This exercise looks at wrapping, binding, interlacing and criss-crossing threads within a frame.
During my research for this exercise I came across the work of:
Maryrose Watson: the link to the website with images of her work is here.
Maryrose graduated in Textile Design from Chelsea School of Art in 2010.
She makes wrapped wall pieces; she wraps, overlaps and intersects yarns around a frame.
The frames are an important part of her work, they have to be strong to withstand the tension that the threads will put them under. The frame is like "the skeleton in relation to the body and clothing."
The thread she uses is made from viscose rayon and is highly reflective. The reflective surface means that the piece will "react with light to create a constantly changing visual experience, intensified as the observer moves around the work." You can see the effect the light has on the threads in these two images of the same piece: This image is from "Urban Landscape Series 2" Design 1 and this is the detail from it link. You can see that the green threads appear lighter or darker depending on the angle the photo of the work is taken.
In this exercise we are asked to make a frame and then to wrap and bind the work - Maryrose "works off loom, laying both the warp and the weft simultaneously, wrapping yarn directly around a frame structure. By applying my own mathematical formulae to the intersecting layers of yarn, geometric forms emerge." The different ways the threads intersect causes ovals, circles and diamonds to form, this is an image of "Series 2: Circle 2" link, this is an image of "Urban Series 1: Oval, Square, Diamond" link.
She states that her work is "concerned with challenging established concepts of weave." I think she truly has.
Information and quotes are from Maryrose Watson's website:
the quotes also feature in:
Selvedge Issue 48: "String Section - Liz Hoggard unravels the work of Maryrose Watson" pg 68-70
I wasn't sure initially where to start, the instructions stated:
Decide on a shape: a square, rectangle, triangle or anything else. Use more rigid materials to form the outline of the shape so that you have a frame. Find a way of joining the ends, so the shape is firm and stable.
Once that is made you can wrap, bind, interlace or criss-cross threads between the frame.
I also had to think of the effect of light and space between the yarns, threads or other materials.
I did some research on the Internet and looked at some of the other student's blogs.
I also looked at macrame techniques for the types of different knots that could be used, and ways of tying the threads to the frame.
My first sample was a dreamcatcher, this would involve making a frame, attaching threads to it and some knotting techniques.
I followed the instructions on this website - they were very simple and easy to follow.
The frame that is required for a dreamcatcher has to be round in shape. I decided to use a lid from a plastic tub, cutting out a 'hole' in the middle.
This was then wrapped with a strip of fabric, which made the frame more stable.
I chose to use a variegated crochet cotton to make the web - this has a sheen, is smooth and will allow the light to shine through.
The finished sample:
The holes in the web get smaller as you move towards the centre - the pattern becomes denser.
The variegated threads allow the web to have areas of bright, light yellow and areas where it is darker and almost orange in colour.
It has a dynamic pattern - although your eye is drawn to the centre of the design, the lines spiral outwards distracting the eye.
Weaving with sticks: another simple idea with great instructions from this website.
I used a variegated yellow thread, two colours together (yellow/lilac) and lilac thread.
The threads were wrapped around the sticks with no gaps showing through
|Wrapping and weaving with cocktail sticks|
I like the way the central cross stands proud of the background threads.
The background threads appear darker than the threads wrapped around the central sticks.
I know you can vary the way you wrap the thread around the sticks and this would vary the overall look of the wrapping - this is something I will try out later.
I took this photo in Bahrain, it resembles the woven and wrapped sticks. The picture is of a wooden carport roof.
I have a series of photos that I have labelled 'texture' pictures on my hard-drive, maybe it's time to print them out and put them in a sketchbook with annotations, an immediate reference for my work?
|A 'woven' wooden roof|
Having tried out some different techniques I knew that I wanted to play with light and the spacing of threads in a finished sample.
I started by joining skewers together using the technique above (weaving with sticks), I then carried on wrapping the threads along the length of each piece of wood.
Wrapping the wood gave the skewers a nice finish, but also allowed a surface that would 'grip' to any threads that would be wrapped, tied or bound onto them.
Initially I wanted to wind thinner machine embroidery threads across the frame - some areas would be dense with thread, other areas would have fewer threads.
Having tried this, the frame started to warp and buckle, as I wound more tightly, the frame started to shrink - I had to work out a plan to make the frame stronger.
The answer lay within the wrapped skewers - although the thread seemed densely wrapped, there was room for improvement. I pushed the threads tightly together, this made the finished area/frame, slightly smaller, but the frame was now much more stable.
|Wrapped bound and interlaced threads|
Now my frame was stable I decided to knot threads onto the frame - first along one edge, then along the second edge.
I also decided to use the same variegated yellow crochet cotton that I used to wrap the skewers with.
The threads were knotted closely together at one end, gradually increasing the spacing between the threads towards the other end.
Where the threads crossed, they were woven under and over the 'warp' threads.
|Close up of the threads knotted and woven on the skewers|
Once the threads were tied on and woven they eventually reached the opposite side - here I tied the ends off.
This left a 'fringe' - I didn't want to remove the threads - they added interest to the design.
These ends were then threaded with some copper beads and tied together.
|The 'fringe' knotted, beaded and tied together|
I also added a beaded braid which hangs down from the cross bar at the bottom of the frame.
The 'fringe' has been trimmed and a hanging loop has been added in the final piece (not photographed).
I am happy with the piece that I created, I was hoping to use more colours so that there would be a play with colour as well as light and space. But, for now, this is my finished sample
The variegated thread works - the subtle changes in colour add to the piece.
The spacing of the threads gives a feeling of depth.
The design comes forward and moves away from the eye when looking at the areas of density of threads, and the areas where the threads are more sparse.
I looked up 'string art' on the Internet, and a whole world of possibilities opened up.
I found these links:
This really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what could be achieved with threads and frames, there is the incredible "Letting Go" by HOT TEA, a sun of threads. This has got to be the most tactile installation, a piece of 'grass' to lie on underneath the hot sun. what a way to experience a piece of art.
There are other artists featured in this article who have all produced great work, but, the artist who really captured my imagination was Gabriel Dawe.
He is also featured on this website:
He has created a series of installations entitled "The Density of Light".
The link takes you to one of my favourite pieces "Plexus no.13"
This image shows you the installation and then close ups of the threads that interconnect.
I think in my mind this is what I would have liked to create on my very small wrapped frame - maybe it was lack of space and inspiration? (I think I have a long way to go before I can envisage work on the scale and excellence of Gabrielle Dawe!)
According to the bio:
Originally from Mexico city, Gabriel Dawe creates site-specific installations that explore the connection between fashion and architecture, and how they relate to the human need for shelter in all its shapes and forms. His work is centered on the exploration of textiles, aiming to examine the complicated construction of gender and identity in his native Mexico and attempting to subvert the notions of masculinity and machismo prevalent in the present day.I first saw this artists work on this blog:
This image really shows the work in a beautiful architectural space.
It is as if a rainbow appeared inside the building.
This has been a bit of a journey for me, initially I was thinking 1970's pin/string art and wondering how it was all relevant to textile art today.
Then the wonderful Selvedge magazine issued the article on Maryrose Watson and I was sold.
I think I have a long way to go though, these pieces require planning and certainly in Maryrose's case - an element of mathematics to make them work.