2.6; More Sampling: Tearing

The tearing continued although I became a little more adventurous with the papers I selected.

I recorded my observations in my sketchbook, the main thing that I noticed was that the softer, handmade type papers contained longer fibres which produced a fluffier, wispy edge.

SAMPLE 2.6.5 (a) (b) (c)

I started to compare the technique of tearing with cutting:


My observations can be read directly from my notes in the photograph but on reflection I feel I need to add that I don’t really have a preference for one technique or the other. I think both have their merits. Cutting is more accurate and produces a sharper design with more contrast. Tearing is softer, more textural and produces subtle imperfections.

I noticed Becky Kisbeth Gibbs’ torn weavings on Pinterest (see also here). I was attracted to the softness of the colours she uses and the way they mix optically in a similar way to a mosaic. I was compelled to try this with some of my Brusho scraps:

The first thing I noticed was how the torn strips curled up from the table, seeming to retain some of the energy of the tear. The cut strips lie much flatter, they also fit together much closer. The interlocking of the strips without a gap makes the colour appear stronger and brighter. By contrast the gaps and white edges of the torn weaving produces a much airier, open effect.


This making session was really about using my new Gelli Plate to explore the difference between a cut and torn line.


I have wanted a Gelli Plate for ages and I wasn’t disappointed when I tried it out! I found that I was able to explore all sorts of colour combinations, textures and shapes at the roll of a brayer. I produced a huge stack of prints, the draw back was that I became so absorbed in the process I almost forgot my goal!

I used one of my flower shapes from 2.4.3 as a motif because although I cut them from foam with scissors when I photographed them through tracing paper the edges became fuzzy.

These are some of the prints that do demonstrate the difference between a cut and a torn line:

I realise that my prints aren’t brilliant; I evaluated them in detail in my sketchbook reflecting on how to make them better next time. My favourite of the session was the one below:


I like this print because it has a good mix of colours, the blues that I challenged myself to use in this exercise are still present but I have ‘made them my own’ by incorporating my favoured earthy browns.The print is harmonious; Cool blues are balanced with complimentary warm orange/brown. These are enhanced by the addition of white to the composition. Sharp cut edges stand out against the rough, textural background- I think a torn edge would have been lost, leaving the outline too undefined. Importantly the masked image has slight imperfections, which tone down the whiteness so it doesn’t appear too stark.

SAMPLE 2.6.6 (a) (b)

Finally for this exercise I returned to 2.4,’Cutting Holes’ but this time I tore them in a wet wipe:

Tearing pulls and distorts the very long, strong fibres. I found that the surface could be stretched creating a web-like structure; Even harder pulling creates holes. I can see a lot of potential for this sample: layering and adding stitch or other embellishments are all possibilities I would like to explore.

In addition, the quick pen sketch I made of this sample in my sketchbook looks like it would lend itself to being scratched into a surface (Excercise 4.2). I like to move in very close to small details and enlarge them in my drawings so this would be ideal.


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