I enclosed cut-up gold threads when this leaf was stitched. The lines created by the cut threads echo the lines of the ‘jaggedy’ machine-embroidery, I think that it actually looks quite like a mineral.
Category Archives: Plants
This leaf was machine-embroidered enclosing small metallic pieces of gold organza.
I have been looking at ways of making ribbons, cords and ties to fasten to the textile leaves I have been making, so that they can be tied to things or hung up. I think that I prefer the idea of loose cords or ribbons that will need to be tied in a knot, rather than continuous loops. I tried various fabrics, but in the end using organza, as used in the leaves works best.
Another idea that has kept coming back to me while exploring leaves and purses, has been the idea of ribbons. In the above photo I have used the leftover threads and fabric scraps from stitching the leaves, to create some very wild-looking ‘ribbons’. I like this disheveled appearance, especially where the more tangled threads contrast with the ornate stitching.
All of this has brought to mind ‘wishing trees’.
Sometimes a tree has been chosen as an object of sacred significance, or it’s position is in close proximity to a place or object, such as a well, which is considered to have magical or healing powers.
You may have spotted one of these trees, as it’s branches will be covered with numerous pieces of fabric and often plastic strips, where the person has reached for whatever they have available, especially when they have come across one of these trees unexpectedly.
The idea is that if a person is unwell they can appeal to a supernatural force for healing, by offering ideally a piece of their clothing. As well as requesting healing, a person may request a blessing.
It’s fascinating that these ‘wishes’ are symbolized by the collection of weathered pieces of fabric, decorating a place in nature. Something physical has been used as a prayer to a higher force; a form of communication to reach a spiritual realm. Likewise the sacred object is considered to have a connection with this same other-dimensional realm.
The significance we give to objects is very interesting. They become more than physically functional; they can also be symbolically functional. In other words they represent something, this makes it special as they have been imbued with meaning.
Another purse made from a folded textile leaf. I like the fact that it has been folded into shape as if around something. The small hand stitches hold it into place.
This is the textile leaf made from organza layers enclosing fabrics and merino wool fibres, used to create the purse.
When the organza is melted, the stitching sometimes stays precariously in place, this works well to express a very similar fragility found in leaves as they degenerate.
I have often struggled when it comes to creating finished things. Sometimes it can feel forced to make something finished from my ideas. However I also really want to have conclusions. Recently I have been changing my approach in order to feel more authentic in developing my ideas towards something completed. Instead of enforcing the idea of an object, I am rather allowing things to emerge.
Sometimes this feels scary as I wonder if anything will ever happen and it can feel like an endless stream of experiments. Not that I mind as I love to experiment more than anything! And actually that has been the key for me…I decided that I wont differentiate between experiments and finished pieces and that has helped me to let go of feelings I didn’t like that came from creating boundaries that felt imposed and unnatural.
So, my approach now is to keep experimenting, allowing ideas of finished objects to present themselves rather than me dictating things and also to remember that they are all experiments.
In relation to these new ways of seeing things, while playing around with the textile leaves I was making, I felt attracted to the idea of folding and compartments naturally made by leaves as they begin to die and change form. This led to the possibility of a leaf becoming a vessel or a purse.
I experimented with paper leaf shapes being folded in different ways and then made some in textiles as the above photo shows.
In the first photo above you can see that there are hand stitches as well as machine stitiching. It was immensely satisfying to join the edges of the leaf with these stitches to create the seam in the purse as it seem so unintrusive and natural.
Because the fabric is made from layers of scraps enclosed within pieces of organza, there is a lovely varying thickness that makes the purse very irregular which was just what I wanted.
Looking at some other ways of creating a delicate appearance. Melting the fabric creates a really organic quality and there is a contrast between the decayed look of the melting and the decorative appearance of the stitching. I feel that this tells a story and suggests some kind of history.
Blackberries were my main source of inspiration this last summer.
In the last couple of years I have been drawn to wild plants and flowers. There just seems to be a mystery as well as a vitality about them. They belong in fairytales and they have an ancient quality. I believe in totems; plant, animal and even mineral. To me this means that we can resonate with different natural beings or objects all through our lives or at a particular time. Therefore plants are very special to me as they are not only beautiful and consisting of physical benefits such as food and medicine, but they also have a magical significance.
So more and more I have found myself wanting to work visually with them. What I find appealing about blackberry plants is their sprawling, vigorous nature; the wildness, the fact that the berries grow through a range of beautiful colours and I like the shape that the groups of leaves grow in as well as the fact that they are strong.
Usually I work with a range of subjects for inspiration; within some kind of theme… However I recently have found that just 1 type of flower or plant can provide plenty of qualities to explore further, in fact sometimes a quality alone, for example the edge of a leaf or the transparency of the petal of a flower is enough to work with. I find more and more that whatever I use as research inevitably leads to very similar areas or personal themes of interest, I guess every creative person finds the same thing… that curiosity follows patterns and defines one’s unique story.