Reveal and conceal, Stage 3, Reviewing materials and processes

1 March 2016

This stage is concerned with taking the workshop samples, reviewing and exploring possibilities further. This could be:

  1. As stand alone pieces.
  2. In different combinations (i.e. placing 2 or more samples together or adjacent to one another to provide contrast or drama).
  3. By reviewing whether processes, ideas or materials from the different samples could be combined.
  4. By examining each sample under three separate controlled lighting conditions to look for effects of shadow, distortion, incursion into negative space, transparency and translucency.
I started by thinking about the merits of the netting, knitted net and woven samples:
Some approaches which worked well with woven, knitted and netting samples were:
  1. Where the yarn/material made incursions into the negative space (this often made interesting textures and shadows)
  2. Combining threads/yarns which formed knitted stitches differently and therefore occupied different parts of the three-dimensional space.
  3. Materials which naturally formed three-dimensional surfaces (nylon wire, polypropylene, seagrass).
  4. Combining threads of contrasting properties (i.e. matt/shiny, translucent/opaque, hairy/smooth).
  5. Large stitches for drama and effect. 
These are discussed for individual samples in the workshop blog posts.
The effect of lighting on woven, knitted and netting samples:
I then investigated the effect of different lighting schemes by photographing each sample in controlled conditions:
  1. Naturally lit
  2. Lit from behind
  3. Lit from the front
In addition, I also took the opportunity to capture any other lighting conditions which gave interesting results (named “opportunistic”). I did not photograph the inkjet printing or paper lamination samples because they showed little variation between each lighting scheme.
The visual results are recorded photographically in “Sample and development book 2”. I have also annotated each photograph with comments about how samples are affected. 
Some important observations are:
  1. Natural light usually gives good definition and colour representation
  2. Lighting from behind enhances thread definition, having the effect of emphasising stitch pattern and negative space. However, colour definition is often severely attenuated or even lost completely.
  3. Lighting from the front causes shadows to be formed. These are sharper when the light source is close to the sample, and when the sample is close to a background. Shadows become fuzzy as the sample is moved further away.
Imaged-based samples:
Reviewing the imaged-based samples (inkjet printing and paper lamination) was more difficult. The workshops allowed me to investigate and experiment with techniques, but I felt that I needed to develop imagery (sketchbook work) to make my samples meaningful. In addition, the high cost of inkjet printable fabric, meant it was essential to down select images before printing. I have mainly used sketchbook 2 to investigate imagery associated with these two workshops, and this is where you will find  my thoughts the merits of the each of the visual outcomes, and my emotional response to the images.
As well as developing stand alone images for inkjet printing or paper lamination, I wanted to investigate whether there was merit in combining imagery from the netting, knitted net and woven workshops. I have therefore also taken photographic images and drawings of netting, knitted and woven samples to investigated how these ideas might be combined with the printed imagery. These investigations can also be found in sketchbook 2.

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