Linear Studies? These have been giving me some hassle. I took quite a running jump into this part of A Textile Vocabulary, I filled in some sketchbook pages and worked though some worries about how to make the outcomes my own and decided on a process that involved using dripping dye to make the individual strands more interesting.
On a visit to Bilston Art Gallery I was very lucky to see an exhibition by the Through Our Hands group and specifically a piece by Clare Jones. Clare’s piece made a statement about our treatment of the environment and particularly about our use of water and dye. She hung the most beautiful strips of pieced silk and above she placed tubs of dye. On the ground were bowls of grains to symbolise the bounty that the earth gives us. Over time the dye slowly ran down through the fibres of the silk, following their own paths and creating their own organic patterns.
It was no small ask but I wanted to try and replicate this idea using yarn instead of dye. My brain buzzed with ideas but it soon became evident that I had bitten off more than I could chew. So because of the tight timescales I decided to have a go at implementing some of my ideas in a very simple way.
First I experimented with one length of yarn.
I was very excited and in my haste I made a good few mistakes, I didn’t wet the yarn so the dye just bounced off where it hit. I didn’t put enough work into making the dripping tray fit for purpose and the dye struggled to get out of the pot in a nice steady stream. It was an interesting exercise and I learnt a lot about what needed to be done next time.
I chose a variety of 30cm pieces of yarn in lots of different thicknesses but all in creams or whites with a few pink and green variegated elements.
They looked very lovely and nice together.
For a while I included some eco- dyed threads but decided they were too drab to be included.
Using these yarns I made some interesting threads by adding knots of some of the yarns along the lengths of the others. I used my instinct to decide what should be a length and what should be a knot.
I decided that this time I would use coated paper fairy cake cases to hold the dye; this would enable me to make a bigger whole with a nice jagged edge. I attached the knotted lengths to the cake cases using a nice big solid sewing pin.
This I then hung these between a variety of jars I had sitting around my workroom. This bought on feelings of doubt, I knew I was rushing and that things would become very messy!
This time I had actually thought to wet the lengths but I’d still not done this properly and had to spray the yarn with my expensive Elemis face toner just because it had a spray top and was to hand. At least the smell was very nice.
The dye still wasn’t dripping properly, I couldn’t see any movement and I soon became impatient and started to add water to the cake cakes. Let the messiness begin!!
Thinking quickly I grabbed some plain cloth to catch the dye as it ran quickly, too quickly down the lengths. And mopped up any mess with kitchen towel, not quite saving my notes!
In the end I forced myself out of the room and let the dye drips take their own course.
After they had dripped for a while I let them dry and then cut of the threads leaving just the knots.
In the end this just didn’t inspire me. They are not the delicate organic pieces that I wanted. They are stiff and quite drab. I really love subtle but I’m not very comfortable with drab.
It felt so deflating to have had, what had felt like such a great idea, an idea to turn to something I didn’t like. I blamed myself for rushing and not taking the time to be more considered and accurate with my experiments.
I ignored the whole exercise for some while, probably sulking and definitely procrastinating. The whole exercise has left my workroom sticky and dirty and me feeling frustrated and ready to abandon the whole course. Really, I promise I’m not a drama queen, really, I’m not!! Okay, okay I can sometimes take this all far too seriously.
The best outcomes have come from the unexpected accidents and ‘tools’ I used. Typical!!