Developing my design.
Below is my real-size working template for the project.
I have in mind the packaging and freighting of this item to the UK so I’ve decided to go with a fairly rigid machine section and have a felted base for the end parts. The machine will be roughly A3 (as that’s the size of our postal satchel) and both ends will fold in over it. This will both protect the rigid part and enable me to make a bigger piece in total.
Section 1 (left): The raw ingredients.
Essentially, Scrappy Batts are made primarily from merino wool with some of the following added: angelina fibres, banana, bamboo, mohair, alpaca, silk, sari silk yarn and silk throwsters. They are not all added but at least four of them are mixed in to give a blend of different colours, textures and interesting spinning and felting results. The one I have chosen to use is light in colour, fairly innocuous and should sit well as a background to build on.
Contrary to my template, where I have used yellow, pink and orange to indicate different ingredients entering the processing stage, I have picked pale yellow, green and dusky pink. This will give me a wider range of possible outcomes when ‘mixed’ at the other end of the work.
Yellow can progress to oranges and reds.
Green can become lime or move towards the blues on the colour wheel.
Pink can become reds and purples.
Section 2 (middle): The processing plant.
Pelmet Vilene, painted and covered with a range of dyed fabrics will be used for the main body of the machine. My colour range will primarily be black, grey and silver with a small amount of dull turquoise. I intend to create a dimensional ‘window’ showcasing cogs within.
To see how the base paint colour affects the surface finish after covering with fabric these swatches were made.
Painted base left to right: silver, paynes grey + white, paynes grey, black.
Dyed fabric types top to bottom row: very light weight closely woven silk, tightly woven muslin, vertically crinkled light weight silk, open weave muslin.
The glue dots from the iron-on Vilene have come through to the front on the top row samples, but I like the result as it all adds to the variegated effect.
I applied acrylic paints to a large sheet of Vliesofix. It always surprises me how well this glue web takes colour, even metallics. Once dry I ironed it onto a mid grey Vilene base to see the effect. I’m hoping it will provide some unification between areas where I use different fabrics.
The large rusted cog I borrowed turned out to work extremely well and has given excellent prints, some of which will be usable.
Clockwise from top left: tracing of original cog, cog rusting on copper shim, applied to vinegared fabric, silk strippings formed into a ‘wad’ and embossed onto the cog then left to rust, rusting on aluminium tray.
I have been looking at cording and possibilities to create conveyor belts but feel I need to work the general project structure before deciding any further detail.
Having said that, using some thick molding medium I stenciled some designs onto muslin/gauze to see what effects I could get.
In the top right hand corner I would like a dial, or gauge, of some sort. I recently came across some wonderful clay beads which have been surface treated so that when fired they change to startling, brilliant metallic finishes. I bought a few with both silver and copper finishes which I may include in this area.
Section 3 (right): The finished product.
The background for this is the same felted base as for the first part. On my template I have indicated the size and shape of this area but haven’t marked any final placement of worked items or colours I intend to use.
My exotic confections will be a mix of brilliantly coloured wool fibre, hand stitching and beaded encrustations.
So, at this stage, I have my full size template and drawings pinned up, my worked samples on a spare table in full view and my Inspiration box open showing a selection of threads and beads for consideration.
I feel I’ve planned as much as I can and it’s now time to start construction.