Saturday, 9 February 2013

Flying feathers

The full length sliding doors at the end of my studio are ideal for showing marks on layers of translucent materials and extend my working  pin board.

These layers are A1 sized tissue paper and tissutex (the reinforced tissue paper that a slightly fibrey, natural coloured white surface): sometimes two layers and sometimes a few more. Too many layers and the marks are lost and the layers become too dense and lose their translucency.

The marks are drawn with a large seagull feather dipped in a black drawing ink, making large radiating movements of my arm and the odd ‘flick’ of the wrist. I was pleased when I was able to control the feather to make sweeping arcs that are suggestive of movement and flight.

Most were drawn through two layers of tissue, allowing the mark to dissipate a little through onto the under layer. This has often given an interesting intermittent effect as the ink is less effective - I almost prefer this type of mark. Many drawings later, I sorted through them to select the most successful, cutting some into vertical quarters and re-arranged into layers, sometimes swapping the layers around so the more interesting marks on the under-layers appear on the top when clipping them together for these photos.

Thoughts for development -

Make similar marks on organza and re-create these effects?

Where is the stitch? Add my loopy stitches alongside marks? Forget the stitch element? Use stich in the voids to suggest sky? Is this too corny?

Talking these questions through with my studio assistant, I think I should try it on the fabric first and take stock. Usually when I have published a blog posting and I re-read it, I can immediately see  the answer to my doubts.  So here goes…..’publish’!


  1. Some beautiful marks Sian, speaking from a minimalist stitcher, do you need stitch? Perhaps you could work with light instead, they would make great shadows, not sure on the first one if they are shadows or a second layer? What does your studio assistant say? miaow?

  2. This must look even more spectacular when the wind blows through the layers!

  3. It would look gorgeous on organza with the wind blowing through it.

  4. These look beautiful I love the effect of the broken lines, how about a just a little hand stitch in places where the ink has splattered just giving a bit of definition there.

  5. The lines are so expressive as they are, I'm not sure they need anything around them casting extra shadows. How about using stitch over the marks to bring some parts forward? Or create the marks just with stitch on organza.