Project 3 – exercise 1, Fusing plastic
My first port of call for this project was a large carrier bag where I have been saving interesting bits of plastic. It contains all manner of wrappers, coloured plastic bags and cellophane sweet wrappers as well as some bubble wrap. I eagerly set up my iron and started playing (with the window open I hasten to add!).
Packaging filled with small scraps of various plastics including coloured cellophane and carrier bags, pressed between two pieces of parchment paper to protect my iron. (Hubby wasn’t keen on having burnt plastic marks on his best shirts). Although not particularly well thought out or pre-planned I like the interplay of text and shape in this sample. It would be nice to stitch into it and play around obscuring and defining areas.
Dusters packaging with layers of coloured cellophane sweet wrappers and plastic carrier bag on top. Again pressed between parchment paper. This sample could also work well with some stitching perhaps to accentuate the text and bring it forward. I really like the texture created by the plastic bags, they create a nice texture over the packaging.
Two layers of carrier bags pressed for a little longer so they started to melt a little. I was very careful to insure that they did not start to burn. I like the texture achieved on this sample. It is ripe for stitching into and perhaps melting further.
I tried to capture the essence and colour of this sample in my sketchbook using melted wax crayons:
Taking the layered idea further with more layers and shapes cut and manipulated to create line and shape in the sample. I feel that this sample would benefit from some areas being cut out and others added to with stitch or applied shapes.
I tried to capture the bubbles in this sample in my sketchbook, again using melted wax:
Carrier bag and sweet wrapper ‘sandwich’. This sample was not as successful as some of the others. The sample is quite delicate as it did not fuse together as well as the others, I think it is the fact that the cellophane wrappers are not completely laminated in the other plastics. It is still interesting
This sample is very subtle, woven strips of white carrier bag were fused over yellow cellophane. It looks better in the flesh and held up to the light. It would be interesting to hang with a light to back light it.
A bubble wrap and carrier bag sandwich containing found items. I like the way that the pink carrier bag has taken on the bubbled effect during the fusing process. I found this hard to achieve again.
Elastic bands trapped in cellophane and bubble wrap. Good as an experiment but it doesn’t quite cut the mustard. A bit boring but worth a try. Not a very successful sample compared to some of the others.
I think this sample is much more interesting. the blocks of colour work well with the trapped objects and make a much stronger design.
I really like this sample layers of carrier bags were fused together and then pleated and pressed to create extra texture and pattern. It is something I would like to try on a larger scale. Perhaps in a similar vein to Anna Kyyro Quinn’s wall panels
Combining different ideas makes this sample interesting in pattern, form and texture; strips of carrier bags were laid over bubble wrap in a grid pattern, fused and then pleated and pressed to make the pleats permanent. Again I really like the feel of this sample and feel it could work well as a larger piece.
I tried to record this sample in my sketchbook:
Project 3 – exercise 2, using a heat gun
I wasn’t sure where to start with this exercise so I started with some clear overhead projector film which I have never tried melting with a heat gun before, hoping that it would work I carefully started to heat it trying hard not to let it start burning. It puckered and contorted into some interesting shapes which gave me a good starting point for the project.
Cutting slits in the square of OHP film made it contort even more. A very pleasing result. With some practice I feel that a degree of control could be gained so this technique could be used to make specific shapes.
Polythene and left over threads were melted together with the heat gun. Slithers of the OHP film was also used to add some structure. Sadly it didn’t melt together very well but it was an interesting experiment to try. It may work better using an iron instead.
The last two samples in this project used layers of bubble wrap, carrier bags and man-made fabrics which were then heated with the gun. I love the way the fabrics bubbled and fused with the bubble wrap to form very interesting textures almost like shed reptile or fish skin.
Project 3 – exercise 3, Using hot water
At last I came to an exercise that I had never tried before. I have seen textile artists use hot water and steam to permanently texture and pleat fabrics but had never got around to trying it for myself. I prepared some organza and crushed velvet by trying marbles up in the fabric. I also folded and pleated some parcels of man made fabrics. All the parcels were then simmered for 30 minutes in a large pan, drained then left to dry before unwrapping. it was very exiting to see the results.
Marbles wrapped in fabric ready for heating. I used cotton to tie them into place.
Parcels of folded and pleated fabrics ready for heating. I tried to use a variety of folding techniques both accordian like folding and plain.
The ‘ingredients’ ready to go into the pan!
Simmer for 30 minutes on a medium heat, remove and leave to dry throughly. Unwrap to reveal results!
My favourite sample: Crushed velvet formed into peaks using marbles. The texture is so tactile and the effect when light hits it is really interesting.
Another favourite was this organza; permanently pleated using boiling water. I would love to use this in a garment such as an evening shrug perhaps with some metallic embroidery and beading to catch the light.
Texture created in organza using marbles to form ‘bobbles’ in the fabric
A less impressive sample. This parcel was folded and tied before boiling. I am not very keen on this one as it just looks creased. Interesting experiment though.
I really enjoyed this project. Some techniques I had tried in some way before and some I hadn’t but the results are always interesting and slightly unpredictable. I would like to return to these techniques at some point and try using other items and experimenting with different spacing and positions.
Whilst researching this subject further I found some wonderful work by Japanese label Suzusan which shows what amazing effects can be achieved!