I have been too busy to blog – or rather too tired after working a succession of 12 hour days to get to the deadline, today, for putting this work on the wall of the Pairings exhibition. I have been making the Daphne Tree with Rachel Kelly, designer of Interactive Wallpaper, and Daphne is a truly metamorphic development. She morphs from a laser etched drawing in animal skin – (I suspect reindeer as this is a gift from the manufacturers in Finland,who produce and sell these large sheets of vellum or parchment for making into drum skins) through paper hand made petal infused and shoji screen papers which are vegetable eventually becoming cotton damask with a man made surface skin of printed decals…..But to start we have burnt a drawing of a figure using modern technology onto of the oldest drawing materials known to mankind – and the result is very very beautiful.
The quality of the skin changes over the surface of the animal, thin and white on the sides nearest to the spine – which is dark; then translucent on the edges where it has been stretched and where, I presume, the skin is thinner. The results of the lasered marks are startlingly different, in places hardly discernible in others a beautiful burnt golden brown.
The appearance of the drawing fluctuated over the entire surface of the body – sadly it needed to be drawn into to make it look stronger and bring out the intricate patterning of Rachel’s original leafy drawing. and the hair had to be coloured as well as it turns to leaves
So far – so good, all going to plan…then we hit a series of snags, first the fabric chosen for printing the flowers of the canopy was not is stock and then Easter holidays meant that the staff in charge of the printing machine were away and suddenly everything looked to be very tight for getting it organised in time….
Plan B. I decided to ask Rachel to send me her designs on print transfer papers that can be ironed into position – I had seen this done before at Heart Space Studios by Teresa Searle and I knew it was a possibility to get things printed fast …so I bought some T shirt printing transfer papers from the local high street, and taking my courage on both hands started sampling.
Meanwhile I stared to dye the shoji screen papers for the leaves which transitions the animal to the vegetable.
Then I started to cut and apply the leaves onto the paper and the fabric..a beautiful vintage damask I had dyed in tea to blend in with the petal paper…
By this stage the transfer designs had arrived from Rachel – and they were really something else -brighter colours on new flowers…daffodils, tulips and big bouquets in brilliant colours – I loved them BUT they didn’t go with my first row of lovingly pressed transfers….I had to think on my feet – but hey I am a designer and this is what designers’ do…isn’t it? I definitely needed more leaves and many more flower transfers..the space looked massive that I had to fill up – about 1 x 1 1/2 metres wide….but eventually Rachel and I got there.
OK I hear the more attentive of you say, ” you missed a bit – the body is now attached to the head which is attached to the arms…HOW did that happen”? Well it was all stitched together.
To be more precise it was drilled and stitched together, the vellum and petal papers being too tough for me to get a decent spaced stitched line – here I am hard at work
But eventually Rachel arrived yesterday to complete the flowery appliques..
All we have to do now is starch and press it, get it fixed to a cardboard tube as if it is a roll of fabric and take it to the exhibition…..you can get the latest update and the other side of the process by visiting our Pairings blog, which is by way of a conversation between us Rachel and myself.