Part 2 – Joining and wrapping, Project 1 Joining

The course notes state that the aims of this part of the course are:

  • Learn new skills and re-explore old ones
  • broaden your knowledge of artists, designers and makers who use the joining and wrapping of materials in their creativity
  • continue to develop your skills in recording and reflecting on outcomes.

For this first project in part two we are asked to experiment with a range of different materials to join together fabrics and materials such as paper, card, wood or found objects to create a collection of samples. we were to then asscess them for ‘their aesthetic possibilities and structural capabilities.

My collection of joining materials included:

Threads (hand and machine)
Cocktail sticks
Natural twigs & sticks

My collection of materials to be joined included:

Project 1 Joining

Exercise 1 – Joining straight flush edges

For this exercise the aim was to join two materials edge to edge. We were asked to use a variety of materials and not be afraid to try basic joins as well as more experimental ones.


A very basic join using tape, I used two pieces of tape on one side and a piece in the middle on the reverse (this can just about be seen peeping through)





This little set of paper samples evolved after I started with a mind to experiment with staples and wether or not they could be used as a decorative way to join materials. I started by butting up the edges of the paper then stapling them in to place. This created a baseball like join. I progressed on to experimenting with different arrangements of staples culminating in this small collection of samples.


I also tried the same method with leaves. This created an even better contrast and a more unusual combination.This sample uses the unusual combination of leaf and staples. I like the interplay between the hard manmade staples and the natural leaf. To stop the leaf splitting I attached some masking tape to the reverse which seemed to help. The leaf had been pressed for a few days in a press to help preserve the colour. I also took a rubbing of this sample to record it in my sketch book trying to capture some of the texture, it didn’t work very well but it is a record:

2016-03-23 07.28.36

Exercise 2 – Joining straight edges with a gap

Similar to exercise 1 but this time with a small gap between the materials.


Using tape but trying not to be too basic. The tape was placed behind the gap to join the two edges of leaf together. Then triangular holes were punched through to add interest. The course direction says to try using tape but with the view of a maker.


I feel this sample has an heirloom or corsetry style to it. Created by joining edges together with simple staples arranged in a decorative fashion. This is one of my favourite samples in this section. It is quite a secure join and would hold up well structurally. I took a couple of different rubbings of this sample and worked into them with pencil to record the sample in my sketchbook which I thought were very sucessful:


Leather and paper proved relatively easy to join with the staples. The gap was enlarged as much as I could in the middle before being brought back down. This created a slight bump. I feel it would have worked better had the staples been longer.


Mending leaves with staples is an interesting concept. These joins remind me a little of the repairs seem on really old pots and a bit of Frankenstein’s monster! This sample again leads me to the idea of mending things using whatever you have lying around. Varying the gaps and lengths of join made the samples more aesthetically pleasing. The staples provide a strong join but ofcourse the leaves are a little less strong.


This sample uses different types of leaves; bamboo and black grass to create a laced, almost corset like join. I really like this sample and unlike some of the others it was quite easy to work as the leaves were freshly picked and supple. After I had stitched the leaves together I pressed the sample for a few of days to help to preserve it for the future. It is one of my favourite samples from this particular set as it is so pleasingly simple in design and construction. I am also pleased with the natural colour combination of the two types of leaves. It is something I would like to take further and will be investing in some grass type plants and ornamental grasses for my garden this year so I can use them as homemade threads in the future.


Sticks found in my garden were sewn over a gap in two pieces of hessian fabric to create this sample. I like this sample very much – it has a rustic make do and mend vibe to it which is becoming really interesting to me as a concept.

Exercise 3 Joining curved edges

Different curves:

  • Curves that fit neatly together
  • curves that create a gap
  • curves that both touch and leave gaps


I have found during this project that I have really enjoyed playing with this piece of leather. It sews so beautifully and is lovely to touch. This sample using curved edges reminds me of an old baseball or football with its curved seams.


This sample, again using staples and leaves has worked really well. It would be great if I could get hold of longer staples to bridge the varied gap. I like the contrast of the hard manmade staples and the natural form of the leaf. This particular type of leaf is proving really useful as they stay supple for a long time and don’t have the tendancy to split. I recorded the sample in my sketchbook for future reference:

2016-03-23 07.29.08


I was trying to join curved edges without using traditional methods for this sample. It is reasonably effective but again I had trouble with the dried leaves. One to retry when the leaves are more flexible.


This tiny sample was my attempt at ‘mending’ or re-joining an orchid petal where it had split. I like the bright pink thread against the delicate background of the petal and would like to explore this idea further with other ‘mending’ exercises. I have been quite inspired by Alice fox’s experiments with barnacle shells and acorns where she uses hand darning to re-shape and repair found objects.



Sticking with the leaf theme I experimented joining two very different materials (corragated cardboard and hessian fabric). It was quite easy to sew in the machine and I really like the contrast in texture and weight. I used a zig-zag stitch for one sample and running stitch for another. All though the zig-zag stitched sample is neater I think I prefer the running stitch one as it is more interesting to look at.


This sample concentrates on joining or inserting curved edges. I used a large zig-zag machine stitch to join the curved leaf. Then two holes were made and filled with a sheer and sticks respectively. I am really pleased with this sample the textures are really interesting and again fits in with a growing theme of repairing and mending.


This sample used some pressed Camelia petals sandwiched between two layers of lightweight water soluble film. A grid like pattern of straight machine stitch was stitched over the hooped sandwich then the piece was placed in a bowl of warm water for the stabiliser to dissolve. The piece was then carefully dried flat. It is a shame that the petals had lost some of their colour as they were so pretty with flashes of bright pink colour through the palest of pink petals. Again some research on preserving leaves and flowers would I’m sure produce a better result. I would also like to try some other arrangements of stitch and petals. I think this idea has some promising posssibilities. I made a quick pencil sketch of ths sample (more of a diagram really) in my sketchbook to record the idea.

2016-03-23 07.38.58


Oak leaves joined together with loose cross stitches created a very rudimentary joined sample. I think that it looks very rustic and the choice of thread was intended to add to this. The edges were overlapped in places leaving gaps in others. Again I hit the problem of crumbling leaves. I can see that I am going to have to investigate methods of preserving leaves if I am to achieve a good result with this kind of material. I will look into this further in the near future.

Exercise 4 – Overlapping edges

Two materials that are overlapping. We were also encouraged to experimental with the placement of the joins and look for decorative or interesting outcomes.


Overlapping paper edges joined using staples, folded back to reveal another staple beneath. This sample reminds me of a collar or cuff on an old fashioned shirt.


I used a simple stapling technique to join these squares together, they remain flexible although joined and would look very interesting on a larger scale.


This sample was made by joining overlapping leaves together with cocktail sticks, I enjoy the rough bumpy texture of the leaves against the smooth strong line of the sticks. It was quite difficult to use the dry leaves as they are just so brittle. Great care needed to be taken so that the leaf did not split or crumble as the stick was inserted. Especially when threading the stick from back to front. I feel that it would be better worked at a time of year when the leaves have just fallen rather than at the end of winter as they were a little too crispy and difficult to manipulate.



For this sample instead of overlapping horizontally, I opted to overlay the leaves slightly in a vertical arrangement. These were then joined with a simple straight stitch using the same bright pink thread used in the other samples based on the camellia petal’s colouration. I hope this will help to create a nice cohesive collection of samples. I really like the bright pink against the brown leaves and I particularly like the way that the leaves are eroding. The only trouble that I encountered again was that the leaves are a little too dry and crumbly at this time of year, so I will be collecting more in the autumn.


I decided to try using green leaves for this sample again joining them with cocktail sticks. This time in a more regimental form. I lined up the three leaves and attached two at a time with the cocktail stick. I was hoping to create more of a flush join but due to the curved shape of the leaves, they ended up overlapping slightly. I think this would be a great sample to re-create in the autumn with different coloured leaves and maybe natural sticks rather than cocktail sticks

Exercise 5 – Forming corners and angles

Using joining methods to form corners and angles between two materials.


Using wire to attach card and form a corner, worked well and would be more interesting using other materials. Holes were punched first then wire was threaded through and twisted to complete the corner.


This corner was made using tape. It was originally done as a straight joined sample with a gap but works equally well as a corner. Holes were punched in the tape after it was attached to add a bit of detail to what was a rather uninteresting sample.


This sample did not go well. The idea was to staple the edges together before bending the staples to make a corner. Had the leaves been more bendable it may have worked. Unfortunately they were a bit too dry and split where the staples were. I am going to do some research on preserving leaves and find out if there is a way this can be achieved.


Another taped corner, developed on from another taped sample. This time the initial idea was to create a corner so it works correctly. Also the holes were punched through to suit.


Making corners and angled seams with a variety of materials; A viburnum rhytidophyllum leaf patchworked with cardboard and different weights of fabric. I was delighted with how this sample worked out. I thought I would struggle getting these materials to stitch together using the sewing machine but luckily they worked together beautifully. I would like to try another with perhaps a repeating pattern of leaves or different types of leaves on the future. I recorded this sample with a sketch using a rubbing of the sample, pencil & pastels in my sketchbook I was trying to capture the fun nature of the sample and the textures within it:

2016-03-23 07.58.19

This little stapled leaf vessel came about completely by accident. I was trying to create corners but ended up creating a vessel instead. I really like the form that this has taken and intend to make some more and develop the idea more in the future. These leaves have particularly heavy and pronounced veins which really adds interest to the piece. It might be interesting to add some stitch as well or perhaps explore different ways of preserving and hardening the vessel to make it more useable.


Possibly verging on wrapping as well as joining, I based this sample on the ‘God’s eyes’ that I used to make as a child using lolly sticks and wool to join two pieces of black grass. I used the pattern on the reverse of the leaf to add detail. I am going to buy some of this grass from work as it is proving very useful!

I made a quick ink & pastel sketch to record this sample and added it to my sketchbook:

2016-03-23 08.06.16

I have really enjoyed this project and look forward to moving on to wrapping although to be perfectly honest it all looks a bit strange to me!


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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2 Responses to Part 2 – Joining and wrapping, Project 1 Joining

  1. fibresofbeing says:

    A wonderful set of samples, especially all the leaf variants!

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