Throughout Winter 2020/21, Living Threads members were inspired by the challenge of a Virtual Exhibition on the theme of ‘Nature’s Architecture’. They produced 6 inch squares which have been incorporated into an exhibition video and gallery.
Details of inspirations and methods are set out below. Please enjoy!
Jenny Ashmore – Lily
Lily – my favourite flower – I love the shapes and colours. Photograph printed on to fabric and machine and hand stitched.
Carol Hampton – You make me Smile
Judith Burnett – Vibernum, Kilimanjaro Sunrise
Digitally enhanced photo, transferred onto dyed cotton and stitched.
Sally Marsh – Grindleford Ice
Seen on a stream side walk in Derbyshire.
Background – cotton duck canvas, Foreground – Cotton backed iron-on vilene, Threads – hand & machine cottons, Colourings – fabric dye & ink
Michelle Jeffreys – Sea Urchins
I have chosen Sea Urchins as the inspiration for Nature’s Architecture.
I enjoy creating structured 3-D items or hangings. I was immediately drawn to the idea of basing my piece of work on Sea Urchins. There are many different shapes, sizes and colours of these fascinating sea creatures. I spent some time researching their structure and the variety of different patterns that can be found upon them. The skeleton that remains , whatever the species , confirms to an almost unified mathematical formula of five which struck me as very architectural and at the same time very decorative. What remains is fragile but fascinating especially when seen grouped together.
This piece has been made using dyed, stencilled fabrics and threads including felt, cotton and chiffon.
The decoration is free machine embroidery, french knots, piercing and beading.
Julie Rowe – Nature inspires architecture
The background of this piece is based on the structure of the giant water lily Victoria Amazonia.
Joseph Paxton used this as inspiration for his first rough sketch of a design for the Crystal Palace.
Marita Page – Bird of Paradise flower
I was in Madeira at the end of February last year. These flowers were everywhere, they come in different shades, yellow, cream but by far the most popular is this orange/red colour. They dominate the formal gardens but could be seen in pots and small gardens too.
Francine Wilkins – Cactus
Stencil, paint and crayon, plus hand embroidery.
Maggie Ready – Ice Patterns
This piece, entitled Ice Patterns, reflects the delicate network of cracks on the frozen surface of water during our recent freeze up.
Worked on indigo dyed cotton I have used hand stitch, appliqué and beading.
Helen Brownett – The nest of a Crested Bead bird
This piece was inspired by the our daily walks around our village. I noticed all the birds nests that were now exposed this time of year when the trees are asleep and empty of leaves.
The components are actually a piece of work I did a number of years ago and was carefully wrapped up and stored away. Now during lockdown like a lot of others we were having a clear out and found the piece of work which I happily pulled apart and moulded into a nest on some found branches as a bird would do. I never liked it anyway. It’s been cut, torn, stitched and twisted. I prefer it now.
The bird is made of fabric which is then painted. It stands 6 inches tall.
Joan Pilkington – Torchon square
Garden architecture, representing a formal layout of a zig-zag path around a lawn with flower beds on the outside.
Viv Denscombe – Fragility of Life
Having recently read ‘The History of Bees’ by Marja Lunde the idea of the fragility of life…especially at this particular time, seemed a really appropriate starting point for Nature’s Architecture. Like the bees buzzing around collecting nectar, building stores to create honey, we, as textile artists, travel through life collecting info and treasures to build our own creations. As Lunde suggests if the bees were denied their architecture of pollination life would cease to exist.
Jane Marrows – Hive
My inspiration for this piece is the hexagonal structure of the interior of a beehive and its honeycomb.
I have created a ‘sandwich’ of layers of snippets of sheer fabrics, threads and glittery trims, between 2 layers of gold sparkle tulle fabric.
Free machine embroidery forms the internal structure.
Additional gold fabric and beads provides a suggestion of the golden honey within.
The bee, although not anatomically correct, is just a bit of fun machine embroidery on soluble fabric and hand stitch on Vilene for the wings.
Ann Hammond – Cobwebs
I wanted to use a set of Inktense crayons that I’ve had forever and never used on fabric. I had also been looking through some old photographs and came across some photographs of cobwebs with the image of poppy seedheads behind them and was inspired!!
Chrissie Weeds – Bee Happy
Made up of all hand sewn patchwork, embroidery and beading.
Little bee – mostly furry wool, pipe cleaners and machine made wings!!! Very fiddly!
Gill Bird – Tree of Four Seasons
Winter – Holly, red berries
Spring – Blossom, white flowers
Summer – Laburnam, golden rain
Autumn – Fall, leaves
Tree architecture, needlelace flora, the white blossom bobbin lace.
Three dimensional lace tree, the leaves unworked centres, hand dyed threads.
Paving slabs surround, central one inch squares, natural dyes using nettles, onion skins and marigold petals along with others were used to finish.
Sue Wilson – The Melt
Pelmet vilene painted as were the trees.
Machine and hand stitched.
The piece is shiny, inspired by a photo of melting snow in the sun, but unfortunately doesn’t show on the photo.
Annie Nicoll – The Architecture of Honesty. Honestly!
I chose Honesty because the transparency of the seed pods, like an architectural drawing, shows the inner workings.
I used free machining to define the plant and then cut away the background and replaced it with a collage of different pieces of organza on a printed cotton fabric.
Sylvia Birch – Moonlit Shadows
This is a book cover with silk background, bonded angelina fibres. Folded patchwork, hand embroidered.
Ann Bruntlett – Physalis Alkekengi Seed Case
Inspired by illustrated medieval herbal manuscripts.
A self supporting seed case made of lace created using freehand machine embroidery with enclosed bead ‘seed’, mounted on hand made silk paper, with a drawn illustration, coloured with Inktense crayons and handwritten details using a fine Pigma Micron pen.
Greta Fitchett – Natures Architecture
Trees are wonderfully architectural and I have created a 3D tree form with wire. The wire was covered with machine stitching to form branches that were twisted and bent into shape. The branches were twisted together to make a thicker trunk. Leaves were made from sheet music, book pages, maps, and leather. The paper was laminated before cutting. The fruits are pearls of different sizes, and there is some beading on the tree trunk.
Jennie Riley – Flowers in Stone
My six inch square is ‘Nature in Architecture‘ rather than ‘Architecture in Nature‘
I have always had an interest in ecclesiastical architecture and am fascinated by cathedral stone carvings. My design evolved from drawings I made of carvings in the chapter house at Southwell Minster.
I used appliqué shapes on a felt background with freehand machine embroidery.
Worked on cotton with muslin, using Perle 8 and 3 strand embroidery threads.
Janet Humphrey – Lime Tree Leaf
The subject is a section of a lime tree leaf seen through the lens of a microscope.
Machine embroidery on silk plus paint and embellished with sequins.
Elsie Probert – Ebb tide
I had in mind the water sculpted forms and debris.
Pam Keeling – Cosmos 2
The leaf is an actual print of two Cosmos leaves, over stitched with dark grey stranded cotton with stem stitch, whipping and straight stitches.
The Cosmos Flowers are two layers of silk bonded together, stitched with Chain stitch and french knots in the centre.
Marie Meachem – Decoweb
The work is hand dyed and painted silk with silver threads in various thicknesses and tiny beads for the raindrops.
Tony Toon – Teasel stalk
I have had an illustration of this for quite some time, now at last it’s made up.
The materials used are felt threads and dyed silk.
Anita Fountain – Cactus
I chose a cactus because of the interesting structure.
It is wet felted, and the spines also felt with applied glue to stiffen them. The base is embellished felt with beads.
Karen Attwood (webmaster) – Mahonia
Inspired by a mighty example in the Trent Building Courtyard at the University of Nottingham.
Multi layered wet felt with hand embroidery.