Saturday, September 15, 2018

Designing an Art/Craft Project (Part II)
Technical Paper

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

There are a number of posts in this series and for your convenience I have listed them below:
Designing an Art/Craft Project (Part I)
Designing an Art/Craft Project (Part II)

Introduction [1-2]
We have covered one basic of design and that was in respect to the most basic of design elements, mainly lines (e.g. straight, arcs and free-formed curves) in last week's post.

When creating an object, whether it is art or craft, the act of engagement is always at the forefront of the design process. Therefore we must be concerned with, "Balance", "Unity", "Proportion", "Color", "Texture" as well as the intended "Concept" that underlies the work. Good design whether intended to aesthetically arouse or provide an intriguing functionality must attempt to clarify these qualities in combinations or separately. A good designer knows how and when they should be used. The blending of these principles and elements is the high point of design. For example, note the sumptuous color combinations in the scarf below that was chosen as a finalist in the 2013 Australian Craft Awards.

(Note: I shall focus on my work to ensure I am not incorrectly characterizing someone else's artwork.)

Artist/Creator: Marie-Therese Wisniowski.
Velvet ArtCloth Scarf.
Technique and Media: Dyed, over-dyed, discharged, silk screened and foiled employing dyes and foil on silk rayon velvet. Printed both sides.
Size: 28 cm (width) x 180 cm (length).

Form or Shape [1-2]
Some simple shapes using concepts already discussed illustrate good characteristics of project design. The following guidelines should help.
(a) Try to be consistent in the use of lines to enclose a shape. When using straight lines, try staying within that style. Straight lines look best when they move toward or away from each other. Straight parallel lines are more normally used for function and decoration (lines running side-by-side which never get closer together are called parallel). Straight lines which are not parallel provide for many interesting design possibilities.

In the printed ArtCloth below, the white stamped images in the mid-ground contain "arrows" that point to each other, which in turn visually create vertical and horizontal parallel lines. These lines enclose the white stencilled "flower" images, the stamped blue Moroccan "window" panels and the multi-colored Moroccan "window" silhouettes in individual square panels. The use of straight, vertical and horizontal lines employed in this piece encapsulates a highly formal and decorative aesthetic.

Artist/Creator: Marie-Therese Wisniowski.
Title: Morocco (section view).
Technique and Medium: Stamped, stencilled and deconstructed/improvisational silk screen prints employing transparent and opaque pigments on cotton.
Size: 50 cm (width) x 100 cm (length).

(b) Free-formed curved lines are often used to enclose a form or shape for many projects. For practice, make some sketches of a project using curved and straight lines. Follow the guidelines set in the last post for making a break in the curved line or for changing direction.

2012 QSDS Fabric Show.
Artist/Creator: Marie-These Wisniowski.
Title: FP#2 (full view).
Size: 78 inches (length) x 45 inches (width).
Technique and Media: Dyed, multiple over dyes, discharged, over discharged, hand drawing, silk screened and foiled on silk habotai employing dyes.

Balance [1-2]
Balance is involved in every project. It is not so much a physical matter as it is a "visual" quality. An object properly balanced gives the visual appearance that it will stand up alone. Symmetry (equal on both sides) is the most commonly known form of balance. This is often called FORMAL balance. Without the white markings and text the "Made to Order IV" screen print (below) would have FORMAL balance; that is all the elements on either side of the center line are equal. However, to add interest to the artwork the white markings and text inputs an INFORMAL balance, since there are opposing unequal design elements on either side of the center line. Though elements are not of the same weight, there is an overall feeling of balance.

Artist/Creator: Marie-Therese Wisniowski.
Title: Made to Order IV.
Technique and Medium: Silk screen print - a set of sixteen colors was used in this print on paper.
Size: 70 cm (length) x 55 cm (width).

The attention-getting quality of an element is what lends "weight" to its part of the design balance. Used in equal proportions, red is "heavier" than yellow because of its brilliance and darker value. If used against a smooth background, a course texture is "heavier" than a smooth one. A larger area is naturally heavier than a small one.

Artist/Creator: Marie-Therese Wisniowski.
Title: Wish You Were Where? Environmental Refugees I.
Technique and Medium: Deconstructed silk screen prints and postage stamps, re-digitized into digital prints on paper.
Size: 30 cm (length) x 42 cm (width).
The print explores the disappearance of current coastal regions due to sea level rises (e.g. Venice, Los Angeles, Holland).
Note: The course texture of the print is visually at the fore-front since the smoother areas of the print recede into the background.

Unity [1-2]
Another principle used in developing an effective design is unity (or harmony). Elements of the design - its lines, colors, textures, and shape - must be compatible. Everything must seem to belong in the design. Overuse of materials is an example of poor design. Having four or five different materials, colors, textures or shapes causes design difficulty. One or two would be more effective. Unity also requires restraint on the part of the designer in decoration and color. For it to be visually effective simplicity is the order of the day. The wearable art tie below expresses these qualities.

Artist/Creator: Marie-Therese Wisniowski.
Title: Akash (Wearable Art - Man's Tie).
Technique and Media: Hand dyed and hand painted background colors, discharged, silkscreened and stencilled employing metallic paints on silk satin.
Size: 9.5 cm (wide) x 142 cm (length).
Note: The simplicity of color and the simplicity of design shapes evident in the tie. See the following link - Karma and Akash - for more technique/design information.

Unity requires the honest use of materials. Plan your projects so that the material supports the design idea. Metal picture frames do not have the warmth of wood. Needlepoint has little charm when stitches are made with plastic. Remember, an object has unity when it contains no opposing lines, no colors or textures in conflict. It has unity when all its elements are properly arranged to serve its primary function or use in the act of engagement. However, all of these principles can be broken if shock value or thought provoking ideas are at the forefront of the design.

Artist/Creator: Marie-Therese Wisniowski.
ArtCloth Installation: Another Brick @ Watt Space Gallery.
Note: This art installation centered on Post Graffiti and so the use of safety construction fences to display the artcloth installation brought to the fore these urban Post Graffiti ArtCloth works.

Proportion [1-2]
In designing, think of proportion as the relationship in size and shape between design elements; Proportion is established primarily through division of surfaces and generally refers to the relative size of parts within a whole. It is, therefore, directly dependent upon balance, unity, color and texture. Each of these qualities add something to create the stimulating proportions in your work.

Below is a detailed view of my ArtCloth, Gondwana Retraced II. This artwork highlights two design principles: (a) that proportion refers to the relative size of parts within a whole; (b) that proportion is basically a combination of balance, unity, color and texture in order to provide a thought provoking image.

Artist/Creator: Marie-Therese Wisniowski (detailed view).
Title: Gondwana Retraced II.
Technique and Media: The artist's signature MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) technique employing disperse dyes, native flora and low relief items printed on satin.
Size: 60 cm (wide) x 146 cm (length).
Artist Statement: Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain region is an area of marked geological contrasts and forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Areas. Its unsurpassed natural beauty, its cultural significance, its unsurpassed pristine wilderness park features a vast array of natural and cultural features found to be of global significance. Gondwana Retraced II traces its pristine history.

[1] C.E. Kicklighter and R.J. Baird, Crafts, The Goodheart-Willcox Company Inc., South Holland (1986).

[2] Marie-Therese Wisniowski, The University of Newcastle Lecture Notes on Design (2008-2010).