I'm still fighting these arrow shapes.
I spent some time experimenting with bigger arrow shapes, but they are still drastically pulling in at the tails when I send them through the sewing machine. I have no idea what I am going to do, but I guess I need to re-evaluate this whole project...again.
I'm starting to get super frustrated with it. I have this clear vision in my head of what I want, but it is just not working out for me. Normally at this point in a project I would just say "screw it" and move on to something else. However, I really want to stick to this self-portrait a year thing I told myself I would do, so I'm going to do some more sketching this week and see if I can't find a happy medium between the vision in my head and what I am actually going to be able to accomplish.
I was making such great progress!
Last week, I managed to get all of my little arrows cut out and back with newsprint (to help reinforce them as they went through the sewing machine). I actually even sat down yesterday to begin stitching the edges on the machine. That's when I hit a big snag: the pieces are so small, they keep getting caught in the machine, especially the tails of the arrows. I was incredibly disappointed and frustrated. So it's back to the drawing board for me.
I am going to have to make more fabric since I've already cut up all that I had made. I'm also going to have to experiment with arrow size. First, I am going to try doubling the size. Each of the arrows I had was 1" wide and 1.5" long, and I am going to increase that to 2" x 3" and see if I still have the same problem when I send it through the machine. If I'm still having trouble, I'm going to experiment using arrows with a flat bottom instead of a split bottom. And if none of that works, I'm really going to have to reassess my plans.
Needless to say, my goal for this week is to get that all sorted out and be at the same point in the project I was at this time last week.
I spent the weekend at the beach and it was quite relaxing. I feel rested mentally, even though I'm physically exhausted. We went to Shackleford Banks to see the wild horses and it was a wonderful experience.
I have been able to do a little bit of work this past week and I think that I am finally at the point where I am ready to start working in fabric. Last week, I did a sample on 8x10 black card stock of how my final piece will look and I really like it.
This week, I plan on cutting out all of my arrows and stitching around all the edges so that I can stitch them together next week. If I get to that point this week, I would be really happy, but I am not anticipating that I will.
I've tried really hard to get a ton of work done this past week. But yesterday was a holiday and all I wanted to do was sit around and read. So, that's basically what I did.
I did manage to get my piecing experiments done. I used a couple different arrow shapes and played around with placing them together. And they were quite successful. I even decided not to worry with the pleating/tucking experiments because I am confident that cutting out individual shapes and sewing them together is the solution to my problem that I have been looking for. I just can't quite decide which one I like the best:
I think that I am leaning towards using the last one because it would combine piecing and cutting out pieces, like I originally intended. I'm so undecided though! If it doesn't work out, I will be re-doing this project again and I am trying to avoid that, mainly because I want to finish this piece for an upcoming show.
What do you think?
I didn't get as much done last week as I was hoping and the work that I did get done wasn't particularly rewarding.
I did manage to get my laminated paper made. First, I wrote out the text I wanted on a piece of paper using a sharpie (see last week's post) and then made a copy of the text. I cut out a piece of organza slightly larger than the final size I needed and laid it on top of the photocopy. Finally, using a squeegee, I spread a thin layer of matte gel medium over the top. The key to getting this technique to work is to use copies made on a toner based copier. I have used copies from a non-toner based printer, but the success has been hit or miss. Without the toner, it seems the text/image does not adhere to the organza. I have also had mixed success with colored copies. Also, polyester organza works just as well, but for the purposes of dyeing, I like to use silk. I am not super familiar with dyeing polyester, and knowing my luck, I would put holes in the polyester with the iron.
Then I let the piece dry overnight. You can speed up the process with an iron, but I like to let it sit and cure overnight. I find more of the text adheres when it sits overnight. I find that drying it with an iron means that not all of the text/image get properly adhered to the organza.
Once it is dry, I soak it in warm water and then peel off the excess paper with my fingers.
Then, I just have to let it dry, iron out the wrinkles, and cut it down to size. I will do all this later because I am still trying to figure out how I want to treat the surface of the piece.
I experimented some last week with cutting into the surface of the paper. Removing pieces of fabric from the piece was something that I wanted to do in the original sketch. However, in the first draft of the project I did, this was what made the piece unsuccessful and caused me to scrap it. The pieces were too large and much of the image was lost.
I played around with a couple different cuts:
I used this piece of packing as inspiration...
...and cutting arrows into the surface. Since the text talks about direction, I thought the arrow motif might be interesting.
But, I am unhappy with how cutting into the surface is working. I am just not accomplishing what I want to and it is frustrating. So, this week I am going to play around with manipulating the surface. I am think about experimenting with some piecing and some pleating.