Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Playing with String Art - Designs with C-Lon Bead Cord

String Art with C-Lon Bead Cord

String art, also known as symmography, or filography, is best described as linear thread design merging geometry and art, or mathematical and geometrical design combined with artistic design. Essentially, it works by connecting two points with a straight line, and then by grouping and overlapping multiple points and lines. The design can be first drawn with pencil and a ruler on a sheet of paper or can be composed in a more spontaneous way directly with the cord and thread right onto a board or canvas. 

C-Lon Bead Cord is a perfect material to create string art pieces with its wide color range and different sizes, making it fun to play around and experiment with. 

Here are my first three pieces experimenting in this field. All are made with a 12 by 12 stretched canvas. 12 by 12 canvasses are inexpensive and easily available at your local art store or online. 

Shield - Playing with Symmetry

String Art with C-Lon Bead Cord

Materials: 1 12 x 12 Canvas, Gesso, Acrylic Paint, Small Nails, C-Lon Tex 400 Bead Cord
Tools: Pencil, Ruler, 1-2 Foam Brushes, Hammer, Scissors, and Thread Burner

1. First paint the canvas with white gesso, let it dry.

2. Add a coat of acrylic in a celadon tone and let it dry.

3. Tack small nails to the back of the stretcher bars, 1 cm apart, all around. If the nails are placed on the back of the canvas, they will not be seen. They will face the wall. Leave the head of the nails sticking out so the cords can be wrapped around the nails. 

For this piece I added 4 nails right at the center of each side and left these sticking out a bit more as lots of cords will be strung around these nails. 

From left to right: (darker to lighter colors) 
Group 1 - Persian Indigo, Hyacinth and Periwinkle
Group 2 - Myrtle Green, Fern and Mint - Oops Fern is missing and Celadon is shown instead
Group 3 - Navy, Indigo, and Light Blue
Group 4 - Marina, Teal and Turquoise

4. Start stringing the rays from the central nail outwards. Each of the rays are made with 3 C-Lon Tex 400 Bead Cord colors. Attach the darker color by making a knotted loop, melt the end of the cord right into the knot with the thread burner, and loop it around the first nail, just off center across the main center nail. Go back and forth around the nails making 8 central rays, 4 on each side of the center line. On one side go around two nails, the other side always around the central nail creating a symmetrical design.

5. Change to the next color in between two of the nails. Tie the darker color you just used to the middle color, melt the cord ends into the knot, and continue looping the cord back and forth. Change to lighter color and finish all the way to the last nail. Tie the cord off with 2-3 half hitches. Melt the cord end into the last half hitch. 

6. Repeat for all 4 sides. 

Variations: change colors, change cord size, add more cords... 

String Art with C-Lon Bead Cord

The photo montages may not show the pieces to scale. To get this effect, you may have to scale up to larger canvasses.

String Art with C-Lon Bead Cord

These close ups show how the piece is seen from the side, making them a good choice for wall art in a hallway... as they change as you move. 

String Art with C-Lon Bead Cord

Bridge - Balanced Asymmetry

String Art - with C-Lon Bead Cord

Materials: 1 12 x 12 Canvas, Gesso, Black Gesso, Small Nails, C-Lon Micro Bead Cord, C-Lon Fine Weight Bead Cord and C-Lon Tex 400 Bead Cord
Tools: Pencil, Ruler, 1-2 Foam Brushes, Hammer, Scissors, and Thread Burner

This piece is a bit more free form than the last one... Follow steps 1-3, but at step 2, coat the canvass with black gesso instead of an acrylic coat.

String Art - with C-Lon Bead Cord

Cord Colors: C-Lon Micro Cord in Grey ad Oyster, Fine Weight in Grey, Argentum and White and C-Lon Tex 400 in Shanghai Red. 

May have been Beige and Oyster for the Fine Weight. Not sure, the piece is at a show and all the colors were left on my desk, so I considered them... I can't remember which ones I ended up using for the Fine Weight exactly. 

Work the cord in layers starting with the Micro Grey and then the Fine Weight going from dark to light. Create movement and repetitions. 

Tie the bundles with the Tex 400 cord. Use the thread burner to melt the ends back into the knot. Then weave some Shanghai Red cords across using a tapestry needle. Size 20 is perfect for C-Lon Tex 400 Cord

For this piece I had no precise composition plan, other than creating an asymmetrical composition reminiscent of jazz with repetitions and surprises. I just followed my intuition and ending up with 3 repeated elements, the 3 triangles on left and the bundles on the right. All held up by the repeated diagonal lines going from left to right and the intersecting line on the right corner. The contrasting red color was the final touch bringing in dots as knots and woven lines.

String Art with C-Lon Bead Cord

Close up of the Tied Bundles

String Art with C-Lon Bead Cord

Close up of the Triangles

String Art with C-Lon Bead Cord

Close up of the Woven Lines

Tight Rope - Creating Tension

String Art with C-Lon Bead Cord

Materials: 1 12 x 12 Canvas, White Gesso, Small Copper Plated Nails, Black C-Lon Micro Bead Cord , Copper Wire, Electronic Wire

Tools: Pencil, Ruler, 1-2 Foam Brushes, Hammer, Scissors, and Thread Burner

String Art with Nylon Cord

This piece is a bit more planned than the last one... Gesso the canvas with white gesso. Let dry. Then mark the places where nails will go using a ruler and a pencil. 

Drill partial holes. It will make it easier to hammer the nails straight. Hammer the nails all at the same depth. Use a guide to keep the tops of the nails level. 

String Art with Nylon Cord

I placed 11 nails on the top left, nails all across the bottom, all 1 cm apart. The final nails on the top right were added afterwards once the thread composition was made with the Black C-Lon Micro Cord. 

String Art with Nylon Cord

Attach the cord right at the left bottom nail. Use 3-4 half hitches. Melt the cord end right to the knot. Pull tight to make sure it is secure. Create a composition with the Black Micro Cord, going back and forth. Think of it as music with rhythm. End the Micro cord with 3-4 half hitches and melt the cord end into the last knot. 

String Art with Nylon Cord

I added the extra nail on top right for the final touch, the opposing composition element and a contrast of materials. 

String Art with Nylon Cord

The copper wire is hand twisted - the galvanized electronic just pulled tightly. 

String Art with Nylon Cord

I hope that you will try this art form. It is easy and the results are fun. If you go ahead and make a piece, let me know how it goes. This is the perfect type of projects to do as a planned activity with kids incorporating art and geometry... And it can be done with cardboard cutting little slots on the edges instead of canvasses and nails. 

I will keep you posted on future pieces. I really want to make a few more! - Marion

Resources and References

Compare Thread Burners

Do a search on 'String Art', get books on the subject... There are many resources with info and instructions online relating to this subject, but please refrain from using cotton floss or cotton crochet yarn as many of these sites recommend. C-Lon Bead Cord is far superior as it can be dusted, washed, and the cord is durable!