I have been experimenting with fabric manipulation. Researching on line different tutorials and looking at endless sites like Pinterest, YouTube, etc. I have examples of these in my sketch book (I didn’t want to publish the photos here for copyright reasons). I was given a list of words to work from; fold, twist, cut, layering, knot, crumble, felting, tear, gather and roll. My first experiment was the last word on the list (I have a habit of doing things upside down).

To roll; I started rolling cotton strips and joining them together. I like that I ripped the fabric allowing the threads to hang loosely and freely. I think this one follows my theme in my mood board holiday’s in Spain; as it almost captures the feeling of under water life taking an organic shape. I enjoy the layers of un-manicured fabric. The scale of this sample is about 8cm wide and high.

I practiced gathering and shirring. This allowed me to go back to basics and to experiment with different fabrics. I gathered with cotton, calico, crepe and bubble wrap. The samples that worked the best were cotton and crepe as they are the easiest to work with which resulted in a even gathering.

I then moved on to pleats in calico. This fabric manipulation was simple but very effective. It also tied in with my chosen theme in my mood board, as it reminded me of waves in the sea and also the markings in the sand that the waves create. By changing the direction of the pleat it created a sense of movement and changed this sample in to a 3d one

-below- is a structured sample inspired by architecture one of my favourites. This sample works well with stiff fabrics like denim. This sample is inspired by my research of Polly Binn – a similar feel as it is also inspired by a very similar theme.

More experimentations, this time pleating, cutting and joining. I think with this type of manipulation you have to be very precise. Next time I would measure the pleats instead of doing it spontaneously. I found myself evolving and experimenting almost like a child. Some of these samples are ideas at this point.

The sample above is simple but is one of my favourites. This one fits very well with my theme as the colours are the same as my colour palette. The sample resembles waves and the different tones in a wave. The white and grey parts represent the salt in the sea water. I like the movement in this sample. The fabric I used is organza – light and fluffy, it simply would not have the same effect if I had used cotton as it’s heavier (resulting in a floppy heavy wave). I also enjoy the sheen of the organza and the transparency.

Above; I mixed and matched a fabric that is synthetic and has a bit of lycra in it- this made the fabric stretch and gave the sample movement. I then used organza with a smocking technique and gathered the fabric around plastic beads. I enjoy the contrast of the organza with the opaque synthetic fabric. The beads look like pearls in the ocean or the bubbles in the sea water also fitting in well with my theme.

This sample is inspired by the word twisting. I painted the pleats to accentuate them, I then twisted them creating a structured sample inspired by architecture. I chose this sample to make it into a bigger and smaller scale just to see what the results might be.

This is my larger scale, it is fifty percent bigger than the original making it stronger and more effective. I used fabric inks to dye the calico. It is very interesting how the effect has changed just by simply making this sample bigger.

I then made the sample 50% smaller resulting in another effect. In the original sample the pleats were more spaced, smaller and further apart. In the bigger scale the pleats are closer and bigger, making the sample stronger. the smaller scale has less repeats and is less effective as the pleats have less movement.

I then experimented using the map of Spain with my new found fabric manipulation. I was working with the idea of Spain shrinking – representing the present tensions with Catalonia declaring independence. This also fits in with my theme. I really like the colours of the map and the print. working with the map of Spain made me feel closer to my memories of my holiday as a teen – This reminded me of working with place ( exercise 2.6 and exercise 1.2).

More samples experimenting with similar techniques. I cant decided which one works best as although similar they are both so different.

With the sample above I ripped some organza and some cotton to create layers – this resulted in the shape of the map not being so obvious creating a more subtle effect. I was still able to capture the mood of my theme. This sample also captured the mood of my colour palette.

Above: I played with the image on photoshop, curious of what the effect might be. I think it is interesting but it’s not ‘rocking my boat’

Above: This is a very simple sample, I slashed the fabric (cotton) with a razor, I like the simplicity of this technique as it morphs the flat fabric into a 3d structure. This sample also fits in with my theme as it is also inspired by waves (looking at them from below the surface).

-above- I used the shirring method that I learnt earlier on in this exercise and gathered the muslin while gathering some pearls in to the muslin. I used muslin because the weave is larger and this allows the pearls to show some of their sheen. The muslin is light and gathers well while the pearls add some weight. I really like this sample as it is full of interesting textures. I think this is a very successful sample. Muslin would be a very easy fabric to dye if I wanted to add some colour, but for now I enjoy the natural hue of this sample.

I looked at Pinterest for more inspiration resulting in me learning this fabric manipulation. Slashing the fabric to create this pattern and using stitch. I think this didn’t work as well as I expected as the fabric although thick, is not stiff enough. I repeated the fabric manipulation and joint it together to create a pattern. I think this would work better with leather or pvc as it would not fray and would have the right weight. The shape that the manipulation has created reminds me of some of the Arab motifs in Spanish architecture and tiles fitting in well with my theme.

I tried puffs as they are fun to do. I could incorporate bright colours inside each puff and join them together to create a bigger and more interesting sample.

I went back to smoking. I enjoyed seeing how Polly Binn’s used this fabric manipulation in her work. I started doing this in calico and realised this technique works better with a stiff flexible fabric. At work I sometimes do the window dressing so I am aloud to take some of the backdrops and recycle them. The fabric I used for this fabric manipulation is a nylon fabric. Using nylon for this sample works because it is strong and has elasticity. It is also a little bit transparent which allows the light to travel through the fabric. I started by pleating the fabric and stitching one row of smoking, transforming my flat surfaces into quarters of a circle. I like the colours of this sample as they remind me of the lakes, rivers and the trees in my holiday in Spain. I played and experimented with joining this piece in different ways. Above is the more obvious and predictable way – I like it as sometimes the obvious works but I wanted to experiment more and see what might come out of it.

I then changed the direction of the quarters alternating them, this created an un-perfect circle but to my surprise the sample became more stretchy and springy (you can see what I mean in the video I made below). This sample fits very well in my theme as it is adventurous, the colours blue and creen are colours in my theme. The shape of this piece is inspired by the unpredictable views and terrain in Spain, sometimes being arid and dry and next being luscious and full of life.

This sample moves and can be moulded in to different shapes resulting in a 3d sculpture. I am pleased with the results😊. It is also clear to see that I have been inspired by Rowan Mesh a multi- media sculptor who’s pieces are inventive and multi-purposed. This piece could also be used for fashion as a collar (image below).

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-Above- a variation of my ” quarters” this is inspired by the angel wings of my ‘5 stages of grieving mood board’ I think this sample is beautiful! Which is what I wanted to archive from my original heavy and sad mood board – I wanted to turn it around and be inspired by those very strong emotions that one feels when experiencing a loss. I feel this sample is a very successful one as I used the board as inspiration and has resulted in a very surprisingly, relaxed, natural holistic 3d piece of sculpture. Very therapeutic indeed! It also fits in with my chosen mood board “holiday’s in Spain” as I have used the hues from this board. Below; I experimented joining my quarters in different ways to see how the piece changes. There is a lot I can do with these quarters!

Reflection on my chosen theme

I have been pleasantly surprised at the outcome of this exercise. It has been very time consuming as it requires a lot of experimentation and I find I always want to do more. I feel that my research into different artist before I start any practical experimentation is invaluable and feeds my work. It amuses me how when researching artist that I sometimes think I don’t enjoy I end producing work that is inspired by them. An example is Polly Binn, I seem to have been unconsciously inspired by her work and produced some samples that are obviously a response to my research. I enjoyed how she was able to take elements of her environment and immortalise them in her samples; using the sea and the markings on the sand as her daily inspiration, I have adopted her way of working and even her technique (smoking and incorporating stones/pearls) and not forgetting that I have chosen a very similar theme/concept to Polly Binn. I have also been inspired by Rowan Mersh and this is new to me as I didn’t know of his work before this exercise. His work is often 3d sculptures and some elements are very similar to my “quarters” used in my angel wing, I am very inspired by his work! This is also evident in my video above as my sample has taken a form of a sculpture which; if made in a much bigger scale would be similar to some of Rowan Mersh works (I never new!).

I was very surprised to see how changing my ‘quarters’ from calico to nylon gave a very welcome elasticity to my sample creating more movement and resulting in a very successful sample that I can incorporate in my future work and that definitely fits in with my chosen theme.

Selection of samples that I feel represent my theme

I have evaluated why I think these samples below represent my theme above so I wont bore you with my reasons again😋

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