Part 2: Stage 3: Recording Outcomes

Part 2, Stage 3 is to record the outcomes of the work I have created and researched for joining and wrapping samples. I have faithfully recorded outcomes as I have worked on each of the projects. I feel that it is imperative to write down my outcomes and thought processes as I work on each exercise, if I leave that until later then the ideas and initiatives that led to the work and samples, would be overwhelmed or evaporated by the next project.

I will reflect here on what I have done in Part 2, using the following questions from the OCA manual to help this process.

Did you feel comfortable with the exercises?

It took some time to research artists working in wrapping techniques and then come up with my own unique interpretation. At first I could not work out the point of wrapping and did not fully appreciate what Christo et al were doing wrapping landscapes and other objects. My husband, with his science background, rolled his eyes when I told him about it. It  was also reflected in artist friends comments, who visited my home, they saw my work and asked what  I was doing, with a degree of puzzlement.  It can be unmotivating working from home, particularly out of the UK, where students do not have access to ‘study days’ and neither have other students and tutors to interact with. Fortunately I am quite thick skinned and like other artists, I expect some knee jerk reactions about what constitutes ‘art’.

On the other hand, trying to interpret this strange art form, I did not want to simply wrap domestic objects, just to get the technique out of the way and finished and then move onto the next project. Once I had done enough research and then found my own expression for the wrapping exercises, I felt in the flow of creativity and enjoyed the process. My theme, that I am passionate about, is my driving force: Searching For Sacred.

Were there particular materials and techniques you enjoyed working with?

This question could not be explained simply with the adjective ‘enjoy’. It was only by exploring and manipulating materials and techniques over and over that I found that they worked for each individual project. I live on a small island where buying specialist art materials is next to impossible. Buying on the internet can be expensive, and may mean a long wait, and expensive customs duties. New  products can be  frustrating and disappointing to work with, unless I have had some experience of it. I have to know my materials to work with them, and given the unusual nature of this art form, it would mean backtracking to experiment and be playful before I could start work on a sample.

I have therefore begun to rely on materials close to hand, which usually means materials gathered from the house, my husband’s workshop, the beach, my garden or car boot sales.

The whole  process of finding the right materials, took much longer than I could have anticipated and led to a drawn out process of discovery, the time allowance for reflection does not come close to the advice that this course should be considered  to take approximately 8 hours a week.

How did the various materials respond to the techniques?

Research, experimentation, serendipity, resourcefulness, resolving material choices, artistic inquiry, undoing and redoing.

Were you able to achieve interesting textures and colours in your samples?

I spent a lot of time considering each sample and what I could achieve with the materials I had.  I felt that my choice of materials, colours and textures were suitable for each project that I worked on. In some cases, like the purple color used for the Libertas figure, it was led by the original design idea for the Statue of Liberty and not by its eventual choice of materials. For the Cucuteni goddess sculpture, I kept to earth tones as it was a pottery and an archaeological find. For the endangered species project (the tiger) I used blood red, due to the threat of man the hunter.  If a particular project didn’t work out, I took it apart and experimented with something else.

Which outcomes were successful? Which were less so- and why?

I have endeavored to explain my successes and failures as I worked on each project. I have photographed everything, the things that were successful and the samples that did not work out. I have given lengthy reports during my summing up of each one during the sample making process.

What are your thoughts on the artists, designers and makers you’ve

researched in Part 2?

I have found new inspiration by studying an array of artists, designers and makers using wrapping for this section. I did fall in love with Judith Scott’s quirky wrappings and so has the art world. Outsider art is gaining in popularity. I have also been following Jason de Clares bandaged wrapped figures that he created in Lanzarote with interest. They are now laying on the seabed off the coast of the island where I live. They are attracting a great deal of international interest. I have learned more than techniques in this section, as I study the artists and makers I have come to appreciate how each have a unique voice and the role that wrapping has to play as an art form.

I am also inspired by a number of contemporary Textiles artists, for example, I like the way Ali Ferguson joins her canvases together to form individual stories. I would love to experiment with the concept using my ‘Searching For Sacred’ themes.

How did the research you carried out inform your own work?

I had not been interested or studied artists that specifically use joining and wrapping techniques prior to working through Project 1&2. I may have been subliminally aware of this art form. But would not have had any experience or interest in following their work. The course manual asked students to be experimental and playful.  It was my own theme that informed most of my work, along with the wonderful shapes and wrappings  that inspired Judith Scott and her followers.





Part 2:Project 2: Ex 3: Uneven wrapping

For the work for this group of samples we are asked to create in dimensions of approximately 20cm. The ideal is to find objects with protrusions or a combination of objects that create complex shapes. We are asked to wrap in an experimental way, by taking the objects shape as a starting point. Any lumps and bumps can be an opportunity to change the direction of the wrapping.The suggestion is to be playful, using knotting, tying, stitching, braiding, or weaving techniques.

The first sample arose from a book I have been reading ‘When Women Were Drummers‘ by Layne Redmond *1. The goddess Hathor, or the Lady of the Horns, is one of the oldest Egyptian deities. Her image appeared around 3,100 B.C.  At this time horned cows were deemed to be magical and sacred and some of them were retained in temples. Hathor is often depicted wearing an elaborate headdress with horns in honor of them. She was also a goddess of culture and used a frame drum in their sacred ceremonies. Below is my rendering of Hathor.

My finds for this wrapping sample were found in my husband’s sacred place (his workshop). They include old washers, a broken ratchet, a piece of electrical cable, and a plastic darning needle. I had plenty of separate pieces and I used stitch  to attach them to each other and I had plenty of protrusions to work with.   I used scraps of torn fabric, threads, yarn and gold wire.


wrapped hathor
2.3.1 UW

With my husband away for 10 days, I moved into his workshop and searched for objects for my next sample. They were ready for the scrap heap, except for the bull dog clips.They all have interesting protrusions, I particularly like the curved piece of wood and the spiky object, I am beginning to see what I want to emerge from these finds.

wrap finds

I began by gluing some parts together before adding bulk to make this figure look more feminine  and voluptuous. Next I began wrapping in purple fabric.

The story behind this Statue of Liberty look-a-like, is that Edouard de Laboulaye, a Frenchman,  proposed the idea of a giant statue replicating an ancient goddess for New York harbour in 1865. It was intended as a gift from France to the United States. Laboulaye  in France and Joseph Pulitzer in America, eventually persuaded their rich citizens to raise the necessary finance  to create this sculpture.

The goddess was known by various names, and another Frenchman, the sculptor Bartholdi, who was commissioned to create it,  referred to her as “Libertas”. Part of  the intention had been to create a welcome signal to all the refugees, which at the time were finding a safe welcome in the new Americas. But it began as a gift from France to commemorate the friendship between the two nations. Finally it was also to commemorate the centenary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States. Libertas was also known to the Romans as  the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, she was referred to as the goddess of personal freedom and liberty . This is my interpretation and process.



The colour purple was originally the colour reserved for the elite of Rome. Called variously, Tyrian Purple, Phoenician Purple, Imperial Purple, Byzantine Purple or Tekhelet. It was very expensive to produce (250,000 marine shellfish yielded an ounce of dye).  The first designs for the Statue of Liberty were intended to have the robes made as a mixture of scarlet and purple, but it was altered to fit in with the final choice of materials used (iron frame and copper casing). I used their original purple idea with reference to Pliny the Elder’s book 8 Historia naturalis, explaining the method of extracting the colour from marine snails.


The 7 spikes on the Statue of Liberty have had several interpretations. Ishtar the Roman goddess had spikes radiating from her head as an early form of sun worship. The National Park Service say the spikes were to represent the 7 Oceans and 7 continents. My find has only 5 spikes, I wrapped them in purple felt and a first wrap of purple thread to keep them in place. My next wrap was in silvery blue thread, I liked the play of light from the silver thread and the next wrap was silver wire.


The torch that the Statue of Liberty is holding,  was originally designed as a golden cup filled with the wine of freedom. The cup  was made in Bartholdi’s workshoops, but the New York port authorities requested a different idea before it was shipped, so that an eternal flame could be used as a navigation aid. The cup was sold to the then Czar of Russia and in the following revolution it disappeared. I have used artistic license for the cup/torch idea on my little figurine and looked for something interesting in to be wrapped and stitched to Libertas. I discarded the heavy screw due to the weight. I attached all the other items together with felt,  stitch and silver wire.

libertas items


libertas cup

2.3.3b UW

My final sample was inspired by an ancient European Cucuteni Goddess figurine.

She is characteristically shaped with voluptuously large buttocks, narrow waist, stumped arms and an anonymous head. She is also covered in incised lines and marks particularly a girdle like decoration. Archaeologist, Marija Gimbutus, in The God and Goddess of Old Europe suggests a date for this culture to be mid-fifth millenium BC.

cucteni front back view

Encouragingly, once I had engaged the idea of the shape, I visited the monthly charity sale SARA (which raises funds for abandoned animals in Lanzarote) for suitable materials that I could use. As you can see below, the wooden jewelry holder I bought for €1 was a really good starting point. The shape is barely changed from prehistoric cultures.

Charity sale find

I only made a few adjustments, by narrowing the legs with a hand saw and enlarging the buttocks, next I created breasts from soft padding wrapped in fabric. I have a lot more protrusions to work with. I am getting quite astute at using tools other than needle, scissors and thread.

cucteni6 cloth
Eco-dyed cloth

The fabric I decided upon for the first wrap, is eco-dyed 100% cotton sheeting. I used India Flint inspired ideas and shoveled dead leaves into the middle of the sheet, sprinkled it liberally with water and lemon juice and left it wrapped in plastic wrap hanging in the garden for two weeks, like a giant butterfly pupa. Some of  the resulting marks also arose from unexpected mildew growth. Though I like the marks, I was disappointed that the fabric did not stain darker. Perhaps putting the fabric in a bath of tea or coffee might lead to the desired effect, or rust dyeing? I have yet to experiment further.



 wrap of black thread


Dark brown yarn and side view


My final wrapping included lighter brown yarn and spiral stitched marks on the protruding buttocks, typical of the Cucuteni figurines. I could spend many more hours creating stitched markings on the rest of the figure, but this is a sample and I cannot afford any more time. It may be one of a series of ongoing goddess wrapped sculptures.

Overall I was pleased with all my choices and wrappings for these samples. I am confident that other objects can be wrapped with all manner of materials I have yet to explore.

Final wrap: 2.3.3. UW


The next wrapping came out of the story of an archaeological dig in northern Israel. It was said that, the find, which appeared to be a bundle of plant fibers wrapped around a broken clay pot, contained earrings believed to be 3,300 years old. Experts believe the earrings were used for trade purposes before the use of currency. “The jug and its contents appear to be Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age, in the 13th century BC, the time of the Exodus and wilderness wanderings described in the Hebrew Scriptures...” archaeologist Robert Mullins, an associate professor of biblical studies at Azusa Pacific University said “….This is one of only 20 silver hoards ever found in Israel.”


The earrings and other silver pieces were cleaned by Mimi Lavi, conservationist in the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Photo: Gabi Laron, Institute of Archeology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

I have a box of old jewellery that I have been hoarding for such a project. The image of the find reminds me a little of one Shannon Webber’s more beautiful natural pieces (see below). It looks rather organic, not unlike a bird’s nest. The blue/grey tint of the Israel find reminds me very much of handmade felt. I have some banana plant fibers and wrapped wire and I want to experiment. Now where will I find a broken pot? Yes, I could buy something cheap and break it, but first I will search my stash of household objects and my garden as well as my husband’s workshop for other materials.


Photo: With permission of Shannon Weber, the artist

After a half day of research, I realised that I cannot mimic the Israel hoard without a lot more effort and time. Making the right type of felt will take a day, even if I had the supplies (which I don´t). I live on an island where getting hold of art supplies means that I have to order everything in advance. Shannon Weber can take months for her works to mature and I think this idea may be on that time scale. I have to be realistic, the work I do  for this project is all about sampling and then maybe later considering how to evolve the idea. I have to use what is to hand, in my home and around the island. I have therefore gone with the banana leaf idea, wrapping some objects that look like the Israel earring finds. Oddly enough they did not arise out of my jewelry stash, but my husband’s electronics supplies.

The fresh green banana leaf idea did not work for the wrapping experiment, even though it is a leaf that I use to wrap fresh caught salmon and bake in the oven. Delicious! But I am rambling away from artistic endeavor.

The green banana leaf wrapping broke and did not yield to being wrapped around my small objects. I abandoned the idea and looked at the dried leaf alternative and cut them off the plant. I have plenty to choose from, there are 6 banana plants in various stages of growth and decay in my garden. I wrapped the objects and then tied them with cotton string. I left the strings long and uncut. I found a tiny wooden chest and placed them inside, like treasure. A very different outcome than I had first thought, but I was pleased with the process so far given the time frame.

Fresh and dried banana leaves


bana wrap3
Electrical components
banaa wrap2
Wrapped fiber bundles
banana wwrap1
Bundles in ‘treasure chest’

2.3.4.UW: Finally I wrapped the box in shiny fabric, then a layer of thick string wrapped in felt which helped mold the wrapping into a more organic shape. The next wrap was torn fabric wrapped with thread. Two more layers of  less dense threads criss-crossed each other in satisfactory layers and colours.


israel hoard sample


*1 When the Drummers were Women: A spiritual history of rhythm, Layne Redmond

*2 Statue of Liberty story

*3 Marija Gimbutus, The God and Goddess of Old Europe

*4 Israel Dig

Part 2: Project 2: Ex 2: Wrapping with materials and threads

I have researched the work of ‘outsider artist’ Judith Scott*1 (now deceased) – she used a variety of wrapping materials & weavings to create large & small structures. She was born with Downs Syndrome, as well as being mute and deaf. She was abandoned to an institution, as she was considered uneducatable by the time she was 7 years old. She experienced social deprivation and massive under stimulation. Her twin sister Joyce, rescued her from this environment later and became her legal guardian.

She was offered a place at an art class, one of the first of its kind for people with disabilities in Ohio. Joyce’s ongoing sisterly support, and this art environment, eventually provided the necessary breeding ground for Judith’s wrapping of objects. No one was able to decipher why she did her artful wrappings, did she see them as art? No one knows. She created over 200 sculptures in her life time. I love her work, it was deeply personal to her and had arisen out of her own world and psyche. This story begs the question about what is art? How many mainstream artists have an idea, then organise other people to construct the work? Here in Judith, was art that came out of her very being, she manifested every thread, shape and layer. An interesting article in Crafts magazine*2, describes the rise of the outsider artist, into mainstream galleries. The article featured Judith Scott and her sculptures in the March  /April 2016 issue.

The American visual artist/photographer Frances Lina Conde stayed at my house for 10 days, during this period and she introduced me to her wrapped organic wire formed shapes that were photographed and juxtaposed against the stark extraordinary landscapes of Lanzarote. She had an exhibition “Profundidad”, in Barcelona, March 2016.

Eager to begin, my starting point was to do a number of small wrappings on various surfaces , for example wrapping thread around wire, tiny bundles of fabric; wrapping screws and rawl plugs; wrapping CD inserts with yarn.

Next, I cast my eye around the  house and my ‘stash’ of found objects (mostly broken pieces of domestic ephemera ). Once selected, I choose a bold shiny fabric and a flat matt complimentary colored thread for a wrap. With the wrappings in place disguising its origins, I loved its unintended organic shape immediately. I did a second wrap to part of the piece in fine gold wire, which gave a web-like gossamer effect. It became a talking point in the room. No one could guess what ordinary object was underneath those wrappings (2.2.1WMT).


My next samples (2.2.2a-c) started life as a vintage, twin candle holder. The meaning for me is that it is a holder of ‘light’ in a sometimes ‘dark’ world. I wrapped it in see-through plastic film, so that initially I could see right through to the object. It was undisguised. The object has some interesting features that could be teased into intriguing wraps. The next wrap was fine silver thread. My initial aim was to see as much of the object as possible.


However, as I wrapped, I questioned whether keeping this idea of ‘light’, was useful, given how much of a dichotomy there is in the world, especially since the refugee crises and humanitarian issues that have been in the news and affected so much of Europe. As I see it, there is as much ‘darkness’ as ‘light’. I’m thinking of religious fundamentalism,  war, profits-before-people, greed, femicide(*3), genocide, pollution.  I wrapped  it in a dark black thread for this reason.


This was not enough to make a statement. I wrapped it in thick grey yarn to see where this would take this piece. I wanted it to be more menacing. I wrapped across as well as around and then turned the object upside. Now, the appearance has a more, demonic quality. Can I keep going? Or is it enough?  This is starting to look like a darker, gloomier image, the opposite of light. This is the Goddess of darkness and dark forces. And like Kali, her Indian counterpart, and Nix from the Greeks, she was at once the ‘giver of life’ and at the same time ‘the wielder of the destructive powers of nature’. Light and dark at the same time.


The Lampedusa Cross by carpenter Francesco Tuccio was created from the wreckage of a boat that had been carrying 500 fleeing refugees on 11 October, 2013. It sank off the coast of Sicily where Tuccio lived, only 151 people survived. He collected the flotsum of wood, he created crosses from the wreck and gave them to the remaining refugees. The Pope travelled to take a service on the island. The BBC picked up the story, The British Museum acquired a cross and have placed it on public display in London.


Tuccio stated …”I hope that if one person sees the Cross and is moved to use their skills to do something about it, that will be great.” Jill Cook, senior curator at the British Museum stated “…I’ve used my skills as a curator to put this in the public eye…” My own response is to use my making skills for this project and to look back to more peaceful cultures and create my own symbol.

The Vinca goddess culture has left behind hundreds of sculptures and this topic found its way into my next wrapping. Many of the sculptures have elongated necks, amorphous bodies and rounded hips. I had to recreate a stone sculpture using a styrofoam sphere, cardboard tube, wooden dowling and wire.  It took several attempts to get a pleasing shape (2.WM.6a), using the right materials, plus the use of my husbands sacred space (his workshop) and an understanding of using his static electric drill with various drill bits. I have spent hours getting it this far. I finally stitched a layer of torn organza into the former before inserting an Indian mantra into the cardboard tube (for peace and protection of the whole world). I swapped the first idea of using cocktail sticks wrapped with pipe-cleaners to make the arms,  with wooden doweling, it is stronger and it makes the whole structure more solid. Only then did I begin wrapping in yarn, string and crochet thread (red for fire, brown for the earth and blue for the sky and sea).  That was the easy part, it has taken days of planning and execution.

Marijas Gumbutas book and images





*1 Judith Scot

*2 The rise of the outsider artist. “Why Outsider Art is All the Rage” Glen Adamson, Crafts magazine. Issue 259, February 2016

*3 The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas. ISBN 0-520-04655-2

*4 Femicide

Part2: Project 2: Ex 3: Uneven Wrapping

I have researched the work of Christo ( born ‘Histro’ in Bulgaria in 1935) and his partner Jeanne-Claude,  born in Morocco on the same date (1935 –2009). Together as artists, they wrapped and covered landscapes, buildings and smaller objects. It was interesting to see familiar objects or landmasses cocooned in unfamiliar layers, some parts highlighted or obscured as a result of their work. Or “..revelation through concealment..” as art critic David Bourdon*1  once said. Christo insisted their work was, “…to create works of art for joy and beauty and to create new ways of seeing familiar landscapes…”. My interest, as far as this project is concerned is looking at their smaller wrapped objects, like bottles and cans. There was no doubt what the objects were, they did little to disguise the shapes.

Wrapped objects of Christo and Jean Claude

 I also looked at the work of French Algerian artist Alice Anderson who wraps in copper wire; she works in big installation pieces or has wrapped small objects in her studio. In an interview with Aesthetica Magazine about her installations and performance for Frieze, in 2012, she said “When I am winding around objects I guess that I am transforming a libidinal energy into something else. It is like an act of reparation, protection, and preservation. During the past two years, I’ve focused on binding various objects and buildings with copper thread and red fiber…” It is interesting finding out the artists response to her work, it gives a resonance and depth to her work that is difficult to find when looking around an exhibition or watching a performance.

Alice Anderson’s copper wire wrappings

Mar Gorman’s installations about the institutionalized Lucy/Joseph, a  female sectioned due to her male behavior and who died in the Oregon State Hospital in 1922. Mar wanted to create a memorial for the forgotten when the hospital closed. Most of the objects on display are not wrapped, but I did take an interest in the ordinary found objects that were among the exhibits and which Mar decided to wrap as part of the display. As a textile artist I find it an intriguing question to ask when considering exhibiting, what should be wrapped and why? The objects below have taken on a secondary meaning with the wrappings, as the new shapes have hidden or distorted their original function

mar gorman2

Eva Hesse, the post war German/ American artist, now deceased, was influenced by Abstract Expressionism, Feminism and Minimalism; She said of her art “I think art is a total thing. A total person giving a contribution. It is an essence, a soul.. In my inner soul art and life are inseparable.” 

Shannon Weber, Who has been working in fiber sculpture for over 30 years, uses mainly reclaimed or natural materials found outdoors. I was particularly struck by her varying techniques. She says “I love stitching, weaving, and laying things together like beach plastics, fish bones, reclaimed metal and wire, which can be 3-7 layers in a piece. If I can’t weave it I will find a way to stitch it in. There is no use of glue in any of my work.” I got permission from her to use some of her images.

My wrapped experiments took some time to mature. Not that I was hesitant about wrapping objects. I saw potential wrappings everywhere, but I felt the work needed to have a deeper meaning for me personally. My first experiments drew me in to wrap something ‘sacred’, the topic running through my Theme Book. I chose an Indian mantra that I had once used to place inside my ‘sacred pod’ a piece I made for my final project in  A Creative Approach to Textiles. It is a mantra I use daily in my yoga practice. At that time I wrote it on deliberately aged paper, wrapped in into a scroll shape and secured it inside a pod of vine and honeysuckle, an ode to the Goddess of Creativity, Saraswathi.

Sacred Pod

For this next sample, I inserted a mantra into plastic coin saver, available in Spain, instead of plastic money bags more familiar in the UK. These can hold one euros worth of one cent pieces. I immediately saw their potential  for holding a small scroll  and in addition, they had interesting fastenings that folded around satisfactorily. With their almost indestructible nature, I assumed they could act as a tiny time capsule.

Plastic one cent saver



I wrapped the first coin saver in black plastic mesh, the kind used in the garden. I wrapped the mesh in red threads of varying weights (2.WM.1a). In History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees by James Mooney, printed in 1900 s, The Red Man, living in the East, is the spirit of power, triumph, and success. Red is a warm color. It conjures up conflicting emotions, from passionate love to stop signs, to female blood (since Neolithic times*2), violence, anger and war. Red could be a St Valentine Cupid or a Devil. Some studies show that red can have a physical effect, increasing the rate of respiration and raising blood pressure. It’s use as a colour should be used with caution or in small splashes.


I intended the next wrap on this object to be white thread. White is for purity, blank pages, virgin snow and brides dresses, it is not an accent color, rather a colour that other colours are set off against. My other wrappings had been colours that were easily available and at hand, the colours  for these sample were deliberate. Black, red and white. My husband thought they looked like tampons! I feel he has a point.

2.UW.2 and 2.UW.3

I created two more  mantra holders, with different mantras, using the same colorways in different orders. Black, red or white fabric wrapped in either black white or red threads. Maybe I need to consider how to join them together?  I do not want to undo the wrapping and redo these pieces. I may provoke this concept further and make a lot more and create a hanging of sacred mantras. I have about 20 empty coin holders and feasibly I could get hold of a lot more from the bank.

One of my mantras

The next wrapping came out of the story of an archaeological dig in northern Israel. It was said that, the find, which appeared to be a bundle of plant fibers wrapped around a broken clay pot, contained earrings believed to be 3,300 years old. Experts believe the earrings were used for trade purposes before the use of currency. “The jug and its contents appear to be Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age, in the 13th century BC, the time of the Exodus and wilderness wanderings described in the Hebrew Scriptures...” archaeologist Robert Mullins, an associate professor of biblical studies at Azusa Pacific University said “….This is one of only 20 silver hoards ever found in Israel.”


The earrings and other silver pieces were cleaned by Mimi Lavi, conservationist in the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Photo: Gabi Laron, Institute of Archeology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

I have a box of old jewellery that I have been hoarding for such a project. The image of the find reminds me a little of one Shannon Webber’s more beautiful natural pieces (see below). It looks rather organic, not unlike a bird’s nest. The blue/grey tint of the Israel find reminds me very much of handmade felt. I have some banana plant fibers and wrapped wire and I want to experiment. Now where will I find a broken pot? Yes, I could buy something cheap and break it, but first I will search my stash of household objects and my garden as well as my husband’s workshop for other materials.


Photo: With permission of Shannon Weber, the artist

After a half day of research, I realised that I cannot mimic the Israel hoard without a lot of effort and time. Making the right type of felt will take a day, even if I had the supplies (which I don´t). I live on an island where getting hold of art supplies means that I have to order everything in advance. Shannon Weber can take months for her works to mature and I think this idea may be on that time scale. I have to be realistic, the work I do  for this project is all about sampling and then maybe later considering how to evolve the idea. I have to use what is to hand, in my home and around the island. I have therefore gone with the banana leaf idea, wrapping some objects that look like the Israel earring finds. Oddly enough they did not arise out of my jewelry stash, but my husband’s electronics supplies.

The fresh green banana leaf idea did not work for the wrapping experiment, even though it is a leaf that I use to wrap fresh caught salmon and bake in the oven. Delicious! But I am rambling away from artistic endeavor.

The green banana leaf wrapping broke up and did not yield to being wrapped around my small objects. I abandoned the idea and looked at the dried leaf alternative and cut them off the plant. I have plenty to choose from, there are 6 banana plants in various stages of growth and decay in my garden. I wrapped the objects and then tied them with cotton string. I left the strings long and uncut. I found a tiny wooden chest and placed them inside, like treasure. A very different outcome than I had first thought, but I was pleased with the process and the result given the time frame.

Fresh and dried banana leaves


bana wrap3
Electrical components
banaa wrap2
Wrapped fiber bundles
banana wwrap1
Bundles in ‘treasure chest’


*1 David Bourdon, “Christo”, Harry N. Abrams Publishers, Inc., New York City, 1970

Alice Anderson: The Independent. Monday 27 July 2015 ·Memory Movement Memory Objects’ Everyday objects wrapped in copper wire

Israel Dig






Pt 2: Project 2: Ex 4 Overlapping edges

Exercise 4: Overlapping Edges. Two or more materials that overlap each other are to be joined together. Some samples of joining should be of curved overlapping edges.
I took a longer than usual look at a sweet potatoe (below) that I  buy to make Spanish tortilla. It was growing out of my neglected vegetable rack. I immediately saw its stone-like curved shapes had the potential for a joining experiment and decidedit had to be sketched (sample 2.3c.6). I saw its shape as a potential  for a collage of joining overlapping edges.
Sweet potatoe
Sweet potatoe


pencil /pen sketch
2.4.1 pencil /pen sketch
stone collage1

I provoked the idea by thinking of fish scales that are curved and overlapping. I used torn papers that slightly overlay each other. It was fun to do and I can see a direction of sorts to explore overlapping edges using collage further.

stone balance collage1
stone balance collage2 with roots

For my next two samples: 2.4.2 and 2.4.2a I used the same type of collage to resemble the potatoe/ stone shapes on a background of crumpled paper from a shoe box. I used the  torn paper tones from a magazine for all the shapes. In one, I used (removable) red ‘roots’ and for the other I removed them completely. I’m unsure which worked best, or did not work at all. I am in reserve mode. I need time to look back on this exercise and make a decision.  I have not exhausted this line of inquiry using collage.


Using ideas from the joining experiments so far,  for sample 2.4.3, I overlapped the edges of fraying hessian with a variety of materials, including plant fibers, cotton string, cocktail sticks and wire. I marked the fabric first with a variety of symbols from prehistoric rock art.

I like this example of joining curved edges, it is by Vassily Kandinsky `Free Curve to the Point – Accompanying Sound of Geometric Curves´ Ink on Paper 1925. I am attracted by its pure simplicity of arcs with its two different thicknesses of line. All hovering over a black dot.

kandinsky drg

The sample below (2.4.4) is inspired by knots of seaweed that I spotted floating on the tide on a beach walk. At home I wrote down words associated with my first impressions, then created a poem. I made a textile piece using kantha stitch, mimicking the curved and straight edges crossing each other in a tangle.


I wonder what it’s like to drift in the tide like seaweed.

Knotted and tangled, the taste of salt in your mouth.

It would be dreamy to lay there floating  on the ocean

And watch the clouds and sun move over my head.


The next samples were also inspired by nature, this time a jar of poppies. A simple sketch (2.4.5 and 2.4.6) had me looking in depth at the overlapping shapes. Inside a poppy bud there were deeper layers that I wanted to include in this section. I teased out the imagery in my sketchbook finding textures and then created a textile piece from scraps of fabric. I can see this poppy bud idea with its overlapping edges exposing intriguing elements underneath being taken further.This was an unexpected result given my starting point of seeking out overlapping edges.




The next samples arose from an image I found on the internet of an elderberry seen under a microscope. The textures  reminded me of textiles and I tried to copy the overlapping edges by using free machine embroidery on dissoluble film.









Part 2:Project 2 : Ex 1: Straight Wrapping

Exercise 1: Straight Wrapping with Threads

I chose a hammer for my first wrapping experiment (2.w.1a and 2.w.1b). I chose wool thread as the wrapping medium, as a juxtaposition to the solid, almost male nature of the object. I left the sides of the metal hammer open,  in effect it can be still be used without impediment. Next I wrapped a fine silver crochet thread around it. There was a sense of humour in this project. My husband asked me what on earth I thought I was doing to ‘his’ tools. I explained that this is my own hammer that I keep for various art related projects in my studio. I am tempted to embroider the word `mine` on this piece.


I wrapped a kitchen object (2.w.2a) in a wire that I had previously wrapped in torn fabric. I liked the solidity of the wrapping and it clung to the wood easily. I removed the wrapping and it remained beautifully intact (2.w.2b).

wire wraps
2..w.2b and 2.w.2c

I attempted the same experiment using a finer gauge of plastic coated wire without it being wrapped in fabric. It created an interesting scribble effect when first wrapped around the hammer.


I next wrapped a household peg with wool (2.w.3a). I kept going with the idea using different layers. I could visualize a little figure emerging, so I wrapped a piece of strong wire first with plastic then wrapped the plastic with wool threads to create ‘arms’. I wrapped these into the back and I left the top exposed a little, they reminded me of eyes (2.w.3b). I could take this idea further and create a series of little alien mummy figures.


For another sample, I wrapped a volcanic stone in a piece of fabric wrapped wire (2.w.4a) it was much to springy for this experiment. The stone was so smooth the wrapping material did not attach very well. However the result was interesting, it looked like some kind of strange insect on its back!  I next wrapped the stone in wool thread (2.w.4b), this gave the stone enough ‘bite’ for the wrapping to be more successful. I played with the placement, as I discovered that the wire can be folded and molded into interesting shapes.

white wool

I looked for a more interesting background for the wool sample and placed it into a simply decorated wooden bowl, etched with white marks. I provoked this idea a little further with more colours and varying weights of thread 2.w.4.c.

stone and wool




My next sample in this series began as a result of a You Tube video presented by Sir David Attenborough. He highlighted the plight of endangered species and what individuals can do to help rid the planet of the outrageous notion that man can do as they please with wildlife or use them as a commodity. I have been a member of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) since I was 10 years old.

I took an innocent looking child’s toy for the following sample (2.w.5).


I wrapped it in blood-red yarn, I bound its paws, gagged its mouth, covered its eyes, and bound its tail to its body. I only left its nose and ears free. This is a metaphor to help describe the heinous trade and pleasure people derive  from using wild animals, placing them in danger of extinction (1*) and the cruelty inherent in such abhorrent treatment.


The toy tiger, like hundreds of children’s toys, has a darker side(*2). They are made of fire-retardant polyester,  from crude oil, which contains dangerous toxins that can harm the body. It will also take 1000’s of years for the fibers to break down if it ends up in a landfill site.  The toy is very likely to have been made in China, in factories that pour toxic waste into the world’s oceans. I bought it for €1 at a charity table-sale specifically to use as an art project. It looked as good as new, its hard to credit that so many toys just like this have so little use. How did humans ever learn that this seasons ‘must buy’ is tomorrows reject? I’m also weighing up the environmental costs of the time and effort that goes into the  manufacture and journey from China to a Lanzarote charity sale. I am not going to give this toy tiger a cute, fun, name. I hope it would raise questions if any children or my grandchildren come across it. I would love the opportunity for them to learn the word ‘sustainability’.


*1  Endangered Species : of which the South China Tiger is number 10

*2 European commission in-depth report plastics and polyester dangers


Pt 2: Project 1: Ex 5: Forming corners and angles

Ex 5: Joining by Forming corners and angles
For this exercise, students are requested to form corners and angles by joining two materials together. We are starting out using straight edges and then experimenting with what happens when we used curved edges to create angles.
corners angles
2.5.1 On a flat surface I used a number of materials, including a picture cut from an old bank note, hand made paper, balsa wood and fused plastic. I joined corners and angles with machine stitch and then created  joins with wood, plastic and metal studs.
paper plastic
2.5.2 On a flat surface I have used the fused plastic (that I made in Part 1. Surface distortion) that is embedded with newspaper,  I joined  angles of stitched paper in zig zag stitch to create an uneven frame for the face, then I over-stitched small areas in red.
After working with angles and corners on a flat surface, I have been looking  at three dimensional objects. I studied the construction of box-like objects in Janet Edmond’s book  Three Dimensional Embroidery.(1*)
I cut out some triangle shapes from mount board, they made lovely sharp angles and corners to work with (2.5.3). I could have joined them with any kind of tape, but  I thought what was too simplistic and overdone. I decided not to hand stitch the angles with threads straight onto mount board because as I learned from a previous project it tears easily and the needle can leave unintentional marks.
I took it a step further and covered each triangle in coloured printed cheesecloth (2.5.2) and then I hid the stitching behind pieces of felt (2.5.3). I then stitched all the angles together. (2.5.4-5).
 I also used strips of torn fabric that I twisted into long lengths and machine stitched them over them. Then I wrapped them in a fine  blue thread, next  I stitched them over the joins of the angles to hide any visible stitches underneath.
Next I started to scrutinise small objects with angles and corners around the  house, like those small cardboard corner shapes that arrive to protect a picture, or a canvas. I deconstructed it and drew it as a flat object (see below), noting the fold and cut lines and I also drew  out its original shape. Can I recreate it in other materials and join those angles together?
Drawing it, made me look at product packaging in general, particularly at those that are designed to hold box like shapes with odd angles and corners. I looked at simple objects like small box and drew out the shapes and recreated it in scrap card. (2.5.4)
The precise folding that make up these constructions are taking me back to the work I did earlier for Surface Distortion in Part One. I am looking at them with a curious eye. The work I did then was mostly using paper, but I am particularly interested in the objects I made then, like the linear accordion pleats or knife and box pleats that were subsequently made into cylinder shapes. Now that I am seeing them as angles and corners, my interest is to consider how to construct them using a different material? I am questioning if I can cut up the shapes and rejoin them? With what materials?
I also looked at the boxes within a box of Sarah Edmond’s (below), she is primarily an Illustrator, print-maker and book artist. I have a great love of boxes for putting things in, and they litter my house, I have round boxes, cylindrical boxes, oblong boxes, glass and plastic boxes, wood and cardboard boxes of varying dimensions. I like Sarah’s construction for the simple pleasure of looking at the shapes, the personal and disparate contents she has chosen to put inside them, and all those angles and corners. But clearly it looks like a book that could be closed with all its personal stories in those little compartments and put on a book shelf.
sarah edmonds
Sarah Edmond
I am considering using cardboard, fine balsa wood or mount board to cut out angular shapes, I could fold or punch or drill holes in them or cover them in fabric and stitch the corners and angles together……..
Pojagi or Bojagi is a Korean form of joining pieces and angles of cloth, by hand. It was originally used  to create bigger pieces for wrapping objects. It has a very long history  and a piece remaining from the 12th century still exists. In earlier times the tradition was that each carefully wrapped object, would convey a blessing or honor to the receiver. It is also used in contemporary Korean culture and among fiber artists. There are similarities in Bojagi to the French seam used in tailoring, but the French seam is only ‘invisible’ on the front side.  I was very keen to experiment and used a descriptive tutorial, the link is here.
I can’t say my first experiments with Pojagi were that successful- I am not used to working in fine detail, especially on flimsy materials, 2.5.5 (I used netting in two different colour ways) and my hand stitching looks uneven. I have a condition called Essential Tremor, this means that the finer the detail I have to concentrate on, the worse the tremors, especially affecting my hands. The only reason I am willing to work like this is that I am confined to a small area of my house with access to a limited range of materials and tools after foot surgery and I cannot walk freely for another 40 days.


Being experimental means that one naturally has to go through stages of incompetence before reaching an acceptable level of skill. I continued with the Pojagi idea. I remind myself I am not making a work of art, just a sample. As a critic, this idea needs a lot more attention, the stitches are ugly and I could have used better colorways in terms of thread and materials. I can’t see why these experiments couldn’t be done on a sewing machine to create a more even line of stitches and for speed.

I choose African Wax cloth for my next sample. The cloth is strong and I was also able to use an iron to hold the crease instead of using a folding tool. One line is worked in hand stitching all the other lines and connected lines are worked on the sewing machine. This sample has more competence and my skill has improved.

 Looking at the work of fiber artists like YeonSoon Chang’s beautiful transparent structures (below), utilising fine seams, certainly gives me inspiration to keep sampling with Pojagi.
yeonsoon chaang
YeonSoon Chang
2.5a-2.5c The following samples uses curved edges to create angles. I took my inspiration from Japanese folded patchwork techniques. The starting point was a circle of fabric which measured 10.2cm. I pressed and then stitched a 2mm seam allowance, I ironed the sides inwards to form a square. Inside the square I placed a square of fabric with a piece of wadding underneath it. I then stitched all the rounded angles into place. Many of the patchwork pieces stitched together form more angles and corners  making more interesting curved edges.
jap folded
jap foded2
jap folded 1
1* Janet Edmonds; Three dimensional Embroidery. Published by Batsford
Reprint edition (1 July 2009) ISBN-10: 1906388547ISBN-13: 978-1906388546
2* Exhibition Bojagi and Beyond

Pt 2:Project 1: Ex 3: Joining curved edges

Ex 3 Joining curved edges

For this section of the manual, students are requested to cut a series of curved edges into their chosen  materials, and then asked to join convex and concave curves of varying sizes in a variety of ways.
The samples are to demonstrate:
a curved edges that fit neatly together
b curved edges that create a gap
c curved edges that both touch and leave gaps
Ex 3a. Curved edges that fit neatly together….
The Vinland map (1*) is claimed to be a 15th century map containing information about the Norse exploration of North America. A lot of publicity accompanied its  exposure as a “genuine” pre-Columbian map in 1965. Many experts have since examined the paper and ink and there seems to be a consensus that the ink has 19th century components. Experts are still haggling.
I cut my copy into pleasantly concave and convex edges, taking little care about boundaries and land masses. I rejoined all the curves, refitting them neatly together on the reverse of the map, with masking tape.
vinland map2
2.3a.1a The Vinland map


vinland map reverse
2.3a.1b Vinland map reversed

For this sample 2.1.1c, I used a red pen to create my own boundaries, content to reclaim landmasses or give it back like a medieval war lord. I liked the blood red colour on this map and it also made a statement about the misery, fury, murder and war that is evoked by changing boundaries.

Now the questions start to arise. How could I extend this idea? Could I stitch lines across the join? Could I punch holes into the boundaries and join them with staples, threads, or wire for example? Could I use a sewing machine and sew all the names of those involved in this ‘fraud’ across the landmasses? Could I have raised the cut areas above the original on some board and painted in my new boundaries. Can I work this idea with other maps, perhaps something more personal or in connection with my personal theme (Searching for Sacred)?

vinland map red
My second sample (2.3a.2) is influenced by Jennifer Davies work, I used the convex edges of cocktail sticks and also the convex edges of kebab sticks that can easily be joined by laying them side by side. I cut the kebab sticks into irregular sizes and glued them with the cocktails sticks onto 15 x 21 cm mount board. I can imagine this being taken further by laying them in different lengths to create an assemblage, another thought is to layer them across or to use as a background for further work, or perhaps painting them. Or, like Jennifer, I could wrap my objects before joining them together.
Ex 3b Joining Curved edges that create a gap….
2.3b.1 : I have begun a community art project. I am asking school children and adults of any nationality in Lanzarote to create a simple weaving on  discarded CD’s. Most of the people I have asked  all have a the same complaint (“I’m not creative” they say). My response has been that together we can be creative and I offer a simple solution. I have 25 completed works hanging in my hallway. When I have more time I want to find a community space for them.
I had been considering how to join them together, and they were beginning to add up in piles in my studio. It was left unresolved until I worked on this project. I had rejected stitching them together on the reverse side due to  my own time constraints. A pack of brightly coloured paperclips was a simple solution and I joined rows of several CD weaving’s together quickly. I like simple solutions sometimes, I also like the way they hang, move and change with the light. Everyone who visits my home are intrigued and want to ‘have a go’.


cds paperclips
2.3b.1 paperclips



For the sample 2.3b.2 above: I have cut paper from a diary page and created concave and convex shapes, which I then stitched together. This a quick and simple sample and I gave it little thought. There are obvious limitations to using such fragile material and it is likely to get damaged. I could glue it onto a surface and cover it in pva glue to retain the shapes. I could also use the idea with other materials like card, painted pelmet viline or felt, or perhaps balsa wood to create a stronger surface.

For the above sample I reused sample 2.3a.2. I added small convex objects and stitched them into the mount-board. As I worked I thought it may have been useful to have marked the mount-board first with intended holes before  stitching. Also the knot of thread came straight through the board. I stitched a piece of fabric to the reverse, then I decided to glue it down as it kept moving about. However this did not help, as I pierced the mount-board from the back it didn’t always match up with the mark at the front. I have left unintentional pin hole marks on the board. I don’t feel this is a particularly good sample, but I have learned  what can and cannot be done with certain materials. This is one aspect of making samples, to experiment.
For the sample 2.3b.4 I collected plastic tubes of varying widths  and lengths and drilled holes through each end. I joined them together using aluminum wire, along with beads and tubes from discarded jewellery to create varying gaps. I like this piece and have looked around my house and my husbands workshop for more plastic tubing. For sample 2.3b.5 I used cut slices of narrow plastic tube threaded through aluminum wire to create gaps, The curve in the narrow plastic tube has created interesting distortions, there is a lot of movement in this piece. There is a possibility here for a wrapping experiment, which would give the piece more rigidity, texture and interest.  It has the potential for further development.
Ex 3c : Joining Curved edges that both touch & leave gaps
I enjoyed the process of discovery for this project. I have been talking to Stone Balance artist and photographer, Matthew William Scott, who lives in Lanzarote.  (I have interviewed him (see interviews above), because he was one of the exhibitors in a collective exhibition I helped to curate. There is a delicate art to his work, with balances and counter balances, where curved edges meet and also leave gaps. Occasionally the stone balances do not last longer than it takes to photograph them, but I am intrigued by the question of having curved edges that both touch and leave gaps.
Stone balances are a feature on the island, people build them as land boundaries, for fun, as a memorial to a deceased animal, or just artists simply unable to help themselves to all the wonderful stone shapes laying about begging to be made into a sculpture.  Sample 2.3c.1 was my first attempt to build my own stone balancing sculpture in my garden using volcanic stone and beach finds. It does not have the elegance of Matthews work and it is difficult to view where the curves touch and leave gaps. However even the strong winds of Lanzarote and the winter rain lashing down did not dislodge it. My cat found its weak point when she decided to use the wood as a scratching post, even so, it wobbled a little without any of the stones being dislodged.
Matthew William Scott Stone Balancing
Matthew William Scott: Stone Balance Artist
3. Stone balance
2. 3c.1 Stone balance


2.3c.2 I sketched the sculpture in my sketchbook
2.3c.3 I created different stone balances in the garden with smooth, sea washed volcanic stones brought home from a beach walk. The nature of the gap is minimal and fragile and could be knocked over by the wind or being touched. I used a strong glue to bond the curved edges permanently.
Sea washed stones
2.3c.3 Sea washed stone balance
2.3c.4a and 2.3c.4b. Using water-colour paints, I created more sketchbook work on an inexpensive 110g paper. In 2.3.7a I used fine text to suggest shadows. to be truthful, I was a little disappointed with the murky, blending that occurred, I can redo this at some point making more of the light and dark contrasts on watercolor paper. I did quite like the second sketch and would love to rework it on quality textured paper on a much bigger scale, making more of showing the gaps.
stone balance sketch
2.3c.4a watercolor
Sample 2.3c.5. There is a harmonious quality to these stone balances, that I can’t fully articulate. So much so, that I took my crochet needle and created soft textures for these hard looking stones, wrapping and joining these beautiful contours. There is something figurative about these little balances, I can see a lower body, torso and head, like a little goddess figurine. However my crochet skills need more practice.
crochet stone
2.3c.5 crocheted stone


1* Matthew William Scott: Stone Balance Artist, my interview and discussions with him

Pt 2: Project 1: Joining: Ex 1-2

There are a lot of samples to be made in this investigation on joining. There are a total of 5 exercises related to joining various surfaces together. For this reason this post deals with the first two, exercises 1 and 2. That is, the samples and commentary about joining straight flush edges together  and also joining straight edges with a gap.

I felt a real sense of excitement about this project, I am very much enjoying new lines of artistic inquiry. Sometimes I feel out of my comfort zone but I am learning so many new processes, using different materials and following a whole galaxy of exciting ideas and artists.

At the time of creating some of these samples I was on holiday for a month, in the UK, away from my art studio and tools. I used unsophisticated materials like paper and felt that were easy to access. I also took advantage of British Libraries and spent a lot of time on research as well as visiting artists studios and a September art trail in North Wales.  I can never quite leave the itch to investigate art related events, attend workshops, exhibitions or meet other artists. Apart from socialising and family time, other interests have faded into insignificance. I rarely watch television, read newspapers or main-stream women’s magazines. I have far too much to read in the world of art and archaeology. Perhaps third in line is science literature or listening to TED lectures and talks.

Materials for these samples were found easily by visiting a rural ironmongers,  stationary shops, the haberdashery and the use of recycled and found materials.
I gathered together rivets, crushed bottle tops, ring pulls, cartons, (cleaned opened out & cut to shape), an A3 sketchbook, acrylic paint, torn fabric strips, glue, masking tape, tomato puree tubes, pipe cleaners, assorted metal shapes, fishing wire, paper yarn, raffia, safety pins, staples, sellotape, crochet thread, plastic coated wire, fine cotton thread, plant fibers, different gauges of wire.
I had been looking at the work of Jennifer Davies (1*) who works in various media, but I particularly liked her handmade paper subjects, especially the scrolls, which are all joined together with stitch and glue. It looks seemingly haphazard, but the whole gives a very pleasing, yet fragile effect.
12-051 Jennifer Davies
Jennifer Davies
Exercise 1: Straight Edges joined to Straight Edges
I revisited the work I did at Gwen Hedley`s workshop (Contemporary Kente) whilst participating in an earlier level one course, A Creative Approach To Textiles with the Open College of Arts. I reminded myself of the various process I had used  using fabric & stitch  as well as using wrapping techniques. I called my piece Spanish Mafia Wedding, the colourways were very different than any of the other participants on the course,  with their muted blues, browns and ivories. This course had also been my first introduction to contemporary embroidery and it changed the way I though and worked with embroidery for ever. I deleted from my mind tidy rows of perfect stitches on anti-macassars on my mother’s chair and sofa backs.
spanish mafia wedding
Spanish Mafia Wedding

Sample 2.1.1a : I clipped tiny holes with a punch using two pieces of strong handmade paper. Next I used button hole stitch along the two edges to be joined to give it extra strength, & then I joined the two resulting edges with a contrasting coloured thread using ladder stitch. The result was a sturdy and malleable surface and could be further embellished, or other surfaces attached to it if I chose to do so.

paper and stitch
2.1.1a and 2.1.1b

Sample 2.1.1b: I reinforced a smaller piece of the same handmade paper using interfacing to make it stronger and joined it to the first sample with safety pins.

Sample 2.1.2a: I took a vintage printed fabric and cut straight through the printed pattern in three places. I then joined the two edges together with ladder stitch using a thick thread without reinforcing the fabric or strengthening the edges with anything other than paper underneath, so in effect the surface is likely to fray. Later I thought I could add an iron-on fabric stabliser to the reverse to make it stronger. I liked the sample because it had added an interesting texture to the surface.
IMG_0037 copy
2. 1.2a fabric and stitch
Sample 2.1.3a: Two pale brown felt pieces were cut straight across at the edges, I stitched them back together with a variety of cross stitches in different weight threads and outlined the area with small black straight stitches in an effort to show that the join was almost invisible. I did not like the sample, except for the simplicity of the join. I added more joined edges embellishments to make it look more interesting.
brown felt
Samples 2.1.3a – 2.1.3d
Sample 2.1.3b: I took the sample 2.1.3a above and added a dark felt piece using a pair of  hook & eyes meant for skirt waistbands, joining them using large French knots in an attempt to make it look decorative rather than ugly stitching. I wanted to expose the hooks rather than use them in the more traditional way of hiding them. The two techniques were simple, but I didn’t like the sample. I wanted to create something on a much bigger scale and use the idea on a different medium. I had no desire to keep adding embellishments to make any more of the work. What I have learned is that even a ‘poor’ sample can be a jumping board for another idea. The second sample should really be in the category below under ‘joining edges with a gap’ and also ‘joining overlapping edges’ using studs.
Sample 2.1.3c. Using the same felt sample I joined two straight edges using metal studs.
Sample 2.1.3d – I used Kantha stitch to join two edges.
Sample 2.1.4: A piece of brown organza was joined with an iron-on webbing to a piece of scrim between two sheets of baking parchment. The invisible webbing partly melted in the centre, where perhaps I had held the iron too long. I feel this sample has potential for more work, despite the fragility of the materials and the melting effect. I like the concept of Wabi Sabi and the idea of mending old or worn sufaces, making them beautiful in the process. This fragile piece may be the perfect opportunity at a later date.
organza & scrim
2.1.4 organza & scrim
Sample 2.1.5a & 2.1.5b: For these samples I painted paper in my sketchbook in acrylic paints, then tore it into four pieces lengthwise and rejoined with stitches using household string, some areas were reinforced by masking tape. I liked the contrasting different size holes and large stitches. I thought more about presentation as I worked on these samples, and these can be sent in the post to my tutor or for assessment in a flat format. I am also planning to join wood samples on my return to Spain with this method.
2.1.5a & 2.1.5b paper


2.1.6a  zipper

2.1.6 a This is the front cover of my sketchbook, which I tore in half then joined it back together with a large zipper. The top and bottom part of the zipper remained exposed with a small gap and I used bold red stitches to draw attention to this. The reverse was rather unstable and capable of being destroyed by too much use. I  glued a strip of fine scrim on the surface, this was a mistake and the glue was exposed and looked ugly. I  used a thick strip of tape (2.1.6b) instead to make the surface strong and also to have a bold contrast to the prosaic looking brown sketchbook cover.

2.1.7a I took a paper insert from a discarded CD and tore it in half, then stapled it back together. The fragility of this idea was obvious and there was a lot of movement in the paper, that could potentially destroy the piece if there was much handling.  I was attracted to the novelty of using staples and I liked the texture. I used two different size staplers. I was feeling a sense of excitement with these shiny metal staples in different sizes and wanted to experiment more with this material.
2.1.7a & 2.1.7b staples


Sample 2.1.7b: I added a different torn paper CD  insert to the edges of the sample 2.1.7a. I used masking tape on the reverse to create a more solid structure. I also liked how the two disparate pieces worked well together. The  top and bottom pieces were images of skiers on a ski slope, yet they looked like Ermine on a royal cloak. I liked the extra strength created by the masking tape so much I explored more with this idea.
2.1.7c joined by staples

Sample 2.1. 7c: I carried on being playful with the staples, and I cut many level slices into sturdy paper from a shiny brochure, the paper was stronger than the CD inserts. On the reverse I used masking tape to put the slices back together.  I used a stapler to heavily staple all the slices. I really liked the texture this was creating as well as the sheen of the metal in the staples and decided  I wanted to explore this idea further with printable fabric. I have opened up a new direction with the use of staples and I have yet to exploit its full potential. These samples are also flat pieces of work that can be presented in my sketchbook. I had also investigated and researched artists who used staples in their work.

French Sculptor Baptiste Debombourg (2*) creates detailed art on white board that needs to be viewed up close to appreciate that he is uses staples as an art material. From a distance his work looks like fine sketches in pencil.  Debombourg took 75 hours and used 35,000 staples to create two pieces of art,  Air Force One and Air Force Two.  Debombourg wanted to play with the ideas using the guise of engraving and to  make a comment about contemporary aggression. He uses Italian Mannerism as his inspiration.

Baptiste Debombourg
Baptiste Debombourg: staples
Baptiste Debombourg: close up
Ex 2: Straight Edges joined to Straight Edges leaving a gap
Sample 2.2.1: Dyed felt pieces were stitched together leaving a gap, using a variety of embroidery stitches in different weights. I overlaid stitches on top of each other, some stitches employed sequins, in effect the gap in some cases is barely noticeable. This gap idea with stitches could be exploited on other materials and I wish that I had more time to play with hand made papers, slices of ply wood with holes drilled into it, or  plastic piping.
My husband has felled a tree in our garden and there is a large part of the trunk remaining. I asked him tentatively how difficult it would be to cut it into quarters, vertically. (He said he would need to borrow a chainsaw, but was not put off by my query! I asked  him to lift it and place it vertically in the ground to examine it more thoroughly). I could foresee a large sculpture ‘stitched’ together with plastic washing line, but that would be a massive amount of collaborative work and perhaps only photographed for my coursework, with no hope of my tutor or an assessor viewing all the hard work. There would only be myself, husband and visitors to the garden to enjoy it. But I like thinking big. And the ideas have sprung from creating these small samples. When I have more spare time I will create the sculpture, collaboratively with my husband,  just for pleasure.
Blue felt
2.2.1 Blue felt
2.2.2  paperclips and stitch

Sample 2.2.2: Using a piece of yellow damask and pale blue felt, I joined the felt with bold red paperclips and joined the pieces together with a matching red running stitch. I very much liked the colour drama, crude running stitches and shiny paperclips on matt foundations. I would love to rework this on a number of colour variations and on a larger scale

There are far more ideas I would like to explore…. but with a time limit to work through the coursework,  I am taking this sample-making too far. The way my mind  works, and the wonderful ideas springing from the samples, I would need a year to complete this section!
2.2.3: Hessian painted & marked with symbols from prehistoric rock art  joined with plant fibers, sharpened match sticks, knotted string and household string cross stitches. I added the petroglyph imagery onto eco-dyed cloth using Free Machine Embroidery that I had made last year. There is a need in me work to reach some conclusions, to finish things and these two disparate pieces seem to have all the right ingredients. All this sampling that I am doing is driving me to marry current and previous work. I cannot resist the urge. Its like cutting of my air supply if I don’t follow it.
balsa wood
2.2.4 Balsa wood and ribbon

2.2.4 I used plastic samples that I had fused in an earlier module of this course and joined them together with slices of balsa wood joined with metal studs.

plastic wood
2.2.5 Balsa wood, fused plastic, metal studs


Part Two: Joining and Wrapping Research

This part of the coursework explores methods of joining two or more pieces together. The second element is to consider joining objects with the additional method of wrapping. This project will encourage and provoke different ideas and methods to develop these two concepts into a shape or object. 
The two projects in this section help the student to both acquire new skills, as well as re-visit old skills  & techniques learned in previous modules. In my earlier module – A Creative Approach to Textiles, fabric manipulation introduced me to the idea of taking a flat object, like a piece of organza and rendering it into 2 & 3 D formats.  In the example below I wrapped strips of organza and wound and then stitched them into a vessel shape.
Diane Lawton: 3D Devotional vessel
Diane Lawton: 3D Devotional vessel
This Joining & Wrapping module, will also deepen our knowledge base about the  creation of three dimensional structures as well as develop our research about artists, designers & makers who use either of these skills in their work.
I will continue to research other artists &  their processes, create samples of my own with a personal edge, sort my work with a more skilled eye, develop my skills  with colourways & technique as well as record & reflect on my outcomes.
I also feel that visiting art exhibitions and meeting other artists is a crucial part of the learning process. During September in the UK, just prior to beginning this module I viewed the work of an undergraduate Fine Art Degree program and talked to the students and interviewed them for this blog post.
I also visited working artists in their studios and learned about their processes and inspiration. It was such a valuable resource, that I have created a short study of the undergraduates and the working artists, with images of their work in a separate post under ‘Exhibitions’, which can be viewed at the top of the blog home page.
I need a linguistic starting point for the word  ‘join’ because it is so wide and universal. Everything I look at is joined in some way to another idea or object, and the more I look at the world around me, the more I see joins and connections between disparate objects and things everywhere.
A dictionary definition:To join; a verb

  • to bring in contact, connect, or bring or put together: to join hands; to join pages with …. a staple, stitches etc
  • to come into contact or union with: The brook joins the river.
  • to bring together in a particular relation or for a specific purpose, action, etc.; unite: to join forces
  • to become a member of (an organization, party, etc.): to join a club.
  • to enlist in (one of the armed forces): to join the Navy
  • to come into the company of; meet or accompany: “I’ll join you later”
  • to participate with (someone) in some act or activity: ie My wife joins me in thanking you for the gift.
  • Join: verb (used without object)
    1.  to come into or be in contact or connection:
    2.  to become united, associated, or combined; associate or ally oneself; participate (usually followed by ‘with’): Please join with us in our campaign. 
    3. to take part with others (often followed by the words ‘in’): Let’s all join in
    4. to be contiguous or close; lie or come together; form a junction : Our farms join along the river
    5. to enlist in one of the armed forces (often followed by the word ‘up’): He joined up to fight for his country
    6. to meet in battle or conflict.
    Origin of join
    1250-1300; Middle English joinen < Old French joign- (stem of joindre to join) < Latin jungere to yoke1, join
    With those helpful words provoking my response to this exercise, I am reminded that Part Two, Project 1 (joining)  is to create a number of samples and then assess them for their aesthetic potential and structural capabilities.
    For this project, I am required to:
    • join straight flushed edged surfaces of objects
    • join straight edged surfaces with a gap
    • joining curved edges
    • join overlapping edges
    • create joins that form corners and angles
    The format for approaching the work is the same as in Part One. That is:
    Research: (artists, designers and makers)
    Sample Making: ( how the practical investigative process informs my personal work)
    Recording Outcomes: (thinking about placement, colour, structure, comparing and contrasting, my conclusions)
    Sorting: looking at samples that stand out, don’t work, have my personal voice, offer potential for further work or development, reflection
    Artists I have studied:
    Gwen Hedley
    I met Gwen Hedley(*2) at a workshop at Art Van Go in Knebworth, Hertfordshire for an embroidery class called Contemporary Kente. She used the broad idea of African wax cloth, (historically woven strips of fabric created on portable looms & then the separate pieces joined together to create new lengths of fabric). Her piece below epitomizes her artful approach to embroidery and particularly joining. This reminds me of some ancient burial goods from an archaeological dig.
    Gwen Hedley: Relics Series
    It was the first time I had met contemporary embroiderers and the experience moved my ideas of working with threads exponentially. Gwen provoked us to use a number of mediums to join one piece of cloth to another such as using sticks, cubes of plastic, straws, or wrapped objects, using our broad base of 3 different colours of fabric. She didn’t realise it, but her class woke me from the dread of stitching school samplers on embroidery hoops. The work we experimented with at that workshop was mostly joining disparate pieces of fabric & objects together using a variety of techniques & materials. That earlier work will undoubtedly inform this project.
    I bought her book DRAWN TO STITCH: which helps students uncover their process for drawing as a basis for their creative work.  Many students are hesitant of putting pencil to paper. This book gently leads the reader into building their confidence with a range of mark making, using a number of tools & materials, before making the leap into making & stitching their own pieces. I also bought her earlier book, SURFACES FOR STITCH which explores the basic materials for exploring any surface for the experimental embroiderer.
    I adore her piece above using found objects, complimentary rust colours and dramatic shapes. She has used a number of wrapping and joining techniques. There is something of an ancient icon about this piece with all its miniature wrappings, that resonates in my ‘search for the sacred’. I searched in my husbands dustbin in his workshop for rusty screws and odd bits of wood and metal.
    At her workshop, having brought brightly coloured fabric ( she had requested participants to bring three different colours). I had chosen black, red & white, influenced by the carnival culture in Spain. I noted with an initial feeling of inadequacy that many students had brought muted blues, beige’s, whites & ivories. I called my sample ‘Spanish Mafia Wedding’ & after the class, she told me to continue to be daring with colour.I have come along way since that class.
    Diane Lawton: Spanish Mafia Wedding
    Diane Lawton: Spanish Mafia Wedding
     Gwen Hedley is a member of The Textiles Study Group. (TSG) based in the UK. It has evolved  into an international group of  textile artists and tutors. They practice innovative approaches to art practice and contemporary teaching, with workshops, publications and exhibitions. Gwen  has been exhibiting her work in the UK since 1994. Her methods of networking and finding outlets for exhibiting have encouraged me to be more proactive in becoming part of the art community and to be open to invitations to exhibit my work.
    Barbara Cotterell 1*
    Mixed Media artist, Barbara has a BA Hons in Art in the Community as well as a Diploma in Stitched Textiles. She regularly exhibits as part of the group known as Material Space. Barbara is also one of the 50 artists featured in the book 3D Mixed Media Textile Art. I love her innovated work and the interaction she sometimes creates with the viewing public.

    Babara works mostly with salvaged materials & uses subtle changes of repeat images to make cloth-like work. She likes to raise awareness of our collective responsibility and impact upon the environment.  She  has a preference for working with found materials, especially from the scrap yard and does her best ‘….not to buy anything new….’

    “Being around familiar objects always gets me thinking about what I can do with them. Manipulating materials, finding out how they behave individually, how they perform as a group, what kind of fastening works. Everything is about repetition, the similar but slightly changing unit. Like my mother’s sewing it is overall very neat but on inspection wonderfully untidy.”
    Babara Cottrell  – Lens
    Her work rests on three principles which I rather admire;
    1. reusing and recycling
    2. producing work with a cloth-like quality
    3. repetition of patterns

    Susan Lenz

    Susan Lenz: Keys
    Susan Lenz: Keys

    One of the reasons I admire this artist, (an American from German descendants),  is that her work uses simplicity, like needle and thread, recycled materials, vintage fabrics and the discarded. She also uses Free Motion Embroidery to express some of her work.  I like her references to time and memory. And maybe because she has an interest in the ancient with her BA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, I am drawn to her philosophy.

    My spiral, susan lenz
    Susan Lenz- spirals

    Damian Ortega (3 & 4*)

    I chose to study Damian’s work because he provokes me to ‘think outside the box’, he is an artist outside of the Textile field, and  can offer a different perspective. Mexican artist Ortega is considered one of Artsys 10 most popular living sculptures, he uses every day objects like bricks, volcanic stones or old tools and provokes his audience to look at them in a different way. In one case he dismantled a Volkswagen Beetle (Cosmic Thing) &  the resulting parts were suspended in the air, only joined by fine wires. The order of the dismantled parts almost look like a technical drawing ….. Iconic and boyish. He offers  fascinating glimpses into his structures, some with the ability to walk through and touch the work. His ideas provoked me to consider deconstructing a simple structure like and old watch or a non functioning fuse box and then re-join the parts together with fisherman’s wire.
    Ortega started life as a political cartoonist and his wit and  commentary on our consumer culture continues to motivate his work with his installations, sculptures, performance and videos. I particularly liked the way that in Nine types of Terrain (2007) he took house bricks and stood them upright in a circle, at the touch of a hand they were all knocked over with a domino effect and subsequently joined to each other in the process. He repeated this idea in a number of formations. His work has made me question my own motivations towards a personal approach to my work. I am beginning to see that environmental concerns and the use of waste materials will inform my own working methods.
    Damian Ortega: White Cube
    Damian Ortega: Nine Types of Terrain (2007)
    In Lanzarote I met up with Swiss born, environmental artist Tobias Heeb of who uses waste materials joined together, from beach clean-ups of our small Atlantic washed island. He was subsequently invited to display one of his many works ‘Whale Tales’ that uses plastic waste, washed up out of the ocean, at an exhibition I was helping to curate. His work is reminiscent of Romuald Hazoumè who’s work I saw in an exhibition in Llandudno in 2011, who uses the diatrius of African culture to create art and give it back to the west.
    Tobias Heeb, environmental artist

    During my work for the wrapping experiments, it has been an exciting time in Lanzarote where I live. Jason de Caires Taylor (*6), sculptor and award winning photographer, has been on the island for some months creating figures wrapped in marine-safe cement bandages. Some of my art friends have been ‘wrapped’ along with wrappings of local plant life, as well as the typical children’s boats (bolataroes) made from old tin drums. With two straws put up your nose during the wrapping, I desisted. Otherwise I would love to have been a model and wrapped with my image in perpetuity at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

    All his wrapped figures have been on view in the Museum of Contemporary International Art (MIAC) in the old castle in Arrecife. Some of the images below are my own, the others are used with permission from the artist. All the wrappings are soon to be placed in the ocean  off the coast of Playa Blanca (March 2016). This will help create a coral marine-scape and anyone is free to dive and visit the marine sculptures. Taylor’s first marine scape  was created in 2006 and is located in Grenada in the West Indies. It is described by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World.


    Photographs used with permission of Jason deCaires Taylor

    Textile artist Ali Ferguson’s work has come to my attention from reading the book 3D Mixed Media Textile Art (1*). I contacted her to get permission to use some of her images and now I see her work in progress and images on Facebook. Her work is very distinctive and I like the way each of her pieces has its own unique narrative and identity. Some of her canvases are joined by drilling many holes and stitching them together in an intriguing display with other added found objects that enhance the whole piece. Her materials can be printed fabrics, old letters, recipes or vintage odds and ends. In building her work in many layers… ” it reflects how lives are a series of layers with everything that has gone before affecting everything that happens after”.

    ali ferguson
    with permission of Ali Ferguson


    Refs :
    1* 3D Mixed Media Textile Art
    2* Gwen Hedley: My workshop with her and her website
    3*The Twenty First Century Art Book, PhaidBon Press, 2014. ISBN978 O7148 6739 7

    6* Underwater sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor

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