Primary Tools & Materials:
ink + sewing machine
Additional Tools & Materials: fabric, inkwell eyedropper
This letter is inspired by the "tool breaking" philosophy of Keetra Dean Dixon. Dixon pushes her materials to the max, be they digital or analog, and often finds ways of exploiting the ensuing chaos that follows to her advantage. In this study, I'm "breaking" my sewing machine by using it to stitch a letter freehand - this is the first time I haven't at least traced the letter first for guidelines. I'm also using white thread on white ink, to reduce or even eliminate legibility and contrast, which is a way to "break" the whole concept of typography. Lastly, I'm "breaking" calligraphy ink, by using it not on a nib holder, but dripping it onto my fresh white letter to see how the ink will define or destroy the letterform.
To insert at least one aspect of control, I borrowed a method I used working with watercolor a few months ago, in which I used white paint pen as resist to contain and repel the paint on certain parts of the paper. I wasn't sure if this would work on fabric, or even with ink, but I thought it was worth a try. I tested it out on a paper towel first, and saw encouraging results, so after I sewed my letter, I carefully used the paint pen to trace over the stitching and maybe create some kind of barrier that may or may not contain the ink.
The answer is: sort of. The paint pen contained the ink if it wasn't dripped directly onto the thread. Sometimes, the ink would avoid the thread but seep into the fabric beneath it, escaping to the outside. Overall, it was just sort of a mess. I was fond of the bubbles that appeared in the ink when it came out of the eyedropper, and I was glad to have snapped a few shots before they popped.