Karen Nichol, Caroline Bartlett, Joan Livingstone , Debbie Lyddon, Tanana Takite
Louise had lots and lots of samples : use of darts to give volume; pleats on different fabrics, manipulated into shapes; joining different fabrics( the seam of the 'back' being just as interesting); inserting small pieces into seams; pintucks in different directions with waxing ; working on the bias with zigzag giving ' lettuce' effect ; working with various weight/types of fabric, giving different effects; smocking, suturing , faggoting stitches to join edges.
One technique caught the imagination of several of us - using a bobbin of tightly wound shirring elastic ( or ' knicker elastic' as someone referred to it !) on very taut fabric held in a hoop, stitching from the top with ordinary thread,
Thinking of my limpet shapes, I spent time just using different weights of calico and muslin , using darts to make the shape and then using pin tucks in between to give structure ( Louise suggested I could insert kebab sticks in the pintucks to give it even more form )
I'd bought some of my ecoprinted fabrics with me and started to apply the same processes to that
Then while I was in pleating mode, Louise suggested I use the 'Princess Pleater' smocking machine . Caroline Bartlett ( who also teaches at City Lit) puts yards and yards of it through to make her work .Read Pleater which I bought secondhand years ago for shibori but have used very little, but I'm keen to experiment with after seeing its potential.
The hardest part was threading the needles as I'd cut my left thumb badly and the plaster made it difficult to hold. The trick is to use long lengths of threads to push the pleated fabrics off the needles . I put through strips of muslin, folding it as I turned the handle; cotton organdie and the ecoprinted linen ( which being so soft was lovely to work with )
This could get addictive but I need to concentrate on sorting out what I'm going to take on my annual textile retreat at Glenthorne in the Lake District next week ( it'll be my 9th trip) . As I'll be missing a class , Louise went through what we'd be doing exploring the possibilities of using one shape in a variety of ways , manipulating and making multiples so I have homework to do !