26 May 2017

Chapter 8 - Use of purls or bullion

Bought purls
My own collection of  'purls' is made of telephone wires, of metallic thread for gardening and of different types of metallic wires for cheap jewels. I customised some of them by twisting two or three wires together, by adding pearls, by plaiting before making my purls. The core shape was round or square.
Sample 1 - Long length made 'purls'

Sample 2 - Short length made 'purls'

Sample 3

Sample 4

Sample 5

Sample 6

Chapter 7 - Contemporary 'Shi-Sha' ideas

It was fun collecting items which could be used as a contemporary 'Shi-Sha'. I made small samples to try different methods of stitching. I choose to work on a cotton fabric, previously dyed with Permanganate potassium and 'bleached' with lemon juice. I did broke a whole pack of needles but I managed to machine stitch over the shi-shas in the end.
1 - Buttons covered by metallic yoghurt top (16 cm x 8 cm)
2 - Irregular fragments of CD (16 cm x 8 cm)
3 - Flattened coffee caps held by stitched metallic organza fabric (16 cm x 8 cm)
4 - Washers machine stitched with a metallic thread (16 cm x 8 cm)
5 - Flattened bottle top, hand and machine stitching (7 cm x 8 cm)
6 - Flattened metallic pieces of coffee caps (7 cm x 15 cm)
7 - Sample 23 cm x 16 cm

1st row: Hand stitching
Fragments made with 'Shrink-it'. I used metallic acrylic paints before putting it in the oven.

2nd row: Machine stitched 'Shi-shas'

3rd row: Copper shapes, machine stitching with metallic threads
I used extra solf copper foil (0,9 mm) to make these 'shi-shas'. I held the foil in a candle flame for a few minutes to burnish it. I cut round shapes into the foil and I added some texture to the copper shapes with a pen tip.
Informal sketchbook - Pages 50/51

8 - Mirrors, free machine stitching spiralling with a loose bottom tension (15 cm x 7 cm)
9 - Hand stitching and machine cable stitch, rubbings with a Markel painstick (27 cm x 8 cm)
10 - Mirrors, hand and machine stitching (14 cm x 14 cm)

I liked to partly machine stitch over the hand stitching. It gives a contemporary look to the shi-shas. But I prefer the way my shi-shas look in sample 9. They are less symmetrical and more lively.

15 May 2017

Chapter 6 - Decorative details from a shi-sha textile

I made a few relief surfaces using threads, knotted and plaited strings, cardboard, matches and a coffee cap.

Relief surfaces
Informal sketchbook - Pages 46/47
Informal sketchbook - Pages 48/49

I choose to work with black, gold and metallic tissue papers (18g). I know from previous experience that to take rubbings the thinner the better. I carefully glued these tissue papers on thin cardboard afterwards to make collages. I picked metallic oil pastels (Sennelier): rich gold, aluminium, red gold, golden pearl, reddish gold to take rubbings and acrylic paints (copper and black) to make prints.

1 - Rubbing, I used several relief surfaces to re-create a detail of the border of the hanging
2 - A rubbing overlayed by prints (repeating the same motif)
3 - I glued this one in my informal sketchbook : too many different rubbings on the same piece I think
4 - Rubbing repeating the same motif in different colours
5 - Rubbing,  alternated backgrounds (collage)
6 - A black background gives depth, I made black acrylic prints to add strength (on the right)
7 - I overlayed rubbings on the golden background
 8 - I made a rubbing first, then I pleated the tissue paper and made prints in black acrylic paint
9 - Rubbings, pleating, prints
10 - Collage with prints and rubbings
11 - Collage with prints and rubbings
I think I prefer the two last samples for their light. They also look less rigid. Maybe I could have reworked  sample 8: I liked the process of pleating but my choice of colour, or maybe the value, was a wrong one.

3 May 2017

Chapter 5 - Shisha embroidery

Hanging, Population Ahir, India Gujarat, Kutch (20th century)

I took this photo at the Quai Branly Museum (Paris).
This hanging was created on a cotton canvas, woven locally with silk flock or cotton, the patterns are geometric and figurative.
Dimensions : approx. 1 m x 2 m

Gujarat is a western state of India. From ancient times Gujarat has been open to the influence from other countries, owing to its long coastline. The inhabitants of this state were basically the migratory herders. The Ahirs were expert cobblers and their embroidery was purely for home use.

I looked at a distance at the over-all design composition and I noticed that  the hanging had a symmetrical design.
Vertical axe showing the symmetry
 Geometric shapes
A large decorated circle in the middle of the hanging surrounded by four smaller ones, but these circles are not exactly on the same level and are not quite of the same size

A large rectangle in the bottom of the hanging, four smaller rectangles used to stylise elephants, some elephants are bigger than others

Stretched triangles used to stylise birds on both sides of the main circle, a row of triangles in the bottom, smaller triangles in the floral patterns, triangles used to stylise figures
Observations :
- The symmetry is not perfect, which I think avoid boredom. It gives a lively feeling.
- Many geometric shapes and stylised figurative patterns : figures holding hands, elephants, birds, flowers.

- The colour palette is warm : bright yellow, orange and red give a joyful and dynamic feeling
- Pale green is used as a soft contrasting colour
- Black (a strong value) has an active part in the colour balance of the beige background

I could get closer to the hanging and I could make some observational drawings without being disturbed by other visitors. Unfortunately the backing was not visible and making rubbings was out of the question. Nevertheless I could take pictures, in spite of the dim light.
Red lines of chain stitches

A detail of the border : rows of straight stitches surround the mirror
1 - Observational drawing of the border
2 - Observational drawing showing shi-sha embroidery

Closer view of the long rectangle

A stylised elephant
3 - Floral motifs - some motifs look like being in movement (wheels)
In floral motifs mirror takes the central space

Figures holding hands, sun motif

Embroidered birds with shi-sha work

Extension drawing studies

4 - Marks made with a transparent oil pastel and a layer of ink
5 - Pictures converted in Black/white, glue gun to create some reliefs, layer of white acrylic on top
I dyed some cotton fabric with a solution of potassium permanganate.
6 - Stitched study
Negative technique with lemon juice applied with a stick and a piece of cardboard
Embroidery stitching : chain stitch, herringbone, a shi-sha mirror attached with method 1
7 - Drawing on fabric

8 - Stitched study with shi-sha mirrors attached with method 2
Informal sketchbook - Pages 34/35
I selected some details from my previous stitched study to find ideas of relief blocks
Relief blocks made of strings
9 - Prints on black cardboard
10 - Prints on white tissue paper, glued on cardboard
11 - Prints on white tissue paper, wash of watercolor
12 - Prints and rubbings on white tissue paper

13 - Prints (red) and rubbings (orange) on metallic tissue paper
14 - Prints (purple) and rubbings (orange) on white tissue paper, wash of watercolour
I particularly like the drawings 13 and 14 and I think that I will try again to use different colours when overlaying layers of prints and rubbings. I could easily find ways to interpret these drawings into embroidery pieces.