This stage is to review samples and select those that stand out and might be developed further.
In the first section, Joining, I felt it took me a while to loosen up and be more exploratory. I tried to understand the concept of joining so initially was frustrated that the samples weren’t very exciting.
The first technique that surprised and interested me was using a hand held needle felting tool to join fibres. The looser weave fabrics were particularly appealing as there is great potential for creating different textures.
Both sides of the fabric offer different surfaces. During this Assignment (February 2016) I following a second Dionne Swift online workshop Drawing for Textiles Online 2016. This involved lots of monochrome drawing up to A2 using a variety of materials and then representing sections of the drawing with an embellishing machine and stitch. With no embellisher to hand, this gave me the opportunity to explore the capabilities of my hand held needle felting tool and large ‘mat’ to match.
Above is a view from each side of needle felted wool flannel. Materials used include black cotton scrim, acrylic felt, wool yarn and machine thread. My success was definitely inspired by exploring the technique as a joining method, which has great potential.
The following series of samples were visually appealing, small, tactile, complementing one another. The potential here lies in creating a group of samples in similar materials, and a simple palette that can be viewed together.
The possibilities that wax offers for changing the surface quality of materials are enticing. Crumpling after waxing produces lovely lines, on some papers and materials the wax creates a translucency which exaggerates the fibres or printed surface. Lightweight papers can be layered, trapping petals or threads, cut up and re-joined with an iron. Although fine papers are more suitable in this instance, the quality of heavier fabrics or papers can be enhanced.
Worthy of further development is the following sample, which used wax to join pine needles and fill a hole in khadi paper. This is really ethereal and filled me with awe, if that doesn’t sound too pretentious. The combination of the textures, lighting and photography have made this so successful.
Similarly, the effect of photographing waxed or stitched hydrangea petals against the light, which enhances their delicacy and fragility, is worthy of exploration.
The texture and properties of jute scrim become a valuable addition to my tools and the following simple combination brought me joy.
as did the joining of two pieces. The lightness of the fibre, the undulating lines and curves of the weave and the shadows delight me.
The properties of the combination of materials below appealed, the monochrome palette, soft, sleek fibres of the merino wool tops and the coarser, hairy linen criss-crossing spoon, creating bumps, bulges and a crinkly shadow.
Wrapping natural materials gave me great pleasure and on reflection, has emotional connections or potential release relating to the recent death of my father. I need to explore this to determine where the pleasure lies, merely in the beauty of the individual components, or even the comfort of familiar materials, the aesthetic outcome, the connection with nature, my father.
This exploration would not be complete if I didn’t include the greater challenge of adding less familiar materials.
Pot coiling holds the most exciting potential for me. I loved the simplicity of exploring joining first, the tactility and character of my little pots.
and the more I researched, the more excited I became, I read Ed Rossenbach’s ’40 years of Exploration and Innovation in Fiber Art’, he sounds like such a lovely man, who thoroughly immersed himself in the research and history of techniques, exploration of materials and then taught to share his immense knowledge and experience. I’m not necessarily interested in baskets or weaving, but want to really explore the combination of materials that can be wrapped and then coiled into vessels, eg, spun paper, spun grasses, combinations of ephemera wrapped in clingfilm, recycled plastics, fabrics, wire, cable. Then make pots and maybe dip them in wax or paper slurry or something else – this is genuine excitement with the prospect of real thrills!
Within the wrapping exercise, my love of textural, loose weave materials kept coming to the fore and there is appeal in further developing the following samples where the wrapping conceals and reveals and object or contrasting layers.
Lastly, the second thrilling prospect was the idea of creating balls or packages of differing materials enclosed in a net like structure.
That concludes quite a pleasurable sorting exercise and seems to illustrate a successful Assignment 2! It was good to be reminded of how much I have learned over the last few months.