Feeling Edgy

Hillstone Fibre Arts has been born. We are a group of friends living around Huddersfield, each with different experiences in textiles, embroidery, and mixed media. ‘Hillstone’ was chosen to honour the lovely West Yorkshire landscape that we live in, and some of you may know that the dominant landmark is Castle Hill – a stone folly up on a hill that overlooks one of the largest towns in the county.
We have now met twice and have started to get to know each other more. As always, I love being part of a group where you can learn so much. The different backgrounds also add a bit of magic into the mix. We have chosen a theme of ‘noticeable edges’ to explore which has already thrown up some fantastic ideas and draft beginnings.

At the moment, I’m interested in using dip dying on different papers and fabrics. I’m not sure where it will lead to, but I know to trust the adventure. 

I decided to employ my logical, scientific side and tore up strips of every conceivable type of paper in my shed, and nearly every type of fabric. These were given a 30 second dip into watered down India ink, only they weren’t actually because some just sucked it up so fast I cheated and pulled them out. Other unimpressive results were left longer in the attempt to encourage them to be a little more magnificent. Good job I didn’t become a scientist – I think a spot of light subversion and championing of the ‘unfair test’ is much more preferable artistically.   

These were placed onto plastic bags to dry. Now this was a very important variable as it meant that the ink made more interesting marks and wicked up the material further than when on paper towel. Time was also a factor and it took about an hour for the ink to find its final resting place in this small experiment.

  •  Cheap printer paper worked well 
  • Crinkling paper didn’t particularly make a difference 
  • Handmade paper wolfed up ink 
  • Some cottons didn’t do a thing, other ones did 
  • Pre-washing fabric is important
  • Wetting edges first was often better, but sometimes marks were too pale 
  • Silk was generally fabulous 

A range of silks…

Two of my favourite – artist canvas and copier paper

Some edges resembled landscapes when placed together 

‘Edges’ seems to be another one of those timeless themes that grabs people’s attention, and many use the wicking of dye into fabric to great effect. At the moment, I want to do something in monochrome so that the edges are kept as the focus but not too sure what yet.

I then took a silk fibre bowl and suddenly had a very unscientific urge to pinch the edges together. I found this unexpectedly amusing. So much so that I let out a small titter in my shed. To this day I cannot explain myself, and no, no alcohol was involved. Just the mad inner world of a woman of a certain age. Following a couple of good slaps and some fresh air, it occurred to me that this might have potential, so I’m wondering if some pod-like vessels with different edges might develop. I’m considering how an inside edge might be done?  

And how this idea might be linked with some previous shapes…

And then, I recently noticed an old shop in Basingstoke (my old childhood art shop actually) which had sadly closed. The sign above the door was now rotten and letting water drip down the paper which covered the door and window. I did a kind of sideways skip across the walkway and got out my camera. What I really wanted to do was break in, but had to settle for a few photos. The couple about 10 inches away from me politely kept quite quiet and slowly edged away from the mad old bat crouching down. But you know, I’m in good company and plead ‘guilty as charged’. 

On the subject of the creative process and how Cezanne followed his goals despite what his peers thought about him, G Petty writes ‘If others think you are mad – you are in good company’.

Finally, I’m trying to finish another piece of pebble work.  The idea is to reference the motion of the sea using small cylinders of different sizes with noticeable edges of blue.   The tea and rust-dyed silk that will be wrapped around also has stitching responding to the edges of the print. Two projects influencing each other.

I’m looking forward to a chunk of time to develop these ideas. I like to think I may be on the edge of something great, but I fear it is more likely to be the edge of reason!

Ta ta.

12 thoughts on “Feeling Edgy

  1. Kim Thittichai commented on your site in Fb….had to check it out….fabulous look forward to more inspiring blogs…long distance of course

  2. Hi Rachael

    Congratulations , and good luck with your new group. Enjoyed the read, as always.

    Best regards


  3. Congratulations , good luck with your new group , great read , enjoy seeing your exciting textile creations develop. as always. regards Brenda

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