what has influenced the high street from LFW last September; fashion forecasting, whether fashion 'matters' or not, working conditions for models, and they join fashion blogger - Susie Lau of Style Bubble, at the Central St Martins School of Art MA fashion graduate show. The course is famous as a launch pad for the next generation of design talent, having nurtured such names as Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, and Mary Katrantzou.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sport and Fashion at The Fashion Museum, Bath

During half-term we spent a few days with my parents who have a flat in Bath. They live about 15 mins walk from the Fashion Museum, so when I visit I always go and have a look and see if they have any 'new to me' exhibitions on.

Inspired by the 2012 Olympics, their new year-long exhibition is about Sport and Fashion and opened on 4th February. I took a few pictures on my iPhone whilst I was there, but the quality is not great owing to the exhibit being behind glass.

The hood/snood is a modern take on the traditional nomadic headscarfs

Mango Yellow Silk Chiffon Hoodie Dress, S/S '07, By Jasper Conran - fashion's response to David Cameron's 'Hug a Hoodie' speech in 2006.

Magenta Cowl Neck Dress, A/W '11/12, By Victoria Beckham - winner of Best Designer Brand at the 2011 British Fashion Awards.

Grey Team GB Hoodie and Sweatpants, 2011, By Stella McCartney for Adidas - Stella McCartney has designed sportswear for the British Olympic team.

I love how the maker has incorporated the decorative edges of the blanket in this coat, and the re-use of the blanket fits in with the nomadic way of life.

Cream Tobogganing Suit, 1880s - Worn by the Park Tobogganing Club, made from a Hudson Bay woollen blanket.

Is this the ultimate coat for the modern day nomad?

Dark Green Puffa Coat with Red silk Dress, A/W '04, By Stella McCartney - This luxurious coat takes its inspiration from a functional all-weather sleeping bag.

Playing with scale is something I want to explore, I love the oversized knit pom-pom!

Red, Blue and Cream Knitted Ensemble, 2011, By Hannah Taylor, RCA Collection Gran, Will You Knit us a Man City Top? - The sports supporter's scarf inspires a giant knitted ensemble.

This dress has an almost tribal look to it with the bright colours and stripes: I suppose that team kits/strips are a modern way to show you allegiance to your 'tribe'.

Rugby Shirt Dress, S/S '08, By Gary Harvey - Gary Harvey is an eco-fashion designer, using discarded clothing in his work.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Finger knitting

During my research for processes I could use for this project I found out about finger knitting. although I don't know whether or not any nomadic tribes use finger knitting, I thought that because you only need your fingers and yarn, finger knitting would be a very fitting craft if you lived a nomadic way of life.

I found this excellent how-t0 on the Flax and Twine blog and was up and running in no time!

I really have fallen in love with finger knitting, it's so easy to do and it's very relaxing to sit on the sofa and do it while I listen to the radio or listen to Ella read. I have even taught Ella to do it now, and she knitted a scarf for her teddy bear.

I have used different thicknesses of yarn which create different effects and also used two colours together. The knits are long and thin and roll in on themselves creating a tube like effect. I think that I could try weaving them together to create colourful textured sample.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Rag Rugging

Today I have been mostly rag rugging.

During the initial research for this project I was really inspired by the designs of traditional Berber rugs which are made using scraps of fabric. I thought that I might be able to recreate something similar with a rag rug kit and then use it to create a hood or sleeve on a garment.

But after 2 1/2 hours of working on it, I've only got this far! Although I really love the texture that this method creates, I think this process would be too time consuming for this project. I'm glad I had a go though, I suppose I could use it to create a cuff for a sleeve, or fringing on a shoulder. It has also made me really appreciate the time and energy that goes into making the beautiful Berber rugs that I have looked at.

Interestingly I also like the back of the rug. It reminds me of the Maasai tribe's beaded jewellery.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

colourful details

I've been enlarging a section of a colourful nomadic image and painting them in gouache to try and get some ideas going for print designs.

I find Berber rugs particularly inspiring they can be quite geometric and use intense blocks of colour.

detail: Berber Rag Rug

detail: Berber Rag Rug

I used a pencil rubber tip to try to recreate the tiny glass beads of the Maasai's jewellery

detail: Maasai Beaded Jewellery

detail: Mongolian Woman's woven apron

Monday, 6 February 2012

Blog inspiration

I came across Anna Battista's (an Italian writer and freelance journalist) Blog Irenebrination whilst doing some research on the internet. She attends and photographs tons of exhibitions and shows and writes about them on her blog. It's an amazing source of information for anyone studying fashion & textiles, so put it on your blog list now!

Friday, 3 February 2012

More tasselling

image from here

I was really inspired by this image of a Moroccan Berber bride and thought I could create a similar effect with a tassel knit.

After a rummage through a box of yarns in the knit studio I came across this gorgeous, but extremely tangled yarn. I love the little loops in it, it reminds me of angora goats wool.

image from here

I found some silver disc trim, similar to the one on the bride, on eBay. But then I had the idea that I could use silver tinsel in the tassels. I asked Lee if we had any lying around in the studio. We didn't but he gave me some silver foil which I cut into strips to experiment with.

I really like the effect, so I will ask around for tinsel in the charity shops.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Tassel knits

Yesterday Charlie taught a few of us how to create loopy or tassels on a knit machine. if you use mohair type yarn you can recreate a really good imitation fur, but I decided to have a go at something similar to the Etro waistcoats I posted about the other week.

Basically you start a few rows of a plain knit. Then to create a tassel you just cut a length of yarn about a metre long and fold it until you have a bunch of yarn about 5-6 inches in length. push a needle out towards you, fold the bunch in half onto it and push it all the way back through the loop of the knit, then repeat this for every other needle until you finish a row.

You don't have to use yarn for your tassels, you can use strips of fabric too. You can see that I have combined strips of fabric from the scrap box in the sample below.

I also had a go at using some punch cards to create bi-coloured pattern knits. It works like magic!