Monday, May 1, 2017

A Little of This, A Little of That

When Beth asked if I would commit to a month of posts this year, I hesitated – what can I say that hasn’t already been covered wonderfully by so many in past months?  She thought if I did a little recap of what I have done over the years, it might make for interesting reading. 

First off, I do think of myself as a “fiber artist” – a term that means different things to different people. Wikipedia defines fiber art this way:

"Fiber art refers to fine art whose material consists of natural or synthetic fiber and other components, such as fabric or yarn. It focuses on the materials and on the manual labour on the part of the artist as part of the works' significance, and prioritizes aesthetic value over utility."

Well… I typically try for a happy balance between functional as well as decorative.  I strive to make items that are unique, but definitely useful, such as clothing and household items.  I will be talking about these during the month.

I am also someone who likes to re-use and re-purpose, as well as conserve.  If you sew, especially you quilters, you probably look at fabric scraps the way I do: “I’m sure I can find something to use this for”, and thus the fabric stash grows and grows!  I will be talking about some ways I have found to use those scraps, even going so far as to demonstrate one way I have used up my spare thread stash… the threads that are snipped from sewing projects, spool ends, etc.

I should note here that I primarily make my items for sale – I am a member of our local Artists’ Coalition, and have been part of our Artists’ Co-op gallery for over a year, so my first thought when working on something is : will this sell?  And I have developed a group of items that have become good sellers.  But if you make things for yourselves, or to give as gifts, I’m sure you can adapt some of the techniques I will be discussing here for your own projects.

So just to give you a recap of what I hope to cover this month:  a brief glimpse at a dyeing technique I learned last year, with a link to a great on-line class where I learned the technique; another fun dyeing technique I have enjoyed using for dyeing silk scarves; several ways to put a dent in our ever growing fabric and thread stashes; a couple of great links to on-line tutorials, and reviews on a couple of great books I have used for one of the techniques. And to finish out the month, some examples of a new technique I am finally learning to use to dye chiffon scarves, but it can be used on other silks, as well as cottons.


So stay tuned… I hope you enjoy this month’s posts, and would love to hear your comments or questions as we go thru these subjects!  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Printing with aluminium foil part 2


You can also draw on the cardboard.



Then apply glue on the drawing and attach a tread ( different thickness)











Once it is dry apply the aluminium foil in the same manner as explained.
The first attemps might not be as good as you hoped for, but the prints will improve after the plate has been used a few times.














Next time I show you  what I did with some off the prints.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Printing by Ann vanHerle

A two part workshop on printing with aluminium foil, tinfoil,( die-stamp printing) and screen-printing with a quilt ring and glue.

Material:
A piece of hard cardboard
Dried leafs and flowers or material that will give a good relief
Glue
Aluminium foil (the heaviest you can find)
paint ( textile paint, block print paint)











Make a composition on the cardboard and attach it with glue.
Let dry COMPLETLY
Apply glue on the entire surface. Attach the foil to the composition. Make sure the composition is tightly encapsulated with the foil. Therefore press with your finger the foil in every surface. The back of the cardboard also needs to be covered with the foil.



Again let it dry completely
Press everything hard with a glass bottle ore a rolling pin


Iron the fabric. Apply paint to the press-plate. Do not use too much as a start and make a proof.






Examine the proof and adjust as desired (more or less paint). After a few prints the press-plate will become better and better.

Since your plate is completely covered with foil it is possible to change colours. Wipe the plate clean with water, let dry and it is ready to be used again. Once you are familiar with the technique it is easy to adjust size and subject. The plates will go a long way.

Send photo’s of your work and I can let them seen on the blog. Next week another way to print with foil.
annvanherle@hotmail.com




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Closing up

I still owe you with the answers to the last few questions. I threw proportions in, without much introduction. Proportion is something which we can anticipate rather well, so intuition is always helpful. Just to put the dot at the end of the sentence, I’d like to point out a few things in connection with the two compositions I showed in the last post – here they are again.


I used the same nine colors in both compositions. The background has in the first one a rather big value difference, making it more lively, bringing up more tension. In the first one I didn’t try to „hide“ the „individualist colours“, giving them proportions and positions to hold their’s own. In the second composition, I tried to control them, except the two blue squares, and the more diverging a colour was, the smaller space it got.
The first composition has substantial hue, value and saturation differences. In the second the saturation and the value scale doesn’t work as well, because the colours which carry them are too little in proportion and are placed out of the center.
To me the second appears steady to boring, the first is much better considering that I couldn’t find any harmony in the initial nine-colours-grid.

This is an exercise which you can repeat several times. It schools your sensitivity for colour proportions and placement.


For those who have followed me this month, thanks for your attention and have fun with the exercises!

Monday, April 24, 2017

8. About harmony and proportions

The term harmony derives from the Greek, meaning „to fit together, to join“. It was originally applied for music, while „music“ referred to the arts in general. Current dictionary definitions often highlight the ambiguity of the term especially in aesthetic considerations: one view is, that only „pleasing“ elements maybe harmonious. Regarding modern arts, this view became untenable. Visual tension is a necessary formal tool and colour can express this tension.
One problem is, that certain colour combinations are considered „fashionable“ or others „tasty“. Forget about them. The first is like fashion: changing with the wind, the second is convention.
It is much more productive to think about the qualities of concordance (unity) and discordance (disunity) without making a value judgement. In broad understanding colour harmony is a tool to tailor your colours effectively to support your work. Colour relationships work best when they underline and match the purpose they are intended to serve.
 We saw it in the first few posts that certain colour compositions we perceive as interdependent or unified (e.g. a composition with reduced value scales). The less your chosen colours have in common (not only in hue but also in value and saturation), the more they „claim“ their independence and suggest disunity. As we saw unity suggests tranquility and concordance. Disunity can appear vivid, or in higher degrees evoke tension and discord.


I love this painting from Paul Klee, called Underwater Garden. There is a very little value difference what gives the impression of a calm, slightly subdued but harmonious atmosphere. Little more happens on the level of saturation. The very saturated royal blue appears four times and guides the eyes around the picture. What catches your eyes is the one single, significant hue difference: the red fish. This is what you see first, this is what captures your attention, invites you to come and explore.
Such a small spot, almost a dot compared to the whole. Is it enough to make the painting „interesting“? Is it enough to catch your attention and to make you really look at it, exploring the details?
Each of us has to answer this question individually but it brings us to another significant factor, to proportion. To round up the former posts, I’d like to examine how proportion influences the composition. If you followed me this month i’m certain you can answer my questions connected to the exercise below.



I prepared a grid of nine disparate colours in equal proportions. This is a really incohesive collection of „individualists“. The have differences in hues, values and in saturation and sincerely, nothing holds them together.
I will aim to create two different compositions with the same nine colours just by using different proportions. This technique places greater emphasis on certain colours while minimizes the effect of others.


Have a look at these two compositions and ask yourself : which is the „stronger“, more dynamic one? Why? What makes the difference? Think in terms of value, hue, saturation combined with the given proportions.

I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK!

Friday, April 21, 2017

More exercises

Again, my examples are just those: examples. I show them to help if you would have any difficulties but there are so many possible good solutions, even better ones. I hope that you’ll try out yourself.

One colour appears as two

1. Altering the value in grayscale:
and in colours:
2. Altering the hue:
3. Altering the saturation:
And here is the second exercise. I used 7 colours trying them appear as if each of them would be different.With some of them it didn't work. Can you tell which ones and why?
I hope I could interest you to try out some of these exercises. They do help you to handle colour in your work.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

7. Colour Interactions

To continue how afterimages modify our perception, let’s have a look at the following plate.

Around the violet rectangle we feel a thin red-violet border. The reddish afterimage of the green is blended optically with the violet to create this red-violet illusion. If we place the same violet rectangle against a gray background, the achromatic gray influences only the value and not the hue of the violet rectangle, which loses its former reddish halo, appearing darker, more saturated, more blue-violet.
Lets make the same experiment with two coloured backgrounds:
The violet rectangle against the red-orange background appears lighter and a little bluer (bluish afterimage) than it does against the pale green background (reddish afterimage).
You see a small note under the plates: Josef Albers: Interaction of color
This wonderful and very unorthodox book on colour theory is aviable as an app for iPads. (The basic theory is free, but if you want to play and experiment, there is a charge of 10$ for the app.)
Also from this book is the reversal of the examples above. In chapter VII, 2 different colors looks alike, Albers creates plates where two colours placed in different backgrounds looks identical. On closer examination they turn into two different ones, like the ones below.
These examples above can sensitize your colour perception by doing this two exercises several times over.

1.
One colour appears as two
Concentrate on trying to alter the value of the same colour by using different backgrounds. First work with grays – it’s easier – than use different hues.
Try to alter the hue of a single colour - keep the values closed to each other.
This one is a very important exercise: try to create glowing and dull sensation with the same colour. Using saturation right can cheer up your quilting, especially if you use commercial fabrics. They tend to be dull but in a right surroundings they can be perceived as glowing ones.

If you’re ready to go further:
Try to create the impression of altered hue, value and saturation within one exercise.

The most difficult will be Albers’ exercise VII: try to make two different colour appear as one.

2.
This exercise could be regarded as a combination of the part-exercises above:
Use at least 6-8 colours, each of them twice (no more). Try to create a design to demonstrate color interaction: arrange your colours so that the same colours appear different.