Before starting this assignment, I ordered a book called ‘The Art of Manipulating Fabric’ by Colette Wolff. I was excited when it arrived but when I opened it and browsed through the pages , I felt a huge amount of panic! I have little experience of sewing and my first thought when I looked at the amazing pictures was that I was on the wrong course and how ever was I going to ever be able to produce three-dimensional qualities in fabric?!
The list of techniques on the contents pages included: controlled crushing’ ruffles’ flounces; godets; double-controlled pleats; connected rolls’ little pillows; peaks and valleys and other equally scary terms! Anyway, instead of running away, I enrolled in a short sewing course in which I learnt how to gather fabric, make darts, pleat, fold and flounce as well as inserting zips, making button holes and collars. This gave me a little confidence and renewed encouragement. I reminded myself that I had enrolled with OCA to learn new things but also to enjoy myself!
Anyway, when back in UK last Summer, I enrolled on a course at West Dean College with Michelle Griffiths, whose work is stunningly beautiful. She produces beautiful sculptural pieces out of fabric (usually white) using shibori techniques. Part of the attraction of doing the course was because I fell in love with shibori dyed fabrics in Japan but couldn’t find a course in English at the time. I will be writing more about Michelle’s work in a later post.
Unfortunately Michelle was taken ill and unable to take the course but we were most fortunate when Shibori Artist Mandy Southan stepped in at the last minute and so the workshop was held according to plan. The first part of the course was entitled’ Shibori for texture’ and we learnt how to use shibori stitching to create wonderful sculptural pieces by heat setting silk and polyester.
My next post will show some of the techniques I have practised to create raised and structured surface textures.