Part 5, Stage 1 – Reviewing work so far

Part 5 of this course consolidates everything I have done so far. Bringing together all the good working processes we have been introduced to and create a final outcome. We are asked to create single or multiple pieces which combine methods and materials whilst remaining experimental.  In this post I will be returning to the earlier parts of the course looking for any ideas I had or techniques I found particularly stimulating and that I may wish to take further.

At the moment I am trying to keep an open mind on what I want to make as a final piece although I have had a few ideas whilst working on the different parts of the course.

Part 1

Part one is a difficult one for me to review as I did not do as well with it as I would have liked. I think my most successful samples were the fused plastic samples yet my favourite technique without a doubt was rotational crumpling and the forms I created from it.

My favourite fused plastic samples were as follows:

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Two layers of carrier bags pressed for a while so they started to melt a little. I was very careful to ensure that they did not start to burn. I like the texture achieved on this sample. It is ripe for stitching into and perhaps melting further.

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Taking the layered idea further with more layers and shapes cut and manipulated to create line and shape in the sample. I feel that this sample would benefit from some areas being cut out and others added to with stitch or applied shapes.

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I really like this sample layers of carrier bags were fused together and then pleated and pressed to create extra texture and pattern. It is something I would like to try on a larger scale. Perhaps in a similar vein to Anna Kyyro Quinn’s wall panels. I am not sure that I would be happy doing anything with it at this stage as I don’t think it would be interesting enough. Some more thought and development would be needed than I have the time for at the moment. For example working with plastic bags has a lot of limitations. They are not as available as they once were in different thicknesses and colours so it may be difficult to source enough of the right types in a short time frame.

Of all the crumpling and pleating techniques I tried during these projects these are my favourite three results. I particularly like the rotationally pleated sculptural forms. I ended up with a visually & textural exciting samples that I would like to investigate further especially enhancing the pleats as I did in the third sample below:

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Rotational crumpling – spiral ribs

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The way this sample folds and curls reminds me of a conch shell. It might be interesting to look into this aspect of the sample in more detail.

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Rotational crumpling – sculptural forms embellished with stitches, taken a step further with stitching applied. I love the rich texture created by adding the stitches to the crumpled paper. I would like to see this developed into fabric. It would have to be quite a crisp fabric to hold the crumpling maybe a calico or other crisp cotton or linen?

All in all I feel there are some interesting samples here that could be developed further. I am certainly full of ideas for the crumpling. I can see this technique working well combined with stitching and applied objects like leaves and grasses for example or printed on either before or after crumpling. It could make for some interesting forms like bowls / vessels or as a textured hanging of some kind.

Part 2

I enjoyed part two a lot more than I did part one. I feel was  a bit more engaged with it. I was really out of my comfort zone throughout but feel I have produced some interesting experimental samples that have sparked off quite a few ideas..

I really enjoyed using leaves and natural materials and would like to explore this further. I have been doing some research and experiments to work out the best way of preserving the leaves for the long-term. It really is an exciting avenue to explore.

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I chose this sample as it is probably one of my favourites from the whole course. I love it for its simplicity. The meandering line reminds me of the walk I took through the woods collecting leaves. I love the slightly mottled slow decay of the leaves. I would like to try skeleton leaves as well to create more fragile looking pieces. I really enjoyed working with leaves. They could be difficult to use due to them being fragile but I feel that adds to the appeal. They have an almost magical appeal and I would like to try other things with them such as stitching them together using machine stitch and perhaps producing 3D forms with them.

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I really enjoyed the making of this sample. It was a bit of a challenge to sew all the components together. I like the combination of textures and the way the colours work together. I can see this design developing well if scaled up into a panel or hanging with a bit more development.

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This sample is so simple yet works so well, the black grass worked really well for Stitching I have now planted some in the garden so I will be able to develop this idea on in the future. I would like to try sewing a large number of leaves together like this to create a patchwork or maybe a vessel of some kind. The texture of the leaf reminds me a little of the pleating exercises from part 1 and the lacing reminds me of corsetry. I wonder if the technique of stitching natural materials together with things like leaves or grasses could be investigated further to crate 3D sculptures or objects. Could they be combined with more tradtional fabrics to create interesting textures?

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Of all my wrapping experiments this is the most fun. I got in a lot of trouble with my family and friends for this sample. I have to be honest and say that I really enjoyed wrapping the duck I’m layers of wool. I purposely left the eye and beak showing as it reminded me of Judith Scott’s wrapped dolls. I also like the way the layers of colours and texture work together to make a very unusual if slightly creepy sample.

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I think this sample was my favourite to make of all the wrapping samples. I had difficulty using the moss to start with but once resolved it worked really well. This sort of idea would work really well in a woodland setting and I had great fun photographing it outdoors. It would also work well as part of a larger collection of natural works, or perhaps multiple slightly different hung spoons, another idea for development.


My wrapped jugs were also particularly interesting to me as a concept. It was fascinating how one object could be wrapped, disguised and in effect hidden in so many different ways. This idea also fits well with possibly my favourite part of Judith Scott’s work were an unknown object is wrapped in layers of coverings, hiding it from the audiences eyes, or maybe keeping it safe?

 

Part 3

Part three was an interesting part of the course for me. Being a ‘stitcher’ I was completely out of my comfort zone and had never really explored any of the materials properly before. I throughly enjoyed it once I got started though and intend to develop this work further in the future when I can arrange access to a kiln to try making pottery with imprinted embroidery. Until that time I will keep it in reserve. I may try some of the polymer clays that are now available on the market. Silver clay is a particularly interesting idea. I would like to try making some jewellery with metal clay imprinted with embroidery. Sadly due to the heat required to cure metal clay the embroidery would be lost as it would burn away but this could lead to interesting outcomes.

I really got excited whilst completing this part of the course with the idea of pressing embroidery into clay or other materials and leaving it there as a mark almost like a fossil. I have a photograph I took of some graffiti scratched into the slate cliffs at Boscastle in Cornwall that would be great interpreted with this technique. In fact any design carved into rock (Rock Valley Labyrinths?)

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During my part 3 research I was very attracted to Susan Benarcik’s ‘Residence Pods.’ they have an almost alien or insect made appearance. I like the way the group sits together, all different but made in a similar way.

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Also her work Heliophilous (attracted to sunlight) I liked the use of the spiral and floating layer of wire around the inner ‘seed pod’ the shadows cast on the behind the piece are amazing. The piece really works well with the light it again has similar ‘alien’ properties.

Part 4

Although part 4 threw up some interesting ideas for decoration and backgrounds to develop into stitched pieces it does require some extra work as directed by my tutor. There is nothing as yet amongst my prints that I wish to develop at this stage so I will start the next stage using some of the ideas above rather than exploring any part of part 4 further at this time.

Conclusion

From reviewing my work I have decided that the following ideas and tecniques are of most interest to me moving forward:

  1. Pleating and fabric manipulation including the melting of plastics
  2. Using unusual materials (both natural and recycled)
  3. 3D forms pods / cocoons /seed heads / vessels inspired by Judith Scott’s wrapping and Susan Benarcik’s ‘Residence Pods.’
  4. The idea of hidden layers / objects and the distortion or disguising of shapes using wrappings.

The next step

My next step is to do some further in-depth research into relevent artists (In the case of wrapping and seed pods / cocoons etc.- Susan Benarcik and Judith Scott) to see if I can discover what informed their work (in Judith Scott’s case this may be difficult) and to see if I can discover some other artists that work in a similar way using wrapping or woven structures. I also want to take a look at (particularly) embroiderers who stitch into unusual materials.

Rough Ideas so far:

Natural set of vessels or forms

Weaving / joining grasses into vessels. Could then be enhanced – guilded to show how precious they are?

Pleating paper / fabric or leaves and possibly use heat removeable fabrics in places to illustrate fragility in nature

Clay and natural materials such as leaves or bark combined to make vessels or sculptural forms

 

Seed pods / other natural structures using wrapping inc. Cocoons

Set of cocoons each holding a different secret / object. Each to be wrapped in a different way to show a mood / feeling?

Set of other natural inspired vessels / structures using wrapping techniques

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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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