Thursday, 26 February 2015

Wrapping

Thread Wrapped Branch, 2015
One of the great things about the work I do is the way that ideas and techniques cross over from my personal practice into my work with people and vice versa. For example, when I began my Applied Textiles sessions with the No Borders Art Group in November last year one of the first activities we did was thread wraps as I thought it would be a good way to start having a play with colours and textures. In my first year at Uni we did a lot of thread wraps (which I didn't really enjoy at the time) and they are a good way of exploring how colours work together.

Thread Wrapped branch made by No Borders participant, 2014

Thread Wrapped branch made by No Borders participant, 2014

Thread Wrapped branch made by No Borders participant, 2014

One member of the group really got into the thread wrapping and her main project for the sessions was a thread wrapped branch. Inspired by her enthusiasm for the technique I did a thread wrapped piece of driftwood as a sample and really enjoyed it. It's a very therapeutic technique, quite slow and methodical which allows the mind to wander and explore different ideas.

'Scotland' thread wrapped branch, 2014

'Scotland' thread wrapped branch, 2014

'Scotland' thread wrapped branch, 2014

As well as enjoying the process I like the look of the wrapped branches and the ideas it stirs, it feeds back to my interest in dichotomies such as the hidden/revealed and exposed/protected. So, I decided to explore a bit further.

'Scotland' thread wrapped branch, in my studio

'Scotland' thread wrapped branch, 2014

'Scotland' thread wrapped branch, 2014

The sample piece I'd made was inspired by our holidays in Scotland; the soft, rain washed blues and greys of the sea and sky and the bright purples and pinks of the heathers. I also used a lot of threads I'd collected on holiday so for me this piece really has a strong connection with place and memory. In my further explorations I was more interested in looking at the ideas mentioned before rather than creating something specific to a time and place.

At work

In progress

Wrapped and dyed sample

This led me to work in neutral colours and I chose mostly natural fibres as I was thinking about dying the finished piece. I did a small sample to start off with, which I floated in a dye bath for a while before I began on a larger piece. As can be seen in the small sample different fibres absorb dye differently so when I was wrapping I used different threads in different sections but also did a lot of overlapping, to build up different tonal and textural effects.

Wrapping with different threads

Wrapped and ready to dye

Dip dyeing

As I was working one of the ends of thread worked itself loose. I was about to re-wrap it but looking at the work I decided not to and then deliberately left other threads hanging, I like the way they reach out from the piece, connecting to the space around it.

Drip drying

Wrapped and dyed branch

Detail

I thought about how I would dye the piece as I was wrapping and decided to dip dye it. I'm really pleased with the result, I like the changes but after discussion with some of my fellow artists I'm inclined to agree with them that the gradation needs to be a bit more subtle. So, next time I will be using a bucket to dye the piece so I can dip more into the dye at once!

Thread Wrapped Branch, 2015

Detail

Detail

This has been an interesting piece to work on and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops in the future, I'm not quite sure where it's going but I've got a feeling it could be interesting and is worth exploring further...

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