Hanging the final pieces

The final day arrived after working as a team to curate the exhibition space with all that curation takes place, it was the time to decide which position was the best for my pieces that was also complimented by the other pieces in the exhibition.

After deliberation of how to hang the pieces with tutors and other students, I knew that I wanted to hang all 3 pieces in front of each other as was aforementioned but I was unsure if I wanted the heights staggered.

The first attempt was to hang from a microphone stand in the middle of the exhibition space but I wasn’t happy with the height I wanted higher. I want the viewers to look up to the pictures and be able to walk around and through them.

It was suggested that I use a window opening pole and paint it white and suspend it from a back wall.

This required a weight behind the wall to keep the pole in place and hold the pictures. Each piece does not weigh heavy, which proved to be an advantage with the final hanging.

After solving the back of the frame issue I discussed possibilties of how to hang the pieces, I had to decide what was the best method to allow a little movement but I did not want the pieces to swing.

I thought about fishing wire and thin wire but in the end decided to use metal rods going through both the pole and frame. I was lucky enough to to find some aged copper metal rods that had discoloured, yet matched the rust colours in my pictures.

The next dilemma was do I stagger the height of the pictures or not? This was only resolved with seeing both options and asking opinions and the final decision was to be at the same level.

We had positioned the pole near a plug socket to be able to use lights to allow the viewer to see through all 3 peices of work.


Hitting presentation problems

I thought that I had solved the issue of covering unsightly raw edges on the frames by covering the staples with double sided sticky tape and then with matching bias binding. I completed this Monday and thought the frames were ready for hanging .

On Wednesday I came to the studio and heat of the exhibition space had lifted the double sided tape and the bias binding was falling off. Time to rethink.

I wanted to use invisable tape to attach the binding as my previous use of staples looked unsightly and not to a high standard. I decided to experiment with sticky velcro and attached a sample and left the piece in the studio overnight to see if that too fell off.

|This was sucsessfull  and I had to add further expense to purchase satin ribbon that had to be wider to cover the raw edges of the velcro. Should I use black for all three or continue with my original idea of using the colours used in the production of the pieces. After further experimenttion I decided the complimentary colours added cohesion to the presentation.


Difficulty of framing.

I would have found the whole process of framing easier if I had been able to frame first then stitch into secondly. That wasn’t possible due to the feasibility of stitching on a machine with a large frame. So the only conclusion was to frame at the end.

My work was always going to have an abstract, uneven edge and disparate feel to it because the work is self portrait and that is how I feel best describes me.

Yet as I discovered stretching muslin fabric with uneven edges on to a wooden frame requires continual measuring as the fabric moves and stretches out of shape. This discovery was unexpected and required a certain amount of problem solving, unpicking, repeat measuring.

In the end I measured ,stapled and re measured every few staples.

Tutorial with Technician 

I was concerned that the sheer wait of muslin fabric would be difficult to stitch. Gwyneth suggested that I would need to use a hoop larger a stitches and sharp needles.

Gwyneth has offered support on colour mixing, how to prepare screens and choices in fabrics.

If we want a screen or dyes, colours and use of machines we ask her by job request. She then gives us a predicted time and date that the materials will be available. This takes planning and time management.

The same goes for Bill who prepares frames and helps with the kiln or other 3D requirements.

Screen printing 


I spent the day screen printing the images I had altered on photoshop. I had chosen 4 colours but after sampling I decided on a pallet of black yellow and orange even though picture 1 included green and pink also. The 3 colours looked more dramatic and I felt 5 colours of print may be to busy. I may still add further colours at the stitch stage. Time contemplating the images later I decided that the image above which was experimental as I was using the left over ink on the screen to press this image was the one I preferred. I had only screen printed this image on paper so i went back into the screen print room and reprinted. Looking at my choice of fabrics I liked the muslin as this would enable me to look through image 1 to image 2 and so on. This could be an idea for displaying the images at the end.

An issue i had to work out was how to get the images to overlay for a mix of the colour pallet and also to give a blurred or double exposed image. This required measurements and thinking before I went ahead with the print.


Continue to experiment with portrait 2

Today I tried painting with inks and experimenting with scale, free drawing img and tracing. I didn’t feel happy with any of today’s sampling.

I decided to use ink and bleach on fabric and allow the self directed patterns to dictate the colours for my portrait. This felt much more creative and I instantly started to enjoy the work.

The problem with using inks and bleach is that you can not always get the accuracy that you want. This can be turned into a positive if one is looking for a more abstract look.


Difficult day on portrait 2

Today was the day to continue with portrait 2 and what a frustrating day everyday of trying to go forward today didn’t work. My aim was to produce contours of the face with fabric.

I was trying to find a way of transferring the photoshopped image to fabric and then build the contours of the face up with layers of fabric.

I tried using a

  • Light box
  • Tracing
  • Freezer paper
  • Iron interfacing
  • Painting the lines with inks
  • Free hand drawing

None of these were successful so in the end I decided to draw the basic outline and then build up the colours freehand as I do when painting.

Painting the contours with inks worked well on a previous picture but that was because the portrait was large.

Glazing my sculpted head

The head has gone through the firing process and come out in one piece. I looked at the choices of finishes and wanted a colourful glaze. The choice was limited and I chose a green that should come out shiny after a further firing.

If time allows me I still want to use this head as a maquette for creating a fabric version of me. I will have to work extremely fast on the 3 pieces, to give myself enough time to spend on the maquette.

After firing due to the higher temperatures required for glazing the head has ended up with some serious cracks. I could have used bronze oxide and rubbed it in and that wouldn’t have required firing. I like the glossy green glaze but it is essential that if producing a sculpture again I am aware of the risk of repeat firing.

Problems with uploading images to the digital printer.

I tried to use my images that I have manipulated on photoshop onto the digital printer. I have limited skills in photoshop but I have spent time on editing photos to the best of my ability and asked for direction if anyone was near me was around to offer advice. I spent time experimenting with different outcomes and was happy with the end results. I chose three portraits of myself aged 16, mid 30’s and myself now. I did want to try and create an image of myself in the future but as yet I advent been able to create one that I am satisfied with.

I experimented with blurring or distorting the images for two reasons,

  • One being, that I am drawn to abstract painting. What I like about abstract painting is that I feel an interrelation with the chaos and roughness I see in abstract paintings. I connect with the madness and explosion of colour and it allows my imagination to run away with itself.
  • Two being, that I feel more comfortable with a blurred image of myself due to issues with confidence. That said I think abstract also will best serve my style of stitch that I intend to use.

I tried various methods of saving to JPEG, TIFF and Photoshop but I had no success. I spent most of the day trying to upload the images but to no effect. I also elicited the help of peer students and tutors but I had to admit defeat in the end. I then thought about using the images in a different ways because what I am looking for is an image that I can apply stitch to.

I have experimented with screen print, lino print and mono print. I thought I would experiment with screen print first and see weather I am able to get the image that I want.  I sent a job sheet in requesting a screen printed frame and a list of colours. I chose orange black yellow and aqua blue/grey.

Picture 1 complete/ or maybe not

Finished I think unless I decide to add a little more abstract splashes of green to the background I’m still undecided. 30 hours of work and I’m still not totally happy. This is taken from a portrait of me at 16. I was trying to get a 3D abstract image I wanted to raise the cheek more but yet not make it too relisitic.

I’ve learnt it’s hard to interpret shade into colours and the skill needed to create a choice of colour from ones own interpretations requires a great deal of skill. Due to wanting the portrait to represent me in my youth I refrained from wrinkles and creases as I felt this could confuse the age.

The time which it takes to complete the picture is excessive but I was aware of this from previous sampling and mistakes can be costly time wise.

I think if I had interpreted the image on photoshop and created the colours on paper first I could have experimented with these and settled on what works best.  This could have saved some time on unpicking mistakes.

I chose to work with the colours as it occurred to me there and then. But I think this is a disadvantage and if I where to repeat the process would design the colour patten on photoshop first.

I now need to work out how to flatten the picture and weather to hang it so the back is visible also.

I’m still not sure but need to walk away and assess what the piece still requires. I’ve cut away at the wool because it wasn’t right. This piece defiantly needs more contemplation time before it is complete.