‘The Fabric Works’ sketchbook
Exploring along another possible outcome, I wanted to start on creating some miniature cushion like forms to begin forming the piece. I am still in the development of my blanket piece too, so really I just want to have see and experiment with my options for my final outcome. When cutting the fabric squares out for my blanket piece, I’m left with quite a lot of scrap fabric, but doing these cushions is allowing my recycle my materials.
The cushions are double-sided portraits, so for this piece, I have to paint more portraits than I would for the blanket. However because of it’s small scale, they are easier and quicker to produce in a shorter time. Though when it comes to the miniature portraits for the cushions, I cant fit a circular pattern shape surrounding the portrait, and that originally was to be a visual demonstration of fear.
So with that in mind, the layout of the cushions is to position them into a grid like form were they are detached but still connected by a thread. My aim with how this piece is supposed to relate to fear, is by using multiple portraits, so the piece once completed will still have a surrounding and powerful impact on the space it will be suspended or placed. So what I hope to do is try bring the original portraits to life a bit as it I and the audience were the portraits and the piece is the painted space around those is the outcome piece itself.
As a stuffing for the small cushions, I used some felt I had on hand, which sufficed and gives volume to the cushions. I think that when deciding on the stuffing of these cushions, I could consider whether I could add more than just felt or another material inside. Because the theme is of fear, Its something that weighs on us mentally and/or physically. So I would maybe think about giving this soft piece of work something that it contrasts too, a heaviness by adding stones of objects into the mini pockets.
The response to doing this could be interpreted in many ways by the audience, people might see this as a comfortable weight, almost like a weight blanket that eases anxiety, and others might find the idea that’s the purpose of something that’s supposed to comfort us, but is disrupted by heavy objects, uncomfortable and I think with either of these reactions would be effective with my work because fear is something that effects everyone in different ways and people respond to them differently too.
To close the cushions, I decided on leaving the stitch bare and visible. I quite like the look of the loose threads and how they hand. So when all the portraits are in their positions, the threads will create a overflowing look on top of each other, which I think will look effective in terms of what I want to aim for with this idea of capturing the impacts of fear, I hope that leaving the thread ends will supply some movement to my piece.
In my previous blog, I mentioned about some possible idea development that showed through my experimental work that to me seemed like it could have the protentional to become a final outcome.
This idea is going of my experimental stages of playing around with scale and using a sewing machine, whilst I was in the midst of sewing fabric together, I did think about the possibility of creating something 3D, but got side tracked with the blanket idea which maintained a 2D like form.
However, I thought that I should probably experiment with stuffing or bring the work some form and life.
The idea is to form an installation/tapestry like piece that I could suspend from a wall or ceiling out of multiple miniature cushions which produced these small individual portrait characters. However, with this idea, to not over do the detail, the patterns which would have been represented as the fears will be left out. And instead, the layout of these miniature portraits will itself, represent that pattern like form. This will also solve the solution to not being able to use more patterns or mark makings for the slightly larger portraits made for the blanket.
Making this idea would also be more suitable for presentation layout, because of the pandemic it is best advised that we avoid touching things unnecessarily. So people could still view the piece in it’s full detail and glory. However, how It will be suspended and with what is still something I will have to think about.
To begin with, I think that my worry with the production of the blanket is that I don’t really want the portraits to look all the same, and because I’m struggling to come up with other pattern ideas to interpret as the fears, I don’t want to resort to the same thing. I also think that the scale choice is also effecting that. Because I want to markings to look bold and supressing almost, I think that whatever pattern I use has to be considered intently and the positioning of the marking patterns too.
Another issue that I have noticed, is that when I’m making these portraits, when it comes to me making the circular pattern, some are smaller in scale than the others. Which throws the organised layout I was hoping to accomplish, out of the window.
However, a positive outcome, is that the production of making this blanket has lead me to think of alternatives and developments. So I have played around again with sale, the portraits and compositions a little more. Which I will discuss in the next blog post.
It has also come to my attention that I need more artist references who work with the materials and process I have been ,exploring with. So I have set a task to look into a few who might inspire me and influence my development of work.
-WRITTEN PROCESS DISCRIPTION –
When painting the portraits, I realised that I need to experiment with using other patterns to represent as the surrounding fear, and so having the same pattern in all the portraits might not be as effective as having different markings behind the portraits.
So I decided to use a range of small objects around my house such as a shell, nail and pencil to create the different markings with (I have made little notes aside the markings to decipher what they are).
The task now is to start to form portraits with different patterns to start forming some sort of blanket covering.
using the portraits, I would make multiple of them and attach them together to form some sort of blanket or comforter cover. To do this, I would be using the calico fabric and black acrylic paint for the portraits.
I would need to decide however, if my blanket will show portraits or patterns on the other side of it, and whether the blanket will be stuffed with other cotton materials or use an actual coverlet and make a quilt cover. And i will also need to consider the scale of the portraits and the time it takes to put into making them. So I still need to decide and consider a lot of things in this idea.
To help me think more thourghly on the ideas presentation and layout, I decided to make a mini blanket demonstration to help me generate decition making and further ideas for development.
On the mini blanket, you will see that I experimented with the different kinds of stitch I could attach my portraits together with to form this possible blanket. I used the sewing machine for the hidden stitch and the straight stitch, wear as I hand sewn with the cross stitch, which was very time consuming and inaccurate when it came to keeping the stitch line moderately straight.
Though, what I did like about this process was again that I used a smaller scale which is still able to show the amounts of detail and skill that looks interesting and still impacting. I also decided that adding people of colour was really interesting and nice to see added in there because fear is something that effects all despite the colour of our skin and cultures, and it’s refreshing for myself to use POC in my own work because fine art being a more white dominated subject I rarely see portraits of people of different skin tones other than white. And despite me having included POC, the portraits work well and don’t overpower the idea as a collective.
You will also notice that the portraits I’ve been doing have hardly any distinctive features and some are hard to identify as to what their gender could possibly be. I like the idea of keeping it that way and keeping my work inclusive and relative to all people, I don’t think the portraits need to be specifically gendered.
Playing around with using abstract and portraiture considering the theme ‘fear’
These portrait paintings were really nothing more than playing around with the leftover paint I had, So I thought it could be interesting to try different scales and methods of painting.
I’m not positive that these pieces will put into progress of my development work, but it adds into my experimentation and sketchbook build up. I think that the portrait though are interesting and it was definitely interesting to paint a portrait in such a small scale.
With this portrait, I tried something completely different to what I have been doing so far. What I was trying to interpret in this piece was kind of like a fear version of ourselves? So I made the portraits reflect themselves and painted the in more realistic tones by adding the shading areas and darker tones in places.
I chose red for experimenting with colour because red has many interpretations. For example, danger, love, blood and anger etc. So I figured it would be a good colour to use for this experimental piece. However, I think that the red is again distracting and too bold. I want to try and be subtle in my portraits and I think that if I were to use a statemented colour such as red, people might think the piece is based on something else from the theme I’m trying to lead by.
The portrait alone reminds me of playing card though. And I think that this style would be a good demonstration if I were to do a mini separate project where I would be working with playing cards.