New Work – Geography of Memory, Beginnings

This new work began when the Vancouver Island Surface Design Association put out a call for entry. They were looking for an interpretation of ‘Pathways’ in a 60″ x 12″ format.
Sarah McLaren and I had been focused on colour for many months and were both inspired by the colour work of Jean-Philippe and Dominique Lenclos. This couple research the colours typical to a specific place in the world.

New Zealand Forest
Sarah and I have both lived in a number of different places over our lifetimes. We decided to show our memories of those places through colour with each inch of the work representing one year in our lives.

I began by making a life-size sketch then started sampling. My visualisation of this work was so clear my first sample was enough at this stage of my design process to be able to move on to the next step.

I made the base for the ground from a mix of upholstery fabrics heavy enough to support all of the stitching I had in mind.

Next step – deciding on the colour scheme, which was easy because of my strong colour memory of each place I have lived.
Picking the right ground fabrics took a little bit longer even knowing most of them would be covered they still had to be right. 

The base fabrics are bonded to the upholstery fabrics in the right proportions.

Painted bondable webbing …

…to match each place’s colours.

Ironing the painted bondable webbing in place.

Adding snippets of threads, yarns and fabrics to build up the complexity and texture of each section.

Selecting the right coloured nylon scarf from my stash.

Bonding the snippets and nylon scarves in place using parchment paper to stop the iron’s sole plate from getting gunked up.

I sprinkled a few granules of 007 Bonding Agent to make sure thicker areas of snippets stuck well. It takes a higher heat setting on the iron to make these granules melt but once they have they stick very well and become invisible.
This is an old and well-used method for building a ground before stitching begins. I learnt this during my City and Guilds days and still go back to it because it is so effective and versatile.
Next step – the stitching. 

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