A. I’ve chosen a reel of Perle cotton which has many layers of thread wound by machine but it is interesting to look down between the layers. I’ve tried to indicate depth by drawing lighter less definite lines for the inner with darker thicker lines on top which I hope look like they are the outer layer of threads. I have also magnified it to see the wind of one strand. This brand has a tight corded look and I can see a definite twist – top left to bottom right – as it is a 2 ply. I then took a dead Banksia flower which also has a layered look as the stamen sprout from the centre outwards and, as the flower dries, the stamen sag slightly giving a drooping effect but you can still see between them to the inner layers. I’ve tried to capture this. I’ve also progressed (from some of my previous hand drawings) to adding some shading – in this case to the twig attached to the flower.
I then went back to my hand drawings and tried reproducing some of the wrinkles and creases.
More knuckles wrinkles
I’ve tried both hard sharper lines mixed with softer fainter ones, trying to make those creases appear smaller and less significant. The thumb print just leaps out and says ‘Zebra’ to me. It would be great as a print block. I found the best way to show wrist skin wrinkles was by embossing a piece of paper and then rubbing over the higher points with metallic wax. I ran the paper through the embossing machine a couple of times, again to get depth of lines.
Q. Have you ever thought about drawing in this way before?A. Yes I have and I have done similar exercises in the past. I find the repetition of something I may have done years ago to be very useful. It sharpens the thoughts, concentrates the mind and stimulates my creativity.Q. Were you able to be inventive about the range of marks you made?A. I believe so. Looking back through the exercises I can see some good expressive marks which should be able to be developed in the future for textile and embroidery uses.Q. Did you explore a wide range of media?A. In anticipation of starting this course I reorganised my workroom. I obtained a multiple drawer trolley which I filled with all my colouring agents, different paint and ink types, waxes, crayons, mediums and so on. This I can wheel around to wherever I am working so I constantly have many products in view. I believe this has encouraged me to try out some of those which are both new to me or haven’t been widely explored before. Q. Are you pleased with what you’ve done? Will it help you to approach drawing more confidently?A. At this stage, no I still am not very confident (especially as I have a hand impairment which stops me doing as much as I would like). However, what I have achieved is the drive to continue, to draw more, to open my text books on learning to draw and to improve. Am I pleased with my results? No, not particularly but I am happy that I have made some progress.Q. Which exercise did you enjoy most and why?A. Stage 3 Exercise 1 without a doubt. The enjoyment of taking a picture (the first one on the post) and reproducing it using layers and textures was fantastic. I really love to work with dimensional items, so to crumple fabric and tissue paper before adding paints was right up my street. I can run my hand over this piece and have the pleasure of the tactile quality it has. I don’t want to just see painted or drawn texture on a flat piece of work I want to feel it and see lumps, layers and inclusions.Q. Which media did you most enjoy working with and why?A. My Derivan printing inks. They are thick and gluggy, they can be heavily splodged on to backgrounds, rollered on lightly, stamped, stencilled or screen printed. The versatility of their application is a definite plus and they don’t change the handle of fabrics. They are heat set, colour and fade fast, they dry quickly and they stay where you put them.At the other end of the scale I am very fond of drawing inks and especially alcohol inks which flow and dribble beautifully. However, the drawback is that they don’t work well on fabrics. As I frequently use metal shim in my work I find the alcohol inks invaluable.Q. What other forms of mark making could you try?A. My choice would be to use fabrics and threads to do the above exercises again. Threads have an enormous capacity for mark making as the variety of threads and yarns easily available is huge. They can be hand or machine stitched but how about stapling them, tying them, couching them, weaving them ………..?Q. How will these exercises enrich your textile work in the future?A. They will be kept for reference. When, and if, stimulation or a kick start is needed I will have these resources to turn to and consider using as a start point to work from and expand upon. Other:My least preferred media would be charcoal and pastels. I can’t abide the dirt, the mess and the smudging. I find myself washing my hands every 5 minutes and wanting to shy away from them. I deliberately had a good try using them but I think that having always stitched and tried to keep my work and hands clean they just don’t suit me.
I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.