- Create two stitched drawings
- Use previous exercises as inspiration
- Figurative or abstract
- Highly experimental
The brief also includes a list of ideas:
- Stitches create a repeated pattern
- Continuous line wandering and curving, crossing itself
- Built up marks overlapping and creating tonal contrast
- Highly organised, creating grid like effects and geometric form
I had planned to make a kind of abstract landscape inspired by a sketch I had made early in the course.
However, I got distracted and what I did in the end are two very different drawings.
The first one is a development of my test pieces for the texture exercise. I wanted the squiggly line to form a stylised tree with large leaves. This is my search for it:
I then painted the fabric with silk paints and stitched the line with two strands of embroidery thread. Stem and leaves were made as in the test piece.
For the flower/fruit I chose red as a contrast. It is blocked in without allowing any white to shine through and built up from three different reds to give it volume.
I stitched the whole onto a piece of sun blind as a support and frame.
I am not satisfied with the leftmost leaf. I made the creasing too strong so it spreads to the surrounding fabric. The other two are better.
I like this very much although it seems different from what I do otherwise. The semi-abstract drawing appeals to me as do the colours and the single red dot. Maybe I have managed to work in key aspects of what “treeness” is to me – the root and in it the riches of the soil (although it seems to float in the air), green and specks of light around the leaves, all bound together in one movement, culminating in the fruit. But these thoughts came afterwards, I did not set out to depict anything like that. The roots of this picture are in the technique. This makes me wonder where the “meaning” in a piece of art comes from.
A very spontaneuous image. As I was looking for fabric for my second drawing I came across this and the ink stains intrigued me. It was crinkled and some of the creases coincided with a stain giving me the idea to use creases as lines.
The photo does not do it justice, the shadows of unwanted creases become much too overpowering as the colouring is very subtle and delicate.
I chose a white thread so as not to deflect focus from the creases which I wanted to form the main lines. The stitching continues further than the creases to let the lines fade out in a way similar to the stains.
For the lines in the water I used dark grey nylon thread hoping it would reflect the light and glint like water. It has not yet done so but I still think it might given the right light source. I tried to make the water lines horizontal which turned out to be very difficult as the fabric is old, worn thin and losing its shape.
I like the way the ink has followed the weaving of the fabric in the edges of some of the stains. The lines remind me of a skyline of fir trees. I left these lines unworked so they contrast to the creases and waterlines.
I also left the stains above the uppermost waterline unworked to make them retreat and add some depth.
The fabric had become crinkled by the time I was done so I ironed it where possible. I could not do that over the nylon thread so the creases there stand out. They disturb the effect I had in mind with the water lines.
I am not sure if this works as a picture. Maybe the drawing is too subtle in colouring for a viewer to recognise what I saw. Maybe the idea with the creases would work better on a larger scale and with stronger colours? But I like the subtlety, the mere suggestion of a landscape. The colours and composition play first fiddle here, I feel, making the figurative aspect take a step back.
I am surprised at where this has taken me. During the initial exercises I have found new ways of using thread and fabric and they have led me down a different path than anticipated. I like that. Doing has had a different effect on me than thinking about doing. This is something to remember.
I have also seen that translating a paper-and-pen drawing to textiles does not necessarily mean to imitate it. Reworking an idea in a different medium can lead to something new and different. This might not be a new insight but with textiles being very different from pencil or ink it leads further away from the original idea.
In the brief it says the final drawings should be highly experimental. I am not sure if my ideas are experimental in a larger context, but they are for me. Experimental in the sense that I have been experimenting and following ideas I did not know the outcome of. The landscape especially although the stitching in that is conventional running stitch.
I am glad I chose this unit. It has further opened up my idea of what drawing can be. Ideas have been forming while I worked involving all kinds of materials and techniques. I will have to find a way to remember them and to revert to them in coming work.