Project 6 Stage 4 – final sample

For the final sample the course notes asked for further development of one of the drawings used in Stage 2 (blogged 15-May-2012 – doesn’t time fly!). I’ve chosen this course, and in general life I’m a rule-follower-type – but I couldn’t do it. I looked at the drawings and didn’t feel interested, let alone excited. Really, while working on all the earlier samples I’ve been thinking of the shell I sketched somewhat obsessively earlier this year.

I went through the plastic tub of work (aka my sketchbook), got out a bunch of shell drawings and zeroed in on this one. In particular the lower left and upper right sketches look vigorous and bold and textured and contenders for development.

Pulling out a page to start working on development, I got distracted by the wire of the spiral binding… Maybe that could be extracted and used in piping?

Some more work with the shapes in the original drawings and I felt I had a good idea to work with. It’s not that they’re anything wonderful, but I want to show the development for course purposes.

Next question was fabric. I considered my earlier samples.

All 65 of them!

If you’re another OCA student follow the instructions in your notes (there seem to be quite a few variants anyway as we all start at different times) – it turns out I’m not so much a rule follower but low level subversive. Rather than the suggested crispness of calico I decided cheesecloth was a good fit for the shapes developing on the page and in my head. I wanted to use what I’d learned so far and put a number of individual techniques together.

The first element of the drawing that attracted me was  jagged swirl. I used an idea direct from Claire in the same section of the course (here) and tore along the edge of the cloth, so the gathered strip is all part of the one piece of fabric. You might be able to see the wire extracted from the binding in the photo too – nice wobbles.

The next element was bubbles or puffs. The slashing technique could do that, and by folding the fabric back on itself I could continue with the single piece of cloth. The puffs looked a little flacid and angular. I used some silk cocoons inside to fill them out. I ended up capturing some smaller pieces of cocoon under the cloth as well, so I did get a quilting sample after all. This part I did by hand – the cocoons didn’t fit under the machine mechanism and it was all a bit difficult to handle. I’m glad I did this, as I was able to get a really nice relief effect.

The third element in the development drawings were long sweeping curves a bit like flower petals. I was a bit concerned about the lightness of a single layer of cheesecloth and seriously considered the pva moulding sample (!). In the end I went with piping, although not with the reclaimed folder wire (a bit too heavy).

Some overstitching around the edge gently continued the curved movement. The first attempt of a ruffle (still hanging off the edge of the initial gathering) was too heavy and distracting.

The final sample is an oddity, and very difficult to photograph the whole thing at once without the gathered part looking like a single mass.

Closeups work a bit better.


I can’t make up my mind about the final result. I like different parts but something’s wrong – it doesn’t make sense as a whole…

The gathered end looks too heavy. Simply reorienting it so it hangs down from that end helps marginally. I tried holding it up in front of the window, back lighting being my friend in this project, but no good. The gathering is heavy, distracting and uninteresting. If this wasn’t a sample with a purpose I’d have the scissors out.

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Germination II
In Basketry NSW Transformation exhibition Sunday 2 July. More info fibresofbeing.wordpress.com

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