I looked through my sketchbooks and decided to use some of my photos I have been working on as they were very textural and therefore appropriate for using as a stimulus for manipulating fabric. I edited them slightly and focused in on the areas that I considered had the best patterns and shapes. I then enlarged the photos and printed them out on paper.
I played about with the images in different ways and then went through my fabric stash looking for fabrics which had the colour/texture/qualities I wanted to reflect the moods of these photos.
1. Peeling Bark
I chose this image because I liked the subtle colours and originally had the idea of using watercolours to represent the colours. I decided to try to capture the colours using tea dye and simply patted a used tea bag onto the page and then added some watercolour to vary the colours.
I then tore up a copy of the photos in small pieces and stuck then down on the painted/dyed background. Next I chose some pieces of fabric which represented the colours of the photo as well as the texture. Lightweight cottons and silks seemed appropriate to match the watercoloured background. I cut the samples into small squares and stuck them onto a piece of paper.
I could see a myriad of possibilities with the huge number of photos I took in a cave. I chose this one as I really liked the shadows which looked like branches of a tree and immediately could see this in stitch. I stuck the photocopied image down in my sketchbook ad then decided to continue the image onto the paper using watercolour pencils. i tried to recreate the watery effect ad continued the lines. As I was painting, the colours reminded me of the cotton I dyed some time ago, which always made me think of water.. I cut a piece out of the photos and inserted a small piece of the dyed fabric into the image. I then couched a piece of linen onto the image to create the feel of the branching lines – like the branches/roots of a tree.
I also liked the reverse:
To take this further, I then stuck the cut out piece of the image onto another piece of paper and stitched over some of the lines, which looked like roots:
I plan to continue this line of exploration, using this image when I start manipulating fabrics, as I can imagine using muslin or netting to create further effects.
I selected some pieces of fabric which represented the textures and colours of this image and stuck them down to make a simple collage. I chose some loosely woven hemp, some pleated nylon and some of the dyed cotton.
3. Creepers on wall
Following my exploration with the previous photo, I decided to try a similar technique with this photo as I could really see the creepers being represented by stitch. I tore the sides of the photo, stuck it into my sketchbook and then extended the lines with black fine pen and added some coloured pencil. I also extended the lines of the brick.
I really enjoyed this and felt the technique emphasised the fragile quality of the creeper against the heavy, sturdy wall. I chose soft pastel coloured fabrics in flowery prints plus some ribbons to make a collage. By placing strips horizontally, I hoped to represent the strength of the wall with the soft flowery prints representing the subtle colours and delicate creepers.
4. Rusty boat
I am always drawn to old boats and have so many photos of rusty and peeling boats.
This image was taken last Summer in Brittany. I photocopied the photos, enlarging it and then tore the edges. I was interested in the textured lines and patterns and again extended the lines and patterns into my sketchbook using pen and watercolour. I used the teabag staining technique to represent the rust. I was particularly liking the regular pattern in the metal and chose to represent the textured surface in stitch.
I found a piece of cotton with grid print and also some loosely woven scrim which I manipulated – pulling out some of the threads. I stuck these down with some other pieces with a definite weave as I wanted to represent the pattern and texture in the photo. The fabrics chosen also picked out some of the colours in the image.
5. Fallen leaves on grille
I have wanted to use this image for ages.
First of all I did some sketching of the leaves and the grille, looking at the contrasts.
I recently experimented with gelatine printing and pulled out some of my leaf prints as I liked the layering effect.
I decided to make a simple collage to represent the layers in paper with string for the wire. I cut out some of my leaf prints and cut regular strips of grey and black paper to represent the drain. I wanted the drain to be sold black to represent depth. I wove pieces of string and stuck everything down.
I also made a simple fabric collage with pieces of grey polyester on some solid black cloth. I added small pieces of fabric of different textures to represent the crispiness of the leaves. This is something I definitely would like to develop in stitch at a later stage
6. Peeling paint
Another boat – this time one with lots of lovely peeling paint! I could imagine this image repented with layers of appliquéd fabrics and perhaps a top layer of chiffon, slashed to reveal the layers underneath. I am constantly drawn to layers – what’s underneath and what’s been added over the years – time adding elements to some things and taking away from others. I started off doing a pen sketch to show the line and pattern in this image but then simply had to add colour. I then added some paper pieces to indicate the layering of the paint.
Then I made a couple of simple paper collages. The first one, I simply added small torn pieces of paper and the second – I added layers of paper and then scratched off the top layer – to represent the layers and represent what’s beneath them.
For my fabric collage, I cut strips of fabrics to represent the colour, some with prints and stuck them down horizontally to represent the horizontal lines in the wood.
Here are the six fabric collages I made: