Sunday, March 02, 2008

spirograph at last

without golden
Had been after a spirograph for some time now and finally got my hands on one. i think everyone who grew up in the fifties and sixties had one, it was one of those one day wonder toy that got discarded as soon as one could say the name in one breath. For young people didn't quite get it and thought it always made the same designs getting bored with it after a very short time.

Evidently i'm past that stage now and well into asking what if... So i wanted one to try it on fabric using textile pens as i think there are lots of possibilities here. Stitching, stamping, machine stitching or embroidering with the beloved flower stitching foot are some of the options i can think off the top. Not to mention using the spirograph as an exercise to help you get focused before you start studio work.

The first image shows some designs made on polyester organza. No matter how well taped it was, it shifted with the movement of the wheel. It also repelled the ink creating blurry images.

with golden gel
The second image is the same organza, this time treated with Golden Soft Gel medium. The gel medium primes the surface, gives some body to the otherwise flimsy fabric and makes the ink adhere to the surface giving a crisp line. It also alters the transparency of the fabric a bit, but i don't think it is noticeable. A word here, there are some artifacts on both images due to the images being scanned and not photographed. But notice the sharper lines on the second image.

i concentrated the tests to the round "layout" disk the one that has a hole in the center and it's used for donuts and flowers, well kind of, at least in my set, with the triangular shape used as a border. There are layout shapes that give triangular, rhomboid and square borders plus smaller disks which control the donuts and flower like motifs. Each disk has many small holes where you insert the pen and each hole produces a different effect/ design. You can also alter the designs by increasing or reducing the number of rotations or passes. Border motifs are also worth exploring.

Intrigued? Want to give it a go?
Here's a gift to get you started. Have fun! Oh! and if you think of more textile uses do leave a comment.

neki desu


  1. Potiron1:57 PM

    I've been thinking about spyrographs lately too!!! But in France, it is not an easy task to find one!!!! I loved mine, and it lasted a long time, even if quite repetitive, it would put me in a transe.... I think that's what I liked about it, that and the fact that I couldn't draw (and still can't ;) )

  2. what fun - yes, spirograph as meditation. of course. i just never thought about it quite that way before. thanks for fun thoughts, ideas, and e-toy.

  3. Interesting results! I never thought about using gel medium. Good idea.

  4. Anonymous7:04 PM

    OH!... I loved my spirograph... I can remember playing for hours with it... then using wood, nails & string to make the same patterns... my Grandmother used to hang them on her wall!!! ....


interaction appreciated!


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