Preparing to create textures.
This picture from the first project was made using inks on a very thick textural paper. Salt crystals were then sprinkled on to the surface and left until the piece was dry. They absorbed some of the ink, lightening some areas and making these wonderful patterns. It feels smooth, flowing, frilly and sensuous to me. I have chosen a dyed silk noil as a background because it has a slight weave which catches the light in different directions, just like the textured paper. The discharged areas appear to have frilled edges. I took a piece of crystal (nylon) organza and, using my soldering iron, I attempted to cut out the frill shape. By jabbing the hot iron against the cut edges I was able to get the many undulations of the pattern. The salt marks seem hard edged and pronounced so I would use beads or thick textural knots in a tightly wound thread to keep the definition of the shapes.
This drawing looks hard and sharp and angry to me. The lines are bold, solid and uncompromising. I can see this expanded over a large area with multiple zig-zags overlapping to create a powerful drama. Translating this into textiles will need to reflect these points.
My fabric choice is an unyielding blue/grey cotton twill. It is thick, stiff and will hold multiple stitchings well. Here I am looking at deep coloured, thick and mainly shiny threads which will sit flat but boldly against the background. These are not meant to portray a happy, sunny piece of work but rather a heavier, darker and depressing piece.
My second colour choice reflects more drama and less depression despite sticking with the same background. Some of the threads are matt – linen or cotton – and I have included a sparkling rayon to give a lift. The hand dyed ribbon would give a good first covering with the other threads on top. I see Cretan stitch used throughout, varying the width and depth so forming random long tight lines stretching across and down the work. To maintain the hard lines all threads and ribbon would be pulled quite tightly so they maintain the sharp strikings of the drawing. There is no place here for loopy stitching and softening of image.
This piece has some good textural lines in the background. It appears ridged and uneven, perhaps suggesting some lines are more prominent than others. The loopy scraping has given a very smooth look, spreading the paint into a regular colour where the marks have criss-crossed the lines.
My first instinct is a rough fabric base with couched cords on the top. I’ve chosen hessian and pulled some of the strands out to get the thicker and thinner lines. Some of the strands have been partially left and then plaited together to make the surface cord. I’ve also used string to maintain the rough look. I would probably use a heavier weight linen thread to both couch down and make a further interesting feature. On a large textile piece French or Colonial knots and spider web stitch could be extremely effective within the curves of the cords.
I love this. It was an experiment which amazed me when all the components had dried. I was left with this somewhat mysterious looking ethereal spiral which seems to be being projected amidst a whole lot of interference. Perhaps a strange night-time aerial vision from an old grainy movie camera?
It seems scratchy, distorted and multilayered.
I have chosen black velvet as my base. I want something that the stitching of the spiral will sink into so that it isn’t a solid shape. Buttonhole or satin stitch could be used for the main spiral shape. In fact, machine satin stitch would fall into the pile very well. You can see in the photo that I’ve taken some black nylon organza and swiped a hot soldering iron across it making jarring lines to mimic the grainy lines of the picture. This can be applied to the surface after the main stitching and then free machined horizontal lines across the whole piece to give the finished look. I wouldn’t change the colours from the picture as it conveys a mysterious quality to me.
This is the first time I’ve used pastels and I’m surprised that they haven’t smudged to death. The fixative spray is very good. This looks lumpy, bumpy, uneven, crusty and overlapping.
What comes to mind are bullion knots – lots of them. Big, fat, chunky bullion knots (or bullion stitch if you prefer that description). Long ones, shorter ones, shiny, matt but all using many wraps and all in the same direction.
My background fabric is a piece of suiting cloth that I have had for quite a while. It has exactly the lines and slubs in the weave to maintain the theme of the surface stitching. I’ve gone for some earthy tones, moving through yellow greens and blue greens to browns. These are just a few of my initial choices and they would evolve as each one is put in place. I think using wools first would be a good start as they will provide a furry lumpy layer to build one. They would also be easy to stitch through to add more bullion knots on top. I just can’t get slugs out of my mind. Lots and lots of slugs on the march.
The thickness of the gesso here has warped the paper giving it an undulating look. The painted gesso itself looks spiky and veiny but also smooth and polished. It has a plastic sheen to it which gives the appearance of permanence and firmness.
Furrowing with fine tissue silk is the way I would achieve this look.
Furrowing is a method using tiny tacking stitches to create meandering, swirling grooves and ridges in a fine fabric. A small sample photo is above. Lightweight fabric is required to give the soft peaks and for ease of gathering. After doing this I would highlight the furrows (the dips, so to speak) with rows of stem stitch and French knots. Small focal areas could be enhanced with closely packed bead stacks.