These creatures/bears are the prototypes for my current project. I have been learning about traditional teddy bear making techniques and patterns, so that I could draft my own. Using whatever I have in my fabric stash initially, they are not at all like the final outcome. But I enjoyed bringing them to life with my intuitive creative processes that I am becoming more familiar with each day I’m engaged with the making of them. It’s been all about trusting the process. Final resolved works are nearly completed, and I look forward to sharing them with you soon.
This is the first textile creation of many to come in this semesters project. I want to experiment altering body proportions to make the forms feel a little awkward and less common than the usual teddy bear representation. I enjoyed making a toy with jointed limbs, as opposed to sewing them into the torso. This is what appealed to me in the teddy bear form initially. I cant see myself steering away from it now, but we shall see what manifests in the weeks to come. So far, in the experimental stages, I am up-cycling pieces of my fabric stash. I expect them to look quite different, as I use whatever is at my disposal. I believe it may be what gives them a charming appeal.
My foremothers would stitch, crochet, embroider, knit and spin yarn. It was my intention in this project to acknowledge and honour the threads of their work and hearts as they run through my veins as naturally as the blood that binds us. From the beginning the process of transforming cloth into form has struck me as magical. And, over the years, that magical process has had its way with me, leading me from hobby to art. Fiber Art fills me with a sense of pride and sincerity, and has proven a most responsive media for translating my creative visions into form.
I sew from the inside out. Though I work quite deliberately, consciously employing both traditional and innovative techniques, my unconscious is the irrefutable project manager. The organic nature of this work frees my imagination and provides many opportunities for serendipity and materiality to influence the finished product.
‘Stitch ’n’ Verse is a document of the poems and fibers created and collected by my favourite forbearer Joan Russell (1923-2006).
As a requirement of a recent brief students were instructed to deconstruct their most prided upon workbooks throughout the year, by ripping shredding, gluing, or burning them. Many in my class found it difficult to embrace the process, but eventually I myself looked to the purpose for motivating such an illogical act. The purpose was to simply explore the notions of the semantic-poetic and legibility-illegibility. Our approach was to consider intertextuality in preparation for the following exercise. These are the 2D and 3D examples of me letting go of sentimentality of my years work. The 3D outcomes are a series of origami lotus flowers, and the 2D are an assemblage of pieces framed as my attempt to honour the work that I just destroyed. Needless to say, that now I am not so pedantic about the time I spend making my workbooks nice and tidy for referring to in years to come. So long as they portray my creative processes clearly, thats all that matters. Lesson in sentimentality learnt! It doesn’t mean that I enjoyed it.
This modular construct was a creation of mine completed in my ‘Pattern Universe’ brief back in May. It has been waiting to be lit up in our living room for the eve of Winter Solstice (last week for us in the Southern Hemisphere). Each individual unit was a pentagon itself, and when constructed as seen here, it takes on the name of a Dodecahedron. This is a link to the tutorial (thanks to Heidi at Moms Crafty Space) that I found to base my design on, and I altered it to have actual cut outs of stars. It took a while to create these three forms, but together they look more dynamic than just one on its own. I would have loved to paint the paper before constructing these as the tutorial suggests, however, for this brief, we had specific parameters of using white card or paper only. Still, the lantern looks magical just the same. Although this design would have been more quickly achieved using a laser cutter to create each individual unit, I enjoyed the laborious process by cutting them all by hand. Made with love and intention for its purpose, the family appreciate the energy that it brings us each night as we sit through the longest nights of the year.
In response to being inspired by my research on Marloes Dukyer, I drew with my sewing machine for the first time. Being a semi industrial machine, I found it very difficult to turn corners fast and smoothly enough. My Bernina 850 is only familiar with going at top speed! However, I am so excited by my results and how I may be able to create in the future using this media. I find the organic nature of the ‘sketch’ has a definite sense of freedom from constraint, enhanced by potential movement of the hanging threads and the lack of contour lines used. Every thing about this self-portrait is suggestive of me: the texture, expression, combination of colours, and unruly curly auburn hair that decides to go in a different direction from one day to the next. A great accomplishment in my books.
Marloes Dukyer is one of my most admired Indie Designers from Netherlands. I first came upon her work last year in ‘Indie Craft’ by Jo Waterhouse and my limited logic regarding drawing was stretched open, as new possibilities came rushing in. I have sat behind a sewing machine since I was 11 years old, and I am definitely in my element here. Never before had I seen sewing as a craft utilised in this way. The grin on my face enlarged as I realised how I could put my skill sets to a new way of creating art.
Marloes work is an amalgamation of fashion, art and illustration. By sewing freehand she uses the needlepoint in the same way one would use a pencil. She discusses how she enjoys the process of how the illustration is going to turn out, because rather than a controlled scenario, she relies on improvisation, innovation and serendipity to influence the outcome. A spontaneous, stimulating and also beautifully surprising process.
I find it interesting to note that I perceive her work as being both beautifully elegant at the same time as worn and crude, being the result of the distressed materials and harsh textural stitch-work of the machine.
The tactile experience of working with textiles and fibre is gratifying she says, especially in contrast with our modern digital world we find ourselves in. Marloes herself is the brains and body behind her own design agency, Naked Designs, and creates bodies of work for high-profile clients, numerous magazines and books, and also manages to find the time to exhibit her work widely.
She is certainly an inspiring woman in my path to discovering what type of artist I would like to be. I have an incredible sense of gratitude towards her, as now I have the motivation and passion to explore this media myself. Knowing that it will be an organic and experiential process comforts and excites me.
Waterhouse, J. (2010). Indie Craft. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.