Mixed media textiles inspired by rebellion and the natural world
I haven’t posted in ages. Not because I have stopped working, but more because of an excessive amount of ideas all competing with eachother. This makes me confused and disorganised!
One of the themes I have been working on is hearts and their symbolism for love. This is in combination with a continuing fascination for erosion, deterioration and the ensuing potential for rebirth and renewal.
In my last post I blogged about a little stuffed heart I had made which had been covered with holey fabric. As it was made from tattered denim I felt it evoked the grunge clothing and music vibe in the nineties, as the title of the blog ‘grunge heart’ describes.
It also seemed appropriate as the spirit of grunge is so much about being ravaged, and a defiance that nevertheless survives.
I was really touched when one of my friends on Facebook saw the textile heart and asked if she could have it. She felt it was the only object she had seen that captured the pain she feels, due to tragic events in her life.
I had made the heart to express my own experiences in love; both sublime and from hell… and the journey it takes me through. Likewise the heart in this post speaks simply of the same.
The silver fabric was heated until it melted. The quality of melting, as often used to describe the surrender to love from another eg to melt in someone’s arms, to melt in a loving gaze, and so on…was something I wanted to refer to.
In addition the idea of melting suggests heat and fire which brings to mind more challenging elements, such as incineration, burning and purging by fire, providing apt metaphors for the more painful experiences of heartbreak and torment that the path of love likes to take us through.
Sometimes the pursuit of love feels too perilous. Much like in the Greek myth, where Icarus in his exhiliration, uses his wax and feather wings to fly him too close to the sun, we can fear that the longing may well lead us to a place too powerful and we too will have our wings melted and will be left to fall to drown!
Oh well, hopefully all of our little melted hearts although threadbare, are still just about beating to love another day or two!!
I have a real love for gemstones! and recently I have felt very drawn to incorporating them into my textile work. I have yet to decide exactly how to do this, but in the meantime I am getting a collection of beads together in readiness. Above is a string of labradorite chips, a very popular stone due to the captivating but elusive colours found within it’s structure, definitely a favourite of mine! There is an otherworldliness about it that is entrancing.
This is clear quartz, pure, clean and evocative of winter due to its similarity to crushed ice. These chips in particular have a beautiful sparkle to them.
This is fluorite and it can exhibit both purple and green within the same specimen. This to me is a dream, as I love that colour scheme in all it’s possible variations.
I was so pleased to get my hands on these! They are pink tourmaline beads and the colours are a mixture of rose and (I think) champagne! – pink champagne! and as divine!
These are emeralds and there is something really beautiful about emeralds, rubies and sapphires in their more humble and less expensive form. The photo does not capture the depth of green in the actual stones unfortunately, but in the flesh it is reminiscent of an evergreen forest in the darkness of winter.
All of these stones are different types of opal. There are fire opals (the bright orange ones if you haven’t already guessed:)) Egyptian, Australian and pink. Again, definitely one of my favourite gemstones! Another stone displaying shifting colour within itself. When these qualities are present in a stone, I think that they seem to suggest other dimensions and realms.
Now all that remains is for me to find ways to use these treasures within textiles; a journey I look very much forward to beginning.
I have been buying quite a few of these plants this year and roses have been a focus for me. Do you find that different things can catch your attention at different times and almost seem as if they are asking you to notice them? I find this happens with colours, gem stones, plants and animals, but also sometimes characters from myths or fairy tales. I believe that there is a reason for this and I think that the symbolism of certain things are relevant to us at different times during our journey through life.
Last summer I felt an urgency to take care of all the rose bushes in the garden as well as collecting these little pots of miniature roses as in the photo above. The garden had been neglected for a few years and the roses were no exception. When we first moved here I made the mistake of planting the rose bushes in a shady spot in the garden under a tree – foolish move! Unsurprisingly they really haven’t prospered in the way that they could. So this autumn I prepared a new border for them where they will get plenty of sun and I am waiting for the winter before I transplant them while they are dormant. I can’t wait to see them flourish!
Here is some more stitching with fabric scraps inspired by the colour scheme of wilting purple tulips. The second photo shows what it looks like when overlaid with crochet lace.
I have lots of ideas at the moment of how this could be further explored and I’m pleased with the direction it’s going in as it conveys the pretty, organic and feminine nature of the things I am inspired by at the moment. It also refers to deterioration and repair.
It can take such a long time to satisfactorily combine different elements of inspiration, especially when there are so many things one would like to include, of course you don’t want to throw everything in but the kitchen sink! I guess tirelessly working towards a balanced look is so much of what design is about. I often get frustrated at how long it takes and I’m sure I over-complicate things and also change direction far too much. Creativity is as much a path of self-mastery as the development of certain skills and ability to communicate ideas or aesthetics. Oh well, all one can do is keep going with the hope that one day everything will come together!
Love Lourdes x
I wanted to create a delicate and feminine appearance by overlaying crochet over the stitched snippets of fabrics. I am thinking of incorporating these ideas into clothing made from upcycled fabrics, but I am not sure yet how to do that – I will need to experiment!
Here I used a brighter colour scheme and less stitching, I love the use of chiffons and organzas because of their ‘dreamy’, ‘floaty’ qualities.
This is my very overgrown jungle of a garden! I thought I would write a little about it as it provides me with lots of inspiration for textiles. It has been largely neglected during the last few years as I didn’t have the energy or motivation to deal with it, however this year I have found that my interest has returned and I hope that during the course of this summer I will tidy it up.
I believe that the external world reflects your internal world and I like to think that one’s garden could act as a mirror to one’s spirit. I think that to grow things, to nurture them and to provide all the necessary conditions for plants to flourish, could indeed help your inner life to grow and prosper too. A garden at the very least, offers a beautiful and inspiring metaphor for life.
I was speaking to my mother on the phone about gardening and looking out at my green tangle of a backyard, I realised that although it is certainly verdant, there is a lack of bright colour. I then decided that I really need to plant some flowers that will splash some brightness and celebration on to this predominantly green canvas. I am thinking of towering plants like delphiniums, hollyhock, foxgloves and lupins as well as smaller flowering plants such as cornflowers and tiny lobelias.
My first attempt to add some colour was buying this little sunflower, which already has cheered things up with it’s presence on the patio.
I am feeling excited by these ideas of planting things and I don’t really know how I ever lost interest in the first place! Of course a big part of it is that there will be more source material for textiles experimentation and that is always great fun!
I bought these purple tulips mainly to see how they would dry and I wasn’t disappointed in their performance! I like the delicate colour scheme very much and the inclusion of complementary colours, purple and yellow brings a vibrancy.
The papery texture is also pleasing and as the petals have shrunk they have been pulled into tiny ripples.
Infact they are quite similar to little watercolour paintings. I find that the subtle characteristics are often the most inspiring.
When translating some of these qualities into textile design, I would look at ways in which I could recreate the colour scheme. I find that dyed silk and merino fibres as used in feltmaking are really good for providing organic and sensitive colour palettes. Also fabric paint could be used to recreate the colours, particularly silk paints and silk habutai would be an ideal fabric to work with as it is similar in weight and translucency to the tulip petals.
Thanks for visiting!
Today I couldn’t stop myself from photographing the tulips which had began to fade in a vase I had in the house. It has been thoroughly enjoyable trying to capture the exquisite and delicate veining running through the petals and the forms of the flower heads as they soften and appear as if they are about to fly away. So entranced I have felt that I am tempted to dabble in some painting and drawing too.
The colours are beautiful too and I may have mentioned before how much I love the way the colours in flowers intensify as they dry.
I haven’t really considered use of colour too seriously in my recent work yet, rather focussing on recreating textural qualities and experimenting with these, while pretty much just grabbing the first colour scheme that evolves as I rummage through my supplies. However I think that these tulips could be a fine place to start!
The tactile quality of the petals is incredibly gorgeous, as it becomes silky soft before it starts to dry and with the richness of the colour scheme is very luxurious. It is like very fine paper, but also very obviously like pure silk.
It is so exciting that inspiration is everywhere and that at anytime something else can provide new input for ongoing work!
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I am at the point in my project where I am having to consider how to bring my visual research and development to some point of culmination. I have been looking through all of my samples to see what jumps out for more in-depth exploration and potential for some kind of eventual conclusion.
I have also been thinking about concept and how my visual work could suggest ideas, as these I have found are always interwoven with my visual sources of inspiration and chosen route of investigation. I don’t want to be too definite in describing the ideas I have, as I know how these grow and change, but I would say that I am interested in analysing the relationship we can cultivate with nature through acknowledgment of it’s cycles.
In addition I am also interested in the meaning of beauty and what happens to many of our ideas of what constitutes beauty as we get older.
I began this project with the idea of a secret garden where unexpected treasures can be found and would now extend that to include inner secrets and mysteries particularly as relates to femininity and how they can be revealed. So, in summary I am curious about nature, cycles, beauty and feminine mysteries and possibly how our awareness of these things could be improved.
Healing is always of fascination to me and I am also curious about how healing can take place. The challenge is how to incorporate these ideas and questions into the physical act of constructing textiles and clothing.
In terms of textile work I have decided to focus on freeform crochet which is very effective at describing an organic, but also pretty quality.
When a really large crochet hook is used with a fine thread, a very loose and ‘irregular’ fabric is formed, which is great for distorting as well as creating a very open work material like a net. It is even reminiscent of the veining on the wing of an insect.
I love using tiny hand stitching and when combined with fabric scraps and patchwork suggest repair, patience and healing as well as also having an organic feel. I will also continue to explore ways to create form and texture with bias-stitched tucks which are perfect for creating again very pretty flounces, ripples and ruffles.
After looking through all my samples so far I have decided to look again at this idea of combining crochet with fabrics and stitching the crochet in places to create a corded lace effect.
At this stage I am thinking that this could work well as a detail on a corset or bra top. I have begun by looking at different threads and yarn and how they look when covered with machine zigzag stitch, I need to research ready-made cords too.
Here, torn satin strips have been handspun and then covered in zigzag stitch and crocheted. Although an ‘open’ material has been formed, it is rather bulky and stiff.
Tags: Art, Craft, Crochet, Design, Embroidery, Fabric, Fabric Manipulation, Fabrics, Freeform Crochet, Garment Design, Handspinning, Inspiration, Sewing on the Bias, stitching, Textile Design, Textiles