Friday, 19 December 2014

No Borders: Applied Textiles #2

Weaving on a peg loom

Fabric collage

I have recently finished my most recent block of sessions with the No Borders art group at Carleton Day Centre. I am so impressed with the work they have achieved in these sessions, it is so rewarding to see how much they have developed and improved not just in this block but since I first worked with them over three years ago. One of the things I find most satisfying is how confident they are becoming in their choices; rather than asking me what they should do they will now ask what I think of a particular idea which is a huge leap forward.



Giving it all a go!

Having worked with the group over the summer on some felt making I was very keen to keep this block very open and to let them direct how the work would progress. We started off by looking at different samples and examples of textile work and by making some thread wraps.

Thread wrapping a branch

The finished branch


One member of the group in particular really took to this technique and created a beautiful sculptural thread wrapped branch. Her use of colour is very instinctive and I particularly like her way of combining different textured yarns and threads. This member of the group was then inspired by the work of one of the others and went on to create a small fabric collage which she turned into a cushion.

Fabric collage, tacked ready for sewing


The finished cushion

Another member of the group, who has been part of No Borders since I first started working with them, was very clear about what she wanted to do. In my very first block of sessions I had introduced her to embroidery and then we'd never had chance to develop the work as our other sessions focused on different techniques. So, this block provided the ideal opportunity to have another go. She began by making a beautiful fabric collage which she overlaid with a sheer fabric and she is painstakingly working on covering it with embroidery. It is very inspiring to see the concentration and commitment to the work and how proud she is of the beautiful results of her efforts.

Laying out the fabric collage

Starting to embroider the tacked collage


Another member of the group who has also been working with me since my first lot of sessions was also very clear about what she wanted to do; weaving with the peg looms. We had done some weaving back in my first sessions with the group and I was pleased that she had remembered and wanted to develop the work further. She decided to work with strips of fabric rather than thread to create a more substantial piece of weaving. Again, the level of concentration and commitment to the work was amazing. Weaving can be quite a slow growing process but she worked so hard that by the end of the block we had this beautiful piece of work to show. This person has a real love of bright colours and bold textures which shines through in her work, I love the exuberance and tactile nature of this piece of weaving.

Setting up the loom

Working on the loom

The finished woven piece

The fourth and newest member of the group had not really done any textile work before so during the sessions we looked at a few different techniques and produced several smaller pieces of work. As well as having a go at the thread wrapping he also had a go at working with fabric pastels and stitch and at fabric collage, producing this lovely collage overlaid with net and then cut back into and embellished with buttons.

Trying it out: Stitching into cloth coloured with fabric pastels

Trying it out: Thread wrapping

Trying it out: Fabric Collage

As always it has been such a pleasure working with this group, as well as enjoying the sessions themselves and seeing the participants develop it has also inspired my own practice, reminding me of semi forgotten techniques and sparking off new ideas. In March I will be helping the group curate an exhibition and I just can't wait!

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