Thursday, 28 April 2011

Some Rusty Characters

This is really an intermediary post before I post some actual samples over the weekend. For the moment, here's how some of the pieces Nicola has sent me are coming along;

Pearl Wire Rings - these have, for the most part, gone through the pinkier spectrum of rusting but also, somewhere along the way, blue! Very unexpected. Must investigate.

Suspender Clasps and Hook - I love the emerging edges where you can see the vulnerable metal beneath. And below, a trio of rusty friends whom I found on my walk to and from work today. I like the idea of including found weather-worn items in our experiments and not solely items that we have set about to deliberately rust/affect.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Parcel & Contents

Letters / packages from Sara.

The accompanying letter with contents.

A vintage collar that really appeals to my personal taste.

Sheets of wool.

Brass washers.

I really enjoyed the contents of the latest parcel I received from Sara as I felt they were really in par with the direction of the experiments I have been doing for Re-worked. Sara & myself both agreed that the sheets of natural cream wool instantly lend themselves perfectly to branding techniques, something I particularly want to use the brass washers for. Included in the parcel was a piece of wool shaped almost like a shoulder pad that I found really interesting - hopefully Sara has more or similar? I think they would be amazing layered up - very dramatic. Also part of the parcel was a bag of butterfly clips - another perfectly suited - easily found item that will be easy to work into experiments and the overall look / feel of Re-worked. 

One item I instantly fell for was the vintage lace collar. This item is the sort of thing I first had in mind for the project and the sort of thing that falls into the "soft" category - in need of some destructive processes to bring it back to life. I think that it's a perfect base to create a piece from. It also reminds me a lot of the sort of vintage items I searched for use in my degree show project Vanity Series 2010. While in my personal project I played on the idea of "feminine" by creating intrinsically "pretty" items, I am looking forward to taking this element away from most items - making them beautiful in an alternative way.

I am also excited to say that Re-worked will be expanding to Aberdeen! In our initial proposal Sara & I specifically identified that this project would expand over two cities (Inverness & Dundee), highlighting that collaborations can take place by different means i.e our blog and posting items and ideas so to add a new city into this equation, as I will be moving there on Sunday, is just another exciting turn. 

Myself & Sara also have a few more steps planned for the course of Re-worked. We hope that once I am moved in and have set up my work area that we can have mini workshops in each other's discipline: Sara learning a few metalwork techniques & myself learning some basic textile approaches. We also hope to have a day or two rummaging around some local vintage shops and recycling centre and I would love to take Sara, at a later date, to Baird's in Glasgow to hand pick some silver wires / chains etc to use.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Chain Samples & Wire Mesh

This is the results of the handkerchief and paper clip chains after a period of time rusting. The photo actually doesn't show the orange tones very well - there is a lot more discolouring than is obvious in the picture. I like the results but I don't think the single chain is very effective. I like the volume produced by the small scraps of fabric and the different shades caused by the different degree of deterioration / rust on each safety pin and I think that the way to get the best result is to have a lot of chains together - perhaps all gathered together draping down maybe showing the different shades (unaffected, slightly rusted, extremely deteriorating.).

I spoke before about acting out ideas that arise from first viewing the items of Sara's parcels and this photo shows a quick experiment with one of the natural fabrics I was sent. The open weave of the fabric reminded me of mesh and I wanted to try weaving wire through the fabric to see if there would be any interesting results. I used silver as I happened to have lots of silver round wire at hand but it might be interesting to use different types of metal wire. I like the idea of silver woven through though as, again, there's a play on preciousness. The wire makes the fabric very malleable so there could be some great opportunities for shaping fabric into some interesting results. I also want to try some different destructive processes on the fabric to see changes in colour and if that will affect the strength or the ability to shape the fabric.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Initial Doodles etc.

Most of the items from Nicola that I am attempting to rust/affect at the moment have been plated in some form, so there are no big changes to be seen as yet - my vinegar solutions and concoctions are still working away! So in the mean time I wanted to post a couple of sketches to indicate what I'm aiming for in my experiments with repetition...

 I think that the larger hooks and eyes will produce some really lovely rusted prints - different compositions will work well as stand alone images or as long lines of emulative chains. I think I will begin with silks and glazed cottons.

A few rubbings to give an intial impression of how the imagery should appear. And below, a print made from rusted paper clips on parchment. The paper clips rust fairly easily and immediately came to mind when I began to consider the idea of creating links and chains - they're proving useful in these early stages. Hopefully, I'll be able to make more of this ilk when the pearl wire rings and brace clasps have succumbed to the rust!

And again, further paper clip experiments. I like the different grades of rustiness on each - all are entirely individual. Can't wait to get going with the rest of our materials!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Swapped Materials & Results

Bundle of fabrics. 
Mainly natural materials & neutral colours.

Small laser-cut felt circles.

The contents of the 1st parcel I received from Sara were a bit of a surprise in a way as I hadn't expected to deal with so much fabric so early on. It felt a little like being thrown in the deep end as at first I was clueless as to how to even begin experimenting with them. However I suppose this can be likened to first working with silver in the jewellery department: the idea that any attempt to heat or shape the metal was somehow ruining it, destroying the preciousness. 

I love the colours of the materials that I have been sent: creams, beiges and natural tans as the resulting brilliant oranges of branding or rusting will show up beautifully on them. The girly strips of lace are similar to some I have used in my own personal work so I am eager to use them in a new way and experiment. A few ideas for certain fabrics popped into my mind immediately upon seeing them so I will post the results of these ideas realised soon.

The material I am most excited about is the felt circles as they reminded me of the results of the experiments I conducted using tacs (see below) and I feel they have so much potential uses.

Two tacs removed to reveal rusted pattern.

All tacs removed - rusted print revealed.

Reverse of handkerchief.

I am very pleased with the results of my mini-experiments with the handkerchiefs and tacs. I think the print looks quite professional - a mixture of soft and tough - and think this is a pattern I would like to repeat on different fabrics to compare results.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Parcel #1

For our first swap, Nicola has sent me a selection of lovely vintage finds:

Apart from being a find in itself, (beautiful weathered textures, worn packaging), I find this set instantly provides a strong platform for experimentation. Larger, (size B as the label says!), than the conventional hooks and eyes that you will typically find used in high street garments at the moment,could be interesting in terms of scale, composition and imagery e.g. the fastenings themselves might act as the main focus of any final pieces (links, chains etc.), work as larger scale abstracted prints by way of Nicola's branding technique or induced rust against natural, quality fabrics...Lots of scope for play...

Nicola has sent too, a second set of hooks and eyes. I like that these are very different from the first set which are already well rusted, quoted on the back as being, 'Finest Hard Steel Wire: Extra Japanned'. I like the phrasing of this product description. Having researched the term, I have found that, to have a 'japanned' exterior (derived from the tough, glazed finish typical of traditional Japanese pottery), means to have a heavily laquered finish similar to enamel paint and is meant to prevent rusting and any weakening of the metal. This degree of protection is interesting and will no doubt encourage further technical exploration of the juxtaposition between preciousness and neglect.

Brace fastenings. I think photographed as this little family they are beautiful. It might be interesting to expose each to a different destructive/emulative process to characterise different elements of mistreatment?

I love the spot of rust on the top left edge of the tape.

These clasps are also interesting objects in themselves. I find the contrasting textures and edges particularly inspiring - the teeth against the bound edge of the tape...

I wonder if it will be possible to make rusty or embossed prints of serated edging in an attempt to gain some control over our rather organic printing methods?


I think that the colour palette of these ribbons and tapes, in conjunction with the harsher textures of worn metals, will act as a pertinent reminder of fragility.

I am eager to experiment with the different textures of the ribbons Nicola has sourced - satins and velvets will produce some very interesting prints and create new 'affected' textures as a result of any rusting, branding or embellishment.

Suspender clips. I like that these, as objects, are static. Again, these will help in retaining control.


Pearl wire rings. I associate these wholly with Nicola's personal design work. They are so delicate and reflective, it was interesting to see Nicola abuse them so in her experiments with branding. I think it will be interesting to see how they emerge once stripped back, (I have a couple pickling currently).

So far, I'm having fun experimenting with compostition. I like the simplicity of building upon the obvious characteristics of the materials Nicola has sent me, (as above) and hope to play around with repetition and 'interrupted patterns' this week.