Hints & HowTos

How to photograph textile art

You want to put your work into an exhibition, but they are asking for photographs beforehand. Or the latest exhibition has a catalogue, and you've been sent some requirements for photographs. Maybe you'd like some good quality photos for your own records? It's vital you make the most of your artwork when you take these photographs. So what do you do?

It's an issue that textile artists have been wrestling with for some time.

Antonia Valentine has shared an article on textileartist.org that might help with this problem. It contains a lot of common sense ideas that seem obvious when you see them, but it's amazing how often they're ignored by artists photographing their work.

Brenda Gael Smith has also shared a tutorial, with seven ways to resize images, using Photoshop Elements and the Photogene iPad app. It also includes free software GIMP, Irfanview and Picasa, plus some built-in features of Microsoft and Macs.

This article from Fiberarts dates from 2001 but it's amazing how the issues and the advice are the same, so it's still worth a visit.

The Textile Arts Resource Guide has a list of sites you can go to for more information on this topic.

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Neural Knitworks - Two in One Neuron Crochet Pattern

Neural Knitworks is a community art-science collaboration. The ‘neurons’ you donate will be pieced together with other textile ‘neurons’ to weave soft sculptural representations of the healthy brain.


 
 
 
Pyramid neuron
(left)
 
Stellate neuron
(right)







Launch: Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, August 2014

Dive into your stash and find your favourite yarn (that means mean anything that you can crochet, not just wool). Choose from all the colours of the rainbow, except red. The science bit: the cell body should be mostly one colour. Splash out with highlights however try to keep the axon & dendrites similar colours to each other. Have fun!!

Preferred colours:

Pyramid neuron: bright orange, yellow, pink, aqua, purple, lime green.
Stellate neuron: darker greens, blues and purples, avoid black and red

Pyramid Neuron or Stellate Neuron Crochet Patterns

Materials and first 8 rows are the same for both.

Hook and yarn sizes are just a guide. Using a 4.5 hook with 8ply gave the measurements below.


Materials:

4.5 – 5mm hook
6 - 8ply yarn, ½ ball or less
Safety pin/marker, move at the beginning of each round.
Small amount of wadding or recycled plastic for stuffing
1-2mm wire for reinforcing dendrites and axon (optional)
Darning needle

Abbreviations: ch = chain sc = single crochet (UK) dc : double crochet (UK). Work the whole pattern continuously, do not join at the end of each round. Mark the beginning of the round with a safety pin.


Base for pyramid or stellate neuron:
2 ch
Rd 1: 6 dc in 2nd ch from hook .[6dc]
Rd 2: 2dc in each dc. [12dc]
Rd 3: (1dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc) rpt to marker (18 dc)
Rd 4: (1 dc into next 2 dc, 2dc into next dc), rpt to marker (24sts)
Rd 5: (1 dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc) rpt to marker (36 sts) Base now measures approx 6 - 6.5cm

Rd 6 to 8: 1dc into each dc (Depth of sides now measures 2-2.5 cm, make an extra dc rd if needed.)


Stop here if making the stellate neuron, and find instructions that follow after ‘dendrites’.


Pyramid neuron

Rd 9: 1dc into each dc
Rd10: (1dc into 2nd dc from hook, 1 dc into next 4 sts) rpt to marker (30 sts)
Rd 11: (1dc into 2nd dc from hook, 1 dc into next 3 sts) rpt to marker (24sts)
Rd 12: 1dc into each dc
Rd 13: 1dc into 2nd dc from hook, 1 dc into next dc) rpt to marker.(16sts) Height now 3.5 cm approx.
Rd 14 & 15 1dc into each dc next 2 rows (Height now 5cm approx.
Rd 16: (1dc into 2nd dc from hook, 1 dc into next 2 dc,) rpt to marker (12sts)
Rd 17: 1dc into each dc next. Save your loop on the safety-pin while you add stuffing. Retrieve loop,
Rd 18: (1dc into 2nd dc from hook, 1 dc into next) rpt to marker (8sts)

Remove marker and make 1dc into each dc until height from base is 7-8cm, stuffing as you go. Continue round decreasing by making

(1dc into 2nd dc from hook, 1 dc into next) until 3sts remain, work on these 3 stitches for two or three rounds then continue as for ‘easy axon’, or continue on 3 stitches for the length of the axon.

Easy Axon:

Continue on 3sts for 3 or 4 rows then pull loop through all three stitches and extend the loop to at least 90cm long or as long as you like, measure the yarn against the loop so that you have a triple strand of yarn. Make a chain. (90cm makes an 18cm chain approx).

Before ending off, thread another 3 strands of yarn through the loop, pull the loop tight. Use the added strands to make terminal branches by knotting, plaiting or chain crochet. Axon terminals are similar in size to the rest of the axon, with a terminal button, so end with a knot or sew on a bead or button. Tidy ends with darning needle. If desired, thread thin wire through axon to make it stand up.

Dendrites: Cut 3 long strands of yarn and pull through the cell body where you want your dendrite. Leave about 10 cm on one side and make a long chain with the rest. Add branches at the end as for the axon, add as many as you like. There are many diagrams on the internet to inspire you. Dendrite branches tend to taper at the end, so it’s OK to leave ends hanging. Thread with wire if desired.

Stellate neuron continued

Rd 9: (1dc into 2nd dc from hook, 1 dc into next 2 sts) rpt to marker (27sts)
Rd 10: (1 dc into 2nd dc from hook, 1 dc into next st ) rpt to marker (18st) 

Remove marker and continue decreasing in the same pattern until 8 st remain, add stuffing, squashing the cell body to a fat disc 7-8cm diameter x 4-5 cm deep.

Now either continue to decrease until 3 sts remain, as for pyramid cell, or end off, leaving the circle open to add a circular nucleus later. Add an axon and dendrites by looping through the cell as above.


Neuron Anatomy

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