For some reason I found it hard to start this exercise. It is simple! Just overlap different papers and fabrics to experiment and see what comes out. I have done this so many times but yet when asked to do it I tend to overthink it and end up getting a mental block.

I experimented with pages from a children’s book and some fabric sewing it on my machine to see how this could look.

the pages have been ripped out to create a scruffy uneven edge. I enjoy the contrast of the patterned fabric and the newspaper.

I went on experimenting with different plastics papers and beer cans. Anything goes! Even the wrapping from my Christmas Eve prawns bought in billingsgate market has a place.

I enjoy the difference in ‘shines’ the transparent blue plastic and the silvery ‘slippery’ texture of the beer can. I also enjoy the difference in ‘hardness’ and ‘stiffness’. The beer can keeps it’s shape well and can be moulded to a different shape if desired. The blue plastic could be gathered and folded or left just like it is. Aesthetically this sample is not very pleasing but at this point all I am doing is experimenting with different materials and media.

I carried on experimenting. This time when putting away my food shopping with my husband I was arranging the lemons and tangerines in a bowl and found myself throwing the wrapping away. My husband looked at me and said ‘are you sure you don’t want to reuse that for your textiles?’ I laughter and then found myself digging them out from the rubbish to use them in this exercise.

I like this sample just because it was spontaneous. I also like all the different textures and transparencies. I simply stitched the netting on paper and then cut the paper out – this created a boning structure. I then placed the netting on my ‘prawn plastic’ and secured it with twitch

I experimented using this sample as if it was a sleeve for fashion.

I think this worked really well. I would enjoy doing a top with these recycled materials it kind of reminds me of something Vivienne Westwood would of done. With this in mind I was due to go to London with my daughter so I made a point to visit the Vivienne’s Westwood shop. I enjoyed researching her work and looking in detail at her clothes. I came across an item of clothing that caught my eye for many reasons.

It was a couture dress. At first glance it looked like a plastic dress but then after researching and looking at it in more detail it was digital printed organza gathered and overlapping to create ruffles attached to a skin coloured corset. It’s seeing works like these that remind me and encourage me when doing an exercise like this one.

I took a break from making samples and made an illustration of what the textiles would look like if constructed as a top. I definitely think it would work!

After taking a break and watching the Vivienne Westwood documentary about herself and I business I felt inspired and ready to carry own experimenting.

I carried on with my lemon netting and with my copper netting joining them with organza, beer cans and other materials. This sample can be manipulated to become a 3D structure or again it can be crafted into a fashion garment. The copper wire almost works as ‘boning’ for corset making (not as rigged but still stiff). Who would of thought!

I actually enjoyed the different effects the layering of different materials can achieve. I already new that so it’s not new information but what is new to me is the discovery of oranges and lemons netting and how useful and effective they can be for a textiles design or a garment.

More experiments with baking paper and copper netting (aka a metal scrubber)

In this sample I like the similarities in hues but also the contrast of shiny verses mat.

Above a sketch with water colours to look at the sample more closely and in more detail.

More samples. This time with fabric experimenting with pattern and plain fabrics and opaque verses sheer. Below: a pen and water colour sketch to capture and record the different textures.

Conclusion

This exercise has surprised me and encouraged me to experiment with materials that I would of otherwise had overlooked. It also made me look at other practitioners that I find inspiring and learn about how I could use my samples in my future practice. I was reminded that textiles is everywhere even in my bin, so I can use materials and media around me and experiment even with digital printing in the future. I turned my thinking around as I started feeling that this exercise was boring and that I had done all this before; to ending up feeling that I may of done this before but there is much more to experiment and learn. It is slightly frustrating because as your appetite for experimenting grows you find yourself running out of time as you need to move on to the next exercise.