Project 8 Stage 2 Exercise 3 – Weaving inside a shape

The goal of this exercise was to make a rigid shape, then weave within it, thinking about the effect of light and space and selecting materials for their qualities against the light.

I decided quickly on a circle. I was thinking of the round braid using weed trimmer line in the last exercise (blogged here, 16 September) and on the right in the thumbnail photo. I could substitute something more suitable than the black tubing and try to make the braid into a circle. Light through the blue line should be a nice effect, I like the idea of building on work in previous exercises, and the multiple strands would provide lots of attachment points.

Next I played around with a few ideas for shapes within the circle.

One reminded me of some of my earlier shell sketches back in sketchbook 2 in February, so that was my base. For colour, blues and whites – thinking of shells, sea, sky and (looking at the sketch) the opera house. My challenge “yarns” would be the trimmer line and some cotton tubular knit sold at the hardware store for plant ties. I liked the silk tissue in my pleating samples (blogged here on 13 August), so that could work in the “sails”.

The ideas came quickly – not so much actually doing the work. First the trimmer line was totally uncooperative and curly. A run through the ironing press resolved that. I don’t think I achieved a 4-strand round braid structure in the circle. I tried to make a circle of one strand then add in the rest one by one. Very confusing. Another time I think I’d try doing a normal braid then splicing the ends to form the circle.

I intended to use the trimmer line to form the edges of the “sails”, but it was too strong and distorted the circle. I used a blue 26 guage wire instead – a bit light really, but it coped. I used a white cotton/viscose yarn in the round braid, and a blue of the same type in a very way between the sails. In the first attempt I wove torn strips of tissue silk between the wire supports. I wanted to create the lower rounded shapes by putting something in the cotton knit tube, but nothing looked good except silk cocoons, and I’ve done that in a previous exercise (also based on the shells, blogged here on 16 August). Then I got very excited when I tried stretching out parts of the tube – it formed lovely swirly lines like brain coral. I went a bit crazy, covered about half the circle with it. Finished! – except it was totally unbalanced and boring.  The sails were half covered, and the parts visible were boring – the silk was flat so there was no texture or interest. The knit tube was just out of control.

Eventually I took out all the silk and the cotton tube. I made some textured lace-like strips by free-machining over some cheesecloth, based on the class with Helen MacRitchie (blogged here, 15 September). Only a week ago but I forgot about putting it into a hoop – no wonder I had trouble and got a different effect!! The cut strips of cheesecloth sat between the wire outlines of the sails, and I wove over then using the tissue silk. Much more interesting! By this time I was thinking more of waves than shells. I found some … I think it’s mulberry bark paper – and used that across the base, poking holes in it so I could weave through the cotton tubing – in much more restrained amounts this time.

The backlit view above shows some distortion of the circle as it hangs. I think the final selection of materials worked well together to form interesting textures against the light. The (eventual) water theme is apparent, without being too literal. I was able to use my source material, but not be bound by it. The braided circle provided good anchor points as anticipated.

Compositionally I think it’s close but it doesn’t quite work. The sails are a bit misshapen and clumsy. The boundary where the mulberry bark paper meets the sails is rather abrupt. The blue “sky” lines look lost and forgotten. I chose the tissue silk because of the nice effect when pleated – and then didn’t pleat it! It is much, much improved from the original version, and I’m very pleased that I put in the extra time and effort.

7 Responses to “Project 8 Stage 2 Exercise 3 – Weaving inside a shape”

  1. 1 Jane B September 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I think your committment to advance your techniques and design are admirable. I really like the final output, its so hard to remeber to do everything – I admire your honesty. given time you would go back and develop again, but onto the new …

  2. 2 fibresofbeing September 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks Jane.
    I often find I like things more after a break, once I’ve let go of the thing I expected/wanted to make.
    It’s kind of weird in public, but I _try_ to be honest – the fastest way to learn I think.

  3. 3 Nola October 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I haven’t been keeping up with your adventures – dunno why, since I’ve been following Claire’s! I’ve so enjoyed what I’ve read. I love reading about people’s process and few people, myself included, are as honest about the difficulties as you’ve been. It’s made me feel that I should write more about process on my blog – that’s why i set it up ooriginally, because people didn’tt tend to do that!

    I like the circle work, though I can see why you said the things you did. It looks good the way it is but it doesn’t pop, especially the blue. It is so hard to remember what it was you intended, when you’re in mid flow, so I can completely relate to intending to pleat and then not doing it!

    • 4 fibresofbeing October 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Nola
      Glad you enjoyed reading. I find it interesting to see how different all the OCA student blogs are – both the work we do and the way we present and write about it. Claire and I have such different responses to the project requirements.
      I tend to write more detail because I want to remember and make a different mistake next time – and I’ll forget what I did unless I write it down!

  1. 1 Project 8 Reflective Commentary « Fibres of Being Trackback on October 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm
  2. 2 Project 9 Woven Structures Stage 3 part 1 « Fibres of Being Trackback on October 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm
  3. 3 Basket weaving workshop | Fibres of Being Trackback on August 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm

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