Archive for December 14th, 2014


I’m trying to be more spontaneous and visual, instead of my comfort zone of planning and words. However this experiment did start with words, from my current reading, where Glenn Adamson links Marcel Duchamp’s 3 Standard Stoppages to “the drooping, coiling, spilling, and curling forms of Hesse, Morris, Zeisler, Hicks, and their peers” (Adamson, 2014, p. 148).

That led me to the MOMA website ( and Duchamp’s work exploring gravity and the indeterminate nature of things, including a “fixed” measurement which wasn’t so fixed. He allowed a metre-long thread to fall and captured the resulting “metres” as profiles in wood.

I decided to see what lines I could capture, comparing two different threads and a series of drops, traced in different colours as a time series. The final time was the thread itself, coated in glue and pressed down where it dropped. Both experiments were on A3 cartridge paper, with a thread twice as long as the paper was wide, tracings done in wax pencil.

The first experiment was with a heavy linen rug warp. It had a strong memory from sitting on the cob and was determined to curl – except when covered in glue which relaxed it.
Second time round I used a light cotton warp yarn, suitable for a small, fine tapestry. This was much more draping and produced much more variety and looseness in the line created.

  • The linen thread in particular was tricky because it insisted on introducing a third dimension – it was very springy and didn’t fall flat on the page.
  • The linen’s tendency to coil created more compact forms, and more similarity between drops.
  • Tracing a thread without moving it is difficult.
  • This would be a good way to create a meandering line, say to stitch along. You wouldn’t have to use the same thread in both dropping and stitching, so could pre-determine the nature of the line to an extent by your choice of drop-thread.
  • Isolated areas of the tracings could provide interesting shapes.
  • I’d like to try dropping other things. Paint, ink from a dripper. Now it’s sounding a bit Jackson Pollock, which I think is quite counter to Adamson’s discussion about gravity and allowing something to move as it pleases.
  • I’ve enjoyed the experiment, but I don’t think I’m ready to move too far from words.

    Adamson, G. (2014) “Soft Power” in Porter, J. (ed.) Fiber: Sculpture 1960 – Present DelMonico Prestel


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