Third Exchange

We all reflected on the turns the project and the individual pieces were making; the nature of responsibility and reactions to creativity, and the idea of a brief.

We all thought that this project has thrown up some interesting skills and ways of working and that skill sharing was something we were all very interested in doing.

We talked about doing some day workshops between the four of us, taking it in turns to show the others a particular process or technique. We all felt that drawing was something we neglected and it would be good to incorporate some drawing exercises in the workshops.


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Rabbit Hood (2)

Taking the Bunny Ears Hood as a starting point I added my own flights of fancy, butterflies printed in buff binder and a cloak. Kiran

I experienced difficulty of my own work not being autobiographical or illustrative. The hood made me think of dressing up – something I used to do a great deal of when younger and still do when I have the chance for a party or similar occasion.

Dressing up always involves a cloak for me so I wanted to make a cloak to go with the hood. I have been drawing and printing some butterflies in other projects and they seemed to lend themselves to the fantasy dream like qualities of the hood. The hessian was both a  problem for printing on and an inspiration, I printed the butterflies using puff binder, this sinks into the open weave of the fabric and expands with the warp and weft as a mould so that the image is pixilated to almost look like stitching.

I photographed the hood and cloak on a coat stand as if at the end of play or a long day’s ‘work’.

This piece has gone to Gemma

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Boxes (2)

Helen's reworking of the folding Boxes

Helen had experienced multiple ideas in response to the boxes. Their qualities as objects appealed and she was excited about making some brooches based on the same folds. Also the idea of clothing customised to incorporate folded box forms. She felt like an impatient child with lots of ideas and found it a challenge to resolve the competing strains of thought in a satisfying manner. She looked the box as template for patchwork, drawing on graph paper.

She designed a piece that would be a white box in the folds of which a network of coloured patches would be hidden, this regimented approach was frustrating, rigid and symmetrical she ended up scattering pieces of fabric and pinned them where they fell.

Returning to the brooches she made a range of brooches that had a military medal quality to them. This led to a mini revelation when she made one such brooch from a piece of reclaimed embroidered satin, something satisfying about the material and the play of light and shadow over the surface.


Complexity of interpreting something far removed from own creative instincs. Ways of working -Mandy thinking and planning before starting, Helen trying things out, playing with materials, Gemma’s approach of thinking of pieces as ‘sketchbook’ exercises.

Helen – craving depth of collaboration with another as part of her own practice, levels of learning / working.  Discussions of knowing own practice, brick walling, not resolving, relying on previous experience, ‘cheat’, patterns of working, idea of brief, beginning, pattern breaking.

This piece has gone to Mandy

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Pony 2 -detail photographs

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Pony (2)

pony 2 detail

Gemma felt that she faced the challenge of an ‘impenetrable photo’.  This photo of a kneeler from a church seemed so far removed from the original piece Gemma felt she wanted to restore some of the qualities and  integrity of the object.

Attempts to distress the surface by kneeling on the photo, then walking and dancing over it, were very gradual. A bodkin was used to pierce the surface in the pattern of the holes where stitches would be. This breaks up the gloss of the surface and adds texture.

Exploring the tension of the surface and seeking texture pushing the photo towards the surface qualities of the object, back to fabric. Texture-approachable.

To this end the photo was backed in hessian partly to hold the surface together but also introducing layers and a softer edge. The neutral hessian also contrasts with the bright colours of the threads reproduced in photographic ink.

Mandy said she was anticipating a book, Helen commented that she would have approached the image of the horse and not thought of the object so much which was interesting, Gemma emphasized she did treat the surface as an object.

This piece has gone to Kiran

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Second Exchange – Bridges (2)

One interpretation of the Bridges print realised in stitch.

A second interpretation of the Bridges print

Mandy went to visit the place where Kiran took inspiration for ‘Bridges’ though it had changed and there was now a lot more foliage.  The challenge was then for Mandy to interpret the print in her own way.  Focusing on mark making and specifically the negative areas in the print she introduced colours of thread where chinecolle papers hid under the black ink.of the original work.

Mandy’s own practice involves computerised machine embroidery. She found the work developing two strands, a piece developed directly from the print-same scale but introducing colour and texture through stitch, and a more personal response taking elements of the print and introducing motifs she might use in her own work. Both pieces were left on larger pieces of fabric, by way of an invitation to the next practioner.

Practical considerations played a large part in the development, for example, the machine works at an optimum scale that is larger than the print and meant that the direct translation into stitch was a restricted exercise. Mandy feels she might take away the idea of stitching onto coloured fabrics and use this more in her own work

These pieces have gone to Helen

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I’ve been pondering the act of finishing or completing a piece of work.

Generally I think this act needs commitment and I have little capacity for commitment, at least where my work is concerned.  I have to dash things off quickly or I take too long, get too involved and then can’t see when something might be finished.

For the first exchange I tricked myself with a process. I unpicked a box and learnt how to make it in cloth. I got caught up in the folds and thinking about exchanging skills, made the instructions part of the work. Then I put it in a drawer and forgot about it til the deadline.

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Rabbit Hood

Such a strange and new approach to a piece of work when you know that you will be passing it on to another to work on! I had to stop myself from using this fabric or that for Kiran incase she wanted to devore, or may do a flat piece so that Mandy or Gemma could print on it. Just to start a piece of work is a piece in itself. I had to approach this in a different way, so I decided that I would view it as completing the first stage of the process and there I would leave it, without thought as to what I would’ve done next.

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First Exchange



Bridge, gravepaper




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