Plaster, paint, coils and stitch; large sample

IMG_0994 (Edited)

Sample, about 3ft long.  Creases caused by not pressing before adding more paint; I am really annoyed about them, but it’s good information for the future and this piece is about discovering how materials and techniques work together.   Baseball stitch joins the edges of two pieces of fabric.

The fabric colour looked a little dingy, I wanted something more vibrant so added some thick layers of ultramarine, cerulean blue, white and violet acrylic paint.  It should have been pressed first, the paint has created permanent creases in the fabric; useful if planned, irritating if not.  Several plaster tiles were removed to reduce some of the crinkling caused by un-careful stitching together, which left behind some interesting tiny holes.  I might use this as a deliberate technique in future, and recall seeing work by an artist who makes entire pieces by ‘drilling’ patterns into a surface using an empty-needle sewing machine.  I am so tempted to sew on some seashells, maybe a crab shell (the orange would make an interesting complementary splash against all the blue).


Tiles: The left tile is taken from a discarded watercolour which I had stitched and painted into (see post dated January 25th, 2016.).  The right tile is made from Sculptamold, which was molded over a small ball to create a curved shape.  The flat shape was easier to sew and made less rucking in the fabric.  Both had holes applied using a drill.

IMG_0996 (Edited)

Close-up of tiles, stitch and coils: The coils were first wrapped with thin wire, to make them stand up, before wrapping with muslin and threads.  Two of the coils were painted over to make them blend in, and stiffen them further.  It was possible to apply one coil by stitching it right on the tip, making it stand on end.  I brushed paint lightly over the baseball stitch and tiles to make them blend in.

Reflection: Following on from my last post dated dated April 24th, I have worked more on my three foot long sample of plaster, coils and stitch on painted calico.  It is an experimental piece where I discovered how different materials and techniques work together.  So, although it is based on the various beach walk drawings I have made (sketchbook and previous post) it does not relate to specific research and reflection.  I am pleased with myself, however, for developing the coiling techniques I submitted for my first Textiles Course where I made a series of pots depicting the life cycle of a drystone wall.  I was fascinated with books written by Jean Draper (1) and Ruth Lee (2) and learned a lot from these.  However, perhaps I didn’t develop the ideas I read about in these books to try and explore my own style by incorporating lots of paint and different techniques together, and maybe that is how you develop a personal voice.

Here, nearly two years later,  I have taken my coils and used them in a different way, as an element in a mixed media experimental sample.   I have added wire to the core yarn in order to add a three-dimensional element that isn’t constrained by regular shapes.  I have also added an extra dimension of paint, which sounds daft considering I’ve obscured the threads beneath it.  However, if future, less experimental, pieces are made, this can be considered beforehand and a coil with appropriate texturing can be made to receive the paint.  I have used acrylic paints rather than fabric paints because I feel the nature of the paint helps strengthen the coil.  However, this is something to work on in the future.

  1.  Draper, Jean: Stitch and Structure.  Design and Technique in two- and three-dimensional textiles.  Batsford.   2013
  2. Lee, Ruth: Three-dimensional textiles with coils, loops, knots and nets.  Batsford, 2010





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