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.
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.
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.
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.
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.