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Simple Soft Sculptures

Simple 3D or soft sculptures with our theme ‘From the Sea’ to inspire us. 

A mini workshop with a few tips and tricks on how to create a small soft sculpture. First up create your pattern. The idea was to start with a simple flat shape such as an image from a child’s colouring book.

Make the pattern and simplify some of the shapes.

If you are going to make multiple it is a good idea to make a card or plastic template to trace around. Trace around the shape and stitch on the line that you traced using a small stitch length (1.5) then cut away the seam allowance. This much easier and more accurate than adding a seam allowance, cutting out and then stitching.

If only making one you can stitch onto a paper tracing of the pattern, cut away the seam allowance and peel/rip the paper off.

Turn the sculpture to the right side

Stuff the sculpture and stitch the opening closed. This sea dragon has also been stitched around on the edges for extra reinforcement and texture.

You can also not worry about turning the shapes out. This crab head has the seam allowance on the outside, the edges also teased or fluffed for added interest.

A few tools that can make your life easier, from the top a selection of turning tools, artery forceps and stuffing forks, not essential but can be really helpful.

A bit of sculpting can change your flat shape and give your sculpture some personality. This fish is ready for decoration.

Some paint or decoration can also make it more interesting.

Fabulous Show and Tell

Janice came with some machine embroidered fish and jelly fish.

and some starfish

Some fish in the making from Meg

Gillian has been busy creating her unique fabric for her sculpture

A jelly fish from Lorene

And a piece of white stitching

Jill came with an artist book in progress

The cover

And some pages

Twining and Stitching

Our October meeting was a continuation of the twining and stitching demonstration by Kerrie last month. There were many pieces in progress as well as some people to teach twining who had missed the September meeting.

Jenny worked on twining some recycled fabric:

Twining

Carol’s twining was becoming a seashell, recycling a border cut from fabric in nautical colours.

Seashell in progress

Twining using tissue paper:

Twining with tissue paper

Some finished tiny vessels in tissue paper and fabric:

Rosalie trying a different technique of coiling:

And my works in progress. A hanging nest and a freeform basket based on tidal pools which will be further embellished:

Carol recently had a wonderful week at the TAFTA Geelong Forum and had brought her beautiful concertina book:

Natural dyeing and printing

Making twine with tissue paper or old dressmaking patterns is a simple process that creates surprisingly strong cordage. The same technique is also very useful for using up strips of fabric or even creating thicker cord from string or embroidery thread. The finished twine can be used for wrapping or a thread to couch down, however, I like it best for making simple pots or baskets.

These little pots except for one were made using twine made from dressmaking patterns, torn strips of calico or silk. The exception was made from repurposed window sashing cord.

A selection of materials to be use

First a demonstration and then the group were ready to start ‘twining’

The pots start with a coiled and stitched base

 once the base is a big as you want the twine is stacked and stitched on top of the base.

There was also some work from the group to admire. We all love a bit of show and tell.

Carol has already finished her piece using the ‘From the Sea’ theme. A fabulous concertina book with heaps of textile art and mixed media techniques.

Fabric and mixed media books from Jill.

Rhonda brought along some pieces featuring acrylic paint pouring

Many textile artists and embroiderers have fabrics in their stash that no longer inspire them to create. Sometimes it is easy to alter them and give them a new life. The simplest is to look at the back of the fabric, the reverse can often provide a subtle and textured background or perhaps a sky. Overdyeing can also be effective. This month in our meeting we looked at using paint, inks and traditional paper craft mediums for work that will not be washed.

First up was a discussion about various mediums and techniques with lots of samples to refer to and then a few demonstrations.

Then it was time for everyone to try out the techniques that interested them.

Over stamping using acrylic paint mixed with textile medium

Stencilling

Mono printing

Painting or sponging 

Carol took a considered approach

And then tried everything or so it seemed

 
And for something completely different

Constructed fabric from Jenny using her needle felting machine

Detail of Laurene’s white work, lace cut outs attached to background fabric. The piece is quite long and perhaps a scroll.

This month was a follow on session for machine embroidery. There were some bowls created after last month’s tutorial.


 

And the concept taken a little further and made into jelly fish, a great interpretation for our theme From the Sea.

Some fish

More free machine stitch

Using grids as a basis for stitch

Collage, machine stitch techniques 

Hard at work

Some fabulous baskets from Jo. 

For the next few sessions the focus of the program will be on FreeMachine Embroidery. Leonie led the group through the basics of machine embroidery and the steps involved in the making of a sculptural bowl shape and a few tips and tricks to get us started.

The bowl starts with layers of thread, snippets of fabric made into a soluble fabric such as Wash Away.

The sandwich is then free machine embroidered with interlocking circles which hold the trapped threads together when the soluble fabric is rinsed away

Then the soluble fabric is rinsed away. Thorough rinsing will create a softer more lace like product, less rinsing will make the embroidery stiffer and have more structure.

Then shaped over a bowl or glass to create the moulded shape.

The embroidery is then left to dry. When dry the structure can be worked into with stitch, embellished with beads or reinforced with fine wire.

Leonie demonstrated using thick threads in the bobbin, winding a bobbin by hand and making sure not to thread through the tension slot. This creates a thick pattern on the underneath which then becomes the right side.

There was some discussion about using the embroidery stitches built into the machine.

More inspiration from Leonie

Thanks to Leonie for her preparation and great introduction machine embroidery.

Top tip, use titanium needles.

Rhonda came with her Boro bag for Show and Tell

Thank you to Kerrie for all her preparation and an inspiring demonstration of a range of techniques on the gelli plates. Less is definitely not more when it comes to gelli printing, the more layers the better in most cases!

Kerrie demonstrating Gelli printing
Textures and colours

After her excellent presentation we all got seriously to work and the results were quite outstanding from just 1-2 hours:

Gelli prints
More gelli prints

Pauline brought her in progress fabric pages from last month’s meeting on using a variety of pencils and crayons on fabric, looking amazing!

Pauline’s Inktense pages

Jenny combined colour, fabric and free machine stitching to create some fabulous flowers:

Jenny’s flowers

Just a reminder that in April we will be having a ‘stitch’ week where we can work into our artistic cloth and paper (stitch on paper too!) and perhaps transform into a form- a book, 3D, postcard, ATC. Bring along all your bits and bobs and be inspired by how others transform their pieces.