Stage 4 Making your Textile Piece
I have decided to work with one of the panels as my final piece and chose this one which included a variety of shibori and katazome samples and a mixture of sashiko stitching.
I collected together the relevant textile pieces which I had already dyed and cut them into panels. I stitched them together first and then basted the piece onto a piece of vintage cotton to add strength.
I made sure that the fabric piece was the same size as the sample. I then gathered my threads and needles and started stitching the piece, using the sample as reference. I did not try to copy stitch for stitch as I wanted an element of spontaneity to the piece. As the fabrics used were vintage pieces they were already somewhat frayed and holly so I was able to accentuate the worn and weathered look by stitching round the holes – reverse appliqué?
My original intention was to complete all four side panels plus a base and stitch and line the bag, adding a drawstring. I now see that this was somewhat ambitious and although disappointed that I have run out of time to complete the bag, I feel mollified that It was stated in the course notes and reiterated by my tutor that i dod not need to complete the entire piece. I do want to demonstrate how it would have looked if finished, though. I had planned to line the whole bag by another piece of linen that I had dyed with indigo using shibori resist, so I stitched a piece of this on to the back of the panel:
If I were to complete the bag, I would stitch four panels, the same size as the outer panels to make an inner bag. The lining would not be stitched to the outer bag, but secured by the loops for the drawstring, a technique used by Japanese drawstring bags I have studied. I made a small prototype drawstring bag as a sample to show how this would be done. This sample has only two panels but serves to show how the drawstring would be attached. For the drawstring i was planning to use a cord i had braided using the kumihimo technique. When I looked at it, I decided it would be too fine so I would probably use another braiding technique for the last assignment.
– Can you see a continuous thread of development from your original drawings and samples to the final designs?
I can see a continuous line of development as I did not veer too much from my original ideas. I started off with an idea and through my exploration and development of samples, I was able to see my plans come to fruition.
– Do you feel you made the right decisions at each stage of the design process? If not, what changes would you make?
I do not regret any of my decisions as I tended to work in a fairly intuitive way. I tried things out and then ran with the ideas that visually fitted in with the aesthetic I was after.
– How successful is your final design in terms of being inventive within the medium and coherent as a whole?
Although I do regret not completing the bag, I do see the value in the huge amount of time I spent researching my theme, trying out techniques and coming up with a series of designs. I am satisfied that my designs fulfill the brief I set myself, trying out traditional techniques but putting them together in a more contemporary way. I am grateful to my tutor’s advice to keep things simple as i was in danger of being too ambitious. The photocopying of the textiles and making of the prototype bag was a useful exercise and a technique I would use again. I believe it to be inventive and coherent as a whole. If I had more time, I would complete the other panels and the bag. I also could use some of my designed for other pieces – perhaps cushions or wall-hangings.
I looked back at the notes I made at the beginning of the module on what I hoped this course would do for me.
So what do I hope to achieve from this course? Well I think my aim is to simply take pleasure in the exercises and find a focus for all my explorations in Japan. I know that I will benefit from having some time deadlines and look forward to feedback and guidance from my tutor. Sometimes I get a bit carried away and want to do so much, I end up doing very little. So I hope that this course will help me to organize my thoughts and creative ideas in a more disciplined way, without losing the spontaneity of ideas. I very much like the idea of working towards the goal of a degree and plan to spend at least 20 hours a week on each course, while I am not working full-time.
This course has provided the impetus and motivation to take my textile study seriously and indeed enabled me to focus my time in Japan on the study of Japanese Textiles. it also encouraged me to try many new techniques. Above all it helped me to plan and organise my work, which at times was a source of irritation. Although beneficial having deadlines, I still managed to over- run them all, resulting in running out of time at the end of the module! Needless to say, my plan to spend at least 20 hours a week on the course did not come about, as i still managed to get hopelessly side-tracked.