Sunday, 31 July 2011

WWII Make Do & Mend ...

Several years ago, after my father died, I took to researching a WWII topic to make a textile item in memory of him. He flew in the RAF but never spoke of his wartime activities so my research took me to the Imperial War Museum. 'Make Do & Mend' seemed an ideal topic (for many reasons) to study & I finally made an oversize fabric book recording my findings. (The outer cover below depicts aerial shots of nightime bombings.)

Embroidered Book Cover

During my research, I had seen many images from films & printed material ... read many passages & records of events ... but one phrase I came across stuck in my mind:

I have become death - the destroyer of worlds

This is my interpretation of that phrase - made as a decorative mirror:

Embroidered Mask on Mirror

I mention it all here because the mask face at the top of the mirror was made entirely of freehand sewing machine lace ... it is this technique that I hope to resurrect at some time in the near future.

Dolls ...

Trifari Brooch
I've also remembered 2 other projects initially started several years ago but continue as on-going actual collections. Here I'm mentioning them as a single project since I see them as both connected.

Mascot Dolls (one of my collection shown left) - This relates to some items from WWI & WWII sharing a collective term as being 'mascot' dolls - the history of which I find fascinating.

Fashion Dolls - This is a collection of predominantly UK fashion dolls (from 1950s-60s) which I intend to 'restore' in a range of clothes from the period ... somewhat in the 'style' of those dolls from WWII & known as the 'Theatre de la Mode' (see You-Tube video below).

Friday, 29 July 2011

Measurements ...

Dot & cross paper
Discussing measurements with someone yesterday re traditional tailoring & pattern making in connection with measurements. Anthropometry came into the conversation - must investigate this further.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Patterns of Chaos ...

Mandelbrot sets + Fractal Geometry ?

(Reminder of the 'Red Cabbage' exercise several years ago)

Mathematical codes ...

Watched the TV program on Mathematical Codes last night. It reminded me of my own interest in this especially regarding the 'Chaos Theory' & earlier ideas I started several years ago (will try to find this). Also my personal link to pattern - design - shape etc etc.

Just been on YouTube & found this interesting too:

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Floral mosaics ...

Computer image from last week
Continuing my patterns exercise during the afternoon, I played around with the above image & came up with these:

Repeating patterns as ideas for Mosaic inserts / tiles
Repeating patterns as ideas for Rugs

Patterns ...

I love pattern - have done for as long as I can remember. Working along from one of the Jacob's Ladder photos a few weeks go, I've produced this:

As a repeating unit & thinking of 'Escape' : webs - nets - meshes, here's a selection of initial conceptual ideas:
Diamond shape pattern - skirt panels ?
Square net or mesh insets
Frosted mesh
Embroidered panels

'Cornflower & Sweet Pea' Kimono ...

Thoroughly enjoying this exercise ...

I've used the interesting 'Cornflower / Sweet Pea' colours & the 'computer-design' sunflowers to create first concept for a kimono-based garment.
Cornflower & Sweet Pea Kimono

I've chosen this style of garment because of the simplicity of its shape - it then relies on the attractiveness of pattern & colour for visual impact. According to Wikipedia, the sunflower (amongst other things):
  • is one of the city flowers of KitakyūshūJapan
  • has heads sold as snacks in China
  • one species, Velvet Queen, has lovely shades of reds & blacks

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Interesting segments ...

I've also found some earlier notes I've used for students in the past:

Select 2 photos, or magazine cuttings etc (eg. Flowers & leaves) choosing at least 3 predominant colours -

  1. in same proportions OR
  2. in unsimilar proprtions
Weave, fold or overlay strips of these paper images to produce an A4 sheet of interesting segments

Here's my version using the 2 Sunflower photos (shown in Project Mosaic) as a start. Photos have been cut into strips & woven together):

After 2 computerised effects. this is the result:

A lovely set of colours - now needing another touch !


Verse ...

Came across this in my stack of 'odds & ends':

A family is a stitch that holds the tapestry of life together

Think I copied it from somewhere - can't remember where tho! Another idea springing to mind........

Monday, 25 July 2011

Ideas ...

Many of my 'projects' often start as a 3D image (in my head) or follow on from some sort of 3D-visual. A good example of this is Project Mosaic - starting out as a result of this photo:

Sad Sunflower

It was taken a few years ago when out for the day on a photo-gathering trip - something I've done periodically over the years. Usually picking a specific theme for the trip (in this case vegetation) - giant sunflowers were seen growing on an allotment somewhere. This particular one looked very 'unhappy' with its head hung down & canes nearby, so I took this shot. Put into my collection as reference, when I came across it last week, it reminded me of the sunflower I made as a teenager. One of my many projects from an early age, it stood in the corner of my bedroom for many years ... appx. 6 foot tall, in crepe paper with a broom handle stem.

Last year, towards the end of the summer, I bought some cut flowers ... a bunch of 4 smaller sunflowers that I could photograph to add to my previous large one. This time they would have their petals showing! Here they are:
Happy Sunflower

Now, having the 2 sets of photos together (and somewhere in my tunnels of imagination), it has triggered off thoughts of colourful patchwork (crazy?) using or adapting pieces of embroidery in my collection. In my minds eye, I can now see a hazy mosaic starting to come together. At this stage I don't know what ... this usually happens a bit later.

Anyway, this is where I'm hoping the blog can help - I should be able to track my thoughts a bit easier!

Project Mosaic ...

Following on from the flower pix, ideas are starting to emerge on another project MOSAIC. Don't know in what form this will take but likely to be some sort of fabric-style patchwork (or similar) & may feature some recycled/old embroidery pieces. On the other hand, it may be some sort of 3D object that is covered in a form of decoupage.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Sunflowers ...

Some other Sunflower pix I've come across (with enhancement below) are now beginning to start off the next project ...

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Flower design & colours ...

Here's my flower pix - from left to right: sunflower, sweet peas, cornflower

Sun Flower - Sweet Pea - Cornflower

Now for some simple computer enhancements:


Best of this initial bunch !

Monday, 18 July 2011

Flowers ...

In a garden along the road are some flowers which I haven't seen for a long time. I remember them from when I was very young as the flower buds resembled miniature balls. During summer holidays they would often be used in place of tennis balls ... much more difficult to hit !!

I think they're known as Chinese or Japanese Anemones & shall try to get some pictures of them before they die off. Their colouring (along with sweet peas, cornflowers & sun flowers) will likely be used as the basis for some other project. Somewhere in my photo archives I have some shots as reference - will try & find them.

Have just found this 'YouTube' identity of them - exactly as I remember they were :

It's interesting that it's only mid-June & the video is in September !

Friday, 15 July 2011

Recycling ...

Whilst out walking the other day, I came across this. I've cleaned it & it's now ready for use later.

Projects ...

1979 - Honesty jewellery
For reasons that will become obvious over a period of time here, projects long overdue are now starting to gather momentum. With over 80 titles of work ready to begin, at this moment in time I'm going to concentrate purely on a variety of computer-aided ideas. Each 'project' will be labelled individually as it takes shape & is 'tabbed' above as " it progresses.

(My note: Because of my personal working method adapted over many years, I have found that having several projects 'on-the-go' at any one time suits me best. Hence ideas & projects here may initially appear to be disjointed - my apologies !)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A bridge to step back in time ...

Yesterday I stepped back in time with my camera & visited the childhood place I mentioned Sunday. Although now painted in bright colours, I remember it being predominantly dark grey.

Here are some shots of ' Jacob's Ladder ' as I remember it:

Jacob's Ladder - steps
Bridge supports
Jacob's Ladder Walkway (facing north)
Jacob's Ladder Walkway (facing south)
With the aid of today's computer manipulation,
I can show 2 images 'seen in my head' from a long time ago

Rain puddles & reflected patterns
Metalwork patterns
Ghosts layed to rest ?
(taking my shots, a hooded figure appeared on the bridge, walked past me & left at the exit)

Jacob's Ladder Hooded Figure
As I came to leave (reflected in the sunlight), were an amazing set of netted patterns
- rather appropriately positioned as I was standing over the main railway networks!

(some computer graphics have transformed it ready for use at a later stage)

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The bridge of reflections ...

The background image to my on-line gallery, is a reminder of a childhood memory (aged 4 or 5). On journeys to the local shops, I had to walk over an old cement-floored railway bridge that had metalwork above it. In the rain, I would carefully step along the reflections of the metal beams .... pretending that if I fell off them, I would either drown or be run over by a steam train!

These reflected patterns would come to be stored as lifetime images !