Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Week 8 - Brusho Collage, Cords and Tassels

At college this week we started by using different types of neutral papers to make a collage. We weren't sure what we were going to do with them next so we all did something completely different. Mine, as you can see, has a sort of exotic flower thing going on.

We were then asked to cut it up into 8 rectangles! (I don't like cutting up my own work.)
We were given pots of made-up Brusho. Brusho is a very concentrated powered pigment ink - see photo - which you mix with water to make a wash.

Our tutor asked us to colour pieces of our collage in certain ways:

  • 3 analogous colours i.e next to each other on the colour wheel
  • Complementary colours i.e opposite on the colour wheel
  • Monochromatic i.e a tints of a single colour
  • Achromatic i.e. no colour or grayscale
  • Any colours we liked on the remaining pieces
As the collage was made of different types of paper, the way they took up the colour was different according to their absorbency, producing these pretty but unpredictable effects. You can also sprinkle the neat Brusho powder onto the wet page to give the heavy mottling.
This was fun so I had another go at home, focussing on Christmas shapes. Top left has added glitter and bottom left and centre have some gold added using a product called 'Goldfinger'! This is a thick paste that you rub on to highlight the texture in certain areas. I'm not sure any of them will make it to Christmas cards but I had a good time doing it.

The second part of our class was on making cords and tassels. The cords are made by twisting long lengths of threads till they start buckling in the middle and then 'folding' in half to let the cord twist itself together. I had done these before as a kid. 

I first tried an experimental one with strips of white and black bin liner to go with my line book. It is ok, but not particularly neat.

I then tried a more conventional one with different types and shades of threads, which is very nice.
Next the tassels. These are made on a cardboard former that we cut out of mount board. The length of the tassel is varied by the length of the former. Just wind the thread round the 'arms', tie at the top, tie at the 'neck' and slide off. Then the loops are the bottom are cut.

Usually you will not cut the 'skirt' of the tassel perfectly level and sometimes the thread is kinked from the way it was stored so we were shown how you can straighten out silk in the steam of a kettle and a neat trick to trim the 'skirt' evenly.
This is how my silk ones came out. The left hand one is made out of recycled sari silk and the right hand one out of very fine chinese silk.

Although the method for making tassels is easy, they are surprisingly fiddly and so I am really pleased with how the finished ones look.
Finally I tried one on my black and white line book theme, made out of funky wool. As is it not silk, the kettle steam will ruin it so I will forever look like a baby bird that the cat has got hold of!

At the weekend I went to the opening of a textile art show put on by Zero Nine Textile Artists, to which our classroom assistant belongs. The show is called 'Threads Across Time' and is on until 22nd Dec at Andover Museum. Some of the work was inspired by the Iron Age exhibits there.

Here are a few of my favourites. The first piece is by Alison Hulme, our classroom assistant, who used red Brusho described above to imply blood/poppy petals beautifully. I'm afraid I didn't note down the names of all the other artists and some of the photos are not square on due to the gallery space and other visitors. 

Piece by Alison Hulme

Batik fabric crab

Morning Glory

Inspired by the Iron Age exhibits - multiple layers stitched in patterns and then the top layers slashed

Close up of above

Part of a series of recycled envelopes with images stuck in the windows and the rest of the image sketched in with machine embroidery - very clever
Poppies on machine embroidery 'field'

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