Project 8 Yarns_Stage 1 Exploring the qualities of yarn

After reading through the materials mentioned in the course book, I realised two things. The first thing I realised was that I own a lot of different kinds of eyelash yarn. The other thing I realised was that I wanted to use as much different kinds of materials as possible. I have taken a couple of photographs of a part of my yarn collection and the other materials that I would like to use in this assignment.

In the picture below you can see some of the materials that I have chosen to use. Apart from wool, cotton and eyelash yarn, I plan on using fabric and paper strips, sisal, jute, tights, leather-like cord and ribbons.

Exploring the qualities of yarn

Exploring the qualities of yarn

And a few close-ups:

PP, jute, cotton and sisal

PP, jute, cotton and sisal

Ribbon

Ribbon

 

Fabric strips, ribbon and raffia

Fabric strips, ribbon and raffia

 

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Analysing colour, texture and proportion

I have chosen 3 images for this exercises and used watercolour paints to try and match the colours in the images accurately. While working on this exercises I realised how much different colours there are in an image and that colours seemed to change depending on the colours surrounding it. I also realised that I did not have enough yarns to match the colours in the images, but I have tried to match the colours as accurately as possible.

The first image I have chosen is a picture of tomatoes, lettuce and a gherkin. I have chosen this image because of the different shades of green and red, and because of the texture of the gherkin. I had some trouble recording the colour of the highlights on the tomatoes. The highlights seem to be a shade of pale pink, so I recorded the highlights as 2 different shades of pink.

Tomatoes, lettuce and gherkin.

Tomatoes, lettuce and gherkin.

For my second image I have chosen an photograph by Adam Mørk titled Coloured View. There are only a couple of colours in this image, but I think that the bright orange against the more muted colours looks really interesting.

Coloured view. Photograph by Adam Mørk

Coloured view. Photograph by Adam Mørk

For my third image I have chosen an image of a bouquet of flowers. The most difficult colours to record in this image were the greens. There are so many different shades of greens in this image. Yellow-green, light green, grey-green.

Bouquet of flowers

Bouquet of flowers

Assignment 4 Textile structures_Research point part 2

Yin Xiuzhen

The first artist who came to mind was Yin Xiuzhen. I saw her work in the Groninger Museum last summer and it was truly amazing. Yin Xiuzhen started as a traditional oil painter and switched to working with second-hand clothes in 1989. One thing that I find really inspiring is the fact that she uses her artwork to reflect the environment around her. She considers artwork as a means of communication to convey aspects of individual experiences in life in relation to global transformations. Since the mid 1990s Yin Xiuzhen has created artwork in response to the massive destruction and reconstruction in Beijing.

The installations she creates are quite big. Her artwork ‘Weapons’ is made out of clothes and everyday objects and is 231.5 x 80.5 x 66.5 cm. It hangs suspended in the air. But not all of her installations are that big.

Weapons by Yin Xiuzhen

Weapons by Yin Xiuzhen

In her ‘Portable cities’ series, she has recreated cities inside suitcases. The buildings and landmarks are created from the clothes of residents of the cities in question. Yin Xiuzhen first got the inspiration for this series when she was in an airport. Waiting for her luggage, she felt like she was travelling with her home. In her ‘Portable Cities’, Yin Xiuzhen represents the ease with which the modern man is able to travel from one city to the next.

Portable Cities by Yin Xiuzhen

Portable Cities by Yin Xiuzhen

One of my favourite installations by Yin Xiuzhen is ‘Thought’. It is made out of clothes and steel and it is 340 cm x 510 cm x 370 cm.  From the outside, different shades of blue are visible. Once you look inside, you see all different kinds of colours. Not only blue, but also pink, green and purple.

Thougth by Yin Xiuzhen

Yin Xiuzhen uses a lot of colour and texture in her artwork. Sometimes the colours are really subdued, and sometimes the colours are really bright. But they always work really well with the theme of the installation.

 

Sandra Meech

Another textile artist whose work I find really inspiring is Sandra Meech. She is trained as a graphic artist and designer. She uses image transfers, painted and dyed fabrics and collages in her work.

The reason I that I find her work inspiring, is because she often uses nature as the inspiration for her artwork and I love her collages. For instance, she used the Arctic landscape and the textiles and clothing of the Caribou Inuit in Northern Canada as her inspiration for her series of work called ‘Arctic Expressions’.

Painted background and big stitch marks to evoke winter sun in the Arctic landscape. 40cm x 70cm

Painted background and big stitch marks to evoke winter sun in the Arctic landscape.
40cm x 70cm

Woman with ULU    Acrylic background with photo imagery reflects energetic movement of caribou skin scraping. 40cm x 70cm

Woman with ULU
Acrylic background with photo imagery reflects energetic movement of caribou skin scraping.
40cm x 70cm

Even though she does not make large installations such as Yin Xiuzhen her work is still quite big. From as small as 40cm x 70cm to large pieces of artwork measuring 1.7m x 2m.

Near North    Inspired by the cycle in nature of woodlands in Algonquin, Ontario.  1.7m x 2m

Near North
Inspired by the cycle in nature of woodlands in Algonquin, Ontario.
1.7m x 2m

In her more recent work, ‘ Meltdown’, Sandra Meech uses her fascination in melting ice, the movement of glaciers and how this might slowly influence the world’s climate.

The reason that I chose the two textile artists is because they both draw inspiration from their living environment. Yin Xiuzhen has used donated clothes and shoes to convey her message. In ‘Cemented shoes’ she hung 25 pairs of shoes, once worn by men and women of all ages in a row by hemp rope from the ceiling, to express her concern with her living environment and society. Looking at these shoes, you can see the changes that the Chinese society has gone through over the last few decades.  Even though Sandra Meech no longer lives in Canada, she still uses it as an inspiration. She uses image transfers, machine quilting and stitch to express the concepts behind her work.

 

How do you view textile art?

 

I definitely think about textile art the same way as I do about other artwork such as paintings and sculptures. The medium might by different, but they are all used as self-expression or to make a statement.

I find the question ‘how far do you feel textile art has been accepted as a medium for fine art by the fine art establishment’ a difficult question. I will try to answer this question based upon the situation in the Netherlands, since that is where I live.  Textile art has been looked down upon for years, but that is slowly changing. Knitting and crocheting is no longer something only old women do. More and more young people are interested in textile art and combining traditional techniques with new materials. I recently went to the Textielmuseum (textile museum) in Tilburg. This museum has a Textile lab (conveniently called ‘TextielLab’) with different kinds of machines such as weaving machines, knitting machines and embroidery machines and different studios for dying, printing and tufting. Product developers, students, designers and artists can work in the TextielLab and are sometime commissioned to create artwork here. But this is not the only museum in the Netherlands that is all about textile art. We also have for example Museum the Kantfabriek in Horst. This used to be a lace factory. You can still see the old machines but there are also exhibitions about the textile art in Horst and its surroundings. Two years ago a saw an exhibition of textile art made by art students. And last summer I saw the amazing exhibitions of textile art by Yin Xiuzhen and designer Iris van Herpen in the Groninger Museum in Groningen.

As part of the project ‘Art quilts in Nederland’ (art quilts in the Netherlands), a book with the same title has been published. It is collaboration between 56 art quilters and 8 fine artists. It features 110 art quilts and 5 essays by art historian Henk Lijding. One of the essays is about the question whether art quilts are art or not. I a have not yet read the book, but I am interested in reading it.

I think all of this shows that textile art is definitely being taken seriously now. It is no longer just something only old people do. Textile art can be seen in museums alongside paintings, sculptures etc. It may not be as widely accepted as the aforementioned fine arts, but it is getting there.

Assignment 4 Textile structures_research point part 1

How do you think the work of the textile artist differs from that of the designer, the designer-maker of the craftsperson? Is there any crossover in terms of approach or the way in which each uses ideas or textile processes?

When I first started thinking about the answer to this question, I asked myself whether there is any difference between a textile artist, designer, designer-maker and craftsperson. The truth is, that I was not entirely sure about the difference. So I started by looking it up in my Collins English Dictionary. Unfortunately, my dictionary did not know the meaning of the word ‘textile artist’, so I had to Google it. According the Wikipedia a textile arts are those arts and crafts that use plant, animal of synthetic fibres to construct practical or decorative objects. Which makes sense. According to my dictionary a designer is ‘ a person who devises and executes designs, as for works of art, clothes, machines’. I found this be a little confusing, because if a designer also executes designs, what would be the difference between a designer and a designer-maker? I decided to put my dictionary aside and start looking for different sources of information. I then came across an interesting article on the website of The Guardian written by Justin McGuirk called ‘The art of craft: the rise of the designer-maker’. In his article, Justin McGuirk states that the designer creates the templates, which the craftsmen replicate. The designer-maker does both. So far this all makes sense. I think a textile artist can be all of the above. Most textile artists prefer to design their own fabric, for example by dyeing it or using image transfers. The design of the artwork can be inspired by for instance a painting or a poem but it can also be an original design created by the textile artist. Looking at the definitions used by Justin McGuirk, I think that a textile artist is always a craftsperson, but does not necessarily have to be a designer or a designer-maker. But the term ‘craftsperson’ does make me feel a little uncomfortable. A craftsperson used to be highly regarded for his of her skills. Nowadays the word craft almost implies that that person just follows set directions and disregards the years of experience needed to build up the necessary skills and knowledge about the materials you are using.  I therefore like to think that everyone starts out as a craftsperson, because you first need the skills to create something. Once you have acquired these skills, you can start designing your own work. For instance designing your own fabric and your own templates to create your artwork.