Swatching

Well…hopefully last night was the end of the rainy season in Northern California.  Last year at this time, I was wishing for more rain.  Now, the drought is officially over!  I look forward to pulling some weeds and planting sunflower and zinnia seeds along with a few tomato plants.  At the moment, I’m on the mend due to a stress fracture in my left foot, which gives me more time for knitting.

A couple of years ago, The Yarn Truck was parked at one of my local yarn stores, and I purchased two skeins of OctoBaa 100% superwash merino (8 ply sport weight) 270 yards, from Indiodragonfly.  What can I create with 540 yards of yarn?  Time to swatch.

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Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

 

This stitch pattern above reminds me of ornamentation found on Etruscan and Greek architecture, vases and tomb paintings.  I had an idea of combining two different stitch patterns in one project, so I studied the specific visual qualities of the above swatch.  I noticed the dimensionality created by the knit and purl stitches.  Also, if you look closely, there is a pattern within a pattern.  Do you see it?  Notice the movement of the pattern.

The first swatch pictured above deepened my desire to find other patterns which would express  surface movement.

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Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

Isolating the hidden pattern in Swatch 1, inspired me to seek out the use of cables. Swatch 2 represents an element found in Swatch 1.

Swatching #2_1_1_1
Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

Swatch 3 builds upon surface elements found in Swatches 1 and 2.  The cables found in both swatches lean to the left and the use of garter stitch horizontally separates the vertical elements of stockinette stitch.

Recently, I’ve made a concerted effort to really “look” at my knitting.  What relationship develops between the yarn and stitches while creating the overall pattern?  How does this relationship visually enhance the color and qualities of the fiber?  Or, is it the other way around…How does the synergy between the elements affect the outcome?  I believe, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

 

Layer Upon Layer

Before I blog about my latest polymer clay project, I’d like to mention three inspiring polymer clay books added to my collection.  Polymer Clay Surface Design Recipes, by Ellen Marshall, explores 100 mixed-media techniques plus project ideas.  Julie Picarello’s, Patterns in Polymer Imprint & Accent Bead Techniques, provides recipes for successful color palettes, her polymer imprint technique based on the art of mokume gane and jewelry construction.  Polymer Clay Global Perspectives compiled by Cynthia Tinapple, discusses emerging ideas and techniques from 125 international artists. I find all three books inspiring, exciting and educational.

Layer Upon Layer visually documents the use of alcohol inks, translucent and opaque clay.

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The top left image shows ink applied to the translucent clay.  The lower left and right images are examples of the inked translucent clay after drying placed on top of a sheet of opaque clay.

Layer Upon Layer #2

The movement of the dye and cracking of the translucent clay, presented an opportunity for design.  By taking advantage of the design on the surface, I added a dimension of interest by building a picture.

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Through the use of cutouts and a backing piece of clay, another dimension of mystery unfolds as the eye looks into the piece.

Are these two pieces destined to become utilitarian objects?  Perhaps I’ll admire them for awhile.

On The Grid

Today’s polymer clay post explores surface design.  In previous posts, I’ve discussed the ability to make impressions on a layered block of polymer clay using a variety of tools and rubber stamps.  The imprinted layers of a  block of clay is an attempt to adapt Mokume Gane or “wood grain metal” a Japanese metalworking technique.

Yesterday, I had a discussion with Andrea Chebeleu,  the owner of A Work of Heart about the experimentation process vs. producing an end product.  I believe, it’s necessary to gather a wide variety of process driven experiences, in order to develop a subconscious database of knowledge. Taking Myself To Camp (blog posts 1, 2 and 3), did just that. My plans were to adopt and adapt the various surface design techniques to polymer clay.

On The Grid #2

Instead of imprinting the polymer clay with tools or rubber stamps, I manipulated the clay replicating wood grain.  Sliced portions were applied to a conditioned piece of clay.

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After using a texture sheet, Lumiere metallic acrylic and opaque acrylic paints an interesting textural surface appeared.  After the paint dries, something amazing will happen.