2.1; Considering Colour for Wrapping

I had some ribbon yarn which was hopeless for knitting but proved great for wrapping. It no longer seemed such an issue that the yarn insisted on twirling and coiling back on itself, in fact this made a really lovely texture around the spoon.

In a previous post, I talked about my experience working more intuitively, with my hands not my brain. I decided to apply this principle to drawing, the result feels fresh and energetic:


The scrunchy texture of the wrap reminded me of pot purri, not something I have ever desired, but none the less many people obviously do since a web search brought up innumerable images! It was really hard to find an image that contained the same colours as my sample. I found this a useful exercise since I was able to observe how different quantities of colour interact rather than just focussing on blocks of solid colour like in a paint chart.

I continued this colour research by using Adobe Colour Capture to pull palettes from photographs of my sample:

palette 3

palette 1

I wasn’t particularly inspired by either palette, although the first combination felt fresh, it was a bit saccharin sweet for me. The second, I decided, was too girly and rather unsophisticated. My son brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day and even after they past their best the colours and shapes were quite extraordinary:


palette 2

The palette I took from the dried out bouquet was much more to my taste. I think it is bolder that the previous selections because it is based on the complimentary pairing of red/green rather than being analogous. Since the flowers had aged, the colours have a desaturated, muted quality that reminds me of Autumn only in a different colourway. Some of the photographs I took featured my patio table and chairs, the concentric circles and divisions radiating from a central point reminded me of work done in Project One. I wondered how to combine, my ribbon wrapped spoon, the bouquet and the circles?

I added to the existing wrap, hoping to represent some of the colours and shapes I had identified in the bouquet. I think this was particular successful and I enjoyed making it. I was nice to be using stitch to secure areas of texture, adding a little at a time until I felt that I was done. Embroidering a 3-Dimensional object was rather a novelty but it felt good. I liked that I didn’t feel constrained by the boundary of an edge, I could navigate around the object; this allows the sample to be viewed from multiple angles.

I had a go at drawing the sample on the sewing machine. This was difficult, I think I was over ambitious with the size of the piece. I also failed to prepare the fabric effectively in advance, leading to much cockling. The biggest problem was not get the drawing right- I realised how much my hand and eye work independently of one another when I draw. I couldn’t replicate this and watch my fingers under the needle (yes, I did have a free motion foot on, but I am still incredibly clumsy!)

Given the number of difficulties I had, I am reasonably pleased with the marks I achieved and the colours are rather lovely.

Totally absorbed in colour I began compiling yarn wraps. What I wanted to do was produce a really thick rope, made up of different colours and textures and use this to wrap a spoon. This was inspired by a book¹ I read about Angus MacPhee, a solider whose injuries sustained during WW1, left him institutionalised for the rest of his life. As an ‘Outsider Artist’ he worked prolifically, plaiting and weaving marram grass, a traditional, all but forgotten technique from his native Uist. I was really moved by his story, amazed by his need to create and the way the finished object held no purpose or meaning for him (they were either composted or burned). There are fascinating parallels between his story and Judith Scott’s.

Frustratingly I just couldn’t bring this idea into fruition. The ‘ropes’ I made were just too heavy and floppy. None did any justice to either Angus or the spoon!

I changed my inspiration. I decided if I couldn’t use the yarns altogether as one large thick rope I would emulate the way Sonia Gomes treats different areas of her sculpture with a different fabric.

I’m sure Gomes is an artist that many other students have turned to in their research of wrapping. I think her work is important to Textiles. At a time where clothing is mass produced, cheaply but at great cost to the environment, Gomes draws on her upbringing in the heart of the Brazilian textile industry, using found or gifted materials in her sculptures. Whilst I appreciate her comment on sustainability, I also like the eventual shapes and form she uses these repurposed materials to create.

I had a second version of ‘Washing Machine Spoon’ and I used this as an armature to support my wrapping. Where as Gomes bundles cloth, I used gifted yarns from my own collection. Something got lost in translation. I think the problem is partly due to the neat straight wrapping (which was done intentionally to echo the grooves in the original pipe) and partly because the colours just don’t work together. I find the red and white yarns next to each other at the heart of the sample extremely distracting because they just scream Pokémon!

¹ HUTCHINSON, R. (2011) The Silent Weaver. The Extraordinary Life and Work of Angus MacPhee. BIRLINN



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