I’ve noted before, particularly when working with felt, that materials tend to find their own way. I start off with a vision in my mind of how the finished article will look, but for various reasons it doesn’t work out that way – bits of yarn may move, the colours don’t combine as I expect, or the material shrinks or stiffens more than I anticipated.
It’s part of the fun of experimenting and learning as I go along. Sometimes it’s due to poor technique – I’m too careless, or rushed, or impatient. Sometimes it’s because of my inexperience. And sometimes I don’t know why it happens – it just does.
My latest example is a piece of cotton calico that I dyed with indigo. I just wanted some plain, dark blue fabric to use with some of the shibori pieces I’ve made, to turn into bags, purses or cushion covers. So I cut a wide strip of calico, folded it very loosely into three to make it easier to put in and pull out of the indigo vat, and pegged a string in one corner. I didn’t wet it – just put it in the vat, poked it with a stick to ensure it was all submerged, and left it for 10 minutes.
I expected the result to be a plain, dark blue piece of cloth. But as you can see in the photo above, I somehow ended up with an abstract pattern with no idea how. All I know is that if I tried to reproduce it, I’d end up with something completely different!