Archive for the 'MMT 1 Research' Category

T1-MMT-P1-Research More surface distortion

Janet Fieldhouse makes ceramics expressing her Torres Strait Island heritage. Those based on the tradition of woven fibre baskets, mats and armbands in that culture flow and meld into organic forms. The examples I have seen photographed are all in a pure cream porcelain, all the focus on the light and shadow of the forms.

Fieldhouse’s cultural investigations are concerned with female objects. She is working to maintain a history, sometimes one no longer in current use – for example wedding pendants and scarification. Her use of materials is experimental. The slumping is a result of the behaviour in the kiln of the Keraflex flexible porcelain she uses. Initially devastated by unintended results of firing, she decided to take advantage of it.

Stranger, L. (2014) ‘Janet Fieldhouse’, Artist Profile, 29, pp. 52 – 55.
Mark and Memory: Janet Fieldhouse (no date) Cairns Regional Gallery. Available at: (Accessed: 11 April 2015).

At a personal level Fieldhouse’s base of the objects of the women of her culture, even the name of the exhibition “Mark and Memory”, attract me. Beautiful forms attract the eye, but a continuation – a reclaiming – of history and culture of people is so much more.

The experimental approach to materials is relevant to the course, and some of the forms created by Fieldhouse are superficially similar to ones seen in the Tearing and Cutting project. The shapes also had me thinking of slumped glass, where the hard surface takes on the shape and texture of the mould beneath it in the kiln. Could that idea be used with melting sheets of plastic – either after ironing while still warm, or under the blowtorch. That was the beginning of the tray of damp sand, seen used unsuccessfully in a recent side exploration (10-April-2015).

The blog of Mrs Kamp, a teacher in the Middle School at Calvert, offers another possibility – this one inspired by the work of Dale Chihuly. The eighth graders used permanent markers to decorate clear plastic drinking cups. Mrs Kamp melted the cups in a toaster oven, then joined them using fishing line to create an installation piece for the school.

Kamp (2013) ‘Chihuly Inspired Chandelier’, The Calvert Canvas: Adventures in Middle School Art!, 19 April. Available at: (Accessed: 11 April 2015).

Jo Deeley Jane of Epocktextiles left a link to this artist in a comment. Wonderful!

Deeley graduated in Multi-media Textile Design (BA) at Loughborough University and has a Masters Degree in Textile Art. Her Summer Exhibition of her final year’s work is full of examples of folding and pleating in textiles, using an adventurous, experimental approach. I particularly like a hanging shown over a window –, like a modern sculptural version of a lace curtain.

In her gallery of Woven Sculptures Deeley takes advantage of double weave and areas of exposed warp, combined with shaping and manipulation of the material off the loom. See for example

The Folding gallery includes both paper and textile works. Some fascinating results, and it reminds me of the impact of repetition of shapes. One on its own is a curiosity, dozens create impact, a totally new surface.

Knotting, Tying and Layering – such wild, deep textures!

I find Deeley’s work very exciting. It brings the folding and manipulation exercises I’ve been doing in paper and plastic right back into the world of textiles – real outcomes of the studio/class explorations. She uses a lot of traditional techniques, especially weaving and knotting, which are particularly attractive to me. Her work can be wild and messy and is full of life and energy.

As a contrast, see the work of Susie Taylor, particularly her investigation of weaving and origami together ( (I found Taylor’s work via Tien Chu’s blog, Susie Taylor is a textile designer, designing for jacquard looms. She also holds a Certificate of Excellence from the Handweaver’s Guild of America. Works such as Chrysalis, 2015, woven and folded linen and silk, and Silver Lining, 2014, woven and folded with linen & spun silk, are amazing and experimental and incredibly skillful. However they don’t inspire me personally. I considered the Certificate of Excellence before finding the OCA course, and definitely made the right choice for my own interests and aesthetics.

Coming back to Jo Deeley’s work, it is so directly inspirational and aspirational for me that it’s overwhelming. I have to take a grip on myself and believe that my current baby steps are leading somewhere, part of the process and not an end in themselves. I need to go back out to the garage and do the work.

T1-MMT-P1-Research More surface distortion
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Research: More surface distortion

T1-MMT-P1-p1 Folding and crumpling roundup

Part of managing my time on this course is moving on when I don’t feel finished.  So here are brief notes wrapping up, at least for now – there’s always the hope of more time later.

Grace Tan is an artist suggested in the course notes. It’s easy to see why in her earlier work – piles of folded paper in Utterubbish (2007), folding and pleating leading into manipulation of strips in specimens (2008 – Commissioned for 8Q-Rate: School). Works evolve, method progresses through samples, reduction of complexity — simplicity. There is a fabulous snake of pleats flowing around a dress-form at – “non-wearable textile composition based on arithmetic and number pattern.” Her more recent work is mainly installations  and architectural. An example is Building as a Body (2012) where a veil of strips of material (? a plastic) reveals and conceals the facade of a building.

I didn’t see a connection to pleating and accordion folds in those strips until seeing something quite different – the new Barak building in Melbourne- see for example There is a lot to be uncomfortable about in the depiction of an Aboriginal elder’s face on an appartment block built on appropriated lands. For my current discussion, the point is the use of shadow lines with building (balcony) lines to form an image. In a similar way Tan’s strips work with shadows to create “pleats”. There is less weight, manipulation of the “surface” is more flexible, air and sight can move through – but it is still a development of the folding experimentation. (Note: great example of development process to consider in my own work).

Caroline Broadhead presents crumpled clothing – or at least crumpled shapes that suggest the form of the body and could be used as clothing. She is exploring space and boundaries, creating atmospheric works that tug our emotions.

Christine Mauersberger, in particular Timelines (2014). Sewn strips of Rubylith form a distorted surface. This is process-based work, developed from mark-making in her sketchbook. “The drawings and stitched work developed an interdependent relationship where one informed the other. This activity placed me on a trajectory of purposeful artwork.” “The way I connected to discovering my voice was to be vulnerable to taking a risk. ” (from (Accessed 5-Mar-2015)). Another great example of working process and approach, useful to consider for myself.

Artists on
– Vincent Floderer and much more. Radial pleating/crumpling taken to an extreme. Great use of colour and lighting.
– Romain Chevrier – some strange animal’s trail through the sand
– Alain Giacomini Swooping bird-like forms or graceful flying fish. Again the drama of lighting.

Jade Pegler A wide variety of paper work, including examples incorporating pleating.

20150101aMy Indigo Sketchbook post (9-January-2015) includes work done before starting this course, but certainly under its influence and using one of the recommended texts – “Folding Architecture: Spatial, Structural and Organizational Diagrams” by Sophia Vyzoviti.

20150101eI was particularly interested in the memory of folds, the traces left behind. It’s a bit like stains on worn clothing, or tracks on sand that get swallowed up in the next tide – a memory, a ghost. Perhaps nostalgia for a lost opportunity. It seems there can be so much more emotion in fragile reminders – linking back to Caroline Broadhead’s work.

A little bit of pleating work I wanted to take further:
Claire ( lent me a pleating device.
I decided to play using layers of tissue paper.
Sample p1-19. Pleats are formed by pressing material into a grove with a plastic card. Two cards leapfrog each other, forming a pleat then holding it in place while the next pleat is formed. I found the light tissue pleats kept popping out. Luckily my party picks are just the right size to hold things in place.
… which inevitably led to the problem of fixing and removing the pleats.
I used a sticky paper tape
Sample p1-19a. Soft folds formed.
Sample p1-19b. which I creased in a pattern.
Sample p1-20. Wanted to use the fixing tape as an advantage. Chose two colours of tissue paper, hoping for interaction.
The first layer of tissue. I like the pattern of the sticks holding the pleats, plus the totally accidental match of tissue length to pleater.
Double-sided sticky tape down the centre, and I pressed the pleats in place.
Sample p1-20a. Then purple, fixed using the other side of the tape. I flattened the purple – should try leaving it rounded another day.
It’s like inside-out corrugated cardboard.
Finally, I played with different arrangements.

Sample p1-20b.

Sample p1-20b.

Sample p1-20c.

Sample p1-20c.

Sample p1-20d.

Sample p1-20d.

Sample p1-20e.

Sample p1-20e.

Sample p1-20f.

Sample p1-20f.

Sample p1-20g.

Sample p1-20g.

Sample p1-20h.

Sample p1-20h.

There could be lots of ways to explore this further – different colours, different pleat spacing (you don’t have to use every slot) or even on flat paper, more layers of pleating, longer lengths…
Note also possibilities of popcorn fabric.
Finally my recent natural dye day (hosted and masterminded by Claire) involved lots of accordion pleating – see 4-April-2015 for more. This leads back to the idea of traces and shadows left, rather than the original.




T1-MMT-P1-p1 Folding and crumpling roundup
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Project 1: Folding and crumpling

T1-MMT-P1-Research Surface distortion – various artists

I’ve spent some time going through my archives, gathering some images that speak “surface distortion” to me. All these works have drawn me to them at some point, so it seems a good place to look for inspiration.

Graceful pleats and folds at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Standing Buddha  100s  CE

Standing Buddha
100s CE

Accordion pleats in the headdress
Seen at the Australian Museum. Part of my Aztec research – see Aztec research page

Replica ceremonial vessel of Xilonen (goddess of young corn) Based on an Aztec original of around 1500 Original made from fired clay, pigment

Replica ceremonial vessel of Xilonen (goddess of young corn)
Based on an Aztec original of around 1500
Original made from fired clay, pigment

Crumpled clothes by Annette Messager, seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney (MCA). Original post 31-October-2014.

Les Dépouilles Skins 1997

Les Dépouilles

Accordion pleats chiseled in stone by Chris Bailey. Seen at Sculpture by the Sea (2014) in Sydney. Original post 8 November 2014

Chris Bailey bondi points

Chris Bailey
bondi points

Folding in the mine at Mount Whaleback, Western Australia. Original post 26 August 2014

Mount Whaleback

Mount Whaleback

Ceiling in the ANZAC Memorial in Sydney, design by C. Bruce Dellit. Original post 7 September 2014

ANZAC Memorial in Sydney

ANZAC Memorial in Sydney

Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture in the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW). Original post 13 June 2014

Alberto Giacometti Woman of Venice VII [Femme de Venise VII] 1956

Alberto Giacometti
Woman of Venice VII [Femme de Venise VII] 1956

This work by Alwar Balasubramaniam shows plaster crushed by the hands of the artist. At the MCA. Original post as for the previous image, 13 June 2014

Alwar Balasubramaniam Nothing from my hands 2011-12

Alwar Balasubramaniam
Nothing from my hands 2011-12

Crumpled sheets, crumpled bodies, by Lucian Freud, at AGNSW. Original post 6 June 2014

Lucian Freud And the bridegroom 1993

Lucian Freud
And the bridegroom

Beautiful, fluid pleats and folds on the Bowmore Artemis, at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Original post 5 May 2013

The Bowmore Artemis c. 180 AD

The Bowmore Artemis c. 180 AD

Corrugated iron on Cockatoo Island. Original post 24 January 2013

Paper (2010) by Li Hongbo – a stack of paper carved with an electric saw. Seen at the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney. Original post 9 November 2012

Paper (2010) by Li Hongbo

Paper (2010) by Li Hongbo

This work by El Anatsui, seen at the MCA as part of the 18th Biennale Sydney, is made from found aluminum (from bottle caps) and wire. Original post 27 August 2012

El Anatsui  Anonymous Creature

El Anatsui Anonymous Creature

Folds are created using double weave in work by a student with Liz Williamson. Original post 14 January 2012

Double weave by a student in a class with Liz Williamson

Double weave by a student in a class with Liz Williamson

Distortions created with waffle weave. My work in a class with Liz Calnan. Original post 8 April 2010

More with deflected double weave. Original post 25 October 2009

T1-MMT-P1-Research Surface distortion – various artists
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Research: Surface distortion – various artists

T1-MMT-P1-Research Megan Q. Bostic

Megan Bostic’s work is beautiful and terrible. The titles of her work and exhibitions have a raw emotional honesty – “The First Year of Grief”, “Stale Hope: Too Much Was Never Enough”, “Internal Bleeding”, “Self-Defense Mechanism: It Can’t Hurt When You’re Already Numb”… It feels close to voyeuristic to view such feeling, except that clearly this is the artist’s chosen way of living with and understanding her sorrows, and that the work itself is sincere, evocative, emotional, deeply thought as well as felt, often tender and beautiful. In her Artist Statement Bostic writes:

“I understand the pain.
I understand its force:
it reveals,
it confesses,

I am no longer haunted.”
(Bostic, [n.d.])

Bostic makes use of a wide range of materials including stiffened tissues, cotton, tulle, glass, wood panels, pigment, oil paints, wax, oil pastels, dental floss, plastic vinyl, bubble wrap, baby wipes, coffee grounds, twine, wire, with techniques such as fibre stiffening, encaustic, double weave and screen printing. Colours are often natural, or stained with coffee, or perhaps the colour of dried blood.

As a weaver I was drawn to a number of works using double weave – seen in a photograph of Bostic’s undergraduate exhibition (, and in a variety of scales in Stale Hope, seen hung as part of the World of Threads Festival in a photograph on Bostic’s website ( Double weave is very effective in trapping objects, partially obscured, inviting close investigation.

However this research section is about surface distortion, and there are two examples of crumpling in Bostic’s work which really take advantage of that technique to evoke the crushing of hope, the wearing down of grief.

In Family Portrait Bostic has used facial tissues stiffened with beeswax – the family images formed from the holder of their tears. Seven crumpled “heads” are suspended in a group, slightly different heights, sizes, pigmentation. The family resemblance is strong, but each is individual. I thought of a Greek chorus behind their masks, speaking hidden fears, telling their story to the audience. (Images available: and

crumple_01The First Year of Grief has columns of waxed rectangles of organza, suspended on linen thread. On the right is my rough sketch of a section, included the very important shadows cast by the days of mourning. Each piece of organza is distorted by crumpling and what looks to be lumpy seams of stitching, like badly healed scar tissue.

In these works the materials and techniques are incredibly evocative of the emotions that Bostic is exploring/presenting. It is challenging to see that some of the works were part of her undergraduate show. It’s a reminder to keep pushing, to try to be honest, to take risks, to be ready to expose one’s self. Bostic also shows that the “simple” techniques we are exploring in this part of the course can be very powerful.


Bostic, M. Q. ([n.d.]) Artist Statement [online] Available from (Accessed 20 March 2015)

T1-MMT-P1-Research Megan Q. Bostic
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Research: Megan Q. Bostic

T1-MMT-P1-Research Anne Kyyrö Quinn

Anne Kyyrö Quinn ( is suggested in the course materials as an example of artists and designers who distort the surface of materials.

I’ve done some sketchbook work based on photographs of Kyyrö Quinn’s work, and will use my sketches to illustrate my comments.
alquinn_swissotel01alquinn_swissotel02On the right are two impressions of panels in the Leaf design, installed in the Media Room of Swissotel, Bremen, Germany. (original image Anne Kyyrö Quinn, Portfolio [online] Available at
(Accessed 19 March 2015)).

The actual panels are very much slicker. My top version in particular, a collage of foil corrugated card, is my emotional reaction to the precise, controlled, ultra-modern, stylish work, rather than a literal drawing. The lower version (Conté crayon on black paper) gives an indication of the patterning. I think the work is actually a single colour of very smooth red felt, cut, folded and stitched to create a pattern of shadow lines. Other works in the Portfolio use strong directional lighting to emphasize shadow patterning.

The website describes the product as “resembling artworks more than conventional fabrics” and emphasizes qualities such as unique, handmade, not seen before, luxury, timeless, natural, “an elegant, unassuming beauty”, design excellence, tailor made (Kyyrö Quinn, n.d) .

I have a very negative reaction to this work. It is too precise, controlled, anonymous. It’s serving a utilitarian purpose in a very stylish way, but I find it cold. The warmth and chaotic nature of felt is lost. It’s gone clinical. I also find the level of luxury off-putting, a reverse snobbery perhaps, but even the home interiors shown look like design showrooms with no personality or human presence.

alquinn_reinsuranceIt is enormously clever and can play with lines and architectural space. On the right is my version of the reception area of New Reinsurance in London. A digital sketch seemed a good fit with an upmarket office vibe, but the original photos are so sharp, so mannered, so self-consciously clever ( Anne Kyyrö Quinn’s felt panels (Leaf design again) wrap from both sides of the front wall and up along the passageways on either side of the reception desk. The lines of the felt folding and stitching play against the perspective lines. In fact the area seems all lines, with the exception of a small plant or similar on the desk. No receptionist is seen – how could a warm body survive in such a clinical environment?

alquinn_iceworks01There are many installations shown in the studio’s portfolio, and just one seems to me a bit different – The Iceworks in Camden, London. See the photographs at
– one of them includes a person! There is real variation in colour and asymmetry in the design. Possibly because the curtain is moved as spaces are connected, the geometry seems less rigid. (My version is Inktense pencils on watercolour paper.)

Interestingly – significantly, I think – this project was a collaboration with installation artist Francesco Draisci – see photographs on his website,, from which I learnt the slashes of colour are silk inserts.

Two other items on Draisci’s site are relevant to this Part of the course. At is research based on the structural strength given by a fold in paper. A temporary display space structure from folded 50mm thick honeycomb cardboard has been designed. The C.R.A.P.T. project ( creates vessels with distorted surfaces created from adhesive tape and wool yarn.

bueys_plightIn other reading this week I came across Plight, a work by Joseph Beuys that involves wool felt on walls. My drawing is based on an image from Bacon (2013). I used charcoal for those sagging, baggy rolls of felt lining the walls, a shiny wax crayon for the grand piano, conté crayon for the parquet floor, on kraft paper for a nice earthy tone. In my drawing the piano has too much presence, is not properly overwhelmed by the felt.

In the photograph the felt looms, pushes into the space. It is in ranks, but not precise. It sags, is crumpled, asserts. It billows, suffocates and demands. It is not a polite, decorative element as in Anne Kyyrö Quinn’s work, although both were designed for the same function (Beuys’ installation was originally designed for the Anthony d’Offay gallery in response to noise from building work nearby (Gravelle, 2010)).

The piano is silent. The temperature rises as warm bodies enter the space. Is it a womb or a padded cell? My mind is filled with competing associations. My eyes explore the space defined – confined – by the felt and I want to touch those beautiful imperfect rolls.

This work has many layers of meaning. Beuys “made the material quality of chaotically structured felt a basic element of his art, integrating it in his theory of social sculpture” (Brüderlin, p 26).

This is the line I want to pursue – concept, meaning, purpose beyond utility – although not necessarily excluding it. There is nothing really objectionable about Anne Kyyrö Quinn’s work – but who wants to set their sights on being unobjectionable? It is excellent work, excellent craftsmanship. For myself, I’m looking for something different.

Bacon, H. (2013) “Joseph Beuys’ Plight” Art for Breakfast [online] Available from (Accessed 18 March 2015)

Brüderlin, M (2013) “Introduction to the exhibition” In Brüderlin, M (ed) (2013) “Art & Textiles: Fabric as material and concept in modern art from Klimt to the present” Stuttgart: Hatje Cantz

Gravelle, A. (2010) Felt spaces: Joseph Beuys [online] Available from (Accessed 20 March 2015)

Kyyrö Quinn, A. (n.d.) “The bespoke art of felt and fabric” [online] Available at (Accessed 19 March 2015)

T1-MMT-P1-Research Anne Kyyrö Quinn
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Research: Anne Kyyrö Quinn


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