Friday, 27 May 2011

Final Photoshoot

My definite favourite photo from the photoshoot today was this, I think the lighting is perfect and it looks all grotty and incredibly buglike.

Almost complete set!

We have nearly got a complete set now! everybody has brought all their fiurniture and props in to crowd up the rooms a bit and it all looks absolutely fantastic! Here are a few photos of all the amazing work our group has done...

Railings etc

Making the curtains, I also had to make the railings and tie backs for them to hang from. This actually took me longer to make than the curtains did...
for the railings, I went to a hardware shop and bought 3 5 foot wooden poles for a pound each, which was much more cost effective than going to B&Q and buying curtain rail packs for about 12 pounds. I painted these dark brown to match the rest of them room and glazed them to make them look like actual wood, and not just brown paint.
To make the little shaped pieces on the ends of all the rails i used the spinning machine in the workshop. i had to cut out squares of soft wood then dress up in the boiler suit and welding mask. then what you do is get a mallet and bang one end of the wood block into the left hand spike to give it an anchor. next take the other clamp and slide it down untill it latches on to the other end of the wood.
ensure its all tight and safe byu spinning it slowly with your hand and if it doesnt touch the protective plate at the front and doesnt make any rattling noises, you're good to go.
You take a kind of chisel and hold it flat against the metal plate. If you hold it horizontally to the wood and anchor it into your body, it forms a good solid resistance to cut the wood with. Slowly  move the chisel left and right to create a cylindrical shape; and after that just stress out the areas you want to get rid of. in my case I wanted the ends to look a bit like teardrops, so took away a lot of one end and left the other one fat.
It was a very time consuming process, however I feel I have majorlly improved on it and my last few pieces came out really nicely. Again, I painted these the same colour as the railings and glazed them.

I also needed to make the little brackets that the ranil attaches to the wall with. for this I just cut out a hooked shape on a fairly thick bit of wood, then used the sanders to make it rounded and circular. again i am really pleased with the final outcome of this.

After this was all dry I was able to connect all the components together to form one complete curtain rail. even though it was a lot cheaper, it was also very time consuming and took a lot of effort. however, im really glad I made everything myself, im very pleased with the end result.

Before I could hang the curtains up though, i needed to make the curtain tiebacks. I used MDF to create the shapes (for the living room  went for a leafy kind of motif to fit in with the wallpaper and also the art nouveau style, and in gregors room i made it kind of like a big swirl, just like I showed in one of my initial designs. i then attached the tie back to the lower edge of Karen's windows, so finally I could put up the curtain rails and curtains. I am happy its all finished now though, they caused me a fair amount of stress...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Making the Curtains

For Gregors room, I decided to use a dark green fabric; this needed to match the wallpaper and fit in well with the story. It needed to be heavy so that it draped nicely, however heavy fabric is often very expensive. In the end I decided to go for a dark green velour, which was relatively cheap,but a bit thin; so I lined it with a thick creamy canvas to make it heavy and therefore hang better off the rail.
to create the actual curtain it was pretty simple, I made them two and a half foot wide, by four foot long. II wanted them to drape on the floor, as that is what all my research has told me about czechoslovakia at that time.
I hemmed the top and bottom and made a sort of fold over the top ege so that the hoops could be attached easier and less visibly...

To attach the curtains to the hoops, I cut out little scraps of the strong canvas fabric and hand stitched them on to the top hem of the curtains. I then tied them securely to each other using these little home-made ribbons, and im quite pleased with the final outcome. This is what i found in my research too, the simple ways of attaching the curtains or drapes up without the modern invention of plastic hooks.

I created the living room curtains in much the same way, except because it was such a thin, light fabric, it frayed quite a lot so I had to use the overlocker on a few of the edges. I also used the steam press to fold and iron the curtains out to look nice and pristine.

Friday, 20 May 2011


John was in charge of the walls, he bought a really nice flowery wallpaper for the living room, and a white an green kind of nature inspired one for Gregors Bedroom.
The living room needed to be primed before it could be wallpapered, so we had to paint on all the wallpaper paste a day earlier. the next day we wallpaper up the living room and gave it a brown wash to make it look a little aged and not so pristine. i think the overall effect has worked incredibly well.

For Gregors room, a black base coat was used. we then scattered dirt and sawdust coated in paint all over the walls. this gave an excellent mouldy effect.

after all this had dried, we then layered up the wallpaper and painty bits of blue tissue to create a heavy and effective texture. It also helps to convey the stuffiness and claustrophobia in that room. its all worked really really welll.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Scans from Fabric book...

This first image is from a french chateau, but i like the simple style of the curtains here, they use the same fabric for the actual drapes and for the covering over the railing.  the fabric is identical to the wallpaper, and i feel this looks a bit TOO renaissance-y and a little too high class for the set we are creating, so i might tone my designs down a bit and make them slightly blander and plainer than our wallpaper.
 this picture is from a new york apartment belonging to the Rothschild family. the designer found a segment of the wallpaper in a nobles nursery and so recreated the decor on a large scale. they even have wallpaper on the ceiling. this is not how i imagine Gregors room to be, it is obviously too feminine and frilly, and of too old a time period. however, they have pleated railing covers with tassels on, an interesting direction to look in.
I chose to scan in this picture because I like how many layers of curtain there are, and also you can see how the rings are attached which will be helpful when I actually come to make the curtains. pieces of ribbon have been sewn on along the top, and tied in bows connecting the metal rings to the fabric. this is a simple and cheap way of construction, one which i would imagine a family like Gregor's could have used.
I chose this image as their way of keeping the curtains back is to loop it over back on itself,  which forms unusual little half curtain that look purely decorative. although this wouldn't really work for either of the two rooms, that fabric would look good in Gregor's room as it matches the wallpaper.
i also need to think about tie backs for each room.
 this is a good design for the living room, it is simple and open and has a fresh feel to it, this is how id imagine the living room would look like; quite feminine and neutral. it would open up the room to as it is a light colour. this in turn shows the huge contrast with Gregors room.
this picture really jumped out at me because of the railing, it follows the art nouveau swirly kind of style and that might be worth looking into, as opposed to normal straight railings. obviously it wouldn't have the eagles head on it, but if there was a fancy-ish looking railing, e could get away with having more basic curtains and drapes as it would balance it out.


I've just been looking through "The Decorative Art of Textiles" by  trying to find some inspiration for the curtains for the set. I need to design 2 pairs for the living/dining room and one pair for Gregor's bedroom.  (the green is for Gregor's rom, and the pink is for the dining room).
i have been looking everywhere for examples of czech curtains for this time period, and i have to say there are very limited resources.
i have scanned a few images from this book that i think might be helpful with my research...