So final bit of the main course completed. Module 4.3 was all about exploring patterns. The video outlined the main objectives which were to focused on learning….
- How to create various patterns with hand stitch appliqué
- How to make a mosaic inspired sample using irregular fabric shapes
- How to use repeated shapes to build patterns
- How to build layers of interest into your appliqué patterns using hand stitch
The creative challenge was in three parts so took a bit longer to complete. We were asked to produce three samples, each made by applying several small pieces of fabric and embellishing the appliquéd base pattern with hand stitch.
Sample 1: Mosaic Inspired
The brief for this was to experiment with fabric cut into irregular, angular shapes and applied to the background fabric using hand stitch in a random pattern. You were asked to work on instinct which meant cutting the shapes with no pre-planning as it was designed so that you worked on instinct – a bit of challenge for me. Sue recommended that we showed restraint on the number of variations in terms of colour and pattern, as the method was instinctive and random this would help give the piece some cohesion.
The variations you had to play with were the number of fabric pieces you used; the shapes of the fabric although we were asked to stick with square edges rather than curves but this still gave quite a bit to play around with; the fabrics (although again a bit of restraint here, I stuck to three to help give some cohesion); the threads (again I limited my choices, selecting two colours of linen thread – a light grey and a dark grey-blue) and finally the way you use hand stitch to apply and decorate the pattern.
Have to say it wasn’t my favourite challenge and the sample I created is ok as an example but I think I need to revisit this at some point, possibly within a bigger piece to get my head around the value of it as a technique.
Sample 2: Repeated Shapes
In the second sample we were experimenting with small repeated fabric shapes and building up the detail using stitched embellishments. You started by cutting a number of small repeated shapes from fabric, I opted for small circles in two different fabrics. You then place them randomly in a cluster on the background and attach them using the same stitch design, I started by fixing each with a small stitch in the centre in pink and then sewed a circle in back stitch. The second part of the challenge was to embellish with further stitch so I repeated the circular design.
The variations in this exercise were your choice of fabrics; threads (I stuck to two colours); the shape although these had to be consistent; the number of shapes and how you embellished and decorated.
Sample 3: Building on Repetition
In the final sample we were asked to build on what we’d learned taking the concept of repetition but in this we had a bit more flexibility. We could incorporate more than one repeated shape and also vary the dimensions and sizes of the shapes as well as adding hand stitch in a less formulaic way. So the sample was a combination of forward planning and working on instinct.
I opted for rectangles and circles – rectangles in a paisley patterned fabric and circles in plain red. This was my favourite exercise of the three as it offered a good balance of limitations and freedom. That said I went with a patterned background fabric which I haven’t done before and as a result am not overly keen on the visual impact of the finished sample but I like the structure and use of threads.
The questions we were asked to complete as the reflective part of the module were….
- In the first mosaic inspired sample we encouraged you to not plan ahead too much but there is a lot of potential for creating appliquéd mosaics in a more ordered, pre-designed way too. Do you have ideas around that you might like to experiment with?
Not sure if I’m honest I think I need to revisit this technique and maybe with a bit more focus on forward planning I’ll get more ideas. I guess one thought that does spring to mind is using this type of technique to create a background pattern that reflects something which is itself made of multiple parts, like a brick wall but I think this is a bit too literal an application.
- Looking at your second sample, how could you take the idea of repetition of a single shape and develop it in future samples or even as part of your work?
This technique I do like and I can imagine using it to build a cohesive pattern or texture within a piece or using it to create more of an abstract image.
- And in the third sample, what about your mark making are you pleased with and what doesn’t feel quite cohesive?
Ok what doesn’t feel cohesive is easy the checked background. But overall I like the use of repeated shapes, differentiated through different stitch a technique I used on the circles switch the stitch and the colour and I like playing with the placement of the circles and how it connects to the rectangular shapes.