Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Himroo Weaving

Here is a little bit about Himroo weaving because I think it should be appreciated. Himroo is a fabric made of silk and cotton, grown and woven together with silver threads in Aurangabad, India. Hand-woven Himroo was established in the reign of Mohammad Tughlaq when the capital moved to Aurangabad from Delhi. In the 14th century, Himroo was developed as a cheaper alternative to Kam Khab, which was woven with pure gold and silver threads for Royalty. Himroo originated from the Persian word Hum-ruh which means 'similar'. Today, most Himroo shawls and saris are mass produced using power looms and sadly hand-woven Himroo is a dying trade. I managed to find the Paithani Weaving Centre with the help of my lonely planet guide, where there is a show room and you can watch the process of hand-woven Himroo. I did not go to the Paithani Centre to buy anything originally, but I left having purchased some beautiful hand woven items which I will keep in by bottom drawer!  

The gentleman sat at the loom weaving was elderly and the lighting was poor. But he was sweet natured and smiled lots despite the dingy conditions. With the help of a translator I was told this man was the last of his family to continue working in the trade. This was upsetting to hear because the products he showed me were beautiful. It showed a lot of care had been taken and many hours sacrificed to create some of the hand-woven Himroo pieces. I was told that nobody else in his family learned the skills to produce hand-woven Himroo because it was a dying trade due to the power looms. Many of these items will end up being bought by museums because many people in India cannot afford to pay for the hours which have gone into making Himroo. 

was told this piece had real gold inserted and will take up to a year to complete. The template for the design on the fabric was inserted underneath as a guideline. This part had already taken 3 months. 

Above is a close-up of one of the cloths I bought which I feel very excited about.
Above is a close-up of one of the cloths I bought.

This piece, as well as the item above was inspired by the Ajanta Caves nearby. If you look at this photograph (right) you can see the resemblance in the design work. I thought this was really special because I had been to the Ajanta caves a few days before. I was blown away by the 29 caves carved into a rock side in 200 BC. The caves still include the original art work and sculptures. 

The Frozen Fountain, Amsterdam

The Frozen Fountain is a shop in Amsterdam which sells furniture and home accessories since 1985. And in my opinion, must not be missed if you're in the area and have a passion for interior design. The shop maintains close contacts with designers which is reflected within their diverse range as well as collections by international furniture labels. In addition to the permanent collection of furniture, installations are organized for commissioning designers; bringing designers and craftsmanship together. I guarantee you will be inspired and they allow you to take photographs as below:

My favorite piece above, felt by Claudy Jongstra

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Native American Indian Moccasins

Here are some photos I took of a friends incredible collection of American Indian Moccasins. I was immediately drawn to their beautiful detail made up of vibrant colours and unique patterns created with the use of delicate craftsmanship. Each pair differed from the other. 

Clothing varied between tribes but the moccasin was very commonly worn. The cut and patterns altered between tribes therefore Indian People could tell each other's association by their footwear.

The cut, beadwork, quillwork and painted designs differed between tribes. Names of some of the large nations such as the Blackfoot and the Chippewas refer to their characteristic moccasin style.

All American Indian moccasins were originally made of soft leather stitched together with sinew (Sinew is the tendon which connects muscle to bone and is therefore capable of withstanding stress and strain). 

In some tribes the leather was left to harden for added durability before being used for the sole. Rabbit fur and later sheepskin was used to line the leather for added warmth. Sheepskin is still being used today to line winter boots and slippers.

The shoe is called the moccasin because this was the original name used by the Algonquian tribe. One of the first of the Indians discovered by the Europeans. Other spellings of the word include mocasin, mocassin, moccassin or mocussin. 

Indian women also wore moccasin boots, which were basically women's thigh-length leggings sewn to their original moccasins. They were usually heavily quilled.

The Inuit (Eskimos) invented heavier-duty boots called mukluks. Mukluks were made from sealskin, fur, and reindeer hide. Moccasins are still being made today by American Indian craftsmen.

I was really inspired by my friends collection and so I created a drawing of some of the moccasins using oils pastels with ink. The image celebrates the individual moccasin. I love the colour combinations and beadwork and wanted to show this in my drawing.

Personal Project

Here are some samples I created using print with embroidery for my Personal Project at university. I dyed all of my fabrics and was inspired by flowers and nature to create floral prints and embroidered designs. I focused on colour and texture. This was also an opportunity to test out materials with different fiber content to see what I preferred to work with and what technique worked best. The samples were created to be used as pillow cases for interior.  

Sample 1: The techniques I used were devore, screen print, American smocking and embroidery. The print was floral and I cross dyed the material, therefore when the devore was completed the existing shade of material was slightly darker.      


Sample 2: The design was inspired by some sketches of leafs. I screen printed the design onto fabric in green and orange and freely stitched over the print, particularly around the edges with orange and green embroidery. 

Sample 3: This sample is one of my favorites. I used silk and cotton. I shredded both materials and they frayed to look rough and ready. I stitched them down randomly in circles to look like roses. The finished piece is very textured and raw.

Sample 4: This sample was an experiment. I used embroidery to create this round shape. I sewed a variety of thicknesses of material down and dyed a variety of colours which I blended together by sewing with two colours of thread, orange and blue. 

Sample 5: Here I dyed and shredded the material to embroider rough rose shapes in random places. I sewed with an elastic bobbin to form texture and snagging which works well with the shiny material to create a sense of movement. Beneath I used block printing to make a floral pattern and embroidered over it with a tight zigzag stitch which I cut down the middle.

Sample 6: I dip-dyed the material two colours so the dye would soak through the cotton. Through the middle I embroidered flowers with a range of materials and an elastic bobbin down the middle. The yellow fabric is dyed bondaweb which I ironed onto the cotton in strips. I created some buttons mixing some orange paint with hot glue. I copied one of my sketches to stitch a floral design around the flowers using grey and orange thread. 

Sample 7: I dip-dyed the cotton in orange and bottle green dye. I screen printed onto the material afterwards with yellow pigment and embroidered over the print. I tried to intwine the embroidery with the other features and feel the colours are strong. 

Friday, 19 August 2011

The High Museum of Art Atlanta

The High Museum of Art introduced me to the work of Gerhard Richer. The artist's work is Abstract and focuses predominantly on colour exposure. The technique used involved smearing and blending the paint on the primary surface to expose contrasting colours beneath. The work stood out to me because I was pleased by the generous helpings of paint used. I thought the artist's technique was fairly primitive, which reminded me of painting as a child when using my hands to spread the paint and not being afraid to get messy and I think smearing paint is a brave and fairly reckless skill. 

The exposed multi-toned patterns of colour were formed in geometric and figurative shapes. I really liked the colours and the texture formed. The way in which the paint dried in certain areas allowed the light to work with the texture highlighting the artist's smearing techniques.    

Below is a photograph I took of the of the overall painting:

Here is another painting by Gerhard Richer. The colours blend in really well together and the overall effect is serene in comparison to the more so turbulent image above. This has a lot to do with artist's use of colour but also the smearing technique. In my opinion the colour has been introduced gradually.

 When the contrasting colour has been introduced moderately it blends into the primary base when observed from a distance. This creates a different overall effect because instead of creating individual shapes with colour an overall multi tonal effect is created.  

Below is a photograph I took of the overall painting:

I was impressed by the work of El Anatsui who created a series of metal cloth sculptures using aluminium and copper. The scale was huge showing patience when the fragments of metal used were so small in comparison. I thought the colours were pretty and from a distance the sculpture looks like a patchwork. The artist is based in West Africa and the pieces of metal used come from discarded bottles and tins. The artist used scrap metal to create beautiful art and raise awareness to the social and cultural conditions in West Africa. 

There is currently a Modern by Design Exhibition ongoing at the High Museum of Art July 1st-August 21st. The exhibition specializes in modern design. 'Acrylic Stool' was designed by Shiro Kuramata. The piece is a celebration of the acrylic material. The stool is solid and angular yet the feathers contained inside look like they are gently floating. The feathers can be seen from all angles and have maintained their soft and fluffy characteristics within the acrylic.  

'Cabbage Chair' by Oki Sato of Nendo was my favourite piece. The environmentally friendly chair consists of the paper discarded as a by product from the manufacturing process of a garment pattern cutting/pleating technique. The garments are cut and sewn together first and the paper is fed into a heat press where garments are pleated. As a result, there is a large waste of paper. The cabbage chair has been made up of a large roll of the left over paper which is peeled back through layers to create a comfy chair. Resins are added to create strength and the pleats add elasticity and comfort.