I have never experimented with this method of distorting a surface with water, it is an obvious method and quite possibly a basic one. I have always gravitated to more complicated methods so this is a great opportunity to learn the basics!
I started by using stones from my front garden drive. I wrapped them tightly with thread to keep them in my desired place. I used a synthetic fabric as I have learnt that synthetic fibres are easier to distort with heat.
The results are successful. This is a very therapeutic exercise and a rewarding too. The outcome is a fabric that has changed from being flat to one that has 3D Forms on it. It has a similar effect to shirting without any elastic thread in sight.
I experimented with some shells that I collected in my holiday in Galicia. At this point I just wanted to see if this method worked with a bigger object and if it was as successful as with smaller objects. I experimented with adding a bit of colour. I used some of my red inks gently brushing some colour on the fabric before removing the shells. I like the outcome, this method excites me as the possibility’s are endless. I can almost cast any shape or form, but instead of pouring a moulting metal or other material into a mould I am using a mould and hot water to create a 3D form.
I experimented with different buttons including bells. I wanted to see if the grooves and detail of the buttons will appear in my fabric. Some obvious details do translate on my “casting” but not all, still… a success in my eyes.
I experimented with some lining fabric and some tea spoons. I am curious to see if longer objects work too. This has turned out well too. At this point I am wondering what I would use this method for? I mean it would work well for a textiles installation or as a fashion item of clothing. I am also wondering how to retain the shape after washing? I am guessing you would have to dry clean any item made by using with this method.
I experimented with different shaped wooden beads and some organza.
I haven’t been able to capture the different detail on the shapes of my wooden beads onto the organza. The overall outcome is good. Nothing to adventurous but at least I have discovered that organza works well.
I then started using calico as I wanted to see if a natural material would work. Calico is a plain woven textile made from unbleached cotton, it is thinner than denim so it worked well for this method and it meant that I could also experiment with dyeing.
With this sample I used buttons, shells, and my different shaped wooden beads. I deliberately used different sizes of beads and shells as I didn’t want a uniform effect. When dipping my sample in cold water I added some salt and splashes of different coloured ink. Red, purple, yellows just to add another layer of interest to my sample.
I then used my heating gun to emboss some lace on some of my 3D forms on my calico sample. This looked very pretty but wasn’t sticking to my fabric. It’s a good method if I wanted to shape my lace and use it for something else but not for what I intended for this sample.
I decided to use a bigger piece of lace netting hoping this would melt (with the heat of my gun) into the grooves and folds of my distorted calico. I am in love with the result. I even enjoy the back of this sample (Picture above).
I enjoy how the 3D forms have resulted in different shapes and sizes: some oval, some flat and round, small and round, small and wavy, medium rolls…you get the picture. I like how the forms poke out of the lace netting. I think the combination of methods, using hot water, fusing with heat and dyeing with inks has worked well. The overlook of this piece has a gentle, pretty, delicate and romantic feel. I can see this being used in a fashion context.
Taking what I have learnt further I experimented with all the methods learnt so far. I took some copper wire crochet mesh and used it as a base. I took some lace netting and used the hot water method to “cast” some 3D forms, using buttons. I applied some colour on the lace netting to accentuate the 3D shape. I then placed the lace on my copper mesh and fused it carefully with my heat gun.
The result is fun! It almost looks like hard boiled sweets with a subtle faded pattern. The lace fused on the copper metal is beautiful! as it brings out the best qualities of copper; it’s reddish, orange bright metallic colour.
Copper is a good heat conductor so it means that it allows the lace to melt and attach itself to the metal. Above is an image of the back of this sample, almost as interesting as the front.
Because the base of this sample is copper wire it means that it’s bendable so this can also be made into a sculpture.
All in all this exercise has been successful. It has been a gentle reminder of how simple methods are effective and can result in beautiful outcomes. I am starting to connect and understand how to use fabric in unconventional ways and hopefully by pushing the boundaries slightly I can come up with some innovative outcomes.