Botanical Gardens / Archives

  Chihuly  is widely known for his architectural sculptures. One of his main inspirations are conservatories and botanical gardens. In 2001, he set up his first botanical exhibition at the Garfield Park conservatory in Chicago which led to a series of Garden projects, including one close to home in 2005, at Kew Gardens in London. Being so close to Kew gardens I decided to go and be inspired myself. As  I am a lot better at drawing from what I can see rather than from imagination, visual research for me is alway vital for my later design developments. As I also decided to use botanical drawings as my archive for this project, I took the opportunity to visit Kew Gardens library and archive where I was recommended books on both botanical drawings and Textiles artists who were also inspired by flowers and plants.

Sea Life

A lot of Chihuly’s work is inspired by sea life. What I love about sea life as a source of inspiration, are the amazing patterns and colours you can find, whether it is a pattern from fish scales or from the natural lines within sea plants. My attention went more towards sea shells at the beginning,  keeping in mind that I could possibly stylise them later on. Whilst observing more and more the patterns  I started picking out key designs and colours that I liked. Chihuly’s cylinders are very decorative as well and reflect really well the natural patterns from the sea. That’s why, later on, I went on to look at where the designs for his cylinders originate from. A more in-depth view at these will be posted on my next sketch board.              

Primary Research – Chihuly

As I have mentioned before, this term we were given a brief from the Hand and Lock 2016 embroidery competition, for which I choose to study the work of glass sculptor, Chihuly. As I was particularly unsatisfied with my sketchbook and was afraid that my thought process wasn’t clear enough to others, I decided instead to start working on loose papers and create pinboards, in other terms make “Sketchboards”. The boards are sectioned chronologically and in themes, visually showing the steps I am taking towards my final designs. This first pinboard is composed of my primary research of Chilhuly. When studying his work, I found that there were several  different areas I could look into, his work in the botanical gardens, his sea life inspired cylinders and his colourful paintings.  

Jacobean Crewel Work

This new frame is an embroidery technique called Crewel work.  Crewel work is one of the earliest forms of surface stitching and is worked with crewel wool onto linen. The Jacobean design taught here goes as far back as the 17th century and was influenced by the exotic flora and faunas found on Indian imported chintzes. Another popular design with Jacobean crewel work is quirky insects and animals which were added to the ‘Tree of Life’ foliage design. Compared to canvas work and blackwork, crewel work is not based on a counting technique and is, therefore, more freestyle. What I loved the most with this very traditional technique, is experimenting with the different threads and fabrics to give it a more modern approach. I knew from the start, that I didn’t want to follow the traditional design of Jacobean crewel work and I think exploring each stitch in a modern approach, opened up a lot more design possibilities. My final design was the shell, which was a design taken from one of my art sketchbooks. I chose the shell as it went against the typical floral designs however still gave me a lot of areas in which I could show a variety […]

Black Work

Finally, here is my finished Blackwork frame! Blackwork is a technique that dates back in English history to the Tudor times. It was used in England on clothing as a very decorative stitch around cuffs and hems; and it also served a purpose of reinforcing the shape. It has a delicate lace look which is why  it was often used as an alternate option to expensive lace. Like canvas work, Black work is a counted technique and is traditionally worked with black silk onto white linen. Modern designs however now incorporate coloured threads and fabrics which can change its effect quite dramatically.     This technique is possibly one of my favourites, I love the detailed and delicate look it has to it. It also for me looks more aesthetically pleasing than the other techniques I have been doing. I also enjoyed sewing it the most, but then again, that could have been from the cheerful christmas spirit I was surrounded by at the time. My shoe design on the right hand side is based on my alter ego shoe project I did last term. I wanted it to be more of a decorative design instead of an exact representation of a shoe. With this design I found […]