The following pieces were constructed from beach string and driftwood found on Ryde Sands before the dog ban marked the beginning of summer. Now each day a tractor combs the beach from one end to the other, burying the traces of flotsam and jetsam, pizza boxes and lollipop wrappers to make a perfect surface for new footprints to mark.
The driftwood in the piece on the left is perhaps from a packing crate washed by the sea and rusted in places from the nail that remains embedded. The beach string is unraveled plastic cord (pale blue), orange fishing twine and the white is elasticated, curling nylon, I think from an old shoelace. Crochet thread was used for the warp on both pieces.
On the right, the wood is possibly marine ply leaving interesting patterns as layers have separated. Unraveled plastic cord in several shades of blue and a piece of orange are layered with orange fishing twine and the nylon shoelace again.
Both pieces are mounted on card and framed in 8″x 8″ oiled pine box-frames.
This piece was the first started but last finished, partly because it spent the best part of a 3 weeks wrapped together with shards of rust from the groins along Ryde beach. As with Water 2 I had dyed the fabric with Dylon. This time I used the patching and piecing technique to assemble the fabric and then machined stitched it to bring it together. On reflection, this is preferable to the patched approach of the previous piece. I hoped that the rust dying would add another dimension to the surface. However, the rust didn’t take to the Dylon. I had incorporated small pieces of previously rust-dyed fabric into the patching and those were intensified by the process. The cotton sheet on the back is a nice rusty colour too! The soaking had slightly muted the Dylon colours, so I was happy with that. Again, I used my funky foam print block to add green and copper acrylic (stamped on to scrunched paper and them applied to the fabric). This time in circles surrounding the marked out holes. The holes were cut away and, using broderie Anglais technique, were secured with some naturally dyed wool.
Peering through the holes you can see another layer. I intended to conjure up the idea of a vortex behind, but I was impatient and didn’t sample and have ended up with something resembling a cut tree stump or thumb print. Its okay though and, after all, it is just the backing and you’re only getting glimpses by peering through the holes. The prints were created by cutting a lino block and printing with white acrylic. I machine stitched swirls of tricky to use embroidery thread into them. I liked the mixture of fabrics including velvet, linen and denim. I think it would have been great to have patched and pieced this side too, but time is money!
I was pleased with my bias-binding edges, not used since my City & Guilds. Machined on the front and hand-stitched on the back. The hanger is great too – a really useful find at the Knitting & Stitching show last year.
So that’s all my pieces for the TRAC Spring Exhibition at Quarr Abbey (2nd-14th March), but I think I will utilise my other sketchbook drawings and photos for a few more pieces related to this theme. So watch this space.
I enjoyed a relaxing Christmas staying with family in Penzance with plenty of time to sew. I’ve been working on this piece for a little while – its another in the series inspired by water pipes on our local beach. As you can see, I’ve taken the pipe theme a little more literally this time and I’m very pleased with the outcome. I dyed a range of fabrics with Dylon, cut them and assembled them in patches. I used my funky foam stamp, as in Water 1, to randomly stamp the surface, this time with green and copper colours echoing the seaweed coated seawall. I decided to integrate the piece using a twin needle to run from top to the bottom of the fabric in broad swirls. I broke 2 needles in the process, so decided to add some single needle stitching too! I made some cords using the sewing machine and machine zig-zagged them in place. They seemed to embed themselves withing the fabric rather than sit themselves on to it. Should I have used a cording foot? So, I decided to hand couch a couple of the others on to the surface. After various experiments I settled on some thicker handmade cords for the protrusions. (Water 3 which is also in progress will cut-away the surface – I didn’t want them to be too similar). I painted the inside of the protrusions with purple/bronze acrylic. It was dry brushed so the fabric texture shows through. Shining a light makes them glow. Maybe I should consider a lampshade project another time? The 2 thick cords at the top and bottom are wired with pipe-cleaners to give some support to the shape. I’m pleased with the result – something a bit different, yet again!
I’ve been beavering away on some pieces for TRAC’s March 2017 exhibition on the theme of Water. Its a great theme, so many ways of interpreting it. Of course, my starting point was Ryde’s beautiful beaches, but I found my inspiration along the seawall with its rusted gates and waste water outlets from the grand houses above. I took the approach of my City & Guilds work, drawing and sketching, experimenting and thinking – hence no blog post for a while! But then I just had to stitch, so I took some of my experiments and tried to place them together. This piece incorporates rust-dyed fabric, scrunched brown paper, sand-papered denim. I then created a print block using funky foam taken from patterns and shapes around a rusty gate. Stitching includes running stitch over the printing, broderie Anglais, French knots – proper and loopy, couching, and darning. The only thing I have to do now is to consider the framing. When I started this piece, I didn’t really think about how it would turn it out it was just going to evolve. Unfortunately its evolved into non-commercial frame size! I think a box frame is required because of the ‘loose’ couching, but we will have to see.
Addendum: A perfect piece of driftwood was discovered on the beach in Penzance and was tacked to the top of the piece and strung with some cord made with my Kreinik cordwinder – there are never enough opportunities to get that out! Great fun!
Frost 4: 121cm x 21cm
My fourth piece in the Frost series evolved from an oil pastel sketch via a flat piece of appliqué to a number of stuffed pods as I began sampling. I more or less followed the shapes and colours of the initial drawing, but gave myself some additional rules to follow in choosing the colour threads for the hard-edged appliqué which all adds to the colour dynamism. Joined with invisible thread the pods appear to float in space. This time the pods are small and light and can be easily hung on a picture hook. Out of the 4 pieces, I think I like this one best of all. I have just the space for it in my conservatory!
As you can see, having a long piece of work can be problematic for blogging as the text doesn’t wrap around easily. I do want to get across something of the scale of the piece though and so, the measurements are approximately 121cm x 21cm. For those of you who are interested, I’ve also added the sizes to the other pieces too.
It’s amazing how far you can make your scraps go. I made 17 cards out of my two samples. Here is an example of a card made from each of the techniques described in an earlier blog post.