Posts Tagged ‘Torosay’

Brief: Using thread and yarns to create textures

I found this stage the most enjoyable of all of the exercises in this project.  In fact, that is why I begun with this stage and finished with the stitch practice.

My first attempt at this was perhaps the most successful in my mind as it was more intuitive and fluid – whereas I seemed to struggle much more as I began to think about it.

Sample #1 : Tree bark (I guess everyone starts with this…).

I am not sure if the colours I reproduced remotely resemble the photographic image.   However when you continue to zoom into the photograph, a whole range of colours start to appear which are initially invisible.

tree bark

Brown paper always seems much more forgiving when doing initial colour sketches…also it is the only way I can process my junk mail.

sketch with watercolour pencils

I used hessian on my first stitched sample as it is a natural fibre which seems sympathetic to the subject.

Handstitching.  Knitting yarns and embroidery threads stitched on to hessian

My second version uses blue grey lining fabric – I think it either a little too fine or I am too aggressive with the sewing machine as the tension starts to show itself in creases of the fabric.

Machine stitching version

Sample #2 : Peeling paintwork on tower door at Torosay.

This was much harder than I thought it would be… I initally started burning fabrics to see if this would re-create the peeling effect on the doors.  It didn’t.  In fact what actually happened – was that I vowed to only use natural and naturally dyed fabrics from that point onwards.  The coloured samples I did have, sizzled as I burned them.  One yellow polyester produced a repulsive brown goo.. and there were also a couple of fabric fires that I had difficulty putting out.  Lesson learnt.

Leaving that experience behind me, I moved on to using the pages of a very old book I had on the shelf.. I did not achieve the peeling paintwork effect but I did have fun with it in other ways.

Peeling paint on door at Torosay. Detail

Using a view finder, I selected a small section of this image focusing around the largest break in the cracks with spider webs.

Scribble sketch in watercolour pencil

I did a couple of samples of this, both machine embroidered and one with a backing fabric.

Book print, machine/hand stitching, inks and nail varnish.

Red linen backing fabric, book print, machine embroidery and inks.

Sample #3 : Fountain.  Photo taken from Reflections, lines and textures post.

This was impossible…in fact I now realise that it is extremely difficult to imitate the delicacy of water.  I wanted to dye fabrics at this point but I just could not achieve quite the right colours..

Fountain at Torosay

My first sample was created by stretching and pulling apart delicate muslin.  I did attempt to add some coloured highlights with ink..but this did not work so well unfortunately.

Stretched and pulled muslin with ink.

My second version includes more stretched muslin with the addition of french knots – although these are hard to see.

Stretch and pulled muslin with embroidered french knots on cardboard.

My conclusion at this stage is that I would like to come back to some of these images and try again – especially the peeling paintwork as I know this could be achieved somehow…. I just don’t know how I personally will do it yet.


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I returned the following day to the gardens with my camera as the light had changed and was mainly overcast – the walk from my cottage runs along the shore through some light woodland – and the sea appeared almost more beautiful in the grey…giving it a metallic mirror like quality.

I love these palm trees...it seems like an oxymoron in the hebrides

Old greenhouses...are wonderful - I hope to be the proud owner of one some day. I tried to capture the crisp reflections on this...I am not sure I achieved this in detail - perhaps they are just indecipherable due to the angle and the light.

The colours seem unreal on this old tree...perhaps it is mould ?

This reminds me of the 'Ents' from Lord of the Rings...

Lichen is what keeps these walls alive to me....as if their former glory is redefined every 10 years with new layers


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