Textile Tales

I am finding my screen printing on textiles class quite challenging. It’s not that I don’t look forward to getting into the studio and messing around with screens and designs and lengths of fabrics, but I am finding it frustrating to be learning a new skill and working in an unfamiliar way. I want to spend more time than I have working away until I have it mastered.
When it comes to my work, I am very used to coming up with a sketch or an idea and sitting down with my trusty wacom tablet and my copy of Photoshop and working away at an illustration until it’s pretty much exactly how I want it to look. Not unlike the effect this has had on my drawing skills, in screen printing class I have found that I come up with an idea and start working on it and half way through the project I might discover that it really doesn’t look as good as I had imagined and there’s no going back (limited time in class etc). I am having a great deal of trouble mixing colours. This is something that used to come pretty naturally (I thought) to me but now that I am used to opening a palette on my screen and clicking on a chosen colour and maybe using little sliders to adjust it until it’s just perfect it seems that I have lost the knack of doing it with pigments.

This is very, very annoying as it can take ten to fifteen minutes in total to first have to wait to get to the scales to weigh out the binder and then add in little delicate dribbles of pigment – only to discover when mixing it all together that I haven’t created a gorgeous, dusky, rosey pink that I had hoped for but instead something that remotely resembles khaki but is more like an entirely new colour called “blah” (perhaps also known in some circles as “baby poo brown” or “yuck – is that a stain?”).

Anyway – I come home from class feeling lost and sad and like chucking it in but luckily I always manage to be enthused again by the next class and keep at it. It’s an interesting exercise in letting go of all the usual control I have over my work. It’s probably a great way to get back into doing some really free and inspired work – eventually – once I get past the stage of struggling and throwing out masses of misjudged colours.

In knitting news, I finally got around to taking some wip photos of the cardigan I am working on. As I have already mentioned, it’s nothing terribly exciting but I am considering it a kind of boot camp exercise for more amazing garments in the future.

My Rowan Junior book arrived which I have been drooling over excessively. I went out and splurged on a couple of balls of Rowan Kid Classic yesterday ready to knit up into a beanie for Amelia (side note: just looking at the colour “cherish” on the Rowan website compared to what it actually looks like in my hand — it would be worth ordering a swatch card before forking out for a huge lot of this wool online!).

And this is will be the beanie – the pattern is called “Isla”:

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24 Responses

  1. Sometimes, I think that is the curse of the computer. You forget how to draw. That is why it is so important to go back to what you used to do before all of this technology.

  2. Hehe, i have the same problem myself when it comes to putting pen to paper. So easy to forget that you can’t undo!
    Your jumper looks lovely and warm for these cold winter days!

  3. chloe@waferbaby.com says:

    hey claire, i know what you mean about trying to come up with a concept and make it work all in the space of a few hours. i find that i am rarely happy with my studio work, but often, becuase its not perfect, you get some really interesting textures and results. so i’ve learned to to try to control things too much, otherwise you get exactly what you wanted, and you don’t learn all that much.by the way, we used to say that colour had been left by the mud faires, or poo faries…

  4. I love the Kid Classic yarn. I haven’t bought any or knitted anything from it yet, but it is such a beautiful yarn! So lovely and soft! It’s calling me…..

  5. Wow…hasn’t amelia grown up quickly. The hat looks great on her.

  6. hi! I just discovered you (your art, your site)yesterday!! I was in the process of making a road map for myself artistically. An actually huge MAP!I illustrate traditionally in w/c and am playing digitally! And I read your frustration. My husband teases me a bit because I don’t handle it well when my art doesn’t come out “perfect” every time. He says it keaves no room for plain experimentation. Drat! I hate it when he is right.Love your stuff! Inspiring!I am making a leap into my art marketing myself a bit more full time. Take a peak at my site..love to have your input.

  7. look at you! you started knitting after me and you’re already making actual garments!? Now I need to catch up, all I’ve made are scarves and one baby hat, hehe.
    I love Rowan though!

  8. lraymond66@hotmail.com says:

    In an effort to give Amelia just a taste of her Canadian heritage, I suggest from hereon the knitted headwear be known as a toque. 😉

  9. I had the same problem in my oil painting classes after spending all day in Photoshop designing. I would find myself thinking of ctrl-z while adding a horrible color and not being able to turn back. I was astonished at my automatic internal response in wanting to delete it (I would literally tell myself, ‘you can’t delete that silly’). I would get so frustrated but ulitmately found the challenge exciting. It’s fun making mistakes in the applied arts and it makes a piece of art so much more interesting (esp. if there is a pucky blah color in it by accident)

  10. With my illustration,I experience that problem in reverse! When attempting to use Photoshop I feel frustrated that I can’t quickly and easily get the colours and or nuances I can with my paints, pastels and brushes. I have to admit I give up in annoyance. I will persevere though- You have inspired me. I won’t let my drawing and doodling go though, because my little sketch books are part of me!

  11. I just popped in to comment on the layout and design of your site. Stellar stuff. 🙂

  12. One thing that has helped me immensely in mixing colours is remembering that mixing warm colours with cool will almost always give you mud.
    Just love that blue of the jumper/sweater!!
    Keep up the great work..you’re an inspiration!

  13. I haven’t done any artwork on the computer(like a previous commenter, I would agree that paper and tangible materials make me *feel* more in control- whether I am or not is a different story!). However, even when you are used to using real “live” pigments, mixing can still be a trial and error thing- especially if you ever want to go back at a later point and re-create the perfect mix that you had done previously. I am reading an interesting book on the subject, “Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green”by Michael Wilcox, that you might find helpful/insightful. Muddy colors, and the imperfectness of the color wheel are addressed.

  14. Slik screening can be a finiky art. I took a great silk screening class last year…and made many many messes and mistakes, sometimes the only way to learn is from all the mistakes. Your knitting is beautiful. Wow. Wow Wow.cheerio

  15. Rings so many bells! When I’m in the darkroom I get so frustrated because I know I could achieve exactly what I want if I was working in PhotoShop, but then the tactile experience of creating can’t be beat and the accidents are sometimes even more beautiful than you anticipated.

  16. jro@swiftdsl.com.au says:

    Hey, can you tell us a little more about Brenda’s Wardrobe Companion? It’s fine to be chucking stuff out – but what are you left with? I have some nice things I used to wear to work but now I’m home with kids – it doesn’t seem appropriate to wear that stuff. It’s too easy to pop on the trackies ( but not good for the soul or the self esteem). Any inspiration Loobylu?

  17. Stayed tuned to my next entry Jo — I plan to do a full expose on my experiences with wardrobe upheaval… mind you I have quite upheaved yet, that’s to come this weekend. But yes… more info will be coming shortly.

  18. Hi! I’ve been checking out your site lately…and I really like your characters and how clean and attractive your layout is.
    But mainly I wanted to comment on the beanie pattern called “Isla.” That’s my last name. I thought that was pretty cool. =)

  19. I just ride between two tables constantly. One with my computer, one with drawing stuff. I meet the scanner half way. I destroy the poor floor. And drive my daughter in the basement crazy.

  20. Hi there, You got a pretty impressive weblog.I liked your writings.Especially the site design is marvelous.Regards. 😀
    P.S. : Please dont make it compulsary to enter email ID’s dont you know about spam spiders ??. I faced the spam problem, when I had active email links.

  21. diane@easystreet.com says:

    I love to follow your art adventures. I am an aspiring artist,too. I took a bookbinding class last year and was amazed at how difficult it was to come up with creative ideas for doing book cover design…but it was so much fun to learn something new.

  22. The jumper looks fantastic. Is it for Amelia? A knitting tip a friend gave me while knitting my first baby jumper was to knit both the sleeves at the same time (ie on the same needles with two balls of wool)because then you can be sure that the increases etc are exactly the same.

  23. you don’t know me, but i am interviewing bloggers via email for my series in my entertainment diary Keeping Up With The Guide, please email me if you want to/or don’t want to do it.

  24. Your work is amazing! I have only just begun my journey into computer art, and sometimes it is very frustrating. Grrrrm. I. Must. Keep. Trying!