Thursday 24 April 2008

The Character of Cloth

I've been buying small damaged strips of Ndop indigo stitch-resist cloth from Cameroon every time I see John Gillow, with the idea of incorporating them into a larger piece of work. Up until now I haven't worked out a satisfactory way to interpret those free-form lines and shapes. I took some of the cloth and photos to the Charlotte Yde Workshop on 'Swinging Curves' and was particularly taken with her 'crooked crosses' technique. I made up some squares in creams,ochres and indigo blues, inserted a piece of the Ndop cloth and did some minimal machine quilting to hold it in place.
I was looking through John Gillow's 'African Textiles' ( a wonderful book!) to get an idea for stitching and decided that the way I'd inserted the strip was not in keeping with the organic character of the cloth. 2 hours later , after lots of rude words and sighing , I'd unpicked the machine quilting and seams - its amazing how much time it takes to undo 5 minutes careless machining. Worth it though. I reapplied the Ndop strip on top (by hand) and reassembled the 'sandwich' with some lovely soft wool batting from a sample pack and cheesecloth on the back. Work is a bit difficult at the moment , with some sleepless nights, and its been very soothing and therapeutic to hand stitch this piece and reconnect with the tactile qualities of cloth.
When I came to trim the quilt down to 12 x 12 , I decided to cut at a slight angle to emphasise the wonkiness ( I'll need to add a label to say 'It's supposed to be crooked").


When I was downloading the photos I was struck by the similarities to a Gaudi wall in Parc Guell, its combination of organic and straight(ish) structures.


jude said...

that indigo fabric is just fabulous and the work you are doing with it is equally wonderful.

Dijanne Cevaal said...

This is lovely Margaret- some fabric just screams hand stitch me- it so suits what you have done. And lucky you to do a workshop with Charlotte Yde- I would love to spend some workshop time with her.

Deb said...

I like what you're doing with this fabric. It gives me inspiration to get to working with some batiks and fabrics I bought in Mozambique and South Africa a few years ago. I had planned to combine them with some American style patchwork, and seeing what you've done brings back my excitement about doing that. Thanks for the inspiration