4 January 2017
The additional work presented here was made in recognition of the Assessment feedback from Textiles 1: Exploring ideas. I have made two more samples, one from project 1 (joining) and one from project 2 (wrapping). In both samples, I have paid specific attention to choosing materials with contrasting textures, including found objects.
Supplementary sample 1: Joining contrasting materials with staples
This sample was made partly as a response to my assessment feedback, but also after being inspired by a fellow student’s Facebook entry (Weidema, 2017). In her samples, Inger Weidema has been really successful at creating dramatic results by combining dissimilarly textured materials. It made me think back to the “sorting” stage of Assignment 2, and how much more engaging my samples would have been had they joined contrasting materials. In particular:
- Joining with staples (project 1, exercise 1, sample 1)
- Joining with dressmakers’ pins (project 1, exercise 1, sample 5)
- Joining with safety pins (project 1, exercise 2, sample 1)
I set about considering unusual or interestingly textured materials which I might use; natural bark or twigs, bamboo root control polyurethane (shiny black), felt, embossed aluminium, heat-treated/distorted polyester or plastics, heat-distressed Tyvek or Luxtradur.
After trying out variations by placing materials next to each other, I decided to opt for high contrast (heavily textured vs smooth/reflective). I started by needle-felting some hand-dyed fleece onto some commercial acrylic felt. The aim was to produce a rough textured fabric with interesting colour variation. I wanted to contrast this with a reflective material such as aluminium or polyurethane.
I was keen to use one of the “hard joining” methods which I had identified in the “sorting” phase of the project. Because I was also interested in using birch bark (see below), I chose staples, so that I could mirror the natural horizontal markings on the bark with the joining method.
The birch bark was particularly appealing because of it’s fragility and the contrast of this with the other materials which I was using, including the staples.
To bring continuity into the sample, I used two types of aluminium; some foil cups and a scourer, which I had pulled apart to form a textured, open mesh. I chose green shades for my needle-felting because they reminded me of algae on the birch bark, which brought a sense of relationship to the elements in the sample.
I had intended to use the flat surface of the needle-felting (either the back or front, depending which I preferred), however when I started joining he pieces, I found that it was the layered edges which appealed to me most (see below), so I ‘pleated’ the felt to show these off to best advantage.
I found that the aluminium foil cups were very versatile; I was able to overlap them, and once they were joined (stapled) together, I moulded/crushed them to make interesting surface shapes.
You can see from the photo above (detail) that the staples partially tore the birch bark. I actually like this effect, because it emphasises the joins as well as the fragility of the bark.
The photo below shows the whole sample:
I like the feeling of continuity and rhythm generated by the repeating elements, the contrast in textures and in open and solid materials. In this sample, the joins are decorative/visible (although only against the bark). I feel that the sample could be enhanced further by also using a second joining method, such as individual knotted stitches (see thumbnail below) to emphasise the ridges and troughs. These threads could also help unite the colour scheme, which as it stands is somewhat incohesive.
Supplementary sample 2: Uneven wrapping using various threads and found objects
Again prompted by a response to my assessment feedback, but also inspired by Judith Scott’s work (Morris and Higgs, 2014). I noticed that there were a couple of techniques which Scott used particularly successfully in her pieces. Firstly, she used a variety of found objects (not just threads) to enhance the textural quality of her pieces. These included: flexible hose, tights, pieces of scrap paper, beads, rag fabric strips, foam sheet, and larger recycled objects including a bicycle wheel and wicker basket. Secondly, she very effectively used “patches” of different coloured threads (often woven or interlaced), to create accents within her sculptures.
Although I was very pleased with project 2, exercise 3, sample 5 (see thumbnail below), I now had a strong urge to experiment with found objects!
I decided to rework the doll I had used for project 2, exercise 3, sample 3 (see below)
I hadn’t liked the outcome of this sample, and I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could overcome the association of wrapping a doll with clothing. The doll provides an interesting, irregular starting shape and I wanted to see if I could wrap it as an object, rather than seeing it as anthropomorphological.
I started by choosing found objects and threads and laying them out in different combinations until I had a selection which excited me. In hindsight, I should have been documenting this research in my sketchbook! (as I should have also done for supplementary sample 1)
Bottom left is some hand-spun 2-colour plied yarn, which I decided to use as my base thread. There are scraps of dressmakers’ bias and satin binding tape, and short pieces of elastic (each just a few cm long) from my mother’s needlework box. I also have strips of orange fruit netting, recycled sari silk a plastic spoon, plastic rings which hold beer multi-packs and a selection of turquoise threads, including a piece of fishing netting which I gathered from a trip to the beach.
I started wrapping the handspun yarn, sari silk, fruit netting and knotted lengths of elastic. I then incorporated the plastic fork, beer multi-can plastic and tube of shirring elastic (see below)
I then needed to add depth and contrasting colour accents. I used the piece of reclaimed fishing net, but found that the other turquoise threads which I had selected were too ‘blue’, so I found a selection of threads at the ‘greener’ end of the spectrum with different thicknesses and lustre properties.
I also used an odd turquoise button from my mother’s needlework box. Unfortunately there was only one, as I would have liked to use more buttons or beads.
The photos below shows the finished sample, front and back
I am quite pleased with the effect, and the fact that I have managed to wrap the doll without feeling as if I was clothing it. I particularly like the emphasised areas of colour which I have worked with buttonhole and filling stitches using a needle (see below)
Although this sample is pleasing, I actually prefer the depth and balance which I achieved with project 2, exercise 3, sample 5. I ran out of time/materials with this sample. To make it work, it needs more depth (i.e. more wrapped and woven threads) and larger solid objects of colour (I am specifically thinking about turquoise green beads or buttons to consolidate the work).
Morris, C. and Higgs, M. (Eds) (2014) Judith Scott: Bound and unbound. London. DelMonico books.
Weidema, I. (2017) Why not? At: https://www.Facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=682750448558369&id=149544698545616 (Accessed 4 January 2017)