Nina's Textile Trail

My OCA Textile Tales

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Part 3 Creating Shapes and Three-dimensional Forms – Stage 4 Raised and structured surface textures – FINAL SAMPLE

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.



Part 3 Creating Shapes and Three-dimensional Forms – Stage 2 Developing ideas and Stage 3 Applied fabric techniques – FINAL SAMPLE

This drawing of bark is the inspiration for my final sample in this section.  (Drawn from my photograph which was also used to produce the drawing for the final sample in the next post)


I worked on some samples to chose the right fabric and techniques.


Having decided which elements worked, I started with an A4 sized piece of calico.  Whilst selecting fabric, I was struggling to capture the texture of the background, and a sample in Gwen Hedley’s book, Drawn to Stitch inspired me to use some painted newsprint.

I am very pleased with the outcome but learned a lot in the process which was very time consuming and sometimes frustrating.  Unfortunately I didn’t photograph the stages which would have made it easier to illustrate my point.

It became rather a complex project – it would have been wise to select a small portion of the drawing with a viewfinder.  (That too would have shown development of drawing!)

Part way through, I felt the piece wasn’t really showing much relation to the inspiration.   It took me sometime to work out why.  Referring back to my preferred samples (bottom two in left hand drawing above), I realised the overall effect of the longways strips which echoed the qualities of the bark was lost.  In the applique, I was using two or three pieces of different fabric for each ‘stripe’ whereas the same fabric or one piece would have been better.

To recapture the stripe effect, I added linen scrim over some fabrics, more thin strips of hessian and couched some twisted muslin.  Once appliqued, I added stitch to achieve the desired effect.


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Part 3 Creating Shapes and Three-dimensional Forms – Project 6 Manipulating fabric – Stage 2 Developing Ideas

Stage 2 – Developing Drawings & Stage 3 – Applique

I definitely understand the process more and have enlarged, traced and copied some areas of the drawings whilst experimenting with ideas but with hindsight see that much more copying, rearranging and playing with shapes, colours will help to refine and develop ideas.

The course notes suggested selecting six interesting drawings or other source material for further development and match some of my fabric groupings with the drawings and to experiment freely with the fabrics.   Having played with the fabrics the idea was to make small collages of fabric on  a piece of paper.   I seem to have had ‘small collages’ fixed in my head and that is what I made, small stitched collages rather than sticking or stapling the pieces down.  I enjoyed looking for relationships in texture, colour and weight and matched three of my collages to my drawings.  I will post the drawings, collages and samples together to illustrate the path of development.

These two collages didn’t match my drawings but are both examples of fabric I enjoy:

(There’s an unusual colour cast on this photo and others in this post, the linen traycloth is white)


I like blue and white, am often drawn to denim and have a small collection of bought and own shibori style indigo dyed fabric.  I found it harder than expected to incorporate them into a small collage and settled for the following limited selection. If I had to consider the mood this might reflect, I would say calm and serene.

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This collage is about texture and colour, I love the tactile nature and rich colour of the cotton velvet and the visual texture of the wool felt and the needlecord.  I used the collage to illustrate a contemporary example of Broderie Perse inspired by Mandy Pattullo’s work.  Although I really like the Hedgerow fabric when you can see the whole pattern repeat and enjoy the use of colour which complemented the background fabrics, I don’t think the appliqued berries worked as well as I’d hoped.  The shape is too ‘square’ and there’s something about how far the left hand leaf extends that offends me, but I am satisfied with the selection and arrangement of the other fabric.



This selection of fabric really said ‘autumn’ to me and likened it to the corner of a rather unsatisfactory drawing, which I re-drew on a larger scale.  I think most of the fabrics work well together but I particularly like the use of the brown needlecord as a background.  It was cut from an old skirt and has a lovely handle.  Also one of the leaves cut from the same fabric using a seam in the fabric as the central vein is very effective.  I also like the tweed with the orange flecks and the textured linen, both of which are offset by the hand-dyed sheeting.  Although in this exercise I haven’t developed the use of these fabrics further, I would consider doing so in future.

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Part 3 Creating Shapes & Three-dimensional Forms – Project 6 Manipulating fabric – Stage 1 Preparation

In this section I have noticed my tendency to overwhelm myself with research and information on the practical technicalities to compensate for a lack of confidence on the Research Points and a continued lack of development through drawing but think I have taken a huge step forward in developing designs through experimentation and have learned and practiced many new techniques.

Stage 1 Preparation

I did not heed the ‘Too much fabric will only confuse you when you work’.  I have a large stash of fabric and set about selecting my most favourite and pinning it to two polystyrene boards.  As many of my favourite samples are quite small pieces I was reluctant to cut into them, but it would have been a good idea.  Also, with hindsight, I would have looked more closely at Stage 2 before making my selection as it took a long time to whittle down fabrics which could work with my drawings which could have been better spent developing ideas.

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