How did your research into the work of artists and designers inspire and inform your practical work?
Whilst doing the research, some seemed irrelevant to the outlines of the project, but once I started making samples the relevance of some of the research became clearer. For example, the work of Mathis Bengson; I couldn’t see how his work would apply to any of the projects, Mainly because I was focussing on the materials he used, I think. But when I was cutting and tearing holes and layering them up, I could see the resemblance and relevance to his work. My own research inspired quite a bit of my sampling, for example, sewing leaves was inspired by Hillary Fayle and Susanna Bauer; sewing over plastic shapes inspired by Liz Sofields work of sewing over folded paper patterns. Sewing around and across holes inspired by Leisa Rich and Nava Lubelski. Looking at the shadows through my samples of the circles with burnt holes reminded me of Meredith Woolnough work- in the sense of the shadows her embroidered pieces make due to the way she mounts her work. The pinprick samples that I did were inspired by the sensory drawings of Gillian Adair.
The work of Jules Waibel really inspired me but in reality, I found the folding project the most difficult. Such precision and skill are needed to work out the folds and is something that I really didn’t have the logic or patience for.
Researching these many different artists gave me lots of inspiration to play around with different materials and methods.
Which techniques did you particularly enjoy, and why? If you found a technique frustrating or unsatisfying, did you try to overcome that feeling by changing how you approached it?
I really enjoyed the puncturing project. I found the piercing of the paper very satisfying and meditative. I liked working out a design and using different tools to create different sized holes. The work on the thicker mixed media paper came out the best, crisp, clean and aesthetically pleasing to look at and to the touch. The simple act of piercing holes created quite a striking image which I could see being framed over LED lights to enhance the pattern of the holes. The pieces were very tactile, and I enjoyed being able to run my fingers over the holes to follow the design. Although I experiment with puncturing holes in other materials, the paper was the most effective.
I found the folding and pleating very frustrating. Jules Waibel’s work inspired me the most, but actually folding accurate pleats and shapes was extremely difficult and frustrating. I went to visit a local artist who uses folding and pleating in her work, as she had an open studio, to maybe overcome this frustration and see a demonstration. The artist, Hannah George, was very inspiring and introduced me to proto-paper which she felt might make the process easier for me. I ordered some but I found that it didn’t. I still couldn’t get good consistent folds and repeating patterns. I did however manage to make some really odd shaped samples which were fun to try and draw. This was very disappointing to me as I would have liked to have created some geometrical, sculptural samples using this method.
Lots of the materials used in this section could be considered quite mundane and commonplace. How did your use of the techniques transform them or invest them with more value or beauty?
The cellophane I used was transformed quite significantly by crumpling it and placing fairy lights behind it. It looked almost crystalline in structure and the fairy lights made it glow so it looked like some sort of living, pulsating organism. I would have loved to have been able to fold the cellophane like Jules Waibel does for her lamps to create a jewellike structure, but that level of folding was a bit beyond my capabilities!
Placing the cut-out layers of copy paper onto a lightbox really enhanced the look of them. It introduced different shades of the paper and highlighted the overlapping cuts creating real depth to the piece. Without the light source these layers of cut-out paper looked insignificant. Again, placing coloured cellophane on the lightbox really brought it to life. Quite mundane seen on its own but with a light source behind it, it becomes quite special. The colours really pop and also the cellophane casts rainbow coloured shadows on surfaces when the light is shone through it.
Crumpling plain white copy paper until it became as soft as fabric also enhanced the beauty of an otherwise flat sheet of non-descript paper. It became mouldable, textured, flexible and soft, totally changing its original qualities
Did your use of your sketchbook help you develop new ideas for samples? How could your use of the sketchbook be improved?
My method of working can be a little bit haphazard as I have fibromyalgia, CFS and some other mental health issues. This can mean my brain can jump from one idea to the next sometimes with no logical obvious pattern. I try to allow my ideas just to flow as I’m creating and then analyse them afterward. When I’m in the flow of creating and one idea is sparking another I don’t always want to stop and document or reason why as I find that stops my creative flow.
I do use my sketchbook to record work I have done and ideas for further development, things I would like to make if time were permissible. I do understand my way of working may not seem like a continuous stream of thought so I do try and annotate my sketches, so it gives them some clarity. Because things pop into my head out of order, I do a lot of sketching on separate pieces of paper so that they can be added into the sketchbook in the right place. I do this to try and create some sort of order to my sketchbook, as I don’t want to draw on the actual pages of the sketchbook in random order as that would be confusing to tutors and assessors. These add-ins are not afterthoughts, they are an integral part of my process. My sketchbook could be improved further by trying to keep everything in a linear order but unfortunately given the nature of my illnesses I find this quite difficult.
How effectively did you use drawing to explore the visual qualities of your samples?
I used different mediums to translate my samples into drawings, being sensitive to colour, line, shade, shape and texture. Some were completed with pencil so they could be shaded or softened to fully explore the quality of the piece; some with black liner pen to show hardness or angles; Prisma colouring pencils to blend tones and shade; brush markers for bolder, brighter colours and blending like on the cellophane pieces; white pencil on black paper to try and convey the delicacy of crumpled copy paper; rubbings using graphite to translate the feel of embossed marks, and black-and-white inks with different sharp ended tools to capture the lines and marks of the scratched materials.
How effectively did you use or manipulate colour within your samples?
I used colours with some of the samples as I felt that colour was an integral part of the design for those, for example with the cellophane. Obviously, these wouldn’t have worked without colour. With the flap pieces, having colour behind the flaps enhances the design element. For some of the other samples I felt the materials more important than colour, so concentrated on that, using whatever coloured materials I had, after all they are samples and not finish pieces. Once technique is learnt and how a material responds to that technique, then colour can always be introduced later. Unfortunately, with time constraints I wasn’t able to focus on colour as much as I would have liked.
In conclusion, there were elements of this module that I enjoyed and elements that I didn’t. I had experimented with a few of these techniques in ATV- Burning holes, folding and pleating, layering, so I felt like I was going over the same things. I also did a lot of sampling of burning, melting and fusing materials in ATV so I didn’t include that section at all in this module. I enjoyed doing my own research of artists I found online to inspire my sample making and I think this gave me a really basis of design and material ideas to implement.
Again, I started with A4 copy paper to experiment with my various tools. I used a piece of foam to lay the paper on to punch through as none of the tools were going through the paper on a hard surface. Some tools gave very neat, clean holes, others gave very rough edges when pulled back through the paper. Punching slowly gave neater holes, fast and random gave rougher marks. The pronged sculpting tool gave an interesting perforated hole and the curved sculpting tool gave little half moon type marks, a little like if you press your fingernail into a soft surface. The seam marker had to be used on a hard surface as it didn’t show up well when used on the foam. It gave very even, uniform, small holes and was easy to move in any direction, meaning I could create straight lines or curved with no difference in the way the holes came out. These holes could be used as they were or used as a guide to then puncture with something bigger.
On thicker material like card, the front of the hole stays smooth while the back is raised and rough. On the copy paper the puncturing tool tended to pull the back through to the front on removal of the tool from the paper, making it rough on both sides. The thicker weight of the card seems to prevent this action on the whole, giving you a defined front and back side. I found this helps when you shine light through the piece-the light will shine through all the holes, creating an image, whereas if the rough side has been pulled through to the front this often obscures the hole, allowing no light through.
I experimented with tissue paper, which gave much the same results as the copy paper. Handmade paper; the holes were very hard to see, even with light behind it as the paper itself is quite translucent. The vellum was nice to work on. The vellum is sturdy so doesn’t buckle or crease when you are puncturing it. The holes are easy to see, light comes through the holes evenly and the rough side is very rough and defined, giving a really tactile feel which reminded me of braille.
I tried puncturing medium weight plastic on both soft and hard surfaces with mixed results; some marks were well defined, others very rough and messy. I experimented on puncturing leaves. I used bay leaves from my garden as although fresh they are quite sturdy. I used a pin first and it went through easily, but the holes were very tiny. I then tried one of the sculpting tools but that kept tearing the leaf around the hole. Then I used my Crop-a-Dile (like a hole punch). This worked extremely well and gave small, crisp holes with no tearing and no roughness on the reverse side.
I had a few small off cuts of balsa wood so decided to try piercing those. I used the same tools. Some worked better than others, for instance, the seam marker worked really well and although the holes were not going all the way through, it was easy to use a needle to make them slightly bigger. The awl and one of the drill bit awl’s split the wood when I pressed too hard, or tried to do the holes too close to each other. My crop-a-dile worked extremely well which surprised me as I didnt think it would go through the wood. It gave quite clean holes as well.
Not sure whether this one should be in the puncturing section but I really liked the technique having used it previously in ATV. Also inspired by images on pinterest and works by Karen Margolis. http://www.karenmargolisart.com/
I used a lit incense stick to burn different sized holes in white deli paper. The practice was very meditative, the result very intriguing, the burnt edges leave a brown rim and every circle is a slightly different shape. When layered up they seem to go on forever. When held up, the shadow cast underneath is really interesting. Reminded me a little of the embroidered works by meredith Woolnough, where she mounts them on pins on the board so you can see the shadow underneath. http://meredithwoolnough.com.au/ Progression of these samples could include adding colour, creating shapes other than circles with the burning, layering and mounting to show the shadows underneath.
Thinking again of braille I wanted to do a recognizable image. Something that you could see visually but could also feel to get an idea of the design. I used the vellum as this I felt had given the best results. I drew 3 poppy seed heads. The large centre one I pricked first using a medium sized pin. I then flipped the vellum over and did 2 more with a smaller needle. This meant that the piece was tactile both sides. When light shone through it the image sort of glowed which was pleasing.
Gillian’s work inspired me to have a go at some sensory drawings. I used various sized holes for different sensory experiences and I also did images rather than random holes.
The agate geode images on white mixed media paper worked especially well. The variation of hole sizes and placement really show up well when placed on a light box. The reverse side is very tactile and it is easy to follow the lines and make out the shape.
I enjoyed the puncturing exercise. It sounds silly but the sound of the different tools puncturing the paper when it was on the foam, was a very satisfying sound.This added to the sensory aspect of this exercise, not only could you feel the holes after they were made you could also hear them being made.
Exercise 2 stitching
Because I liked how the agate geode hole samples came out I decided to start with that shape again and then use different stitches in the holes to create the image. This didn’t turn out as well as I had envisioned it. Maybe it was the choice of colour or the stitches, or maybe there is not enough stitches but, overall, I was disappointed with this piece.
I went back to the bay leaves I had punctured with my crop-a-dile. I collected some dried grasses from the garden and more leaves and had a play with stitching through the holes with the grass. This was ok, but some of the grasses kept breaking. Looking back, fresh grass would have been better as there would have been more flexibility and then if it had dried in place it would probably hold better. Not to be deterred i tried cutting some holes and flaps in the leaves and using embroidery thread to stitch the flaps down or stitch across the holes. The leaves were really easy to stitch onto, I had expected them to fall apart but they held up well. I like the contrast of colour from the front and the back of the leaf when the flap is folded over and stitched. I also enjoyed stitching across the circles in a ‘dream catcher’ style. I thought the end result was very effective. Further progression for these samples could include, different types of leaves, shape, colour and maybe making a hanging piece with all the leaves. Or stitching different leaves together in a sort of crazy patchwork sort of way.
I still had all the circle templates left from the embossing exercises so I decided to work with these, joining the circles together and experimenting with stitch across the circles. I used variegated thread for more colour. This was another piece that I think looked better in my head! It reminded me of those wood and nail string art things you used to make at primary school for Mothers day or the like! Better card could be used and different thicknesses of thread if this sample was to be taken further. Also more experimentation with shapes and distance between shapes.
Inspired by Liz Sofield https://www.lizsofield.com/ i tried cutting some circles and folding them and then stitching them in place. I did this on plastic rather than white paper like Sofield does as I wanted to see what it would like transparent. I used ‘invisible’ thread so as not to distract from the folded shapes. It is the white on white which makes Sofields work so attractive I feel. I don’t think I achieved the same aesthetic with the plastic although I feel there is scope for development- maybe using different coloured threads or different coloured plastics.. Also Sofields work is very precise with the folding and placement and as I discovered during the folding exercise, I just don’t have the patience for that precision!
Inspired by Leisa Rich and Nava Lubelski I cut 3 layers of plastic and cut out holes in each piece. I used embroidery thread to stitch around and across the holes and then I stitched the 3 layers together on one side, creating a booklet style sample. I was really inspired by the layers of some of Rich’s work, being able to see through to the layers underneath, but obscuring those layers slightly with stitch and other embellishments. For me it created depth and made me feel like a secret was being slowly exposed.
I am pleased with this sample, it is colourful, different and has lots of scope for development- playing with scale, shapes, colour, different materials. I like the shadow play as well, it reminds me of a spirograph drawing.
Looking back at work from previous exercises I stitched onto a sheet of crumpled A4 copy paper. I made ridges and used a running stitch with white cotton to gather the ridge a little, creating more crumples. I like the tiny little pleats this created and how these could be laid flat or raised. The shadow of the ridges also created nice tones on the paper.
I then tried to recreate some of the crumpled lines with stitch on mixed media paper. I punctured holes randomly across the paper and then used mulberry silk string to make loop stitches that stood proud of the paper. The loops crossed over each other, representative of the crossing crumpled lines. The shadows from the looped stitches added more ‘lines’ onto the sample recreating the grey tone from the ridged sample above. I like how this has turned out but feel i could have done a lot more loops on it to really convey the busyness of the crumpled lines.
I then wanted to try and recreate the grey tone of the crumples so I used squares of tin foil crumpled up, mounted on white mixed media paper and used silver wire to create the looped stitches this time. I do like this but think maybe it would work better without being mounted on white. I mounted it to show up the colour but samples could be developed using just the tin foil as the base.
Again I looked at samples from the previous exercises to inspire stitch and made a little cross stitch sample based on the x-cut flap piece from exercise 5, project 2. All the crosses are white except for one which is red to stand out from the others. Very simple but quite effective.
Lastly I found one of the small pieces of balsa wood I had made in holes in and stitched into that. Care had to be taken not to break the wood between the holes if they were too close together, but the stitching was easy. Development of this sample could involve a larger piece of balsa wood, possibly with holes cut out rather than punctured and then doing the stitching around the edges and across the centers of the holes like I did in the plastic samples.
I started with white A4 copy paper and collected some items to emboss- A potato masher, paper clip, a chip mat, a small metal ruler, a pair of scissors, a water bottle lid and a bay leaf. I used various sized ball ended embossing tools, the end of a paintbrush and a sculpting tool to rub over the paper with the item underneath. I placed the items onto a lightbox and laid the paper over the top, so it was easier to see the image. The paper clip embossed very well, as did the potato masher and the metal ruler. The chip mat pattern came out ok but was time consuming as the holes were tiny. I tried just rubbing over the mat to see how that worked and the indents showed up, just no where near as detailed as doing each hole individually. The bay leaf took a lot of pressure to get the veins t show up and the embossing of the scissors didn’t come out very clean as they were quite chunky.
Next I tried some shop bought stencils, designed by Seth Apter, I had for art journaling. These worked really well and gave a clean, crisp emboss. The indented side and the embossed side both look good and well defined.
I decided to make my own stencils and templates for embossing, so I used some thin card and cut out circles. I used both the cut-out circles and the stencil created from the cut outs. I used A4 copy paper on the light box, so it was easy to see the templates and stencil underneath. I used various sized embossing tools to see which worked best. The marks came out better with a smaller ball tipped tool. The lines were not as crisp as they were when I used the shop bought stencils, probably due to not taking enough care with the cutting out. I experimented with a piece of purple scrapbooking vellum. This was very easy to emboss; the tool glided effortlessly and gave a good mark. Where the vellum is pressed it shows as a white raised line on the back of the paper which highlights the mark well. It is also very tactile as the lines are very prominent. The embossing worked much the same on the glassine paper, giving a good prominent mark and changing the colour where the paper was marked.
I tried delicate handmade paper next. Although the image embossed easily it is very difficult to see the image on the paper. If you hold it up to the light you can see the embossed image a little clearer. I thought the paper might tear as it feels very fragile, but it didn’t. I used a thick mixed media paper (a little like watercolour paper) and embossed on both sides with the circle stencils and templates. This gave the paper, both the embossed and indented marks on the same side. I liked the mixture of the two as it gave a very tactile finish on both sides. Next, I used more of the core-dinations cardstock. I thought the core colour might show through when embossed but it didn’t. I used a paper file and filed away a little of the surface of the raised image and this did reveal a little of the core colour. As I couldn’t see through the card stock the image embossed is not very clean. I had to feel my way around the stencil with the embossing tool and I veered away from the edge of the stencil in a couple of places It definitely works better if you can see the stencil or template underneath. Next I attempted to emboss on a sheet of foam. I thought this would work well but, again, I couldn’t see the stencil under the foam. The foam was much thicker than paper, so it was also difficult to feel the stencil as well. None of the tools marked the foam very well, some scratched up the surface, some took lots of pressure to even indent the foam. The embossed shapes did not last as the foam sprung back into place after a couple of minutes.
Project four scratching and embossing
Exercise two Scratching
Tools I collected to scratch materials with included, a pronged sculpting tool, distressing tool, scratchy sculpting tool, awl, 4 sided file, craft knife, fork, drill tipped bradel, needlepoint sculpting tool, knitting needle, triangular sculpting tool, seam marker, plastic serrated tool and a pair of scissors.
I started with a sheet of A4 copy paper and experimented with scratching with the tools I had collected. The scratchy sculpting tool and the plastic serrated edge tool didn’t do a lot. The scratchy tool left the paper a little rough to the touch but wasn’t very visible, and the plastic serrated tool gave a very slight indent to the paper but mostly made it look shiny. The distressing tool visibly scuffed up the paper and left it feeling rough, the needle point sculpting tool created good linear marks, went through the paper in places and left rough little marks. The drill tipped bradel ripped the paper when used sideways but made fine score lines when just using the tip. The file tip made rough lines but when used sideways it ripped the paper, leaving a triangle hole and crumpled paper at the bottom of the mark. The craft knife used upside down made small linear holes in the paper. Used the right way up it made score marks that didn’t quite go through the paper.
I tried various tools on cellophane but none of them were very successful. The distressing tool needed a lot of pressure and it left very faint scratch marks that made the cellophane surface matt in that area. The craft knife worked well to create linear marks and also squiggles. The Core-dinations card stock was interesting as when scratched, the core colour shows through. This created interesting marks and contrasts. On the vellum paper the tools worked well. You could visibly see the marks made on the front but on the back they were even clearer and raised and whiter in colour. It was also easier to create curved lines without the paper tearing when I changed direction. On the mixed media paper some of the tools roughed the surface up and some made very fine indentations to the surface. I used foam next and scratching into it worked much better than trying to emboss it. The marks that were made stayed in place- the foam did not spring back into shape. Because the foam is thicker than the paper the marks made were a lot deeper and defined, giving a very tactile sample. This method would work well to print from, either as a collagraph or used in mono printing.
I used A4 copy paper and a craft knife and cut random rectangles out of the paper. I then took two more sheets of paper and cut random rectangles into those as well and then layered the three pieces of paper together. This created interesting shapes and patterns through the holes of the paper. I wanted to record these shapes, so I laid each individual sheet of paper onto my sketchbook page, one at a time, and used different colour pens for each piece of paper to draw through the holes. This created a very interesting pattern in my sketchbook. I then laid the three pages together onto my sketchbook page and I drew through the holes which created a random assortment of different shapes. I then wanted to look at the effect of shadow and light through the cut-out shapes. When the three sheets of rectangles were laid on top of each other on the lightbox the intricacy of the pattern intensified due to the shadow and light created. It very much reminded me of an x-ray with the different shades of white and grey created. I liked the effect of the build-up of layers and shadows; it was like each layer was revealing something different to me. I then did the same experiment but using circles. Again, I drew through each individual sheet of circles into my sketchbook page which created an overlapping circle pattern and then I placed the three sheets of circles together and drew through the holes creating a random shaped pattern. Because I used different coloured pens in my sketchbook to draw through the shapes this inspired me to use different coloured paper to create the shapes in. I used red, orange, yellow and light-yellow coloured paper and cut out random circles and ovals in each sheet. When layered together the different colours show through creating a web like effect of different shapes and strands of paper. It reminded me of images of heart strings or muscle sinew, stretched out, creating holes. Placed on a black paper background intensifies the other colours. Placing on a light box did not have much of an effect as the light didn’t penetrate the different colours of paper as well as I thought it might. , I then used red, blue, yellow and green sheets of cellophane and cut out random circles and ovals in each. I layered them together which created different shades and variants of the original colours. I mounted this onto white A4 copy paper which enhanced the shape of the circles. Placed on a lightbox this piece looked particularly impressive with the different colours showing through created by the layering of the red and yellow and the blue and yellow. The colours and contrasts were bright and vivid. I then used the cut-out circles from the cellophane and mounted them in an overlapping pattern onto a clear piece of cellophane. Again, overlapping colours created new colours and darker and lighter shades. When placed onto the lightbox this really came into its own and became really quite spectacular to look at. It was jewel like and cast rainbow shadows onto the light box when lifted above it.
Further development on this project could include a larger scale cellophane piece to see the effect of light through transparent colour, projected onto a wall or floor space. Reverse applique techniques on layered fabrics to show shapes and holes, or transparent fabrics like organza or scrim to allow the shapes underneath to show through.
Project 2 tearing and cutting
exercise five creating flaps
inspired by images on Pinterest I drew squares out on a piece of A4 paper approximately 3 cm x 3 cm. I then cut from each corner into the centre of the square creating a and ex cut. Placed on the light box these looked quite graphic and striking. I decided to add some colour. I chose three squares to highlight with different colours, one orange, one yellow, one light yellow, and placed these colours behind the three squares I’d selected. I then back to the piece of paper with a sheet of red paper so that the other squares were highlighted with red.laid next to each other without the light box behind the white paper, I prefer the coloured squares behind, but putting the white sheet on the light box really makes this design stand out and become quite a strong graphic look.
I then experimented with a petal shape cut, creating a flower/ mandala look layered with different coloured papers underneath. Not as effective as the x-cut piece I don’t feel, it doesn’t stand out enough to me.
I wanted to experiment with circles again so decided to try a sort of moon phase look. I cut circle flaps going in different directions and then mounted black card stock behind. I really like this design, it stands out and has a quite geometric feel to it- it also reminds me of Oreo cookies!
I then used up some foil squares and coloured paper squares from some of my other experiments and created flaps mounted onto white card by folding the squares and just attaching one side to the backing with glue. Nothing special really, but i like that they are ‘fake’ flaps.
Projects 2 tearing and cutting
exercise six Tearing
Taking inspiration from Mathis Bengtsson’s layered art and from an online picture of a crystal geode (which is what I was reminded of when looking at Bengtsson’s work) I decided to create a layered piece using different colours of pastel paper. I drew a random shape on a piece of brown craft paper and cut it out. I place that on top of a piece of white copy paper and drew through the cut out. I then drew a line a few millimetres in from the drawn shape all the way around and cut that out. I repeated this process on different coloured papers until I could go no further. I then layered them up and glue them in place. This created a sample that to me, was reminiscent of the crystal geode or typography lines on a map. I had saved all the pieces I cut out, so I layered them on top of each other creating a type of reverse cut out piece. The lines were very clean and crisp so next I decided to do the same technique but to tear the cut-outs rather than cutting them with scissors. I used seven pieces of A4 white copy paper for this sample. I tore a large hole in the first piece and then carried on through the other sheets gradually making the hole smaller and smaller. This piece didn’t look like much until I laid it on the lightbox. The light shining through the layers created lots of different shades which enhanced the artwork and gave it a lot more detail. You could really see the rough, torn edges, giving it a more organic feel than the one I cut with a knife. I then coloured the torn edges with inks to highlight them in the hopes it would stand out better without the light shining through it. This did work but it is not as impressive as leaving it blank and putting onto the lightbox. The coloured edges look unnatural and messy. Again, I kept the pieces that I tore out and created a reverse layer which I also coloured the edges on.
I experimented with sixteenths, thirty- seconds, irregular folds, folded sixteenths cut when folded and then opened up, and also folded then opened up and cut.
I followed instructions from Paul Jackson’s book folding techniques for designers.  (Jackson, 2011)
For my first experiments I used plain white A4 copy paper. Folding the copy paper was relatively easy it creased well and kept its shape.
I then folded with a sheet of vinyl, leaving the backing paper on. When this was creased into folds it made lots of other creases appear horizontally making it look like it had been folded in the opposite direction as well. This gave a nice overall texture and interesting lines.
Folded cellophane – This folded easily but although the folds stay creased it didn’t hold its shape like the paper. I liked how the colour darkens when folding it. The layers of translucency build up to a more intense colour. The fold lines remain but the cellophane does not stay in the folded pleated position.
Holographic wrapping paper – this didn’t fold very easily at all. It would not keep the fold or the shape. I tried gently heating the fold to set it with a heat gun, but it started crumpling and melting very quickly even a low heat. I then tried a small Clover iron on a low setting, but the result was the same. I think I would need some sort of backing on the holographic paper to give it some stability. I was drawn to try the cellophane and holographic paper as I liked the results achieved with these materials by Julie Waibel.
I decided to use the proto paper as a template and fold up the holographic paper inside it. I cut a strip of the holographic paper and laid it on top of a strip of the proto-paper and then use the perforations in the proto-paper to fold up into triangles. I used bulldog clips to clamp it in place and left it for a while to set. When I took the clips off the folds still didn’t hold their place very well so I re folded it inside the proto-paper and then use the heat gun to heat set it a little bit it did start melting rather quickly. One piece came out a little distorted, but the other piece came out better.
Crêpe paper – it was very difficult to get a nice crisp fold with the crêpe paper, but the texture of the paper combined with the folding was pleasing to the eye as it looked like it had already been highly pleated. The paper is very stretchy though and it pings back into shape meaning the folds do not hold their place.
Proto Paper- I then had a play with some specialist paper I had bought called Proto paper. It comes with perforations, ready for folding, which I thought would make it easier to use. I tried various folds, creating different shapes, but I found it difficult to get a uniformed, repeat pattern. Most of my folding led to one off, unusual shapes.
I felt that folding paper would be easy, but, folding precise, even folds was actually very difficult. Even with the perforated paper I struggled to make anything balanced. Further exploration of this method could involve using fabric that can be heat set to keep the folds, or experimenting with stitch to hold pleats in place.
exercise 4 incremental and twisted pleats
Again, I started with A4 copy paper to create twisted pleats which I held in place with staples. I created straight twisted pleats and curved twisted pleats. Visually, these are appealing. The copy paper held the shape well. I then used an A4 sheet of copy paper to create curved twisted pleats using a bone folder to emboss the curved lines, but the paper kept ripping when I then tried to crease it into folds. I then tried the holographic paper but this was extremely difficult to fold into twisted pleats. The paper would not keep its shape and kept springing back. I had to use staples and sellotape to hold the pleats/twists in place.
Inspired by artist Kyyro Quinn’s work with felt, I decided to use a sheet of felt to create curved twisted pleats, which I stitched in place. The felt is thick and holds the shape and curves very well when stitched in place. I think welt felting would hold the folds in place without stitching so that is something to experiment with at a later date.
I used a piece of white felt and folded it the same way as I had the A4 copy paper to create twisted pleats. It was very hard to get precise folds due to the thickness of the felt and the fact that it is a little stretchy. I tried using an iron to set the pleats but that didn’t work so I used stitching top and bottom to hold the pleats in place. I then added another twist and secured in place. This created three twists on each fold, changing the direction each time.
I cut six strips of felt and attached them at the top of a flat piece of white felt. I then made two twists in each strip and secured the strip at the bottom of the flat piece of felt. This created 3D twists that are separate from the bottom piece, except for the top and bottom which are held in place with stitch. I then made a smaller version using three thin strips of pink felt and a small piece of white backing felt. I stitched the three pink strips to the white base felt then added five twists in each strip and secured in place at the bottom by stitch. The twists hold well in the felt and keep their shape.
I then cut a long continuous piece of felt roughly a centimetre wide and cut a backing strip of felt 5 cm wide. I Laid the thin strip on the backing felt horizontally and then folded it back on itself creating a type of loop which I then secured with pins until I completed the whole strip. Then I stitched straight down the middle to hold in place.
I liked the felt because it was easy to manipulate, easy to keep in place and gave a good structural sample. I could take this further by using a better quality felt or making my own, and by using welt felting techniques to create the twists so that they are an integral part of the overall structure, rather than something separate that has been joined on.
exercise five basic crumpling technique
I started with A4 copy paper and screwed it up into a ball. I opened it back out and repeated the process several times until I had a nicely crumpled piece of paper. The paper became quite soft and stretchy. I experimented with putting curved ribs into the crumpled paper. This was very effective in the copy paper it held its shape well and the play of shadow and light created extra depth. I crumpled cellophane and that held it shape very well too. I then created ridges in the crumpled cellophane. Where the ridges were created the cellophane became darker because the translucency is building up. Placing the cellophane on top of the lightbox allowed the light to flow through the piece creating even more texture and depth. I layered blue and yellow crumpled cellophane together and created ridges where the colours overlapped. This created a new shade of green with the light flowing through it. It looked quite dynamic. I then experimented with fairy lights underneath the crumpled pieces inspired by Julie Waibel’s lampshades. The yellow cellophane glowed like a piece of amber and it appeared very crystalline in structure.
I then crumpled some tissue paper which became very soft, delicate and very pliable. The ribs creased nicely into the paper just using my fingers. It was a little flimsy to stand up or to hold the shape, but the shape created was very pleasing. It reminded me of an insect’s body armour. Ideas for development could be to spray it with starch or coat it with a thin layer of PVA glue to get a firmer structure that would stand up on its own while still looking delicate?
I folded the crêpe paper and crumpled that it gave a good texture that looked and felt like fabric. Because the papers pleated already and quite thick, the crumpling adds another layer of texture and it becomes very soft and fluid.
The next crumpled piece I did was the holographic wrapping paper. The colour started to come off with all the crumpling, but the overall effect was very jewel like. It gave a crackled, iridescent sparkle and looked better without the lightbox behind it. It did not hold its shape and although the ribs folded into a curve, they also did not hold their shape for long. It looked like a Dragons wing.
I then use the crumpled A4 copy paper and moulded it around outside bottom of an egg box. The paper held it shape, but I didn’t find the shape that interesting. I then used the inside of the egg box and moulded the crumpled paper into that. When removed the two mountains held their shape okay. I decided to mould the crumpled paper around a 3D printed vase. The texture of the vase transferred very well into the crumpled paper and it held its shape. I then tried moulding it around a printed 3D limpet shell but that didn’t hold the shape at all. I then tried to mould the crumpled paper to my face. That was not very successful. The lips were quite defined, as were the eye sockets, but nothing else imprinted well into the paper.
Glassine paper- This paper is brown and shiny, stiff and looks almost waxy. (Brand name is Tim Holtz’s Glassine paper and it is used in scrapbooking and mixed media work). When crumpled however it becomes very soft and pliable and looks almost like a well-worn leather. The crease marks are lighter in colour giving it a tonal quality it didn’t have before. Although the crumpling makes it softer, it actually becomes a lot stronger as well.
Core-din-ations colour core cardstock- This is a cardstock used in scrapbooking that is black on one side and coloured on the other. You can rub away some of the surface on the black side and the colour core will show through. Crumpling this card stock allowed a little of the pink colour to show up. I wanted more colour, so I took a paper filing tool and filed away at the creases revealing a deeper colour.
I was lucky enough to attend Carol Ann Eades studio during the annual open studios this year. I took part in a shibori workshop with her as part of the ‘threads connect ryde’ project last year and I follow her on instagram and love her work. Carol Ann uses shibori, Indigo dyeing, rust dyeing and eco printing in her work and is currently Artist in residence at Ventnor Botanical Gardens. This year Carol Ann was collaborating with artist Hannah George , a community artist who works and designs with folded paper. Together they were using Hannahs folded works as templates for Carol Ann’s indigo dyeing with beautiful results. The folds were made into the paper and then fabric was folded into those templates before clamping and dipping into the indigo vat.
I was very interested to talk to Hannah about her work due to the nature of part one of MMT- folding and crumpling. Hannah took the time to talk to me about her creative process, the materials she used and also pointed me in the direction of specialist paper that has perforated fold lines making folding a lot easier. Her new works on display consisted of beautiful folded flowers and seed pods with geometric designs.
Hannah has also used her paper foldings as moulds to cast designs in concrete. I believe she works alongside her husband who creates artificial rock pools (Vertipools) and bio tiles for the marine environment, at Artecology on the Isle of Wight.  I will definitely be looking more at this work further on in MMT for the Moulding and Casting section.
Please do check out Carol Ann and Hannah’s work by following the links below, two very inspirational and extremely helpful artists! I have also included a link to Artecology as their work is also well worth checking out, whether from a design standpoint, an ecology one, or both.
A Finnish designer who works in the UK, specialising in textiles for interiors and large scale wall and art installations. She has a very sculptural approach not normally seen in textiles used for interior design. She works mainly in felt to create her three dimensional pieces and they have a great deal of visual and tactile appeal; I would want to run my hands over them to see if they feel as good as they look. Her large installations are very dynamic. The use of folding and pleating on such a large scale works well to capture the organic forms. I’m not sure they would be so dynamic at a smaller scale. The pleating and folding produce areas of shadow and light which highlight more deeply the delicate structure of the pieces. The wavy texture of her Laine design shows really well how these shadows enhance the look, making the curves appear to ripple. The wool felt seems to be a good material to use as although it is soft and supple it is firm enough to hold its shape once folded or twisted into the design. The solid colour on some of the pieces gives the designs an aesthetically pleasing look- the pattern and texture is created by the folds, pleats and twists, not by any pattern on the material. Her rosette design is particularly striking with the different colour felt on the inside which adds more depth and enhances the 3D quality. The designs look complex and striking, a textile engineering feat, but actually on closer inspection, there is a simplicity to the actual structure. It is when repeated at a large scale with the light creating tone and shadows, that it becomes a complex piece of design. Several of her installations have been designed for private cinemas, where the shape and structure remind me of the sound proofing materials found in music studios, maybe this was the idea, but I found that quite clever. I would imagine from the images that I have seen, that viewed from a distance, her work could be mistaken for an intricate, geometric printed wallpaper. How wonderful to then move in closer and realise that it is in fact, a very tactile, 3D textile structure. While looking through her website I thought that all her installations were so very apt for their surroundings. 
Link 2: Giles Miller
Giles Miller studio creates surfaces, sculpture and architecture, “Celebrating the relationship between materials and light” in a “fusion of technology with the handmade” 
First impressions of this work were; highly textured,
repeating patterns, geometric, graphic, simple yet striking, large scale and
combination of different materials like wood and metal working together.
clever designs that involve the play of light as part of the design process.
This must take real talent to be able to ‘see’ how the materials are going to
interact with the surrounding light so that the design works as it was
intended. The combination of materials, for example, the matt of the wood and
the shine of the metal work well together to play off of the light sources. The
texture of neutral tiles shows up different tonal qualities and shadows which
enhances the 3D effect. The installation in a lobby in Guilin City, China,
entitled Lotus, is made up of tiles shaped like lotus leaves in various neutral
hues;black, silver,grey, gold and white. They depict mountains and lakes of the
area. It very much reminds me of the sequin trend that appeared last year where
you brush the sequins one way for one image and the other way for a different
of the architecture pieces, ‘Perspectives’ in Winterfold forest, Surrey, is a
structure made of cedar shingles which have messages engraved on them. At first
glimpse it looks like a wooden dome with vertical, overlapping shingles.On
closer inspection the shingles appear more horizontal and thrust forward at
different angles, totally changing the overall look. It’s a very striking
optical illusion on a large scale. I also really liked the piece, ‘Conduit’ for
its innovative and structural design. It’s surface structure can be moved to
create an open or closed structure. It stands out on the landscape but also weirdly,
blends in due to the clever use of the materials;wood, slate and dry walled
stone. One of my favorite pieces of work was a feature wall for Sheraton Hotels
which uses hexagonal ceramic tiles, laid in opposing directions so that they
catch the light differently and create images of stags.
really enjoyed looking at this work as I found it very innovative and creative.
The way the pieces are put together, so they create optical illusions is very
clever. A lot of the structures are in nature but the way they reflect the
light or mirror the surrounding area really helps them to blend into their
Looking at how light plays on the materials might be of interest in the next stage of surface distortion.
Link 3: Grace Tan
To be honest I was a little overwhelmed when looking at this artists work. She has created such a wide variety of work from huge installations to smaller textile pieces, using a wide range of materials, methods, applications and styles, that it didn’t feel like the same artist had produced all the works. Some of the concepts behind the works were a little difficult to decipher because of the ‘arty’ way in which they are written. I am not far enough into this course to be able to decipher some of the art speak and I sometimes find it a little over the top and it gets in the way of simply enjoying the work. The works were very interesting to look at though and I liked ‘Currents’ which was “Inspired by the notions of flow and circulation in nature”.  I liked this piece because I always see nature as a spiral of energy, growing, dying, growing again and this spoke to me of that swirling energy, moving between its surroundings, ebbing and flowing in harmony with the natural world. I also liked the piece ‘Symmetry’ which is a sculpture made up of mathematically correct geometric tessellations. It was inspired by Islamic art and architecture. The simple shape repetition creates an intricate, complex pattern that looks very striking.
Although not all of her works spoke to me, I can appreciate the attention to detail and the very complex design process used to create these pieces. What I did really like was her ethos of working intuitively. “…The paper and pigment constructions are a result of an attempt to seek deeper dialogues with the materiality of the chosen media …staying true to the fundamental ethos of working intuitively with the hands, to allow the medium to guide and formulate new methods in the process…”  In the past I have made clay and driftwood sculptures and I always say that it is the driftwood that tells me what it wants to be, I think it’s something to do with allowing the shape, feel and energy of the piece to dictate what it becomes if that makes sense?
Link 4 and 5: Jule Waibel
wow! I watched the video first of her making her pieces and I was mesmerised.
She has created undulating, organic, stretching and retracting pieces of
wearable art. The pieces expand and retract upon movement of the body which I
found utterly amazing. The process of working out the pattern for folding
and then the folding itself is so intricate and precise but creates these fun,
funky clothes. A true feat of textile engineering! On her website, her
collections of fashion are more tame than the pieces used in her fashion shows
but still show her ingenious folding and pleating methods, just in a more
wearable way. She uses holographic and transparent fabrics which adds a totally
new dimension to the pieces. The transparent items create a softer, gentler
look, a more organic, flowing line which defeats the crispness and precision of
the folds and pleats. The holographic materials gives even more definition of
shadow and light because of the way the colours change, accentuating the folds
and pleats. Two very different fabrics, used with great skill to enhance their
properties. The appearance of items is changed dramatically by her clever use
of graduating colour and tone. Other items on her website were lampshades made
from cellophane and holographic foil. The light from the bulb inside makes
these pieces come alive, sparkling, giving them a crystal like effect. She also
makes sunglasses, bags, homeware and does large installations. I felt very
excited looking at her work, it made me want to start folding and pleating to
see if I could create something that expands and contracts! I’m not sure I
would have the patience for anything so precise or large scale but her work has
certainly inspired me to have a go at a few samples.
“I’m dreaming of an unfolded universe, a pleated planet. Everything should move, expand and contract-geometric, playful shapes are dancing around the moon.” 
Link 6: Mathias Bengtsson
“Mathias Bengtsson has always described himself as a designer, but his works are closer to fine art than to traditional industrial design. Working with diverse industrial materials and processes, Bengtsson pushes forward the sculptural, technical, and philosophical possibilities of three-dimensional design.” 
on this designer were varied. On one hand, I liked the organic table and chairs
from his ‘Growth’ series- the patterns and forms of the natural wood had a
lovely flow to them which I found very gentle and calming, but I didn’t like
them when they were cast in bronze, I felt it took away all the natural
qualities which made the wood ones so nice. They looked more like they were
melting metal rather than something based on a natural form.
Some of his pieces were a little too abstract for me, that’s not to say I can’t appreciate the art of the work, just not really my cup of tea. He does use very clever methods of layering the materials to create innovative designs. I can see similar effects could be investigated with torn layered paper. The ‘slice’ designs look a bit like a cross section of the item or contour lines on a map, building up the topography of the hill.
The surface designs and patterns he employs enhance the shape of his pieces, sometimes the pattern does the work for him- the design is simple but it is the pattern that brings it alive.
Link 7: Cai Guo-Qiang
had never seen this mans works before. He has a very different and unique
approach to his work. He uses cut stencils and gun powder to create his
drawings. The gunpowder is applied through the cut stencils and then he lights
a fuse and POOF! The gunpowder ignites leaving a scorch pattern behind which
becomes the drawing. He says in one of his Youtube videos “destruction and
construction” which is exactly what this is. He uses fire ‘medicine’ to create
also uses fireworks to create shapes in the sky, like his ‘footprints of
history’ he designed for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic
games. He uses digital mapping software on a computer to work out the placement
of the fireworks.
approaches to his art use hundreds of people to pull them off and are huge
scale operations. In my humble opinion, a lot of work and manpower (he seems to
design the original drawing then other people cut all the stencils) to create
work which has a momentary wow factor. After the gunpowder explosion, when the
drawing was revealed, I didn’t find the work that amazing actually. A lot of
hype in the video and extreme measures for pretty unpredictable and mediocre
In ATV I used incense sticks to burn and scorch holes in paper which this reminded me of on a much larger scale of course. 
Link 8: Louise Nevelson (the link listed was infected with a virus so I couldn’t open it)
Nevelson was a sculptor who assembled found objects together, creating huge
sculptures which were then normally painted all in one colour. The pattern and
texture is created mainly by light and shadow.
her white piece, ‘Water’, the found objects all have curves and soft lines,
suggesting an organic structure whereas in her piece ‘Luminous Zag:night’ which
is painted black, the found objects are mostly pieces of saw toothed
wooden beams- all straight lines and angles, giving it a more structural and
painting her works all one colour she unifies everything so that the individual
parts of the assemblage no longer stand out, or are seen alone, but rather they
all come together as a whole, completely changing the overall look and meaning
of the pieces.
“Nevelson struggled to gain recognition for many years but eventually achieved success during the 1950s, creating dreamlike constructions that evoked dramatic cityscapes. She built boxes and walls from dismantled furniture, ornaments, and scraps of wood that she found on the street, and often painted them in single colors to emphasize the effects of light and shadow.” 
“Often made from found wood — carpentry tools alternate with wooden relica — those works are painted entirely black or white so their minutiae coalesce and, fully integrated, the objects ascend like postindustrial totems or statuary for a bygone religious sect. Their abstract innerworkings — resembling crates, joints, banisters, handles and pilings — seem embedded into one another, as if supernaturally unified.” 
My own research
Panchamia makes wearable art, fabric sculptures and installations. She
specialised in constructed textiles at Nottingham Trent University.
In her piece ‘Complex Simplicity’ she uses hundreds of squares of different white materials such as cottons, linens and silks. They are all hand stitched together. The different hues and textures (some transparent, some heavier) of the materials create a “…delicate and sensitive surface of light,shadow and reflection.”  She uses pleating and folding, cutting, stitching and layering to create intricate 3D pieces. I particularly like her piece Myriad which is made up of over 6000 rectangles of various white materials, sewn into 3D rectangles of various heights. The light plays off each of the individual rectangles, creating almost a mosaic cityscape, lit up at night.
Chung-Im Kim worked as a surface pattern designer. She now lives in Canada and is a freelance designer and associate professor in the fibre department at OCAD University. She has exhibited all over the world.
She uses felt to create geometric grid designs. Some are all one colour, playing with the light and dark to create shadows while some have patterns on them applied in various methods such as stitch, screen printing and burning away parts of the surface to create the pattern. It’s the patterned works that drew my eye. Quite simple patterns but very striking when combined with the softness of the felt and the hardness of the geometric lines. 
“Textile art on paper and ceramics using the simple beauty of folding, hand stitching or crochet”. 
Liz uses origami folding techniques combined with stitch to create geometric artworks which show her love of rhythm and pattern. She also employs the use of origami with ceramics to create her origami porcelain pieces.
I really liked the use of stitch on top of the folds. It has a duel purpose of holding the folds in place and creating another level of pattern design. It reminded me of those thread patterns we used to make in primary school- embroidery floss wrapper around nails that had been hammered into a piece of wood, to create a pattern. The whiteness of the pieces is striking too- they look clean and crisp.