Project 8 – Stage 2, Exercise 4

This exercise involves making a rigid grid and filling some of the spaces to create solid and open areas.

I started with 6mm dowel cut to size, against my initial drawn plan.  I then unearthed the Router, which had never before been out of its box.  I hadn’t realised it was so big and heavy for such tiny dowel.

Having a marginal disability I’m banned from using power tools, large knives and one or two other similar things, so Philippe stepped up to the challenge.  He cut superb rebates in the dowel so they slotted together without too much of a ‘bump’ at the cross-overs.

Not having enough used teabags in my stash I quickly tea stained some kitchen hand towels, cut them into strips and wound them around my grid.

It was at this stage Philippe asked why I hadn’t just used twigs in the first place instead of trying to make them.  Where would be the fun in that?

Anyway, my twigs weren’t looking very twig-like so I boiled the kettle and made some very strong coffee and painted the whole thing.  Much better.  After a coat of Paverpol and drying time it was very secure.

Next I took some green colour-coated copper wire and a thick variegated silk yarn and wound them together to make vines and twisted them through the structure.

Now for the climbing plants.  I had some silk hankies which I pulled out into a yarn which later created the plant stems.

Whilst Philippe had been cutting dowel I had been dyeing silk cocoons for my flower heads.  These were cut to shape and the heads were constructed with stamen and sparkly organza.

The leaves were cut from the cocoons and wired into place.

Having drawn a precise, life-size plan of where everything was to go proved to be a huge help as I could estimate easily how and where the plants had to join together and how long the stems had to be.

Once everything was nicely entwined I moved to the spider web.  Why did I do it last when all the other parts could get in the way as I wove it?  Well, mainly because I couldn’t make up my mind, just from the plan, exactly where I wanted it to be and what thread I was going to use.

The spider web was the hardest part.  Keeping the tension was extremely difficult, but I was determined.  So, having pulled it out once, I gritted my teeth, turned off the music and sat in total concentration holding and winding, and holding and winding, until the end.

The final touch was a little of my brand new R&F Turkey-Umber-Greenish (Yes that really is the name of the colour!) Oil Stick lightly rubbed over a few twig areas to give a faint impression of damp mossy areas.

I probably went way overboard on this part of the course but once I had read the requirements for this exercise my flowers just grew in my mind and they weren’t to be denied.  Quite a lot of what we have done so far have been small samples of techniques without a project outcome and I felt a need to create a small finished piece for this stage.

Do you like the ladybird?  I found it last week on a bouquet of dying flowers being thrown out from the foyer of our business offices, so I rescued it.  What great timing, and we all know how much I love a splash of red in amongst my greens!


About Claire B

I am a passionate printmaker, paper maker and book artist. I'm a 'forever' student and frequently attend courses and workshops to extend and improve my creative skills.
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6 Responses to Project 8 – Stage 2, Exercise 4

  1. penmcam says:

    Absolutely Fabulous! I do like the ladybird, but I think it’s the cobweb that really ‘makes’ it.

    • Claire B says:

      Hi Penny, that cobweb was so hard. I honestly didn’t think it was going to work but I felt I had to do it because the piece just wasn’t balanced without it.
      Thanks so much for the positive comments. They always give encouragement.

  2. Nola says:

    Looks great, Claire! I do like the ladybird but yes, the cobweb is a great touch. I think it all works together really well.

  3. Jane B says:

    I love the bones of the whole thing – a great baance of lines. and yes I too love the lady beetle. The surprise for me is the touches of blue …

    • Claire B says:

      Yes, blue being my least favourite colour is always at the bottom of my choices but the piece felt like it required something a little more unusual than I would normally pick. I need to break out from my green/red/orange/yellow routine and widen my colour options. So that’s what I did. At least they are vibrant, alive blues not those horrible dull, dirty, depressing ones.

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