Hair fabric personal experiments

Once the fabric was digitally printed we each took away a piece to work on in which ever way we felt inspired.

Helen was inspired by ideas of patchwork & collage and the way images are put together. She was interested in the way that our drawings had lost their original paper texture through being digitally printed. Helen created some striking pieces of digital collage, working with digital images of printed fabric. The fabric seemed less precious as digital images and she was able to be intuitive creating juxtapositions with geometric shapes reminiscent of patchwork quilts.

Mandy worked directly from some of the drawings she did of the ‘Hair Still Life’. She had a clear idea of what she wanted to do and this idea about the drawing was something of a revelation. She wanted to bring together the screen-printing and embroidery she uses in her work in a new way. This was a joyful instance of something turning out completely as envisioned. Mandy tends to use very dense areas of embroidery in her work which makes selling work restrictive. This way of using stitch as outline & detail & the screen print as the infill & background will allow Mandy to develop a boarder pricing range in her work. She felt this freed up her thinking & the mini brief of working with the Hair fabric was motivating. The dolls faces broke up the lines which were created by the photo shopped design.


Gemma was inspired by the idea of the fabric as a headpiece. She worked on the idea of pattern & texture echoing that of hair, in particular a style of setting the hair called ‘finger waves’. Gemma couched threads onto the fabric in waves, trying a few different methods of fixing, some of the threads left loose. She used hair grips and composed the threads so they added to the design of the fabric. With more time and opportunity there were other ideas thrown up like scattering the thread like fallen locks of hair on the carpet. Also the technical challenge of hand sewing with silk threads added to the nature of the piece.


Kiran was interested in the ideas of creating a collage, but with the design already using this technique she found it difficult to plan a response, pinning the piece of fabric to the wall of the office to better contemplate it. At the last minute Kiran decided to try something out that she had wanted to for a while. She collaged together a mixture of doilies so the pattern framed the piece of fabric and printed a textile print paste called Devore over the collaged stencil. Devore is an acidic paste that burns through cellulose fibres; it is commonly used on a variety of fabrics made up of a cellulose thread & another fibre such as silk or polyester. These fibres are left intact in the more usual use of devore ensuring the fabric has a proper integrity. The McrC digital print is printed on cotton poplin so the devore paste would burn straight through leaving a network of holes. Kiran wanted to try this as in her research on the process it was suggested the print paste was first developed to produce fake lace- i.e. burn holes.


Bringing the fabrics back together was really exciting & sparked much discussion about what our next steps might be. It was decided that we would make up a toile of a tunic dress inspired by Gemma’s Mum’s dress in the photo. We would then decide where our individual embellishments might be best used on the dress and work towards some kind of recreation of the photograph either by photo collage or an actual installation.

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