Welcome to 2017!
Many of us at this time of year begin with new resolutions and intentions for the year. Having received a really fascinating new book over the Christmas period – ‘Natural Processes in Textile Art’ by Alice Fox, I feel compelled to try some of her techniques and see how they might creep into my own processes. I too look to my environment as a stimulus to my stitching and how nature gives us colour and form. Interestingly for me, many of her basic printing techniques are ones that I have used many times with my classes over the years but never with fabric and never combined with stitching.
Alice uses many found objects in her work and while as the year goes on I intend to use many of the natural objects that I find, unlike Alice where I live it would be very unusual to ‘find’ metal objects along the lanes and by ways of Devon. Luckily my partner has a serious collection of bits of metal and so starting with rust marks seemed obvious.
After an cold half hour or so ferreting around in his boxes of ‘scrap metal – ferrous’ I came back indoors with a collection of different shapes and set to. I have used just a length of left over cotton and some silk thread to attach my items to the cloth. Most things were simply couched to the fabric – leaving varying amounts of metal uncovered. One item I trapped under some surface darning as Alice had suggested. This created a simple warp and weft effect trapping the washer under a sort of floating piece of stitching.
It’ll be interesting to see the marks made by rust on the fabric and stitches as they develop over the year. As always hand-stitching gives you time to be with the process and couching each item by hand gave me a different perspective on the different shapes and textures. Taking time for slow hand work is completely different to my free machine embroidery however both give you time to completely focus on the task in hand and appreciate the process fully.
I will hang this outside and record it’s progress through the year on my Instagram account #rustdiary – do check in if you’re interested -you’d be most welcome!