Further to my first blog on my theme book I was able to explore some ideas with raw edge applique in Part 3 (Project 4, Stage 3) using this mixed media painting – it was based on a photograph I took in a nearby country park (Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire).
This is a favoured image due to the colours and reflections in the small stream and the small stone bridge.
I wanted to try in Part 3 seeing how the image would translate to applique and in particular raw edge applique as it is not a technique I am a fan of as I like neat turned under edges with no fraying. Although my tutor felt that the tweeds got lost due to my use of too many colours it did give me some ideas of how applique can be used combined with strong reflective shapes.
Since working on Part 3 my fiance and myself have been back out to Dovedale and also to Ilam Park which is literally just over the hill and also to Calke Abbey which is also in Derbyshire.
Further sketchbook work has been done based on some trips over the summer including this one based on the view from Ilam Hall looking over the gardens across to Thorpe Cloud in Dovedale. What I wanted to concentrate on was the beautiful wall and the variations in the textures as well as the tones of the greens with highlights of the pink flowers in the foreground. I really liked the hardness of the stone against the green foliage too as it provided contrast of hard against soft or man-made against natural. This painting was done in a mix of watercolour and acrylic which is rapidly becoming a favoured mix.
The other image I have worked on was based on a photograph I took near the stepping stones in Dovedale – this view is known to all who visit there and is from a slightly raised vantage point. Taking inspiration from an artist, Paul Corfield, whose work I saw in a local art gallery I decided to simplify the shapes and contours adding small dots to portray light and texture.
This sketch was solely done in acrylic which I am still trying to find ways of using both in sketchbook work and with a potential view to use on fabrics. I can see how this particular image or idea could be used to develop simplified designs to use with applique, paint, stitch or even weaving.
Another sketch was done purely in pastels and again based on a photograph taken in Dovedale. I can honestly say that particular day the sky really was that blue! This piece was purely about trying to get textures and colours down with an impression of perspective. I am not entirely sure where this piece can go as yet but think it can combine with other pieces to create a design.
So where do I go from here with my sketches and ideas? I felt I had a collection of paintings and rough sketches that were developing and I was happy with but no real ideas of how to develop the designs – I did not want to go forward randomly and just trying exercises from previous sections without at least a vague idea of where I was aiming to go.
I ended up putting down the theme for a period of time whilst working on Part 4 and also my History of Art module and this gave me thinking time where I could take a step back and keep looking at my collection of photographs and sketches done so far considering different ideas. During this time my fiance and I have visited Calke Abbey near Melbourne in Derbyshire where I found I really liked the doorways going into the gardens – as you approached each you were struck by a beautifully framed view. Although at the time of writing I have not done any specific drawings of views through doorways it struck me that I love things like moon gates or vistas through gateways or windows and I wondered if I could take this further.
At the same time as our visit to Calke Gardens I have also been working on Part 4 of this course and in doing so have worked on an idea for a sample which I consequentially decided to base on looking through a moon gate albeit an oval one. Further inspiration came from a chance photograph of Clarice Cliff designs I saw on Facebook – I have always loved the colours and simple shapes in her designs. Taking a photograph from the Tissington Trail (another inspiration-hunting trip) I developed this design (in acrylic paint) which I felt could translate well into weaving.
At this point I will state that the reason for such a delay in getting this done is due to whiplash – coming back from that trip to Calke Abbey unfortunately another car hit ours from behind! This whiplash to my neck and shoulders is impacting on my studying and ability to weave drastically at the moment and at the time of writing Part 4 is going to my tutor without this sample – the one saving grace is the fact this is now a sample for both Part 4 and Part 5!
I decided to weave this piece from the side having seen tapestries at Hardwick Hall recently – weaving from the side both allowed for weight issues when the tapestries were hung and also the fact that weaving this way enables for more accurate curves.
This pictorial design is something I feel I can develop for my idea of a bag and my initial idea was to do 3 panels with either different images or 3 variations of one image with each being woven and then the bag being pieced together with dyed calico for the sides, bottom and lining albeit on a slightly smaller scale – roughly A4 size.
I stated ‘initial idea’ because frustratingly this is where the whiplash has had a real impact and forced me to realise my neck and shoulder are not going to tolerate weaving for the periods of time that I would need and also the fact that the whiplash has delayed my assignment by nearly a month mean I am also working under tighter deadline time constraints too – a rethink has been needed!
Today (17 October) I decided to email my tutor to ask to send Part 4 minus the above sample but with my ideas for my theme book and bag and whilst typing an idea formed – I develop a series of 1, 2 or 3 designs inspired as above by Clarice Cliff but only 1 is woven. The woven panel I will insert into the front flap of a satchel style bag – effectively I used reverse applique with the rest of the panel being quilted i.e. cutting an oval in the top layer of fabric and wadding and turning under so it creates a slightly padded frame around the weaving and then the whole panel has another layer of wadding to back it with quilting through the 3 layers of the frame before backing with the lining fabric. This front flap I can embellish as I originally wanted to with either hand stitching or stumpwork flowers in weaving, knitting or tapestry yarns.
The main section of the bag will have the other 1 or 2 designs done in applique both front and back. My questions are whether to do a recessed zip as additional security and whether to do separate side panels and bottom panels – the advantage of doing the latter is the fact that the bag can be wider than if I did boxed corners (I find these can restrict the width a little). I also need to consider adding a thick fabric covered cardboard based into the inside of the bag if I want to retain the chosen shape.
All of the design questions I am considering on how to make the bag I have ended up putting in a mind-map program which is proving incredibly useful instead of just thinking about them in my head or noting down on odd bits of paper. This mind-map will also be printed out and added to my sketchbook.
My next stage is now to draw out my actual design for the bag with the first one seen above – my thoughts seem to be basing ideas on a classical shape that appears to cross the years from the 1920’s right through to the 1960’s and exists today. Many designs do not include a flap but do have zips but I personally prefer the addition of both as I feel the combination gives added security in our modern world – however the designing icon House of Chanel does have a bag which is considered a classic which is quilted and has a small 3/4 size flap. The advantage of a classical style is that it transcends time and also is apparent in the period in which Clarice Cliff was alive and designing her stunning ceramic works.