Experimenting With Textiles and Sewing

During my feedback in the studio session on Tuesday, there was a comment as to the lack of depth in my work, mostly due to the medium I have chosen to sketch with. Therefore, today I have experimented with textiles and sewing my visual content into the material. This also links my subject of Digital Folklore with my working process so as to create a stronger concept. When considering the features of Snapchat as a communication system, one of the most unique aspects is the way that the imagery disappears after a maximum of ten seconds. It seems almost bizarre that these images just vanish from the world, and almost sad that they cannot be re-admired and observed more intently by the receiver. By using sewing I am creating a more permanent image which is woven into the fabric and cannot be easily removed. My project is therefore considering the idea of reconstructing the now non-existent visuals which have been lost through Snapchat. Sewing, knitting and weaving is a traditional storytelling method to accompany oral folklore and acts as a reminder of the messages portrayed. A personal reflection is that we take for granted the information that we receive through the digital environment and therefore are also content with throwing this information after immediate use. Through my project I intend to bring to life the lost visuals which are also abstracted through the limitation of time that they can be interpreted within.

Using a sewing machine as a pencil is not a process which I have used before, and so a lot of technical testing was carried out before beginning to experiment with style and texture. The main aim for today’s session was to become familiar with the process so as I could then add colour and other fabrics to the illustrations. I started with two layers of white fabric, and began to use the different stitches to build tone and form. My initial intension was to draw free hand within the machine, similar to the way that I work with ink, however this created a messy outcome as I had no guidelines to follow. I quickly realised that the visual was easier to control if I added basic structural lines on the fabric in pencils, I could then add other details when the basic composition was completed. Furthermore, within my first experiments there was a large amount of puckering occurring due to the curves I was creating when moving the needle around the surface. This was because the fabric was flexible, and therefore I added tissue paper as a third layer to stiffen the material and make it easier to manage. Also to improve the final quality, I began to work from the inside shapes outwards so as the fabric could then spread away from the stitched areas rather than bubble in the middle.

To add tone and definition to certain elements I changed the style of my stitching, and also stitched over areas to create a heavier colour. It is clear that these initial experiment need more working into as there is currently a lack of dynamics, but this can be added by more stitching work and other additional fabrics. By adding sections of coloured fabrics I am instantly creating another ground and illuminating negative space to give a more successful structure. This will also allow for the opportunity of colour schemes and wider range of textures. These are more creative tests which I can now add to the basic skills which I mastered today. These illustrations could then be placed together in once space and become a patchwork quilt, a textiles storybook, or poster so as to display all the single visuals within one collaboration. img_5558img_5560img_5564


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