I’ve been thinking about what a lovely shape a tetrahedron is, and how it could be great covered in fabric on which was surface decoration to make a 3D textile work. Last week the penny dropped on how I could make one with rigid flat sides that didn’t have to be stuffed (and therefore lose the straight shape, perhaps) .
You know, it is true that no education is wasted, and my memory is long. In a weekend workshop in Kalgoorlie 35 years ago, taught by the late Rusty Walkley I learned the basics of how to make fabric covered boxes, though I myself only made the one – it wasn’t my thing, but I did finish it, and still have it. She showed us how to work out the required panel pieces for each side, base and lid of our basic cubic 5″ box. We measured out cardboard shapes and scored along fold lines before covering and lining each individual piece with fabric, all stitched by hand of course, none of this modern hot glue thing. When all pieces were covered they were sewn edge to edge to form the 3D piece. I looked on You Tube and there found tutorials on how to cover existing boxes, but nothing on how to make one from scratch, and as for tetrahedrons covered in fabric, I was clearly totally on my own!
So anyway I adapted what I remembered from Rusty’s class, and instead of cardboard cut my triangles from template plastic. I had some thin heat activated adhesive batting which of course did not stick to the template plastic, so I affixed it to the back of the outer fabric before folding those edges over to the inside and stitching into place. After covering the 4 panels in black fabric, I sewed three together to form the cone which I then decorated with a simple couched design before finally attaching the base:
But next I want to decorate each panel before I sew them up, as it will certainly be a bit easier to apply the stitchery or whatever paint and other mixed media I decide on, and I hope to make them much more texturally interesting – maybe requiring just a little stitch or dab here and there to carry things over the seam onto the next panel, we’ll see.
For this first effort, I found the big time component is getting each shape covered. Slip stitching along paired edges to assemble the 3D shape, though a bit fiddly, doesn’t really take long, and applying the 4th side, the base, was less difficult than I expected. So that’s what I’m up to this week, and I am well along covering enough shapes for 4 tetrahedrons… something I can do with one eye on the telly or sitting out on the shady terrace – it’s not too unlike hexagon patchwork!