3.2; More Sampling: Using a Heat Gun

SAMPLE 3.2.5

Next, I stitched several layers of different coloured organza to a base of muslin (for stability). I used a random branch like pattern to produce jagged lines across the surface.


I was surprised that the organza shrank and gathered, I was only expecting it to melt. It deteriorates very quickly, revealing the layers beneath. The visual appearance is soft and fuzzy but the edges feel crunchy and slightly stiff suggesting solidity.

I found it useful to pair some of the images I took of the samples with some of the photographs I have been taking of trees. This has really helped consolidate my thinking and helped me to understand where all this might be leading.

SAMPLE 3.2.6

These samples could almost be dismissed as a bit of lighthearted fun! I’m not sure that they relate to the rest of the work I have been producing? The coursenotes say to include things, even when they don’t work out so….


It was certainly exciting to watch these flowers ‘bloom’, maybe I should have videoed it and called it performance art! The strange shapes are peculiar and twisted and catch the light… perhaps I should hang them from trees?

These were also good fun- to begin with. Having made one, the novelty soon wore off! I had an idea to make a really long spiral wrapped around a broom handle. At that scale an assistant was required: my husband held the broom and slowly rotated it, while I held the heat gun in once place until I saw movement. It was a freezing cold January evening, we were stood next to the open kitchen door to ward off fumes. Suddenly, at exactly the same moment, about a third of the way down the broom handle, we both realised how ridiculous it was and laughed (a bit hysterically, in my case at least). It was going to take forever! I’m afraid the result was just not worth the effort in this case!

SAMPLE 3.2.7 (a) (b)

I like to incorporate knitting into my work because it reminds me how my love of textiles began. I made some yarn from a plastic bag and combined it with a textural cotton DK and Kid Silk Merino. The bag I used was of the ‘Bag for Life’ variety for strength.

The resulting swatch looked great. The warm orange and cool red balanced well. The textures were complimentary, smooth, fuzzy and lumpy. 

It also felt really nice, the photo above right shows me scrunching it. It was crunchy, yet soft. Springy, bouncy and really quite thick.


I shrank the surface with a heat gun (I left an area to the right to compare before/after). The biggest difference was to the overall size: it shrank quite a lot, the stitches actually pulled together, closing the gauge. This meant it became stiff and solid. Another thing I noticed is that the orange has deepened in colour, it is now no longer brighter in value than the red/purple, as a result they sit together even better than before. This makes the white stand out more, it is making some irregular loops across the surface that I find interesting to follow.

I was so taken with this sample, I had to produce another. I changed to a green/blue palette in similar materials adding some metallic DMC embroidery floss for shimmer. I wanted a more open piece so using the same size needle I knitted in moss stitch.

This time the swatch felt much more floppy. A combination of a change in stitch and a much thinner bag meant it was much less stable. I assumed this would mean even greater shrinkage.


Actually, the stitches barely pulled together at all. I was actually afraid to heat it any more in case the plastic disappeared completely. There was very little change in the size of the swatch after heating. The green plastic merely shriveled up, receding into the background, luckily it remained high value so still retained its presence. It is no where near as stiff as the first sample  In fact it still has enough drape to be considered wearable.

The inclusion of the metallic thread worked well, the overall effect is like blades of grass poking through a hard frost, to emphasise this I added a few sequins.

I feel really inspired by these last two samples, there are a great many combinations of thread, form and embellishments I want to try…. unfortunately I must move onto the next exercise!

I am sad to be leaving plastics. I didn’t think I would find anything for ‘me’ in 3.1 and 3.2, but I am really happy to have proved myself wrong!



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