T1: MMT; Pt2; Pj1: Ex2

Joining straight edges with a gap

Having looked at the work of Sarah Burgess in my sketchbook I had let her joining in ‘Connected’ filter into my subconscious. Clearly so because my first sample for this exercise recalled her ladder joins that were connected by a knotted stitch.

I wanted to join with a threadlike staple rather than a continuous length of yarn. Puncturing the paper first I then deliberated over which side to leave the knot- that with the raised wound from the puncture, or the smooth surface where the puncture entered the paper. I wanted to keep the paper and yarn simple to again focus purely on the form of the join thereby leaving me room for later experiments on texture and colour. I did like the torn edge clearly seen on the knotted side. I had left the raised wound from the puncture to the side where the knots lay, because on the surface we can all look like we’re holding it together quite smoothly, but underneath the hidden mechanics reveal the quite staggering work that goes into remaining connected.

Ex2: sample 1:

Next I wanted to change the wooliness of the yarn for the coldness and apparent efficiency of metal. I decided to wind a spiral out of copper wire and proceeded to thread this through the sacrificial dictionary paper. This form was very book-like and held an aged air. The finished seam gave the impression of missing pages in the space of the coil. Although this was sample 2 for ex 2 I was unsuccessful creating a gap once I opened out the ‘spine’ – so perhaps this should be a further sample for ex1?

Ex2: sample 2:

Interesting – the random page holding ‘machination’ to ‘macrame’!

I then wanted to use the paper page as the joining device so twisted thin strips of the paper to create primitive pins. Having no metal sheet to hand to change the placement of the metal in the piece, I resorted to tin foil and wanted to see the effect when this was joined to a snip of plastic carrier bag – which has a filminess but is opaque and lifeless to me.

How many dull and lifeless things do we join ourselves to in the hope that we’ll squeeze some life into them yet?

Ex2: sample 3:

Since I had gone over to the dark side of plastic and the pins needed more securing as they ran the risk of tearing the tin foil I resorted to the hot glue gun. What a surprise… the heat curled the paper further and when the bead of hot glue caught the edge of the plastic it encouraged this into a curl too.

Immediately I set to experimenting with the impact of heat that had no risk of fumes.

Ex 2: sample 4:

You can see how the heat ruffles the edges and creates a ripple. I wanted the glue to bead on the plastic and sweep across the space on a diagonal. Whilst this feels lifeless, due to the use of plastics, there is something interesting in the effect of heat on the seam. Again, a future outdoor decent weather permitting experiment. Perhaps this sample means not all connections bring vivacity. Some connection are perfunctory. This sample has a somewhat medical sterility to it – or a ‘cheap shower curtain-esquness’ – it reminds me of the ‘value’ range in supermarkets.

After this I started doodling in my sketchbook because my sampling felt flat and limp. Then I went and hunted through my odds and sods draw and liked the simple join of clip, some split rings, a rivet and some alpaca felt with a broken zip. Holding together the rough and the smooth!

Ex2: Sample 5:

With the re-introduction of texture I recognised how I have been thinking of joining in a very flat way. The surfaces can be manipulated (for example the tin foil had the concertina fold from Pj 1) yet my joins had happened on the same plane, parallel.

I started thinking then… where do I actually make connection? Where do I connect with ideas – at the ground level or somewhere else? Do I send down roots or send up shoots? When I consider where I am  ‘in me’ I think that connections are something that happen above ground. That I send up these very spindly and not yet sturdy shoots – see what these traces discover. A connection can be made but it is very much an ‘up-in-the-air’ effort. Putting down roots and connecting beneath the surface reminds my of the inspiration I found in ATV from the fungi and their network – the Hartig Net. Am I ready to secure myself to a deep-earthed connection?

The sample that evolved from this thinking and doodling recalled the spinal/rib work that seems to be emerging in this module. I used fine gauge blue coloured copper wire. First I sewed it onto the sheer gauze as I found the contrast between the material properties exciting. Then I drew up tendrils and looped ready to receive a connecting bow – moving the bridge-like connection forward to create a half-formed connection that needed intertwining with its other half for stability and structure. I created those two halves.

Ex 2: sample 6:

Finally, I twisted them together at the bow/knot at the apex of the arch.

At last – a sample that seems to hold potential exploration and individuality!

I think the space in the sample above is the grief left after. It is a void. The sheer fabric is the new sense of ‘who-I-am’ growing out of invisibility and fear. It hasn’t completely consolidated and is yet translucent. The seam, the threads that wander up away from the surface? Hope. The knot? Love. The threads are still pulling away from this intimate connection for fear – they could stand as they were –  a safe half-formed thing.Yet, they also yearn deeply for this tangled loss of end and beginning.

‘We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans – because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That’s why we paint, that’s why we dare to love someone – because we have the impulse to explain who we are.’

Maya Angelou

4 thoughts on “T1: MMT; Pt2; Pj1: Ex2

  1. I, again, really enjoyed this read and the pictures. You work magic with words and textiles together. For me, these samples together tell a story. But you are the storyteller that make it happen. This is a rare gift. I am reminded of Karen Blixen who also had that gift.


    1. What a compliment Inger! I’m so encouraged that my words reach you and speak to you. It gives me the confidence to just keep sharing my truth.


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