2.4; More Sampling: Cutting Holes

SAMPLE 2.4.4 (a) (b)

After the success of viewing the previous sample’s holes through a layer of tissue paper, I decided to explore covering a cardboard hole with a diaphanous material. For sample (a) I mounted the cardboard cut-out onto a base layer and adhered small pieces of tissue paper to it. The effect was disastrous! There was no definition and the motif was almost unrecognisable. I mixed purple acrylic paint with PVA glue and flooded the indentation.


I was so frustrated by the results of this process that I put (threw) it in the garden to dry. I wondered if the relief was too shallow? A week later, when I retrieved the sample and photographed it to include as evidence of failure, I found my feelings about it had changed. It doesn’t look nearly as bad now it’s dry (apart from the addition of dirt, dog hairs and sawdust!) Where the tissue paper had become very wet it has ruched and crinkled, the PVA/acyrlic mix has left it shiny. This texture is definitely something I could work with.

Not having learned my lesson about the relief being too shallow, I next tried layering sheets of the pre-cut waste. I was expecting a textural surface made up of tiny abstract shapes, something similar to a Maud Vantour’s geometric design. I was sadly very disappointed.

It obviously takes a great more skill and planning to create a Vantour’s style landscape! Even covering the surface with lovely lustrous Lumiere Textile Paint couldn’t enhance my result. Having said that I have a feeling that this sample is more of a starting point than a finished product, the addition of stitch or other embellishment could improve it.

SAMPLE 2.4.5

I guessed that the materials I was using were not thick enough to achieve the result I wanted. Sticking with the distortion theme, I had thought to cut holes in wool at the pre-felt stage and observe the changes: as wool felts it shrinks and the holes become bigger. Given that I already knew what would happen, I decided in a moment of madness, I would try the same experiment with salt dough.

The results from the salt dough are much as what you would expect. I had thought that if I cut shapes from a thick dough and then rolled it out further, the holes would grow and distort, as they would in felt. I discovered that actually they close up on themselves; I think I rolled too hard and the dough stuck to the surface (I’m not much of a pastry chef!)

Again, I found when I returned to the samples to record them, I learned something new. This time as I photographed one of them in front of the light, I noticed the way light shone through the thinnest layers; the flower motifs seem to glow and I began to appreciate the subtle grainy texture of I had previously considered a very smooth surface.


This observation of the slight grainy texture, inspired me to try to recreate it in my sketchbook. I used watercolour pencils and while the paint was still wet I ground some rock salt over the surface.


Starting on a yellow background produces a similar effect to the sample itself. I seem to have captured some of the glow and sparkle. The benefit of reproducing the texture in this way is that it doesn’t have the same weight as the original sample, which was rather heavy and clumsy.

On white paper the effect is more subtle. Paint pools around the coarsely ground salt and changes the way it dries, creating a mottled effect. I really liked the salt remaining on the paper (pictured left) as it provides a tactile surface that looks as delicate as it is rough. I brushed the salt away (right) because I felt it would eventually come off through handle and wear and I would rather be in control of this. The result still rather exciting, although not as pronounced. The effect is rather like an accidental spillage, suggesting the passage of time as it dried staining and spoiling the surface. Alternatively it could be viewed as a growth, multiplying and spreading.

Searching for yet another way to record the texture of the salt dough led me to apply some brusho to abaca paper.

These surfaces are characteristic of the type of painterly textiles my previous tutor identified during my previous course. His advice was that I combine this:

“very quick aggressive mark-making, with the delicate nature of your stitch”

I love this sample, it is wild and capricious yet tamed by areas of delicate french knots. I tried not to be too meticulous in the way I formed the knots, fearing this would negate the playfulness. I am left wondering: Is this response predictable? Is it a cliche? Or is it me I recognise in this recording?

SAMPLE 2.4.6

I have been carrying an image in my head of a piece by ElizabethBrimelow- Page 167 Kettle and McKeating, Machine Stitch Perspectives (2010) A&C Black. You can view other examples of her quilts here (Sole Bay is very similar to Blackshore and Shingle One). The piece fills me with excitement and curiosity. I want to keep looking at it, each time I do I discover something new. The regularity is pleasing but it is matched with a sense of exploration, of informality and imperfection.

This sample is my response to her work. I made several thin paper tubes and punched holes along their length. Restricting the palette to white meant I was able to observe the relationships between the holes in different layers.

I like the solidity of the sample created by the tubes, it is surprisingly strong. The holes provide glimpses of the ones beneath and then of the background behind. It is interesting that your view changes, sometimes you see the insides, sometimes all the way through. There are many tonal differences across the sample.

I had planned to thread yarns and fabrics of a variety of colour and texture along the lengths, meaning each hole would reveal something different. It proved impossible to pass anything other than a pipe cleaner down the tubes because of the rigidity of the paper, reinforced by the double-sided tape I secured them together with.


Stitches added detracted from the transparency the holes provided. I abandoned this line of thinking and chose instead to investigate coloured tubes.


My favourite combination of coloured papers was the complimentary blue and orange pairing. Before forming the tube I noticed the lozenge shapes inside, created by light pouring in through the single row of holes above. I love the way they seem to dance with joy inside the containment of the tube.


This effect reminded me of Josef Albers: Interaction of Colour, in Chapter 4 he challenges his students to find a colour that suggests the deception of transparency where two colours overlap. I explored this by trying to record the effect within the tube using gouache paint.

I’m sure my painting has many technical faults, but I am pleased with the results. The section of lozenges do seem to shimmer and glow, once again I am forced to appreciate the role of light and shadow upon the sample, without it the tube is merely one shade of orange.

The two individual holes I painted make quite exciting motifs by themselves. They have a retro appeal like 1970’s wallpaper! I could imagine using these as a starting point for a print or repeating pattern



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