Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Garden Structure

Weaving with silk on the bias proved a lot less stable than the previous cloth. I decided to machine it all together to stop it falling apart, and found that this gave it structural strength, holding its shape when rolled.
The first cloth is fairly robust, with only hand-tacked stitches in one direction, so doesn't roll so much as fold at the strips.
And here they are side by side. I like the neatness of the one on the right. I find the splitting off of the stripes on the left-hand cloth slightly disconcerting, while being pleased at the sense of shifting ground this creates. I'm still thinking about how to embellish them...
Together, these will form the first lined bag-within-a-bag. For the second one I am going to use linen (much more friendly to work with), and some kind of piecing method.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Dyeing a Tree

At the last workshop with Janet we experimented with dye powder, discharge, resist and bleaching techniques. One of my more interesting results was achieved purely by accident however, when wiping up the mess!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Fantasy Elm Road

An experiment in machine embroidery on linen - a good technique for this children's picture book style. Maybe a bit too fussy. I like the simplicity and muted colours of Alfred Wallis.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Textile Poets

I can't make any further posts about fabric weaving without acknowledging the work of textile story teller, and to my mind poet, Jude Hill.
William Wordsworth considered a poet to be someone able to present the world to people in a way that they would not ordinarily be able to see, but can get 'immediate pleasure' from. Jude's spirit cloths are like this, drawing the viewer to connect with the story as well as admire the craftsmanship.  
The Lakeland poet, however, thought himself "endued with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, [having] a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be common among mankind"*.
Jude's work demonstrates some of these qualities, but she has a much more inclusive attitude, akin to William Carlos Williams. He thought "the poet is he who walks through life, listening, being involved, participating more than watching"** and that poetry exists in everyone's life.
Jude has the same democratic approach. She creates beautiful work while encouraging others that they can too.

*William Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads, 1802
**Interviews with William Carlos Williams “Speaking Straight Ahead”, Linda Wagner (ed.), New Directions, New York, 1976, p.xiv

Second Garden

I tried changing perspective by cutting the warp material on the bias and making the strips wider. I'm not really happy with this yet - a bit too chunky and possibly some more sheer layers needed to soften it down.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Woven Garden

The starting point for The Garden of Forking Paths.
I like the layered depth and complexity of the woven structure.
 I'm not sure if the finished piece will be flat or three dimensional. I've been thinking about making a bag within a bag where the paths lead to different windows through to the next world, something like this:

Monday, 21 June 2010

Occasional Cards - Abstract...

...With landscape tendencies.
Wool tops, linen and oddments needle-punched onto thick upholstery fabric with handstitching. A kind friend gave me lots of fabric samples, which means I'm able to experiment with lots of different weights, types and textures that I wouldn't normally use.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Transfer Dying, Ripping and Stitching

Experimenting with transfer paints, dyes and crayons.
The colours come out very bright on poly-cotton and more muted on a net-curtain-like sheer, so I put four layers together with the poly cotton as the base, stitched freehand over the top and cut through to expose the colour beneath.
Allowing for the colour mismatch and wonkiness of my hasty design and execution, I like the bursting flower effect of this piece with the glimpse through to another world. Something to develop...

Friday, 18 June 2010

Occasional Cards - Hearts

I find the small scale of making cards useful for experimenting with different techniques and focusing ideas. Having something useful at the end of the process is satisfying too!
This one was made by weaving an embroidered sheer, some linen and upholstery fabric onto a backing and machine-sewing heart shapes on top. I cut them out and needle-punched them onto layers of frayed linen and fine calico.

A Pile of Petals

I like the muted colours the bright poppy (the very dark, very squashed bits in the picture above) and rose petals left behind on heavy calico.
I think I need to work on not leaving hammer marks, but the irregularity does leave scope for stitching into.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Balancing Colour

Ongoing exercise in balancing colour with fabric and stitch.
Mostly linen with silk thread.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Bash, Pleat, Singe and Smock


Pleating and burning

Loose stitching and smocking
An experiment

Beating in the Colour

Natural calico pleated with leaf, bashed with a hammer, singed and plunged in water.
I like that the leaf shape is broken up but that it is clear where the veins continue. The water marking on the right hand side adds a subtle dimension.
I'm looking forward to experimenting with coloured flowers next and trying out more ideas from India Flint's book 'Eco Colour'. I like her idea of making small pockets that can be carried around to pick up colour when travelling. She suggests buttoning them onto clothing to create a changeable outfit and novel souvenir. I may be adding a hammer to my handbag...

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


According to the latest edition of Selvedge, smocks used to be the most practical garments for farm workers to wear, being strong and protective. With the advent of mechanisation they became too dangerous as they would be impossible to get out of machinery before human limbs followed! I like the textures that smocking achieves - the ripples, shadows and stretchiness. I've practised with only two of the traditional stitches here but there may be scope for using other stitches to create a symbolic element. I used calico dyed with juniper berries.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Cutting, Layering and Burning

The white linen was folded and cut like a paper snow flake. Threads were pulled out and layered between gold and grey sheers. The sandwich was then burned with a joss stick, to which the sheers responded beautifully.
I like the organic nature of the burnt holes, but the cut linen holes, particularly the horizontal ones are too stark and obvious.

pleating and burning

This heavy calico was died in a saffron bath on the window sill, pleated and secured in a fan shape before being singed with a match. I'm not sure how this would form part of a larger piece of work, but I like the effect. I like that the burnt edges hint at having a story to tell.

Weaving and Stitching

This is my first experiment using different fabrics including silks, linen, upholstery and sheer, cut up, woven together and fixed with hand stitching onto a silk backing. I am pleased with the cross emerging as a symbol together with the colour red. The red circles were already stamped on the sheer fabric - I like the way they balance the composition.

Human Markings

I like the idea of multiple realities, of being able to communicate across time and between parallel space-times. I’ve been wondering how I might be able to express this idea with textiles. I’m wondering how layering different textiles would work on developing this theme. Would I use see-through material with similar but different embroidery worked on them, so that you could just see through to worlds beyond? Or would the layers be solid and only visible by lifting up a ‘portal’ through to the adjoining world? Would there be clues between layers, a trope repeated as a guide through the universe?
I am currently taking part in Janet Clare's workshop where we were encouraged to put a mood board together. Mine, above, draws inspiration from Gizella K Warburton, Nigel Peake's 'Maps' book, Judy Buxton, Kurt Schwitters , Paul Feiler and John Piper.
I will be experimenting with multiple realities and textiles over the next few months. You are welcome to join me.