I am not sure if everyone managed to make a list of the different themes we would be covering next year so I thought I would put them onto here for people to have a think about.
The themes are
Texture with Heat - this is an investigation into how we can create fabrics through heating and burning or manipulating fabrics with heat. Obviously care needs to be taken with this as not all materials burn without fumes or hazards. Please if you are experimenting with heat this Summer break make sure you work in a well ventilated space and wear and appropriate safety mask (please make sure you use a good mask not a little paper one, invest in a proper safety mask it is worth it. I am certain that I damaged my throat through burning lutradur a few years back and now I have an alien looking mask- it's very funny but it is also very safe!).
It might be useful to start collecting materials that you can use- careful as some plastics do not manipulate - Mel says that quality street wrappers do not work but Tyvek is good, Angelina fibres, colourful plastic bags, fabrics that melt/burn organzas, kunin felt etc, plus lutradur and I think solufleece also works but I don't think you can stitch into it afterwards. Don't forget that we will need fabrics that don’t burn or melt to stitch pieces to or to give stability. We could also try trapping items within fabrics before heating them to create some interesting sculptural designs (try putting buttons inside heat mouldable polyester and it creates a bubble effect when heated.
You can also add embossing powders/paint (Stewart Gill paints are good) or puff paint, expanding medium to add different effects.
Don't forget you can also use a soldering iron to heat and burn not just the heat gun.
I was thinking of setting up a Pinterest Board for heating and manipulating fabrics so if anyone wants to join it and add pins that they find of interest then please let me know and I'll invite you.
I'll also try to find some links to blogs or interesting ideas on heating if I can.
Cracks - I have set up a Pinterest Board on this one! so again if you want to join and add pins of your own or just browse what I've added then visit pinterest and search for Cracks and it should come up or let me know your email or pinterest name and I'll add you.
This is an interesting topic and has so much scope. I was trying to think of cracks in terms of buildings etc but also cracks like lightning or cracks in the surface with emotions, things breaking down. Any good ideas or articles that would be of use to us all please let me know!
Paper and Stationary- I am so looking forward to this as I love stitching together paper at the moment! I also love the work of Becky Adams who makes paper books and pictures using fabric and paper together. I have seen some lovely work with strips of paper that have been painted with subtle water colours and then images stitched on top. I think that this just feeds my inner magpie and allows me to collect all sorts of papers - silk, banana, kozo, handmade paper, papyrus, parchment, rice paper, tissue.... ooo so many to collect!
Within these walls - I am not sure where to guide you with this one as I think it is very individual and open to interpretation. It could be literally inside the walls, or it could be whatever lives there like lichens and algae. It could also be creatures that live in there or holes. It could also be rooms or places within the walls looking at structures and architecture I think. Would love to hear your ideas on this one!
Beneath our feet- also a fun thin I think as this could be any walked on surface natural or man made. Could be earth, sand, water, wood, tiles, bricks, ice etc. Please if you are out and about this August don't forget to take photographs of what is beneath your feet as they could be used to create an individual piece or maybe even a group piece if we all found different surfaces like tiles or patterns within floors.
Barking mad- this is also a more natural theme looking at bark and trees. This is a wonderful opportunity to have a good look at creating texture through fabrics and threads. You could make a really deep texture through layering stitches and fabrics or combine some of the burning techniques to add layers of different materials and then stitch on top. Could also create texture through cutting back or burning through. Don't forget that layers can also be more delicate and sheer, so you could create a feeling of bark using thinner fabrics and adding paints or inks as well as fine stitches. Look at the knitted or woven wire of Anita Bruce as well.
Beaches - you can draw together some of the things you have already done such as the beneath our feet theme and use sand as a context, you could also go for water and the sea, waves, shells, pebbles, rocks. This is a lovely topic that again lends itself to textures but also scene building like the work of Sandra Meech and her art quilts but also look at the work of Cas Holmes
Holes- A popular theme in schools ! This could be stitching over (which I love!), drawn thread work, burning using the soldering iron. Manipulating fabrics around items making holes through felting. It could also be creating layers of holes or making fabrics through stitching and burning through to create a net of holes. I would be very interested to see your ideas on this one!
Obviously these themes are going to run over the year and you don't have to start work on all of them now. I wanted to make people aware of the themes so that if they are out and about this August they could start to collect ideas or take photographs of anything interesting that we could work on either as a group or individually. So if you visit an abbey don't forget to take photos of the walls and the floors and the pillars and the ceiling! Don't worry if people think you are very strange for photographing pieces of wall or interesting textures on doors it will all be wonderful!
If anyone has any ideas they wish to share please let me know and I'll add it to the blog. Also let me know if you are interested in adding to or creating more Pinterest Boards for inspiration.
I'll add more ideas as I find them which will be mostly texture through burning and cracks to begin with!
Happy photographing and collecting !