Throw the Dice

In response to my research and learnings in previous posts and a month of delving into the topic of ‘Pattern Universe’, I designed my outcome on such musings. I was incredibly provoked by the evidence that nature and the entire universe is so deliberately created in pattern. So these images are the 6 sides of my object design. Using two of technologies that I have been taught over the past month (screen print and Adobe Illustrator), I created a 3D object than combines my passion for pattern, textiles and print, with an Indie Craft flavour complimented by an Einstein inspired philosophical twist (see previous post). I was completely in my element creating this, and I look forward to further exploration with an ink and thread pairing.

Using a found foam cube from my son’s bedroom (and yes he gave me permission to use it), I machine sewed these 6 dice sides together and covered the cube to form the dice. I was challenged by a few logistics in the process. Firstly, deciding how to feature the dice dots as a darker fabric, which was resolved when I found scraps of grey blanket in my fabric stash, before then, I was going to use black acrylic felt. Because the other blankets were pastel colours however, I am pleased with the contrasting result that they grey gives. It is a softer, more complimentary contrast than what black would have been. Secondly, if I had more time and resources to fulfill this brief, I would have preferred to have designed 6 differing patterns, all displaying elements and features of nature that we come across. This way, when the dice is thrown, each side would have featured a distinctly different pattern. In this case, the only thing that really changes from side to side is the colour and layering of inks and the spots of grey representing the numbers in nature. Still, it is a result that I am content with. My last and final challenge occurred when I didn’t think that my fabric prints were going to be large enough to cover the surface area of each dice side. I had underestimated the nature of fabric and it’s tendency to shift and warp out of shape. What began as a square did not always remain a square.  I considered having to slice the foam cube down in size with a sharp knife,  but fortunately, the fabric squares warped back into shape after a little encouragement from myself and the sewing machine.

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My greatest success with this work is the matching up of top and under layers of printed blanket squares, and how when the top layer is cut away, the grey darker print is revealed with the same corresponding detail of the pattern. An alternative option was to applique the grey dots on as a top layer, however the concept of revealing a hidden pattern underneath interested me more so, especially in relation to the project theme that I have discussed prior.

I am proud to have created a piece that is reflective of my values of repurposing and bringing old things back to life in a new form. I have been making crafts in a ‘practical’ sense for many years, and finally I get to label this piece as a work of art as well. I am grateful to all the crafters and artists around the globe for paving the way that has merged the two together, inspiring me to now do the same with confidence.

I also express my gratitude to my research artists Hanna Werning and Kahori Maki, for inspiring me  in this process. Both women are very talented and unique in what they do.

If I were to refine my outcome, I would go back to the stencil making process and make the pattern image an A2 size so that I can be more flexible with the printing stage.  In addition, I would create 6 different patterns representative of more aspects of nature, ensuring that each side had a different outcome in throwing the dice.

Further exploration with pattern in general would follow the concepts of Earth, Fire, Air and Water Elements in nature. Using Illustrator Pen Tool to draw the individual units as I had done in this brief, I am curious to discover the possibilities of patterns to be found, and the various forms that come from combining similar elements in nature with each other.

The Indie Craft Movement

Artists and crafters on a global scale are producing works of art combining traditional craft techniques with modern, off beat and unconventional styles, contexts and subject matters. The culture that has risen from this need for crafters to walk to the beat of their own drum is ‘Indie Craft’. Primarily developed by online community in 2006 in America, members now meet from all over the world to discuss and raise awareness on the creation of contemporary art with traditional craft disciplines.

As a crafter myself I have found it difficult to define the lines between art and craft, and I am motivated by various makers in the Indie Craft Movement to take the step into becoming a ‘craft artist’.  Having never really enjoyed the old fashioned results of the crafts taught to me when I was young, the subversive subject matter appeals to my non-conforming nature. I feel akin to the alternative culture that accepts and encourages individuals to make work that expresses their unique viewpoint on the world.

Many indie crafters/artists utilise textiles, vintage and recycled materials and objects to make their work – lessening the impact on the environment and also as a reaction to the mass production and mass consumer culture of modern society.  For many years I have been making and successfully selling up-cycled handmade crafts and apparel.  I find a sense of fulfillment when working with found materials and objects, knowing that I am bringing something back from the past, and giving it a purpose in art, which will hopefully be appreciated in a new way.  If not appreciated for arts sake, then at least evoke thoughts in others.

Researching the Indie Craft Movement has reignited my love for fibre art and crafts of my past.  I found myself in the battling thoughts of whether craft could be considered as art (a dilemma that is still healthily debated today) and whether I wanted to be associated as this type of creative practitioner. I am so enthused and inspired by the many talented contemporary artists, designers and crafters in this movement, that I find myself wanting to explore it further with my own hands. This gallery features Rowena Dring, Kirsten Hassenfeld, Rob Wynne, Joetta Maue, Shauna Richardson and Kako Ueda all Crafters, Artists and/or designers who I am personally inspired by or resonate with in some way whether its their media used or they approach to art.

References:

Heyenga, L. (2011). Paper Cutting Book: Contemporary Artists. San Francisco, CA, United States of America: Cronicle Books.

Hung, S & Magliaro, J. (eds.). (2007). By Hand: the Use of Craft in Contemporary Art .

Levine, F & Heimerl, C. (2008). Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Maue, J. (2011) Joetta Maue: mixedmediaindex. Image Retrieved from http:/www.joettamaue.com/2010/2010/page1.html

Waterhouse, J. (2010). Indie Craft. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

Wynne, R. (2004). Rob Wynne: Recent Works. Image Retrieved from http://www.robwynne.net/drawprintphoto.htm