Chelsea degree show 2013

It’s time for the summer degree shows again, but I’ve been so busy I only made it to Chelsea this year. Still, it was well worth it – here are my personal favourites from the 60 or so students who were exhibiting.

I loved Rhona Dalling‘s small 3D sculptures that explored stretching materials to produce forms inspired by the textures and structures of fruit, vegetables and flowers.

rhona dalling

Emi Fujisawa experimented with weaving using natural dyed silk and copper wire that she then patinated – so the piece will change with colour over time. Great website too, showing how her ideas developed.

emi fujisawa


Still on constructed textiles. I loved the origami pleating in Lyonard‘s knitted garments, made from mulberry silk,, linen and mercerised cotton (right).

And Kamilah Rebecca Ahmed pioneered an innovative thread “wrapping” technique, to produce fabrics that resembled airy weavings, although the threads don’t actually interlock. She admits that it’s not terribly practical for everyday garments, but the effect is beautiful. Sorry – no photos, as she doesn’t have a website or blog.

And Katherine Ingram‘s “mutant” forms, inspired by David Attenborough’s latest TV series, incorporated shibori-like textures and prints along with 3D textures from found objects. Again – no pictures and no website.

Lots of digital printing as usual – but fewer homages to Pater Pilotto/Mary Katrantzou, I’m pleased to say. Stephanie Ann Woolven created delicate flower print bridal dresses, some of which were based on India Flint’s hapa zome technique of beating flowers on fabric to release their colour. No website or photos I’m afraid.

Finally, some honourable mentions to Sophie Louise Hurley-Walker for her contemporary batik, Caroline Cox for her trendy wet weather gear, and Ann-Marie Milward for her prints  of geometric cymatic patterns (patterns formed by particles such as sand in response to sound waves). See the video below for an example of this working in action – fascinating!

The Chelsea College of Art & Design Undergraduate Summer Show runs until 22 June.

Adding stitch to printed pleating

After printing one of the mokume pieces with normal transparent binder, I left it to dry and then opened the pleats out flat. At regular intervals I then stitched sets of the pleats together and left other pleats ungathered, removing the original thread used to pull the pleats together.


I’m trying to construct a 3D structure here, using stitch for structure rather than decoration, but the cotton I used for printing is quite soft, with a loose weave.

I think I will have to experiment with crisper cloth, with the pleats more spread out when printing so that more binder reaches the fabric, to give more body.

Back to shibori printing

After the scarf and pencil roll production line over the past few weeks, it was good to get back to Morley for a day of play and experimentation.

This week we started our eight-week printing block with tutor Mark. It seems odd that this time a year ago I had never done any printing and knew nothing about it. This time I feel like an old hand, helping others coat their screens and finding my way around the binders and pigments with more confidence.

I wanted to continue my experiments combining shibori techniques with screenprinting, which I started last year. I’d prepared some pieces of cotton stitched in parallel rows, as if for mokume (woodgrain) shibori.

Using an open screen, I printed one of these with puff binder. Even normal transparent binder results in a ridged, textured surface – I wanted to see if I could exaggerate this, making it even more 3D.

Pleated fabric printed with puff binder
After printing before pulling the pleats open
After pulling the pleats open
detail of puffed pleats
Detail of puffing in the heat press

When I put the piece in the heat press, it didn’t puff up consistently – I’m not sure why this was. Mark wondered whether the binder was too old. And I think that next time it would be better to remove the threads before using the heat press, as it’s more difficult when the binder has puffed up and set. 🙂 Might be interesting to try this with flock binder as well.

With the other piece I cut three paper circles to use as resists and put them on top of the pleated fabric before printing.

As I opened the pleats, the circles extended to become elliptical – and the pattern was much less distinct when viewed straight on.

However, when viewed from an angle, the ridges are much more apparent, and the pattern reappears. The lower the angle of viewing, the clearer the pattern.

It’s an interesting feature, though I’m not sure how I might use it yet. Maybe a lantern or something that is viewed from below?

All suggestions welcome! 🙂