On the scale of things

As many of you will know, I have been working on some pod-like vessels for Hillstone Fibre Arts’ ‘Noticeable Edges’ exhibition in May. If you have read my previous posts, you will recognise the ‘bra cup’ standing strong! These last ones didn’t get hung as I thought they might – I think they look better like this.   They look large but they are not, they fit into two hands.

I haven’t had time or inclination to do the many more I had originally envisaged but I’m happy with this scaled-down collection of oddities. As the last two were finished, I just wanted to see if I could create one involving burnt steel cloth. I’ve been carrying this idea around in my head and it needed to come out. But one afternoon’s work later, I decided to abandon my efforts because it didn’t sit well with the others. Sometimes a collection needs a rogue in the mix to add interest or a variation but the introduction of this material jarred with the paper foundation in my opinion and was way too fancy a thing.  Besides, it was almost harder trying to thread a needle through all these layers of paper and metal than getting a camel through one.  Note to self.  I have other plans for it – I have taken it apart and intend to audition it for a piece about our local mining history where the metal might provide reference to the hardships of that time.


As is often the case, in the playing with the pieces, I started to make a new connection. I happen to lay them onto a piece of bark that had fallen off a log and was instantly reminded of the huge scale of deforestation and the creeping fires that produce such a devastating edge of loss. Maybe my little bits of metal will find themselves in something about this in future…

The other thing I have been doing is staring my torn, waxed lining paper from last Autumn. I had painted strips with washes of black acrylic paint, left them to dry before waxing and burnt little holes in a few patches which I liked. I have moved them, messed around with them, put them back again and left them in annoyance and only yesterday could I see what they might become. It was coming closer and working on a very small scale that proved successful. These tiny landscapes are about 4×5 cms and are simply the edges of the paper where I found and arranged the right colours and intensities to make the little hills and valleys.

Lining paper is a wonderful medium. The way it tears on the edge and takes a battering is great given its low cost. Looking carefully was the key, as there were tiny patches to be observed where the wax or paint took unevenly. These suggested a moon, or mountains, a tree line or a night sky. I have also used a bit of judicious folding to produce lines in the sky and water. Often you just need to lightly crease the waxed paper to get a crack. I forgot I knew about doing this which was exciting to discover again.  I know, I’m easily pleased.

I’m just deciding whether these two bigger beasties will be allowed to stay or not.    The scale is less successful and they are a gnat’s breath away from doom.


I have a week away coming up which is usually a good time for art-making. I’m already quite excited about a new theme I’ve started to plan but more about that next time.
I hope you are feeling curious… 😀

12 thoughts on “On the scale of things

  1. Wow all of these are amazing, I love your ‘bra cup’ pieces, how did you get the top one to stand up. Also the waxed pieces, fantastic, I have been experimenting with wax its fun isn’t it.

    1. Thank you. The stand is a box sleeve that a watch came in which I painted and I just cut a slit in the top and it sits on top, just poking into it a little. I love what wax does. Need another fix soon!

    1. 😀. I got the steel cloth from Alysn Midgelow- Marsden who is coming over again for Knitting and Stitching so may have some for sale at the shows. The lining paper is £3 a roll paper from DIY store that goes on uneven walls before laying down wallpaper. It’s great for pretty much everything. Takes paint, stitch and print well. Cheap as chips!

  2. Enjoyed your post. Really interesting pieces of work . The burnt steel is very successful with the bark, will be interested to see where you go with it.

  3. Just gorgeous glad the frames working well !! – work looks beautiful in them – Hope we get a catch up some time soon XXX

  4. Lovely post Rachel, I so look forward to reading them. Good luck to you all with Hillstone Fibre Arts first exhibition. Hope to make over to Harrogate.
    Absolutely love the torn paper hillscapes. Excuse my ignorance but are you using the wax as a resist? Not come across this before.

    1. Hi Julie, Thank you.
      No, it was just painted lining paper with wax pellets melted into the strips. The interesting parts are where it was all rather uneven on the back mostly. I was going to use them for something bigger, but then it all went tiny! I’m only there on the Thursday but we have a good range of pieces. I will post a photo story of the show if you can’t make it. Of course, Harrogate is a great place to slip in a little shopping! Rx

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