Posts Tagged ‘sheers’

Gift Of The Nile

Friday, October 9th, 2020

I wrote before that the current Stitch Club workshop by Vinney Stapley is not enough to draw me away from focusing on my girt by sea/ little landscapes right now, but students in that very good workshop are doing some really wonderful things with sheer fabrics using mostly motifs from Nature.

I was somehow reminded of the sheer pieces I made ages ago, 2007-8, and often written about elsewhere in this blog, particularly from the point of feeling a bit dissatisfied with hanging options. Time’s flown though, and I think if I were doing these things now I’d fit them with grommets and hang with clear nylon fishing line – a method much more acceptable than it was way back then.

In 2007 Mike and I travelled to France for a some delightful travel with several Aussie friends on canals in Burgundy, followed by another week in and around Paris. We then left them to continue on their trip, and we made our way to Cairo, Egypt, where we had a wonderful introduction to that country under the guidance of a friend who was living there then. I did write about this at the time, but didn’t continue with some of the things that impressed me most visiting some of the tombs, very special archeological sites, wandering through some of the impressive and very ancient temple ruins. We visited the wonderful Egyptian museum in Cairo with all the treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb and other archaeological sites laid out on display, albeit rather crowde. A new musuem, The Grand Egyptian Museum now set to open in 2021, will be a wonder of the modern world, I think. With every step, every day, we were aware of the ancient history of that country. Back in the C5th BC, the Greek historian Herodotus described Egypt as the ‘gift of the Nile’ river, and it is as true today as it has been through the five thousand years of its history. Perhaps no other country on Earth has ever been so profoundly shaped by a river. My head was brimming with all this and the thrill of having actually been to that ancient country; and soon after arriving back home I became absorbed in making this piece, Gift of The Nile:

Gift of The Nile, 2007 120 cmw x 100cmh
Gift of The Nile, collage of details.

I’m sometimes amazed to see something for the first time in years – so long in fact that in this case, I somehow neglected to include it in the illustrated catalogue of my textile art that I put together 2-3 years ago, and after working so hard on that, I really thought I’d dug up absolutely everything – but as a recent post demonstrated, I need to remain alert and open minded!

In 2002 I attended Fibreswest, a week-long festival of residential workshops and fun in Western Australia, and took a workshop on Korean bojagi with Chunghie Lee, We used silk organza which eventually prompted me to think about experimenting with sheer fabrics. In 2008 (what on earth took me sooooo long?) I made a couple of wall hangings, which have never hung – the same old hanging method ‘problem’:

Right away you can see the bojagi patchwork influence in the incredible amount of seaming!!! (which was done in metallic gold thread) as is the quilting in each block of each quilt. However, if I were doing either of these again, motifs sandwiched between layers of probably nylon organza, and (sewn together block by block) I’d set the pieces in a grid style layout, baste them into place onto the backing piece of fabric, carefully place the top layer over and baste that into place, then do free machine quilting on the front/top, and finally remove the basting.

3D Inspirations 3

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

At the end of the first week of Clarissa Callesen’s workshop I finished off this first form. It’s changed it a bit from my first pinning in the previous post I added pouffs of fussy cut dotty sections some fabric in lovely Australian desert colours, tufts of a 2mm paper ribbon and french knots.

Stitched sculptural form ~15cm x 6cm

A couple of days ago I took up a crochet hook, and, thinking about couching, made samples to explore crocheting a few cords and ribbons for effect. Across the top is crocheted leather thonging. Below, at left is the paper ribbon, in the centre a fine thread that I have a whole cone of I bought yearas ago at a surface design conference but discovered at home it is impossible to sew with (it’s probably a weaving thread) At the right is a very shiny woven ribbon.

The second video for in depth enrichment, went live this morning, showing us several ways to add found objects (I love the idea of covering stones with antique textile or lace) and suggesting more of what I already discovered of the potential to use the sheer quality of fabric (panty hose !!!) with objects between the fibrefill and fabric – (see gold thread under the sheer in the previous post) You can tell that I’ve found this to be a very inspirational workshop ūüôā

Transparency Presents Difficulties

Friday, January 16th, 2015

I have dabbled from time to time with transparent quilts – using fairly strong colour to show a pattern through nylon or silk organza. Take these two untitled pieces, for example: ¬†each is about 1.25m h x 90 com w. ¬†¬†Because ¬†they haven’t ‘led’ anywhere I have only ever named these works ‘Transparent 1’ and ‘Transparent 2’ ¬†ūüôā ¬† ¬†Each was built up of blocks/modules machine sewn together, and that process certainly contributed to the less than even drape of each piece, so that was one problem. ¬† If I were making these works now I would keep the front and back fabrics whole, ¬†fuse shapes onto the back and then lay the front piece over, sandwich, baste and quilt. ¬†These pieces both date from 2003, and back then I had no idea of the bonding materials that are widely available now.

transparent #1 copy



transparent quilt 2 copy blog

But the further problem, which has prevented me ever feeling happy enough to exhibit these pieces is that really, apart from running a nylon line from each corner to some higher point, there isn’t a way to hang them with any kind of rigid support enclosed in a sleeve on the back side that doesn’t show from the back to the front. Does this matter these days? ¬†… probably not if it is part of the integrity of the piece to drape like a dustsheet or a large curtain, which certainly wasn’t the intention in any of these pieces. ¬†A clear acrylic rod do I hear you suggest? ¬†A friend displayed a lovely work on one, and after a month under gallery lights it had visibly sagged. I don’t think it’s necessarily a long term answer.


After a trip to Egypt in 2007, I ¬†wanted to use ¬†sheer fabrics again to explore the ancient origins of history that influence the country as it is today. ¬†The effects of layered sheers with free machining were pleasing to me, but I still wasn’t happy with the hanging system of a fine dowel rod in a narrow sleeve approximating to the width of the binding on the sides and lower edge. ¬†It shows through the ¬†fabric – distracting, ¬†imho.

Tramsparent Egypt copy

Egypt transparent detail

So, these difficulties have in effect put me off – am I being too fainthearted? ¬†I know I could get some of these effects by careful stencilling, perhaps – ¬†but I just want to use the fabric. ¬†I have recently been looking back over some of my very early work, and seeing these images has brought this frustration to the top again! ¬†Any reader with bright ideas or valuable experience to share – I’d love to hear from you!



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