T1-MMT-P2-p2-e2 Wrapping with materials and threads

Sample p2-59
I started this exercise in the most basic way possible. Brown paper, twine. A very simple base combination.

Sample p2-59

Sample p2-59

The shape is asymmetrical and undefined. No hints are given, it’s very anonymous.

I expected this to be entirely without interest, but find it just a little intriguing. The “vertical” tie slants, responding to the slant in the shape and adding a dynamic element. I “know” that it sits stably on the surface, because I put it there, but looking at the photo those lines and a slight lifting at the bottom seem like it could be about to topple to the right. The horizontal sits low, curves up slightly, perhaps holding it back. Those loose ends ask us to untie and reveal the secret. It looks like a small harp, or … what?

Sample p2-60
The same brown paper was repeatedly crumpled (echos of assignment 1), and now conforms closely to the shape within, assisted by extra wrapping in red poly-string.

Sample p2-60

Sample p2-60

The secret is discovered. We have a jug, S-shaped handle to the left, a little over-extended and unbalanced, and pouring lip giving a rather nice curve upper right.

Sample p2-60 a

Sample p2-60 a

On the right is the shell of the wrapping after the contents are removed. To me there’s a sense of time passed, of the litter after the parade, the disregarded leftovers. Or perhaps of trying to hold on to something that has already gone. These are all thoughts after the fact, after some of my later samples.

Sample p2-61

Sample p2-61

Sample p2-61

Fruit mesh bags and back lighting.

A wrapping that disguises nothing, but I think brings a little colour and the nice quirk of the net around the fish.

The ungainly S-curve of sample p2-60 is revealed as an artificial excess of paper.

I have such happy memories of this jug, filled with beer and my parents entertaining friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The wrapping enhances the movement of the fish on their mission to slake our thirst. (note added: when I was a child the beer wasn’t for my thirst!)

Sample p2-62

Sample p2-62

Sample p2-62

Wrapped in a woven paper placemat and “horsehair” plastic threads the proportions of the jug are changed. It is taller, rather more sophisticated and less convivial in its elegant monochromatic wrapping. The shape is simplified.

Sample p2-62 detail

Sample p2-62 detail

I very much like the decorative effect of the knots as they sit a little open due to the stiffness of the threads, and the cool, clear lines and colours.

This is a lovely combination of materials, with strong horizontal and vertical elements that to me give a sense of stability and serenity.

Sample p2-63

Sample p2-63

Sample p2-63

Very thin plastic, held close to the shape with unobtrusive white wire-like thread, does nothing to enhance the enclosed object. It doesn’t take advantage of the jug’s own attributes, it doesn’t add mystery or intriguing properties. Perhaps there are some interesting tucks in the plastic and the variation in colour from the base is good, but I’m struggling.

Sample p2-64

Sample p2-64 - view 1

Sample p2-64 – view 1

Large scale bubble wrap and pink braided nylon bricklayers line. Focus comes on to the dynamic line of the thread, rather than the contents. For me this sample has the closest link to Christo’s comments about the lines of his wrapped magazines (see 18-July-2015).

I couldn’t stand the jug normally, so started experimenting with different angles – just looking at shapes, not constrained by the convention of the material inside.

Sample p2-64 - alternate views

Sample p2-64 – alternate views

The shape within is now less important than the texture and movement of the wrapping and thread.

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

Additional thread wrapped on the previous sample creates more interest and movement, especially with different orientations of the package. The overall shape, lines and proportions of this package, the colours and mix of textures, the layers of interest with focus on the exterior but the interior evident and contributing lines and form, combine in a successful whole.

Sample p2-66

Sample p2-66

Sample p2-66

This sample is disappointing. I intended it as a series, gradually adding to the wrapping and demonstrating the slow reveal of the shape of the jug. I took a long series of photos, both front and back lit. They weren’t interesting enough to process and present.

Sample p2-66 detail

Sample p2-66 detail

The wrapping material is thin white plastic treated with the heat gun (following sample p1-62 20-April-2015). The thread is a waxy synthetic. At a detail level it is an attractive combination.

Sample p2-7c Detail

Sample p2-7c Detail

With later reflection, I think pushing beyond the simple straight lines of single strands of thread would have been a better approach. Long looping lines of multiple threads, similar to p2-7 (11-June-2015) could have added interest and movement, and the proposed series would show the gradual engulfing of the wrapping in threads.

Sample p2-67

Sample p2-67

Sample p2-67

Sample p2-67 backlit

Sample p2-67 backlit

This sample in form is a near repeat of the first, sample p2-59. I changed to a thick polythene, thinking again of the magazine wrapping of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

With the contents visible it is less dynamic than the earlier version.

When writing about Eva Hesse (7-June-2015) I noted the physical changes of her works as the materials aged over time. There is more information at http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/thoughts-on-replication-and-work-eva-hesse. I thought of this when watching some of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude videos, especially Christo handling his older magazine wrappings. How does the changing of the materials affect our viewing of the works?

If I left the jug wrapped in polythene for an extended period would the wrapping darken and obscure the contents more? Could I hasten the process with some mix of chemicals and special lights, and record the deterioration in a time-lapse? Would the wrapping sag or harden or crack, or the relationship with the jug change?

Sample p2-68

Sample p2-68

Sample p2-68

Thinking about changes of materials over time and the impact on both wrapping and contents, I decided to move to a less-precious-to-me mug for the wrapping contents. The once reflective red foil surface had been ruined in the dishwasher, and only tatters remained. In the thin white plastic tied with linen rug warp yarn the line of the damaged foil becomes a positive, adding interest and movement to the wrapped piece.

Sample p2-69

Sample p2-69

Sample p2-69

Sample p2-69 - view 2

Sample p2-69 – view 2

A heat gun was used to distress and shrink the plastic wrapping of the previous sample. This was basically the same process used to create the material used in wrapping sample p2-66, but the plastic was constrained by both the linen ties and the mug within.

Is it lace or scar tissue that resulted? The scorched linen threads suggest the level of trauma. Here a narrative is beginning to build, the series I was looking for earlier. The next sample continues the story, and to me is the most exciting and full of potential.

Sample p2-70

Sample p2-70 view 1

Sample p2-70 view 1

Sample p2-70 view 2

Sample p2-70 view 2

Here only the wrapping remains. The object is gone, although traces of the damaged red coating remain. There is a space, a memory, a shadow.

Without the mug, how much do we really know of it? That question reminds me of a work by Conrad Shawcross, Slow Arc Inside a Cube IV, seen recently in Light Show at the MCA (www.mca.com.au/exhibition/light-show/). Shawcross was inspired by the work of chemist Dorothy Hodgkin, mapping the molecular structure of insulin in a process she likened to “decoding the shape of a tree from the shadows its leaves cast on a wall” (quote and an image of Shawcross’s work at www.haywardlightshow.co.uk/artists/#conrad-shawcross). All very different materials, but it does suggest an interesting path to take my sample.

Other associations could be memory, or loss, or perhaps waste and the environment. I find this sample very engaging visually, and the general process of shrink-wrapping and capturing shapes and shadows full of potential. For now I’ll just enjoy the sequence.

Sample p2-71

Sample p2-71

Sample p2-71

The old mug, the thick polythene, and the yarn mix I liked in sample p2-65 combine. This is really just a preamble to the next sample, which I’ll show in stages.

Sample p2-72

Sample p2-72 a

Sample p2-72 a

Sample p2-72 b

Sample p2-72 b

Sample p2-72 c

Sample p2-72 c

Following on the idea of deterioration, change, absence, I took a hammer to my sample.

I like this sequence, and especially the final result, very much.

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Once again there are ideas of loss and change, with an extra edge of violence or trauma. With the angle of the backlit view there is a sense of holding on to something that’s gone. I think there’s potential to create something powerful with this.

I need to do more research on artists working with similar ideas. A quick search found Shattered intimacy by Max Dupain (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/279.1982/) and L’altra figura by Giulio Paolini (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/349.1987.a-c/). Paolini’s work is the one I remembered and searched for, and the catalogue notes on the linked gallery page show some of the many themes that can be explored with breakage. I’ve set up a new pinterest board, www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/breakage-in-art/, and hope an opportunity will come up in this or a later course to go further with the last few samples and surrounding ideas.

Sketch 20150720

Sketch 20150720

Later edit to add: I did manage a little sketch at the end of the work session, but it was definitely an afterthought. It’s obviously not key in my process, given I initially forgot to include it in this post. This was trying to see line and value using Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens in shades of grey.

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e2 Wrapping with materials and threads
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 2: Wrapping
Exercise 2: Wrapping with materials and threads

14 Responses to “T1-MMT-P2-p2-e2 Wrapping with materials and threads”


  1. 1 JulieB July 23, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Really inspiring to read and I so admire your methodical approach and the way you work through ‘disappointing’ outcomes on to the next stage. I followed the story of the mug with great interest.

  2. 2 fibresofbeing July 23, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Thanks Julie. I got a lot of ideas from that old mug. While I love the jug and was pleased with some of the results it didn’t give me the same buzz. Funny how things work.


  1. 1 T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Recording outcomes | Fibres of Being Trackback on August 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm
  2. 2 T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Sorting | Fibres of Being Trackback on August 2, 2015 at 10:09 pm
  3. 3 T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Review | Fibres of Being Trackback on August 6, 2015 at 5:01 pm
  4. 4 T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Initial Research | Fibres of Being Trackback on August 7, 2015 at 10:59 am
  5. 5 T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions at the MCA | Fibres of Being Trackback on August 25, 2015 at 11:47 pm
  6. 6 T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding with Joining | Fibres of Being Trackback on September 1, 2015 at 7:40 am
  7. 7 T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding continued | Fibres of Being Trackback on September 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm
  8. 8 T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Sorting | Fibres of Being Trackback on October 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm
  9. 9 T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Review | Fibres of Being Trackback on October 12, 2015 at 7:16 pm
  10. 10 T1-MMT-P4-p1-e4 Working with stencils (mostly) | Fibres of Being Trackback on November 22, 2015 at 5:06 pm
  11. 11 T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – Banded ironstone formation | Fibres of Being Trackback on December 31, 2015 at 10:41 pm
  12. 12 T1-MMT-P5-s1 Review – A beginning | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 10, 2016 at 7:19 pm

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