Nina's Textile Trail 2

– Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles


MMT Part 2 Joining & Wrapping Further Research – Wrapping in Pot Coiling

(Paper Learning Log Page 39)


When researching for ‘wrapping’, my initial interest for coiled vessels was fuelled by the wealth of potential wrapping materials for consideration.  Examples made from wrapped fabric, plastic bags, recycled fishing nets, raffia and other materials were observed.  I was particularly intrigued by Jackie Abrams ‘Spirit Women’.  The exposed cores include recycled silk, cotton, linen and plastic bags.  Their shapes are organic, some include stones, or ‘windows’ to see into the centre.

The attributes of these vessels reflect women’s spirits – their strong inner cores as well as their sometimes frayed edges. The memories and stories of the previous owners are embedded in the used fabrics that compose each vessel.

My process and materials are simple. Each new piece tells me where to go and how to make it. Like women’s lives, each piece develops slowly as a spiral journey, requiring both patience and confidence. The small open spaces in the vessel walls lend a sense of depth and afford glimpses into the interior, like tiny bits of insight into the character of the imagined woman. (Jackie Abrams)

I like the coils twisting and curving, glimpses of the interior through small openings, the variety of materials chosen, the colours selected, the shape and construction of the pots but the reference to women makes me feel more considerate of what they represent . Jackie Abrams says they are reflecting women’ spirits as well as their sometimes frayed edges.  To me, they conjured thoughts of the stability, complexity, many facets and intricate thinking skills of women.

In addition to Jackie Abrams vessels, the bright colours and texture of the fishing nets, raffia and marine rope appealed in Mavis Ngallametta’s basket produced at the first Ghost Net Art Project Workshop organised by GhostNets, an organisation in Australia that brings together communities to work together to clear marine debris from the coastline.

My father died last month and beginning to sort his possessions has revealed a ‘stash’ of threads to rival my own, together with yarns, feathers & fishing lines from his fly tying hobby.   This is the tip of the iceberg, there are sheds and drawers full of tools, collections of recycled string, all manner of things hoarded from a lifetime of making, growing, mending, designing, engineering, shooting and fishing.  The qualities and recycling ethos of the GhostNet Art Projects weaving has prompted me to consider using an eclectic selection of string, nets, yarns etc from my Dad’s hoard to fashion a vessel or vessels.

The raffia, plastic bags and small spheres in Kathryn Hollingsworth’s green basket inspired by a reptile (two references to which are included in the Pinterest selection above) offer different textures and ideas.  In this sample, I like the round shape of the pot and the green tones of the raffia but am not sure about the protrusions.  Although this example and the splendid yellow basket sprouting dark purple raffia does illustrate how traditional techniques can be adapted.



Joining methods for pot coiling

(Paper Learning Log Pages 40-41)

At the outset of this assignment, pot coiling appealed to me as a means of illustrating joining.  Throughout the project, techniques have been explored.

The pots are little but have given me great pleasure in the making, handling and combining for photography.  The first is constructed from purchased, rust coloured recycled t-short yarn and linen thread joined with buttonhole stitch.  It’s 8cm tall and 6cm in diameter.  The fabric yarn is soft and springy but has enough form to give the vessel character when handled or placed for display.  Whilst the stitching is not really regular and even, it is similar enough to give continuity and adds to its individuality.  The initial centre coil is a bit untidy but for a first attempt, the pot was successful.

Moving on to explore another technique, Doug Johnston’s sash cord vessels inspired me to recycle an odd piece of cotton cord & perle cotton thread following a ‘make rope coil vessels tutorial’ on The Red Thread Blog.  This shallow bowl is 9cm in diameter and 3cm tall using stitches which pass over one then two rows of cord, with the needle catching the cord of the row below not just inserting through the gap.  As with the above, the stitching is uneven adding to the character.  The cord is reasonably soft, closely joined and holds its shape well.

The third vessel is made with some burgundy recycled t-shirt yarn and rust stranded embroidery thread using a number of threads and a knotting technique. This was more challenging for me than stitch and fiddly on a small pot, only 5 cm tall and 4.5 cm in diameter. Its a lovely dinky little shaped pot, soft and a little stretchy to handle and just wonky enough to give it character.

The last pot in this collection is 6cm tall, 5cm in diameter at the neck with an 8cm base. Constructed with white cotton cord, burgundy shetland wool and a figure of eight stitch, it has a sturdy construction with sufficient character to join its peers!



Beginning to explore pot coiling has been enjoyable and will be developed, but even more enjoyment and pleasure was found in arranging the vessels to photograph them.

TUTORIAL :: How to make rope coil vessels

Tutorial: Make a coiled raffia basket

Draper, Jean (2013) Stitch and Structure: Design and Technique in two and three-dimensional textiles Batsford, London

Edmonds, Janet (2009) Three Dimensional Embroidery Batsford, London

Lee, Ruth (2010) Three Dimensional Textiles with coils loops knots and nets Batsford, London


MMT Part 2 Joining & Wrapping Further Research – Wrapping Natural Materials

(Paper Learning Log Pages 37-38)


Tim Johnson

There is a wealth of lovely work with natural materials  and some successful educational community projects on his website.   In the context of the wrapping exercise, his piece ‘this n’that’ included in the above Pinterest selection provided inspiration.

The texture and tones of the natural fibres unite the collection, the differences in binding, neat and even, neat and crinkly, bulging, twisting, curving, each shape interesting and as a whole the negative space adds interest.  So many ways to wrap and bind, so many materials, difficult not to be overwhelmed with choice.

Hannah Lamb

From her series Mapping Hirst Wood 2010, small bundles of cloth dyed with natural dyes  and collected material include lovely earthy tones, visual and actual texture, woollen cloth, dyed and pieced as a background, telling a story of the woods.

Ines Seidel

There is so much to like about this artist, particularly for the next assignment, but in this context, simple combinations of natural plant stuffs and words (newspaper or book pages) wrapped.  Much of the work references stories, playful interpretations with a careful selection of limited materials.  Each surface/texture contributing to the overall assemblage, showcasing the beauty of natural texture, keeping components simple.

My samples with materials from the garden or local area:


Materials used, crocosmia leaves, aquilegia stems, carex buchananii, contorted hazel, birch twigs, cordyline leaves, ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens, birch twigs, woody heather stems, raffia, sisal, linen, silk tussah, cashmere threads, jute scrim.

This was a relaxing and enjoyable exercise for a sunny Good Friday afternoon. As a collection they work well together.  Individually some are more interesting than others.  The limited palette and textures of the natural materials are appealing and the silhouette of the structures engaging.  The contrast of fine dried grasses and thicker leathery leaves adds value.   Hours could be wiled away trying different combinations of materials and techniques.  It was an easy activity for me and rewarding but perhaps not really challenging, although I have gained an understanding of the much used phrase ‘a sense of place’ and can see that a thorough investigation of my garden or local area would produce lots of matter for combining and manipulating to tell a story.

The aged, worn, heather stems from Hindhead Common are very effective.  The weathered surface like driftwood, smooth and worn.


MMT Part 2 Joining & Wrapping Project 2 Wrapping – Exercise 1 Straight wrapping with threads

(Paper Learning Log Pages 33-36)

Spoon 1 – wrapped in an even and progressive way starting at the bottom – very neat and even but frustrating at the top of the spoon where wrapping in an even circular motion caused the yarn loops to slip off the end.  Resorted to criss-crossing the yarn and using some stitch.  Wound back down the handle unevenly to criss-cross the end of the spoon handle so no wood was visible.  Easily recognisable as a wooden spoon wrapped with yarn.


The variegated, brightly coloured acrylic yarn is fun, offers visual interest with frequency of colour change and texture increased by the crossing slightly more uneven diagonal wrapping on top of the straight wrapping.


Spoon 2 – Started at the bottom and wrapped in an even progressive way initially then created shape by wrapping more densely in some areas.  Used some criss-crossing and minimal stitch at the ends to hold the yarn.  Surprised and pleased with the bulbous sections along the handle.  It has a sculptural look about it, although still bears slight reference to a wooden spoon.


Spoon (wooden spatula)  3 – Developing dense wrapping in some areas to create shape, the spatula has been  well disguised by the green and yellow acrylic yarn.  The shapes created have been successful, particularly the drumstick at the end of the handle.  For a secure wrap at each end of the utensil, a straight wrap is unsuitable and criss-crossed diagonal threads are more efficient.




Exploring different materials, a smaller plastic spoon was wrapped in string. Enjoyed the qualities of these materials, transforming an unattractive plastic spoon into something more visually appealing and tactile.  The sisal gives a bumpy, hairy, outline to the spoon, adding tones and shadow to the form.

A second spoon was wrapped in pale brown tissue and string and a third wrapped densely to create shape.  Love the clean lines of shadow on the unwrapped plastic spoon and the contrasting bumpy shadow of the wrapped spoon.  Having made a neat wrapping of the densely wrapped spoon below, it proved difficult to secure the string which repeatedly unravelled.  The tight wrapping on the string is effective, retaining the shape of the spoon and improving its appearance. The tissue and string spoon was easier to finish neatly.

Hand dyed fabric torn into strips and bound with paper covered wire was bound around a wooden spoon previously used for dyeing.  The wrapping of the fabric could be improved upon, the paper binding needs to be denser to compress the fabric a little more.  The combination of the dark wine fabric with the buff paper is good and complements the stained spoon.

The same spoon wrapped in some unusual tubular yarn held in place with free machined cord.  Overall this was less effective, the top of the spoon as photographed was more attractive than the whole!



The smaller plastic spoon was wrapped in cream merino wool tops with a contrasting band of charcoal wool prepared for felting.  The wool tops were difficult to fix and unravelled without additional binding. The combination of materials is promising.


Linen thread was used to bind, creating greater interest, the crossing of the thread provides more energy, the bulging wool tops add texture and a bumpy profile, and a more appealing shadow.


The same spoon was loosely wrapped in wool tops, then with added thread, provided a good disguise.  I like the loose wrapping and white thread when compared with the other spoon, but don’t think it is sufficiently interesting to stand alone.  The addition of black linen thread, looped around the form is an improvement.

The wooden spoon was wrapped in fruit net and a fine wire. Although I like the qualities of the net and curly lines of the wire but in practice, more so than the photograph, the materials don’t complement one another or the spoon, the wire is too fine and difficult to see.

With the following spoon, I was trying to combine the pink tissue paper crumpled in part one with string and it was proving difficult.  The tissue became much more manageable when torn into strips and twisted between the thumb and first finger as if spun.  I was quite excited by the qualities of the ‘spun’ tissue, having toyed with the idea of trying to spin paper and recycled plastic with a drop spindle and may have to give it a try.  The combination of the paper and string is appealing but quite similar to previous experiments.

Below was started with a strip of brown paper packing material, quite textural, added decorative wire which had little impact, followed by linen and silk noil thread, still lacking impact , added another layer of knitted cotton tubing, a little more interesting, and then some cotton tape.    Still rather an underwhelming sample.  I think I preferred the first layer of cut paper packaging without the addition of wire and threads.






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MMT Part 2 Joining & Wrapping Research – Wrapping

(Paper Learning Log Pages 31-33)

Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Beginning my research at, my immediate reaction was how much I like the style of drawing of the works-in-progress.  Textural and energetic with a full range of tones from light to dark and splashes of colour, they are exciting to look at.

Moving on to look at the realised projects, I was introduced to some of the most monumental  installations imaginable.  The following are among my favourites.  In Valley Curtain  the contrast of the curtain against the rugged landscape of the Colorado mountain valley accentuates the fluidity of 18,600 metres squared of fabric, the movement in the wind and light filtering through the giant curtain is alien and unexpected in such a majestic, rocky setting.   The Pont Neuf Wrapped and the Wrapped Reichstag take on different personas when wrapped in voluminous folds of fabric. The Pont Neuf becomes more majestic clothed in gold in the setting sun, the Reichstag softened by the silvery linear shadows of the pleats, unified and grander in stature in its splendid robe.

The most alluring for me are the wrapped trees Wrapped Trees .  (Project for Fondation Beyeler & Beraver Park  Riehen)  Sometimes hidden beneath shrouds of fabric, mysterious shapes with an opaque covering, hinting at its form, becoming more suggestive as a part silhouette is revealed and hauntingly beautiful when the light filters through  revealing the network of branches.

Below a quick attempt at wrapping in the early morning sun.  A bare branched silhouette wasn’t easily available, but the general idea was achieved with an evergreen pittosporum in a pot.  Positioned to best effect against the sun, the light filters through the fairly dense polyester cotton fabric creating beautiful shadows on the cloth.  Wrapping would have produced a more interesting form.


A silvery grey voile is used below, lightly wrapped with nylon fishing line.  More time and careful consideration and execution of wrapping techniques would improve the effect but the short exercise taught me that the light and shadow effect is appealing to me.


Thinking more about the wrapping of small objects in the context of this assignment, Christo’s earlier work was pertinent.  The wrapped paintings of 1969 illustrated in the Pinterest selection above use a neutral fabric and some simple ties leading the eye back and forward over the shape, the hint of the paintings’ edges beneath the wrapping create fairly horizontal curves, restful ripples in the fabric and subtle shadows like a study of tone in charcoal, making the surface the feature.  In contrast, the knotted string of the wrapped package creates a mosaic of shapes with the triangles and diagonals taking the eye on a more lively route around and over the bulges of unknown content.

Observing Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s art will help me to have a more considered approach to my samples, influencing my choice of materials when aiming for a particular outcome.


Judith Scott


Judith Scott’s work pulled me in to examine the detail, layers and texture created with fibre and found objects.  Her use of colour is quite striking and the more I look, the more I see.  Fabulous surface texture is created by intricate combinations of wrapping, stitching, knotting, weaving of fine, medium, thick yarns, smooth, fluffy, coarse, used singly, in groups, horizontally, vertically, diagonally, revealing and concealing the layers beneath.   I looked in detail at three pieces which are included in the above Pinterest selection and noted that careful stitching left a dome of orange outlined in purple on one piece and half predominantly in greens and half in orange on another.  The mysterious shapes of the wrapped items remain secret in some and partially revealed in others.

Close observation of the work enabled me to see the variety of techniques used to produced different textures, colour combinations and layers to increase visual interest.

Mary-Anne Morrison


Mary-Anne Morrison is a member of the 62 Group of artists.  Her peelings series demonstrates both joining and wrapping.  I think this was the main attraction, as looking closely now, I like the placement of the cords, gentle curves and the patterns created by the zig-zag in black thread of the black, white and yellow piece.  The yellow and white is less interesting but lovely placement of lines created by the cords.  (Although I find it machine wrapping cords rather laborious and I’m not sure I’d have the patience to work this way).


Karen Margolis

In response to this artist and Mary-Anne Morrison above, I machine-wrapped some wire and joined the coils, which I found a bit tedious, but enjoyed looking at Karen Margolis’s art.  I liked the graduation of colour throughout the sculptures, the contrast of tangled threads to wrapped circles in some and the visual interest provided by the black ties.  Looking at several of her similar structures made me realise their size and to think more about the potential stature of bigger three dimensional pieces and the impact such work might create.
 (accessed 21.3.16) (accessed 21.3.16)

Morris, C & Higgs, M    Judith Scott, Bound & Unbound Brooklyn Museum DelMonico Books (accessed 17.1.16)