I’m sad that the five-week course on fabric manipulation with Caroline Bartlett at Morley College that I wrote about last time is over.
I like the way Caroline teaches. She brings lots of inspiring examples, shows you the basic technique, then encourages you to play and experiment and find things out for yourself. She also discusses the work of other artists to show how the techniques have been adapted and expanded. Debby Brown, my first tutor at Morley, has a similar approach, which is one of the reasons I got started on this whole textiles lark. 😉
In the fourth week we were introduced to faux chenille, where we stitched through several layers of fabric, cut through some of the layers and then roughed it up a bit to encourage fraying. (There are lots of tutorials online if you google faux chenille.)
Caroline brought along some great samples to get us going. Sadly, my attempts were not half as successful, even after putting them through the washing machine.
I probably need to explore this further using different fabrics and colour combinations. 🙂
Working with net
In the last week we were encouraged to work with a technique we’d particularly enjoyed, scaling it up or developing it further.
I’d originally planned to experiment more with modular origami balls, with the idea of making a “puzzle ball”, with different sized balls nested inside each other. However, when I’d tried this at home, the tulle* wasn’t really stiff enough.
*Tulle digression: What I’ve been referring to as tulle isn’t actually tulle. I was sniffily informed when I went to MacCulloch & Wallis that tulle is the soft netting used for bridal veils; the stiffer stuff is dress net. While I was there someone else was told the same thing, so it’s clearly a common misunderstanding. Now you know. 🙂
And thanks to Juliet, one of the other students on Caroline’s course, I found out that there are also different weights of dress net. Juliet brought in samples from Heathcoat Fabrics, which sells dress net in weights of 18, 27 and 50gsm. And 50gsm only comes in black, white and cream. This would have saved me trawling round the shops of Goldhawk Road looking for stiff net in different colours! /digression ends
While I was in MacCulloch & Wallis I bought some even stiffer netting with a larger mesh that is used in millinery. This might work for the outer balls with holes in them, but the solid inner ball loses the delicate translucency of the net.
So in the class I experimented instead with pieces of arashi shibori dress net, curving them over themselves and joining bits together to create shell and jellyfish-like forms.
As usual, it was fascinating to see the great variety of work from the other students. It included this wonderful faux chenille by Frances Kiernan.
And this superb circular pleated piece from rust and indigo dyed fabrics by Ross Belton.
If all this has inspired you, Caroline is doing another course at Morley College next term focusing on shibori, print and heat setting, so do book if you are interested, as it’s filling up fast. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make this one.
Discount on basketry course at Morley
I won’t be able to make this one either, sadly, but Morley College is offering 20% discount on the Creative Basketry course with Stella Harding. It runs on Tuesday evenings, 6-9pm, starting on 28 February for six weeks. See here for more info on Stella.
The full price is £155, reduced to £124 with the discount.
To take advantage of this offer, email Ruth.firstname.lastname@example.org and copy in email@example.com. They will notify Enrolment Services of your name and discount. You can then enrol by phone on 020 7450 1889 or in person but NOT online.