I took a wig making class a couple of weeks ago with a friend. I had never made a wig before, so I had no idea what to expect. We had to start making a sort of swim cap first using foam. After we had finished the swim cap we could start adding some height to our wigs by using empty toilet rolls which we could decorate with all sorts of materials. Feather boas, fabric, Christmas decorations, flowers and much more. I had no idea what I was doing, but I decided to use purple sisal, fake orchids and some Christmas decorations. This is the end result:
While I was working on the wig, I got an image in my head of one of my favourite music videos, Fighter by Christina Aguilera. In the video she wears a big white wig with moths on it. I decided to use that as inspiration.
I had a really fun night and I was very pleased that I did not burn myself with the glue gun. Making the wig was really relaxing and I am definitely going to try to make another wig.
Since starting this course, I have been thinking a lot about textures in everyday life. Especially the textures in nature. I love being outside and going for walks and I often take my camera with me. Over the last couple of months, I have been taken a lot of close-up pictures of trees. I decided that I would like to use tree bark as my theme.
Below a couple of pictures that I have taken recently.
Close-up of a birch tree
Close-up of a birch tree
Close-up of a birch tree
Close-up of tree bark
I think that all the different textures are really interesting and would work quite well in fabric and stitching.
I think that the main reason that craft-produced textiles are so popular in our society is that they are very personal and unique. Because of the internet, it is also easily available. Websites such as Etsy enable craftsmen to offer their work to costumers all over the world.
At the beginning of project six, I began reading about the art of different cultures, in particular the Aboriginals and the Kuna Indians. The Aboriginals use different techniques to dye their fabric such as batik, hand painting and screen-printing. Aboriginal art as we know it today has its foundations in Papunya the 1970s when art teacher Geoffrey Bardo let the walls of the school where he taught be painted with traditional Aboriginal motifs using acrylic paint. This led the experiments with different kinds of surfaces and an art movement was born.
Textile length, Puti (bush), cotton, screen-printed. Designed by Nyukana Baker and Nyuwara Tapaya 1989/90. Printed by Marie Warren, 1995. 95/319/3. Powerhouse Museum Collection.
The Kuna Indians are known for their Molas. These Molas have their origin in body painting. In the late nineteenth century, the women started transferring the body painting designs onto hand-woven cloth and later onto imported fabric. Initially these designs were painted onto the fabric, but over time the designs were transferred onto fabric using reverse appliqué. The motifs are either geometric shapes such as mazes or figurative, such as people and animals.
The art of other cultures is readily available on the high street in fair trade stores. Fair trade ensures that craftsmen receive a fair price for their work and costumers are able to purchase unique products.
When I started thinking about traditional art meeting contemporary art, I immediately thought of the trip that I made to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam a few weeks ago where I saw some of the work of Kitty van der Mijll Dekker. She was a Dutch weaver who experimented with unusual materials such as cellophane, iron wire, raffia and synthetic yarns.
I liked working with fabric in this way. I especially like experimenting with reverse applique, folding and the raised shapes. I think it is a great way to add a 3D quality to your work. Overall, I am pleased with my results, but I do feel that I could have pushed have further. So I am definitely going to continue experimenting with the techniques mentioned in project 6. The one thing that I am not happy about is the moulding of fabric. I do not like the results and I did not really enjoy using this technique.
At the beginning of this project, I had trouble letting go of the source material that I had chosen to use. I felt really confined and had trouble letting go of the drawings instead of trying to copy them. I think I would have been able to work more freely if I had been able to just start experimenting with the fabric rather than working from drawings. That is probably the reason that I had a difficult time getting into it. I like trying out all the techniques mentioned in stages 3 and 4, but I struggled with stage 2. Selecting the right drawings and especially making the fabric collages let to a lot of doubts. I am satisfied with the larger samples that I produced using my chosen drawings, but I had a lot of doubts about whether the drawings that I had chosen, were strong enough and if they were indeed the right choices.
However, I do feel that once I was working on the final sample of Stage 4, I was able to let go of the source material and let the fabric control the outcome.
I enjoyed experimenting with all the different fabrics that I had selected in stage 1 and finding out how all the different fabrics react.
I do not thing that working with stitch is limiting. I have enjoyed every technique that I have learned so far in this course and I am looking forward to experiment with them more.
I visited Museum de Pont in Tilburg last week, which is a museum of contemporary art. The building in which the museum is situated is a former wool mill.
One of the current exhibitions is of the work of German artist Katharina Grosse called Two Younger Women Come In And Pull Out A Table. This exhibition is really impressive. She uses bright colours which she applies directly onto walls and objects using an industrial spray gun. Her work reminded me of graffiti.
What I loved about this exhibition is that you feel part of the artwork and that you are able to see her installations up close. Shes has made an installation using giant orbs made out of multi-coloured PVC.
Giant orbs Katharina Grosse
I have been to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago. I did not know what to expect because I had never been there and the museum had just been reopened. So I was very surprised to find textiles in the museum. I have seen some work of Kitty van der Mijll Dekker. She was a Dutch textile designer and the first Dutch woman to study at Bauhaus. She wanted to become a interior designer, but was advised to become a textile designer. She experimented with weaving with unusual materials such as cellophane, iron wire, raffia and synthetic yarns.
Relief rug by Kitty van der Mijll Dekker
Apart from the work made by Kitty van der Mijll Dekker, there was also work of others artists. I think this was the first time that I had seen woven work in a museum. In my opinion all the work was really impressive. I had never seen these kinds of results achieved by weaving wool and other materials.
Yellow rug by Loes van der Horst from the serie Replying. Made of woven polypropylene
Over and under by Herman Scholten. Handwoven wool.
It was time to start drawing some real objects. I felt really anxious about this because I do not have much confidence in my drawing skills. But the only way I will learn to be a better drawer is by practicing.