Monday, July 25, 2011

Water samples using plastic

I have been working on two pieces which have a river or creek in them. 
I got the idea of using recycled plastic bags for this, taking advantage of how the bags break up under heat when there is only one or two layers.
Above shows what happens when you iron one or two bags (top) and several bags (bottom).  When I did these experiments a while ago, I really liked this texture, especially when you ironed only one layer onto fusible.
Above are a black, blue and grey sample of plastic bags layered on fusible.
This sample, with several blue and grey layers, added one by one reminded me of running water, so I made up a sample using a photo to get some colours into it.
 You can't see the colours very clearly in the photo, but I have exaggerated the hints of colour I could see on my original.
This is what I came up with.  In this sample, I added fusible to a piece of blue cotton, then ironed different coloured pieces on top until I got something that looked like water if I squinted.  There was a large problem with this sample - because I didn't use a stabiliser, it puckered as the layers of plastic shrank.  You can see the puckers at the top.
 So I repeated it again with some stabiliser and above are the results.  On the left is the first stage, but I was unhappy with this and added some more white.  I was happier with the one on the right.
Another thing I learnt, is that if plastic is layered over the top of plastic (one by one) as I was doing in the last layers of the first sample, you get more defined holes.  In the second sample, I used pre fused films which I peeled off and added layer by layer, so all the plastic had fusible on it.
I was pretty happy with these samples, but there was still a lot of stitch needed to bring it all together.  I only used a simple free motion straight stitch, and the stitching could probably be done without free motion since I basically sewed back and forth in straight lines.
Above are the finished samples, with quite a bit of stitching, however there is nowhere near as much as it seems, because the plastic colours give the stitching depth.
I will be using this technique for one of my pieces, but will be trying out some painted fusible before deciding on the other piece.

5 comments:

  1. Vicki this is a very interesting experiment. The results are very impressive. On the samples where you added more white, did you use tule to get that diaphanous look?

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  2. Oh these are fabulous! I was just reading about making fabric out of plastic bags in Cloth paper Scissors, so this is a wonderful addition to that! I can't wait to see how you use it.

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  3. No, renate, it was all just single layers of different coloured supermarket bags (which I have been collecting for a long time)

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  4. Are these the biodegradable bags that we have in South Australia, or are you still allowed to use normal plastic bags? I'd be very wary of using the biodegradable ones as they fall to bits very quickly, grrrrrr, and make a worse mess than the ordinary plastic bags do and we cannot recycle them into useful things or for crafts.

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  5. these are not biodegradable bags. I know, because I have been collecting for a few years and they have not altered. the biodegradable ones did not last long in shops here, haven't seen any for ages.

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