Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our Second Fiber Project

Last night was our third class, the second one for me since last week was spent in new england looking at the leaves - a fabulous place for those who love color. I thought about how I might interpret what I saw in a weaving, but that's for another time... Our assignment was to create "fabric" using found materials. I brought in my samples wondering if I was totally off track since I didn't see the slide show or hear the assignment explained, but as I looked around the room, I was relived to see I was on the right track.

We gathered into groups, laid out our projects and were suppose to talk among ourselves, but pretty soon we were all up walking around to see what everyone else had done. I tended to stay near the instructor so I could hear what she had to say about the various works, thinking I might get more insight and learn more about how the thought process of the others.

I was pretty happy with the way my stuff came out, especially since I didn't have a lot of time to create them, although I did spend a bunch of time thinking about what I would do while I was in new england.

The first project was a paper pulp project, making the pulp colored with leaves, hoping to join pieces of it together with wire rings or twine. I blended up the torn paper Sunday night and spread it onto cookie sheets and set it in the garage to dry, that was all I could get done for the one night. Monday I went to work with my green pot scrubbers and cut them into squares and during lunch time pulled them apart or distressed them to make them not so perfectly square. I also thought about the bicycle inner tube project I tried to do before leaving on my trip when I used surgical tubing, that didn't really work because it made the fabric curl too much, but I liked the rubber tube idea. Looking through my desk later in the day I saw some rubber bands and thought I could use those to decorate my fabric. During work I also spied some packing peanuts and wondered what I could do with them, into the backpack they went for home.

Immediately after work I was off to the store to buy any adhesive I might need and some rubberized spray I was going to try for another fabric, I had to get everything I might need because I only had one night to put my projects together. I had a few extra ideas to try, hoping I would end up with 4 that I was reasonably happy with. I first put down some sand and sprayed it with the rubberized material, I knew this would take several coats. Then I checked on my paper pulp project, it was still really wet, so I popped that into a low temperature oven.

Then I plugged in the iron and got started with the packing peanut project. I had three different colors and tried to keep them in sections to form a pattern, covering it with parchment paper I applied the iron and they sort of melted to nothing, none of them were going to stick together. So I piled on more peanuts and went at it again and again and again until they started to stick together. I finally only had white peanuts left and kept putting them all over on the one side until I had something that would stay together. I thought it came out reasonably well, it had possibilities for exploration if there was some way to get more colors, but it did seem rather fragile.

I kept alternating all my tasks with putting another coat of rubber spray on the sand and moving forward with other projects. I decided my green scrubby project was going to me kind of boring with out some color in it so I quickly got some dye going on the stove and dipped some fabric into it creating a yellow to green background. Then I took my scrubby pieces and attached them to the fabric with brass brads, I guess it looked ok, definitely could use some more thought.

My paper pulp was finally dry enough to handle and I took it out of the pan and ripped it into a few shapes, it wasn't really very interesting, so I dipped the edges into the blue dye I had left over. I stuck it together with glue stick because it was the easiest and fastest way to put it together, the paper came apart even as I was applying the glue, being still very damp. I set it out on the counter, hoping it would be dry by morning.

It was getting late and I didn't have a lot of confidence that the rubber-sand project would work, so I gathered up some bicycle inner tubes, the rubber bands and got them ready to go to work with me the next day, lunch time would have to be a work time.

In the morning the sand-rubber project was a bust, so I gathered up my three other projects (the paper pulp still wet) and my rubber supplies and went to work. Lunch time arrived and I quickly stapled rubber bands to the inner tubes, not really thinking but just reacting to the colored strips and arranging them in a pleasing layout. I stepped back and realised I liked it. The bright colors on the black with the shiny staples, the softness of the inner tube rubber and the prickly back of the staples, I thought it had a nice look.

Four projects to present: TOP: plastic packing peanuts, TOP CENTER: green pot scrubbers and brass brads, MIDDLE: paper pulp, BOTTOM: bicycle inner tubes, rubber bands and staples.

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