I tried out French knitting on two of my yarn concepts for Exercise 4.1, and plaiting on two others, so I decided to have a look at knotting/macramé, which I had touched on with my net yarn concept for Exercise 4.2. I found a book on the subject at Carlisle Library, (Williams and Mann, 2011).
I tried some of the techniques in the book:-
Lark’s Head Knot / synthetic mix yarn (top left)
(uses: anchoring knot, net making)
Ring Hitching / vintage linen embroidery thread over washers & nut (bottom left)
(uses: (traditionally) covering metal rings bolted to ship’s deck; earrings, jewellery)
Half Knot (macramé knot) / dyed raffia cord (second from left)
(uses: necklace cord, bracelet, macramé projects)
Double Flat Button Knot / gardening string (second from right)
(uses: closure with a large loop, focal point for necklace)
Button Knot / synthetic cord (right)
(uses: buttons, cuff links, spacer knot in jewellery making)
I have to say that I was not ‘grabbed’ by any of these samples, although they all might have their place in different types of project (the Lark’s Head Knot had been used to anchor the threads when making my net yarn, for example). I enjoyed making the Half Knot macramé strand, although I think a more regular cord would lead to a better outcome (I had tried it with natural raffia cord). The sample was further distressed by our cat. However, it is quite a rhythmic and soothing activity to make and I’m sure it would become more regular with practise.
One idea that occurred to me was to make some sort of vessel. I had seen such forms in Jean Draper’s book, (Draper, 2013).
Jean Draper, and Margaret Raine, assorted vessels
Source:- Draper, 2013
Jean Draper works the vessels seen at left, above, over a rice bag mould using a knotted buttonhole stitch to make the sides; the vessels seen on the right hand side, above, are randomly hand stitched over a mould.
Margaret Raine’s vessels (centre, above) are coiled, using an ancient basketry technique, wherein a firm, but flexible core is spiralled around and held in place with a finer thread. The resulting form can be flat or three-dimensional. Margaret’s vessels are delicate, hand-sized pieces made from cotton embroidery thread over a silk core.
I found a tutorial on coiled rope vessels, decorated with embroidery thread by Lisa Tilse, which is similar to that used by Margaret Raine, mentioned above.
I made a Pinterest board which includes images from artists working with vessels and similar forms.
Shannon Weber is an artist living and working in the US. She makes three-dimensional woven objects and sculptures from unusual materials, such as found natural materials (seaweed, wood, etc), and manmade items likes pieces from table games.
Shannon Weber, Dizzie
Both the colour palette and materials used by the artist are noteworthy. The lines of the coated wires or cords appear like a spinning top in motion in this swirling mass of vibrant colour.
Lizzie Farey is an artist whose work I saw at last year’s Spring Fling event in Dumfries & Galloway. She uses willow and other natural materials to make organic forms such as bowls, balls or nests, wall-mounted art works and sculpture.
Lizzie Farey, Pussy Willow Bowl, 2005
This bowl appears to be quite loosely coiled without the regularity of normal basketwork. The interwoven coils that weave in and out of the structure diagonally are, I think, what holds the piece together. As well as the slightly ‘random’ look to this piece, I like the imaginative use of the pussy willow as decoration.
There seem to be numerous tutorials about weaving or coiling bowls: some use paper; some use flat grasses or fibres; others use willow or more traditional materials; and some use textiles, including braided textiles. I will try a number of samples first before embarking on a completed piece.
What can I learn from these artists?
- there are numerous ways of connecting linear media to form a 2-D or 3-D form (stitch, weaving, coiling)
- the media and colour palette chosen can give a very different feel to a piece (compare Shannon Weber’s Dizzie with Lizzie Farey’s Pussy Willow Bowl, for example)
Draper, J. (2013) Stitch and structure: Design and technique in two and three-dimensional textiles. London: Batsford.
Williams, L. and Mann, E. (2011) 75 decorative knots: A directory of knots and knotting techniques plus exquisite jewellery projects to make and wear. United Kingdom: Search Press.
http://www.fruncesybordados.com.mx/Knotted%20Buttonhole%20Stitch.htm Accessed 08/02/17
http://www.lizziefarey.co.uk/Sculpture/lfph19x.htm Accessed 07/02/17
http://shannonweber.com/ Accessed 06/02/17