The first four weeks have been spent exploring different ways of starting baskets and working with different materials and stitches. In the second half of the course we are expected to work on our own projects around the theme of seedpods. So as you can imagine, this suits me down to the ground! 🙂
So far I’ve experimented with colour:
With softer and harder materials:
And combining with felt:
I also tried some “linear” coiling – creating rows rather than spiralling from the centre. The first sample I made with this technique had a thick core, which I wrapped with a stiff paper yarn. As I progressed, the piece began to twist quite spontaneously.
I made similar pieces with the same core material but different wrapping fibres, which were all softer than the paper yarn. Some of these pieces twisted a little, others hardly at all.
I also tried making a piece with “ribs” to give a more defined form. I bound five lengths of seagrass together and coiled a thinner piece of green seagrass around them using blanket stitch. Because the seagrass ribs were relatively soft, the tension of the stitching tended to twist them slightly to the right, which made the final piece look a little unbalanced.
As a felter, I am used to shaping a piece while fulling it – the final form can look very different from the original! So I thought I would try reshaping this piece to emphasise the twisting even further. The paper yarn is strong but flexible, so this worked out quite well.
This week we were working with natural materials, so I repeated this form using strips of cordyline as the ribs, dried daffodil leaves as the core, and waxed polyester string for stitching.
The cordyline was much stiffer than the seagrass, and I found that if I pulled the ribs together at the top, the coiled sections between the ribs bulged outwards, producing a completely different shape.
It’s a useful reminder of how you can achieve completely different results with different materials, and making samples is a very worthwhile exercise. 🙂