AliaK's blog

the marks of Piranesi

yesterday, we went to the Piranesi exhibition at the State Library of Victoria. his work was amazing! such fine detail in his etchings and prints. there were around 100 works on display, but i found that I was transfixed by the close-up detail of his mark making in the works. when he was younger, the prints were lighter and later in his life he ran his own printmaking business and developed darker, denser prints of imaginative buildings, street scenes and maps. the exhibition included his visions of Rome etchings. most of the buildings did not actually exist outside his mind and works — they are imaginary buildings and cities. he showed amazing skill with depth of vision, fine detail in the clouds and architectural designs and showing darkness and light in the images. Giovanni Battista Piranesi lived from 1720-1778. a statement reported by one of his early biographers, via his Met Museum article shows his love for imaginary architecture:

"I need to produce great ideas, and I believe that if I were commissioned to design a new universe, I would be mad enough to undertake it."

I tried drawing some of the marks in my notebook but found the pen i was using didn't give me enough variation in the lightness and darkness of the lines.


A2: Proj4 Stage 2 - exercise 1

A2: Proj4 Stage 2 - exercise 1

Drawings showing different aspects of the marked off area of some images — surface textures, colours, the main shapes. Using a variety of marks and materials and techniques.

original images:

my work on the exercises. I used different materials to try capture the textures, colours and shapes of the original images.

summer (winter) drawing project

some students are trying the "summer drawing project" from the distant stitch group on the OCA textile group page. I'll try some of it too to see how it goes — even though it's winter here for me :) (which usually means more fibre projects as it's nicer to knit in the colder months)

week1 — exploring "What type of mark do you make most naturally?"

repeating geometric shapes seems to be my most natural mark making. the first page was done using conte pencils and the remainder using a fine (0,3) ink pen. we had to fill the page with marks. so I tried repeating the shapes to see the effect. I could definitely turn these pages into stitches. though I think lace would be suited for the circles—I might have to learn how to make lace next ;)

a spoonful of threads

I made a knitted spoon for the upcoming "Spoons!" exhibition at The Slow Club. It’s called "A Spoonful of Threads" (original name was "nice and slow"). I was thinking of a slow / handmade theme – slow baking, stitching, knitting. I was going to do stitching but ended up knitting. it's using three stitches — knit, purl and knit-from-behind, in random order to give the holes some texture. the wooden spoon is made of birch wood and I used red embroidery thread. it was a short callout—so I made it over the weekend. the exhibition runs from May 12-24th.

The Slowclub has since changed names to The Snug.

here’s the flyer for the Spoons! exhibition (when still called The Slowclub)

here is the call for submissions & here is the event page.

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green beanie

green beanie. greanie.


this is a Jo Sharp beanie:


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red velvet stitched circuit — blinking led

red velvet stitched circuit — blinking led

testing the conductive thread. it's conductive, hurrah

I left the hoop on to stabilise it a bit whilst I had it connected to the computer. it's the tutorial on adafruit site, though I modified their circuit pattern into the circles & didn't have the clips to test it. checked it with my multimetre instead after stitching. one thing to remember is once the usb cable's connected it tends to flip the fabric. I need to play more & see if it really is now 'programmed' (I think so) ie will it run without the computer if I power it by battery/something else. but yeah, no soldering, only stitching. have to think of something else besides leds now - they seem to be the "hello world" of wearable tech


it's an adafruit flora processor + neo pixel v2 led & conductive thread. I bought some other things like a light/colour detector & flexible solar panel & more leds. will think of something to try them out

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A2: Proj4 Stage 2 - Looking for shapes and drawing

A2: Proj4 Stage 2 - Looking for shapes and drawing

drawing shapes from different shaped masked images.

original images:

I found some images of cells and drew sections of these.
I also liked the "ghost imprint" on the page underneath so I've included these here.

A2: Proj4 Stage 1 - Introduction and preparation

A2: Project4 Stage 1 - Introduction and preparation

"making space move" in order to develop your eye for design — arrange black squares on a framed page
peaceful vs creating tension

Andy Warhol's blotted line print drawings

When I was in my early 20s I used to read many books about Andy Warhol. One is "Warhol" by David Bourdon. I picked it up again today and started reading / flipping through it again. I love Warhol's early commercial work — he developed a technique called "blottled line" printing. so, wanting to know more about it, I searched the net and found the following links:

Blotted Line — Learn Warhol's Commercial Illustration Technique from The Andy Warhol Museum website. they had a video too — I won't embed it as it's a private video, but it's useful to see how the technique is done. I also found a class instruction sheet for blotted line drawing.

A2: Proj3 Stage 6 Combining textures and colour effects

Assignment 2: Stage 6 Combining textures and colour effects - exercise 1

from the class notes:

"Choose a background fabric – white, black or a primary colour. Choose threads – perhaps primary colours of equal intensity. If possible find the same colour in different yarns or ribbons – matt, shiny and textured. Try working them together, mixing them and separating them. Make the knots very dense so that the background is not visible. Then work further apart so the background has its own effect on the colours. Add a third colour (different from the background or yarn), maybe a secondary colour."

Assignment 2: Stage 6 Combining textures and colour effects - exercise 2

This time we had to use pastel colours and "[m]ix the colours so that a gradual colour movement occurs across the sample".

I don't really like pastel colours much, but I was happy with the final piece / sample.

the photo shows both exercises:

were you able to mix and match colours accurately?
yes, I think I was able to colour match the original colours after mixing the paints. I enjoyed the colour mixing and colour exploration exercises. it was great to see how the combinations of colours created other colours, and the variations you can create by changing the quantities of the source colours.

hearts, suns and bees

some more theme ideas... hearts, suns or bees

I've started doing an online stitching class called whispering hearts with Jude Hill. it's a really great class — I've read through all the posts from when the class was run live in 2011, and will listen to the audio "whisperings" and watch the videos in the next few weeks when I have a better internet connection. the theme is hearts. it's great to see Jude go through the process of doodling ideas in a sketchbook, make some small stitched fabric samplers and then stitch the final selections into a larger piece. this is what I'll have to do for my theme work for class (I think).

I like the hearts theme too — I'm not really into pink and girly colours and hearts but after seeing some that Jude made and some of the ideas around them I think it's good to try something out of my comfort zone of technology-based topics.

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A2: Proj3 Stage 5 Coloured stitches

A2: Stage 5 Coloured stitches

create stitch samples similar to using some of these suggestions for this exercise:


  • build up solid masses of one colour against the second colour
  • change the proportions of colour
  • isolate one colour against a mass of the second colour
  • alternate the colours in varying proportions
  • vary the distance between lines so that the background plays a part in making the colours appear to change.


A2: Proj3 Stage 4 Colour moods and themes - exercise 2

Assignment 2: Stage 4 Colour moods and themes - exercise 2

make a colour bag of fabric and paper based on colours and tones that I like.

Look for:


  • close tones within any one colour
  • complementary and contrasting colours
  • saturated and un- or desaturated ranges of colour.


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A2: Proj3 Stage 4 Colour moods and themes - exercise 1

Assignment 2: Stage 4 Colour moods and themes - exercise 1

this exercise is to discover my "intuitive responses to colour, [my] likes and dislikes, [my] personal colour 'feel'". in exercise 1, I had to paint colours to match 3 pairs of words.

active | passive :

bright | dull :

sad | happy :

A2: Proj3 Stage 3 Recording colours accurately - exercise 4

Assignment 2: Stage 3 Recording colours accurately - exercise 4

this exercise involved colour mixing and matching of real objects.

the first one I did was (half of) a pair of pliers, using watercolours:
a photo of the original

watercolours painting

the second one was a lemon, using guache paints:

months later (in August 2014), after doing a couple of short online classes with Carla Sonheim and in this case Fred Lisaius, and after doing many more paint and colour exercises in my sketch book / work book, I had painted "A pair of pears" which I think is a similar exercise to this one. I think this is much improved — I'm finally getting the hang of watercolours.

this is the original picture:

and this is the watercolour painting I made. I used new Schmincke and Winsor & Newton pan watercolours and mixed the colours. Fred explained how to do the colours in layers and had use use "wet on wet" technique. at times this was causing me problems, so I returned to Carla's "wet on dry" technique and then I found a way of getting more control of the blending once the paint had dried a bit. I like the painting so much I've dropped it off at the framers to be framed.


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