To produce the drawing used for this piece, I enlarged my photograph of some bark, increased the contrast and printed it in black and white. I then tore it into strips, stuck some to a piece of paper and extended the picture, drawing with a conte pencil and inktense pencils.
Before enlarging a section for the final sample, I tried moulding. Using a 30cm square of calico, torn pieces of card were laid on the fabric and enclosed in gathers.
The cloth was sprayed with water and left to dry and the cardboard removed.
The moulding was quite successful but they weren’t well planned and once a few patterned tucks were added, it seemed chaotic and didn’t quite capture the essence of the original drawing.
Taking an enlarged section of the original drawing, using a 30cm square piece of calico, I hand sewed some tucks, referring to the sectioned off area in the middle of the picture. Once the main lines were represented with a variety of tucks, the background was worked to produce soft folds and shadows to mimic the original drawing.
I am pleased with the outcome. Initially I found it difficult to motivate myself to work with a plain piece of fabric and really wanted to use colour, but once I had enlarged the image to a point where I had a manageable goal, I enjoyed the hand stitching and allowing the background to evolve by manipulating the fabric as I went was satisfying.
I can see the merits of drawing on a wealth of traditional techniques to manipulate fabric and I am happy with a needle in my hand but there was definitely something missing for me without the colour and texture of fabric and thread to work with.