Posts Tagged ‘glass beads’

Knots Can Add Fine Texture

Saturday, July 29th, 2023

Last year I made several layered textile works featuring a knotted surface. One of them, “Caribbean Crush” will go on show for the first time soon, at The Visions Museum of Textile Art, San Diego CA, from October 13th until December 30th.

A nearly-full view of Caribbean Crush, 2022, 98cmsq, and close detail of the hand stitched surface using a fairly thick polyester thread that’s impossible to press flat, which is why it is so wonderful for this kind of thing!

I’m pretty sure there will be ‘do not touch’ instructions everywhere, yet for my piece I almost think touching it should be allowed – the surface is so inviting, and surprisingly soft to the touch.

I’m currently gathering materials and ideas for a small project, to meet a call for entries combining textile and glass in some way, 2D or 3D, <20cm any direction. I have sourced glass fabricated in various ways without having had to take a crash course on glass blowing ­čÖé In Egypt we visited a glass blowing artist and I simply had to gather up a ridiculously heavy bag of huge glass beads without any idea what I wanted to do with them… I once made a necklace which was a lovely idea, and I wore it once for several hours, but it was impossibly heavy to wear for that afternoon, let alone all day!! So here I am, 15 years later, and there’s a chance several of them might actually be included in this little piece…

Glass beads from Egypt! The fabric is fibre glass, and the other bobbly things are another purchase I simply had to make in Egypt… they’re thread ‘buttons’ for traditional men’s clothing. I’ve always thought them quite beautiful but they’re not very robust – several are unravelling even though about all they’re ever done is travel a day or two in a suitcase, then sit in a drawer and about once a year just slip through my hands for a few minutes….

Decades ago I fairly heavily beaded an entire wall quilt “Tidal Shallows 1” with tiny watery blue/green toned glass beads –

“Tidal Shallows”, 1998, 88cm x 88cm

About a decade ago I went to a beading class for a few months, so I have plenty of glass beads around, but I’m thinking I need to do some knots for texture to marry the glass and textile elements.

So when I looked on Pinterest for knotted stitches, I found some really interesting images, one of which led me to a blog article on 9 Important Knot Stitches in Embroidery , and I was struck by several I didn’t know – namely Danish knots, 4-legged knot stitch, colonial knots and Turk’s head knot (which you make with the thread/yarn/cord and then attach to the work.) I was pleased to see French knots there, and what the writer called pistil stitch which I’ve always called stemmed french knots – always one of my favourites.

I’m also thinking about a Stitch Club workshop I enjoyed in 2020 from Clarissa Callesen. Stuffed forms weren’t new to me, but the workshop was a fun and lively reminder of their sculptural potential. There’s always one of those constructions from that week kicking round my sewing room… and I see myself using something of that technique here:

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