Friday, 29 May 2020

Anatomy of a textile piece

Nice and holey!
Hello again! 

My next blog posts will be about my latest textile artwork which I am currently making while on a enforced break from my full time job. While it is worrying times and an uncertain future, I can’t help but see this as an opportunity for personal development. A chance to work on and explore areas that interest me though never quite found the time including a regular exercise routine! 😆


I thought it would be interesting to post about the making of a textile piece and the thought process that goes with it. I like to see other artists working and the progress of what their making, it’s interesting to see the stages, what works, what doesn’t and the idea behind the work.


I keep a little book, not even a sketch book as such, that has ideas, designs, things that interest me even shopping lists of what materials I need to buy! From a seed of an idea through something I read or seen, I do a little research. 

My latest piece came about from a number of sources. With some exceptions, my overall work is influenced by a interest in cosmology and have always had a fascination for the night sky.  I was rewatching the recent version of the science documentary Cosmos, a spacetime odyssey (I loved the original Carl Sagan version!) and there was a episode called "A sky full of ghosts" a poetic description of stars. The episode was about the speed of light and how the light we see from stars are from billions of years ago when we observe them on Earth. It is amazing to know that the light we see now is like looking into the past. A spark of an idea formed...

Detail of the Furoshiki cloth.

I looked through my extensive fabric stash and picked one bought a few years ago that's been waiting for the right purpose. It is a antique Japanese Furoshiki wrapping cloth originally to bundle belongings together before plastic bags became more the norm. Dyed in deep indigo it is pieced together from three strips of cloth and has wonderful sashiko stitching in a fan design on each corner. The stitching would have originally cumulated into a plaited braid to then tie together to make a bundle. These have worn away as has one of the corners. 

There are rips, holes, patches, fading and stains, lovely! I do not want to hide these elements, they are highlighted and used in the design, the textile's history is part of the finished piece. This is what attracted me to it in the first place so why hide it? The final design was dictated by the dimensions of the textile and the sashiko stitching in each corner that is quite dominant. 

My next step was to try sampling some ideas which will be my next blog post.


Close up of sashiko stitching.

The whole background fabric.

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