A blog about making art and other things using cloth, paper, paint, colour, stitch, and all sorts of exciting techniques, some of which I'm sure I still have to discover! I hope that the joy all this gives me is visible in what you can see here.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Human Marks, Day 3

My posts are a few days behind, but for good reason! Last week was just such an incredible experience, and I wanted to make the most of every second. Consequently, I didn't get home on a couple of occasions until gone eight, and too tired to even switch on my computer!

Anyway, here I am now, and I will do my best to finish off all the weeks posts by Sunday evening.
The first photo above shows five french knots down the left side of a small piece of black fabric, with six threaded needles at the side. Dorothy then surprised us by telling us that another length of cotton fabric we had brought with us was  to be used as a blindfold, which we now had to tie over our eyes. The knots were made so that we could feel where to start each of five lines of stitch, made in response to five individual words.

Starting from the top, the five words were, gesture, shape, dialogue, organic, intuition. Make of my stitching lines what you will, but it was a lot of fun, and quite a thought provoking experience. More than one of us found our needles becoming unthreaded, which required asking Dorothy to re-thread for us. I was aware that I had pulled my thread too tight in a couple of places, and was desperate to try and straighten it out. All this by feel alone, and made me realise how we take our eyesight so much for granted.

The piece above, has been made up of some similar work by a group in Australia. After the exercise, the stitchers decided to decorate their surfaces with simple running stitches in red, and then to join them into this really charming quilt. I think it definitely has the flavour of aboriginal art.

We spent a few very happy hours with the soya wax, a printing block which we each made, (mine is above) and a variety of other tools for the batik work. This is something I haven't done before, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this new technique. We discharged with bleach, neutralising in antichlor, and finally washing out the wax by machine. I wasn't entirely happy with my results, but hey, it's something I can play around with in my own time now.

So much was achieved each day, and I can't possibly put everything into each post, but believe me, Dorothy certainly kept us on our toes, in a way that felt like we were having the best time ever, (which we were!!) so if any of you get the opportunity to take part in one of Dorothy's workshops, I can absolutely recommend it.

We looked at ways in which stitch and thread is used for repair, darning, patching, knitting, weaving, and in other traditions such as Japanese Boro and Sashiko. 

The large sheet of paper we had been working on top of to catch the ink drips, and to scribble or doodle ideas on, was now torn up into equal sized pieces, and folded in half ready to become our 'signatures' for our first small book.

We stitched each signature along the fold with a waxed linen thread, and then stacked them all together before weaving the signatures across the spine. Below is my stack of signatures with the first two rows of weaving.

A photograph below of some Japanese Boro, made mainly from scraps of indigo dyed cotton.

And by day three, my small piece of Kantha was looking like this. Still a long way to go to finishing it though!

The rest of the week I will hopefully manage to post tomorrow, but if you've kept up with me to this point, I thank you for your patience, and hope you have enjoyed up until now.