'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Monday 14 April 2008

The beginning of the end? And why sampling is worth while...

At the weekend I got started on the final C&G piece - a 3D [or constructed] item. As this is the last piece there is a tight deadline – it has to be done by the end of next term or we don’t complete the course. So anyone in their right mind would choose to do something safe and simple – like a cushion cover, say.

So what have I chosen? A lampshade. And not a small lampshade – one for this light. The current shade is about a metre high and 60 cm in circumference.

Have I ever made a lampshade before? Of course not! Which is why I am feeling a little stressed. And stress in my case, leads to procrastination.

But I have wanted to make a lampshade since we started the course nearly 4 years ago. And this picture I spotted in a book of prints sparked a lot of ideas.


Klimt and trees – what more could I ask for?

I was playing around with design ideas in class before the holidays and A. took one look at what I was doing and said ‘silk painting’ and ‘batik’ – and she was right. Hence the expedition [I want to write ‘expotition’ but those of you who don't read Pooh will think I’ve gone even madder than usual] to Fibrecrafts, and the borrowing of A’s ginormous silk painting frame.

But I haven’t done a lot of silk painting and an unfamiliar technique leads to procrastination. [Can you see a theme developing here?]

However, having committed myself in public to getting started – I did so over the weekend.

I fished out all the pieces of white silk [and some polyester] I could find that were big enough. Some of them were only just big enough, so I ripped narrow strips off the edges for my samples.

I had bought some cold batik wax which I thought would be easier than having pans of hot wax around – and it was. However, I think it would have been better to let the wax dry before I started painting: – first lesson learned from sampling.

This is the rather Heath Robinson affair I cobbled together to sample the different paint colours on the strips – this is not A’s beautiful frame, but one I bought in a sale decades ago. The clips proved to be a b****r to get on and off – hence the klippits.

These are the samples drying. As you can see, I did have a couple of larger pieces of silk, and on those I tried out the colours and also did a quick Klimt knock-off. [You can also see that the sun was shining when I took the photo.]

The paler one was the silk organza I had thought about using in layers – but having tried it I’m not sure it will work. The other is a silk twill which is really too thick, so I was a bit heavy handed with the paint – but using dishwasher salt for the silk technique was very effective. [another lesson learned from sampling.]

I like the way the paint has run into the wax on the tree trunks but I am not sure how I achieved it. Possibly because the fabric was relatively thick, the wax didn’t form a complete resist – hence the colour runs in the colour samples.

The instructions for the cold wax tell you to heat set the paint as usual and then wash the wax out with warm water and detergent. The wax went a nasty rubbery yellow colour when ironed, and was a bit reluctant to come out when hand washed – so, as these are samples, I shoved them in the washing machine on the ‘Delicates’ cycle – which got the wax out. Third lesson learned from sampling.
Of all the fabrics I tried, I think the silk habotai will be the best – but I shall consult the expert when college starts again next week. A. – you have been warned!

If I have another burst of enthusiasm I may try using a freezer paper stencil for the wax instead of painting it on free hand. If I let the wax dry before painting I may be able to get it to crack which might give me that silver birch look. And if I get really keen I’ll try some of the more likely samples on the two types of stiffening material I have.

Then I need to think about some suitable embroidery stitches as I doubt I’ll get away without any.

Of course if it all goes pear-shaped I can always make a quick silk cushion cover ...

1 comment:

Lesley said...

Celia, How boring it would be if we all stayed in our comfort zones! Go for it! Lesley