Friday, 25 March 2011


Another technique I wanted to try out, before myself & Sara swap materials, was burning or "branding" using metal. I initially tried to brand the material using a safety pin but the result wasn't very effective as only a small proportion of the pin touched the handkerchief. I then decided to use small silver pearl-wire rings that I use a lot in my personal work and was delighted with the result. I like that there are different patterns depending on how hot the ring gets and that it leaves such a decorative pattern. I definitely want to push this further and see what other materials I can use and to what effect.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Initial Experiments #2

Handkerchief with tacs

Handkerchief "dyed" after tacs have rusted.

Close up of rusted tacs "dyeing" handkerchief material

Here are some experiments with tacs and handkerchiefs. I used a lot of tacs and the handkerchief is quite large so that gave me a good area to experiment on and see the results clearly. Again, this is tacked up outside, exposed to the elements and regular vinegar sprays from myself. I love the watery dye effect which suprised me as I was expecting harsher results. When I think of Re-worked, I imagine quite a "tough" collection with a distinctly "urban" feel so this soft feel may have to be explored further to see if it can be expanded on or discarded. It was again just nice to see a different process. It has made me think of the items used to create the organic prints (tacs and safety pins etc) as the jeweller in me sees them as items that could be used decoratively rather than a means to dyeing fabric. Again a concept to either work on or discard. 

Initial Experiments

Ticket attached to vintage jumper by safety pin.

Handkerchief square folded and attached to safety pin.

Numerous safety pins attached together creating "chains".

Safety pin chains hanging after being sprayed with vinegar.

While myself and Sara prepare for our initial swap of materials by gathering items both vintage and "every-day" (ie saftey pins, tacs, paper clips etc), I decided to start some basic experiments to familiarise myself with the materials and techniques we hope to use. Sara's final year project involved rusting staples stapled into fabric so I decided to try out the rusting process. Although rusting is something I'd like to either expand on or use in conjunction with other destructive processes I decided to learn about it as a basic foundation for Re-worked. I was inspired by a ticket I found attached to a vintage jumper by a safety pin which had obviously gone through the wash and had a nice crumbled texture. I started using plain handkerchiefs as a "beginners-introduction" to working with textiles and used vinegar, on Sara's suggestion, to rust the safety pins which then "dyes" the material. Sara also advised applying vinegar regularly to accelerate the process so they are currently tacked up to the outside of my shed - exposed to the elements and regular vinegar applications. I enjoyed this first basic experiment as it has already highlighted some ideas I would like to expand on and experiment with further.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Thoughts at the Outset...

With this being the offical beginning of our collaboration, we thought it apt to explain what our hopes and motivations were for this project. Having not discussed what one another were to post, (though we are well aware of common interests that are the basis of 'Re-Worked' - mark making, vintage materials), Nicola's take made for interesting reading. While she states that the chance to print organically and to employ a more 'destructive' approach within her work, I am keen to achieve an element of control. Although having common techniques in our final year projects at Duncan of Jordanstone - both having a rather more conceptual approach in exploring our chosen themes through laser cutting, the use of aged fabrics and trimmings, metals and the relationship between these, when affected, with the practicalities of being worn/used - it would seem that we admire one another's polar opposite (!) approach.
I am very much keen to inherit a little of Nicola's delicacy and consideration instead of being lead almost entirely by the natural will of our chosen materials. My personal work begins by inducing an organic reaction between fabric and metal and then borrowing elements of the found aesthetics or textures as base for my designs. I look forward to learning more about metalwork from Nicola - how to achieve the best from each in order to push my undertsanding of these reactions and to step outwith my usual working methods.
In broader terms, I feel, like Nicola, that it is important to encourage interdisciplinary experimentation and not allow your work to be defined entirely by the traditional working methods or techniques associated with your craft - I find myself to be inspired most by art that at first glance I do not understand or cannot conceive of the processes in which it has been made and find that unravelling the 'how to' encourages me most to push myself creatively.
'Re-Worked' seems the perfect solution in my hope of pushing further techniques from my degree show project and refining them by honing the skills of a (rather talented!) peer.

Personal Brief

To begin this project myself & Sara wanted to take time to state what we wanted to achieve personally from Re-worked. Re-worked came about after the realisation that both our final year projects at university had used vintage materials in different ways and that, while I had experimented with textiles and textile techniques (e.g. flocking) which involved trips to the textile department, Sara had used the process of rusting on non-precious metals which led her to the jewellery workshop. Both of us had only begun to scratch the surface of each others specialism and felt that, by using each others knowledge to create and experiment (a luxury that was not possible in our final year), we could personally grow and develop while creating new work. For me Re-worked is especially exciting for two aspects: "organic print" and "destructive processes". I find the process of making jewellery very frustrating and demanding and feel I am constantly battling with small delicate objects, fighting them into place and labouring to get them to a gleaming end product. With that in mind "destructive processes" appeals to me for the relief of freely burning, rusting, and generally destroying(!), processes that never occur in my personal work. I love the idea of having the time and, with great gratitude, the funding to play with new ideas and knowledge and just have fun with the design process. By documenting the process through the blog we are stepping back from sketchbooks and allowing for outside critiques and quick discussion between ourselves as living in different cities makes it harder to be up-to-date with each others thought process. I like to think the idea of working this way is quite unique and we will hopefully produce like-wise results. The idea of "organic print" just fascinates me as there are so many possibilities. The idea of creating marks was, again, something I briefly touched upon in my final year project so I am looking forward to expanding on this concept with more knowledge of textile processes. Hopefully Re-worked will provide me with a good general knowledge of working with textiles, build on my confidence and expertise with metals by teaching Sara what I know, produce a fantastic collection that showcases the power of collaborations, inspires others to experiment in other disciplines and allows me to personally grow and develop through the experience.