Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Assignment 6. Create a fabric

I have been thinking very hard about this assignment and have had various ideas such as:

Collecting milk bottle tops and sewing them together, and then attaching them to a background of either squares from plastic milk bottles (!) or a paper collage of labels taken from tins.

Collecting Indian restaurant take away menus and making a collage with them amalgamated with the tin foil tins that the take sways come in perhaps also mixed up on laid on to some sari silks ( which I have a few sample squares of.)

Threading together tin cans to make a platform which could be used as a table or storage ( with open tin side up!) - I would really like to try this project out and am going to tray and save tin cans of the same shape. I am not sure how they would fix together yet but am keen to investigate this idea further.

Yoghurt pots either melted down and then glued together. If they are not melted they are probably capable of being punctured and then sewn together but if they are melted down they become very dense and quite slippery - like a stone tablet and so would be difficult to join. However I think the structure would be able to float and this is something that interests me a lot.

I have decided to develop ideas using the following materials.

A smashed up bottle

A broken and smashed up cup


Odd socks - these are a big feature in family life - especially with four children including two teenagers whose drawers I have raided to find these lonesome or hole filled socks.

I was aided in the sock collection by my daughter............. A creator in the making!!

A pair of old school trousers with a broken clasp and holes in!

A red plastic bag

A piece of wood


Tin foli

The socks and trousers are going to be made in to a patchwork fabric which will have a stretchy quality I hope! Although the addition of the trousers will limit this.

The smashed up bits of glass and bottle are going to be grouted onto the wood and this may incorporate material scraps too.

The corks are going to be paper mached together to the plastic bag to create a floating object (I hope!)

It is now some time since I last wrote on my blog about this assignment as I have been battling with the materials to re create fabrics. They have not been recreated in quite the same way as suggested above. I will go through each individual reconstruction to explain the procedure.


The cup and bottle were smashed by dropping them repeatedly on the patio while they were wrapped in two plastic bags.

I then took a yellow cardboard box and covered some areas with the outside of a tomato soup can with the iconic ' heinz' picture and logo. This would provide an interesting background to the glass pieces instead of White cardboard. The blue cup pieces would be predominant as I love the colour and they have broken into the most useful sized pieces. They would be ok onto the White card.

I then placed the mosaic pieces all over the bottom of the box.

I mixed up flour and water and made a paper mâché paste. I decided to paper mâché between the gaps for two reasons.

1) This would stick more rigidly to the brief as using grout would not be using found materials and I could just about get away with flour and water!

2) The paper between the pieces would be more interesting if newsprint rather than plain White grout. Also I hoped it would make the whole ' fabric' slightly more malleable and flexible.

The whole thing was then left to dry and the final result is actually very hard but interesting. It would be an interesting 'fabric' to use for modelling, more with regards to using the paper mâché and the mosaic pieces than the cardboard base.

This would not be able to use outside I don't think as it would go soggy when the flour and water got mixed up with rain.

As I have said in earlier assignments I was interested in using the forms of mosaics and I have enjoyed this experimental attempt. I would like to pursue it further with grout and I will definitely be using paper mâché again and again!!


The corks were cut in half. They were then laid in a 4x4 formation on a section of red plastic bag. The bag is then cut to be folded into a neat parcel over the corks which had been attached by hot glue gun to the bag.

This makes a neat, waterproof square in a lovely bright colour. You can see the lovely circles of the corks through the red and the shadows between each cork are interesting shapes too. I think this is potentially a really good idea for all manner of things that require floats. Child swim float suits at present are very bulky and I wonder if it would be possible to make a float suit out of this sort of material that floats and is a lovely shiny red colour. You could also add or take away squares as and when you need them.

This was my favourite piece to draw and despite, or possibly because of it's simple corroboration of squares and circles I found it the most inspirational. I have done several different drawings of this piece in various guises.

This is my favourite interpretation of the corks and bag. I have made a repeat pattern of a photograph of my sister and I when we were very young outside the cottage on the Isles of Scilly ( St Marys ) where my parents had their honeymoon.

The picture was printed on to paper and then circles cut from these sheets. They were stuck next to each other on the A3 sheet and then I painted using yellow acrylic around the outside ( to represent the plastic bag)and between the gaps of the shapes. I then used a yellow acrylic wash to go over the pictures and then enhanced the 'shadows' with a grey.

I am sending the original to my tutor. It hasn't translated as well as the photographs usually do in the blog as it really is very striking.


The socks were sewn together in a patchwork form. I finally chose to just use the orange and black socks. This was for two reasons.

1) Practical - the White socks were very worn and hard. They also had holes and were not as flexible as they should be due to extreme wear!! These are teenage boys socks don't forget!!

2) Visually- the black and orange combination is very striking and looks much better than with the White combined. I think the White may have worked better if they were very white and better quality!

This is the final sock patchwork.

These are the final pieces together.

I have long had an idea for making either a wall hanging or a blanket out of patchwork squares of my daughters clothes that she has grown out of. I would like to do this as a project to develop further as part of my portfolio. I have now added the idea of possibly incorporating circles- maybe instead - maybe as well as squares and I would like to incorporate embroidery on to the top of the blanket. Maybe also incorporating felt letters and words. I feel that this would be developing the socks and the corks ideas.

I would also be interested in taking the corks forward into making more and more squares to use in sculpture - not necessarily floating!! I think these cork blocks are an interesting first prototype in the early stages of developing a new block for building, possibly in construction but certainly in sculpture. I think it could also be interesting to further develop this idea for a Childs bath toy as well.

This assignment was interesting and it does make you think about developing fabrics and not simply using what is commercially avaliable now. I have really enjoyed the first module and am enthusiastically sketching and looking at things in a different way on a regular basis.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, reminds me of all the experimental work we had to do on my art foundation course (a milion years ago) - it's really good mental/creative exercise, and teaches you to think outside the box. You'll be skip diving next, (if you're not already!)