I then decided to develop this into a multistorey set of three multilayered spheres, but with only three layers each. (Still with me?)
I started with three random weave white paper spheres of different sizes.
Then I created another mould around them and wove another layer on top.
I joined them all together into a single mould.
And then wove around this single mould with black fibre (string and hemp).
Then it was time to remove the moulds! After removal of first mould:
After removing the second layer of moulds:
And finally after removing the innermost moulds:
The spheres in the middle layer touch each other. This was not my original intention, but I found it difficult to weave the joining “necks” narrow enough to prevent it. This means that when you move one sphere, the others move too, which adds an unplanned kinetic touch to the piece!
The current exhibition at Morley Gallery, Made 2019, features work by textiles and jewellery students at Morley College. The theme is based on cultural patterns and form inspired by Oceania.
Thanks to the basketry course I did last term with Stella Harding I was able to submit an entry to the exhibition. My piece, “Vision of Jawun”, was inspired by the bicornual baskets known as jawun made by the rainforest people in northeast Queensland in Australia.
Jawun were used to collect and carry food and also as sieves to leach out toxic substances. Typically made from lawyer cane, the baskets were sometimes painted when used for trading or as gifts.
My interpretation of a jawun is a random weave piece made with paper yarn; the lower part was dyed with eucalyptus, a plant indigenous to Australia.
The private view last Wednesday was absolutely heaving with people by the time I arrived, and it took me a while to locate my piece. To my surprise, rather than being on a plinth it was hung on a nail at around hip height. Because the gallery was so crowded I could see that the vessel was in danger of being damaged – within just a couple of minutes of my arrival one visitor had stepped back against it, while another one hit it with her bag as she squeezed past. 😦
I’m afraid at this stage I got a bit prima donna-ish and removed the piece from the wall. When I gave it to the gallery manager and explained why, she was very nice and understanding about it. And when I went back to the gallery today to look at the exhibition with more breathing space, it had been placed on a plinth, thank goodness.
There were a couple of pieces from other basketry students.
This random weave piece by Barbara Billings was a comment on pollution in the oceans and how rubbish floats on top of the mess hiding below the surface.
“A Green Bag of Rubbish” by Alyson Burberry was made with found objects, shower sponges and rope, and was also based on Aboriginal hunting bags.
Deserved winner of the Sarah Campbell Prize was Cherry Taylor for her found objects wrapped with raffia dyed with procion dyes and inks.
I liked Sarah McEvoy’s knitted figure embellished with seeds and crystal, inspired by dolls that Japanese farmers hang outside windows to bring good weather or prevent rain.
The Japanese influence was strong overall. This kimono-style jacket by Sarah Wilson was made using shibori, sashiko and boro techniques from material sourced in second-hand shops.
Hung to resemble a traditional kimono, Line Le Fevre’s four hand-dyed panels were printed with discharge and dye paste.
Bukki Adeyemo’s “Up in Arms” used recycled materials stained with rust to represent the potential impact of rising sea levels on many of the Pacific Islands due to climate change.
Sarah Sikorski’s screen printed cotton was inspired by tapa bark cloth from Tonga, which portrays historic or cultural events – in this case the overuse and irresponsible disposal of plastic objects.
Finally – look away now if you are easily offended. 😉 Karen Byrne’s piece was a response to the dilukai sculptures of young women with splayed legs carved over the doorways of chiefs’ houses in Micronesia.
For the past few weeks I’ve been back at Morley College on Tuesday evenings, attending a creative basketry course with Stella Harding. The focus of this course, though I didn’t know it when I signed up, was random weaving, so I’ve been able to build on the classes I did with Polly Pollock earlier this year.
Stella brought along lots of inspiring samples.
We started by making open and closed forms in cane without using moulds, which was new to me. We also had a go at dyeing cane.
Now we’ve been let loose on experimenting for ourselves, with different materials and forms – here are some of the pieces I’ve made.
This is a more complex form in cane. Apparently this style is known as a hen basket – I can just imagine a chicken sitting in there. 🙂
This was a random weave piece I made using dead fronds from some kind of palm in my back garden. I have no idea where it came from and have always thought it rather unattractive – but it’s great for basketry material!
And this is a piece that combines felt and paper yarn, inspired by a physalis (cape gooseberry).
Some of these samples are helping me work up ideas for a couple of exhibitions coming up next year – watch this space!
The inner three layers were woven from hemp that I bought at the textile market in Belgium. The innermost ball is black, so you can’t see it very well. (Lesson for next time – make the inside ball a light colour!)
The fourth layer was made from paper yarn dyed with onion skins.
And the outer layer was paper yarn dyed with indigo.
With five layers it was even more fiddly to get the inner moulds out, but I got there eventually without destroying the outer layers. I’m not sure I could do any more layers though!
I also had a go at making a random weave cube – this was a harder shape to mould. Because I left open areas it was also harder to photograph, as it’s difficult to distinguish the different surfaces.