Project 6 – stage 4, Raised and structured surface techniques

And so onto raised and structured techniques………………..

I love twiddling and playing with fabric, so I had a great time experimenting with the various techniques in this section of the course. I was working on these at the same time as the applied fabric techniques so have been having a lot of fun over the last few weeks!

Gathering, tucking, tearing, fraying, raising shapes and moulding fabric techniques are all so exciting as you can never be quite sure what the final outcome will be. You just have to let the fabric take you on a journey and see where you end up.

I started by making small samples of some of the techniques suggested in the course guide, then did a few experiments of my own. I kept to pretty neutral colours to allow the textures to show through rather than the eye becoming distracted by colours or patterns.

Some of my manipulation technique samples:

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For my final sample I thought it would be fun to take another look at the pineapple used for my applique sample. I decided to try and use shirring elastic to create the basic texture as I knew from previous experiments that it creates more uniform gathers with raised areas with the added advantage that they can be manipulated by stretching the fabric in different directions.

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Firstly I stitched in the same ‘net’ design of overlapping circles as I had previously done for the applique sample. This was done by stretching the fabric whilst free-motion stitching with shirring elastic on the bobbin. When released from tension the fabric pinged into a rather bumpy state with ‘pockets’ of fabric. Knowing that calico has a dressing on it that becomes stiff when dampened I sprayed the fabric with water then moulded each pocket around a button to accentuate the pockets (above). This was left to dry overnight. I had no idea if this would work but thought I would give it a go.

Once it was dry the buttons were removed to produce the round pockets shown at the bottom of the sample. The top half of the sample’s pockets were then further manipulated using hand stitched tucks to suggest the ‘spiky’ texture of the pineapple’s leaves.

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I am so pleased with this sample, it creates a great textural surface that relates well to the original source without being too obvious or contrived. It also has the added advantage that it could easily be adapted for wearable items due to it retaining a great deal of stretch. I could see it working reall well as a cuff for example.

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About Julie Hooker

Having recently returned to my roots in Surrey, I am currently studying a BA Hons degree with the OCA. My work is often inspired by the local countryside in the beautiful Surrey Hills area and the wild rugged nature of the North Cornish coast. Steam engines and abandoned industrial history are also recent themes. A free machine embroiderer and felt maker; I like to explore the use of natural, found materials to create my art, whether that be as raw materials to stitch or weave with or as a material with which to produce dye or print with. Previously, I completed City and Guilds parts 1 & 2 Creative Embroidery at the East Berkshire College in Windsor in 2007. I was also awarded first place in the wearable art section of the National Quilt Championships 2008 and 2009 held annually at Sandown Park.
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