Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Bending the line–with cane

Another look at my drawings of the murmuring bird ballet in the skies at sunset and this time relating the marks to swirling lines made by curves of cane. I recently did a morning workshop with willow sculptor Angela Morley (www.wildgardens.co.uk). This started me to thinking about using cane to achieve controllable, continuous spiralling lines. The best supplier of this in just a few miles from me – Musgrove Willows in Westonzoyland. Just what I needed. The cane comes in varying lengths up to about 2/3 metres long and is a natural colour – but dyeable!


I played with various ways of re-creating the swirling lines.


But then decided I needed to change the colour. So I dyed some of it a charcoal colour - cold water fibre reactive dyes. I soaked the cane for 24 hours then made tight bundles. This will make it easier to fit into the dye bucket and also ‘perm’ a smaller curl into the lengths. Here they are drying in my studio as I’d hit a rainy day outside.



When all was dry, the string was cut and I was ready to make my ‘structures’. I used a long strip and a shorter strip and temporarily secured both ends together with wire.



Each ‘structure’ is about 25 x 25 x 25. Time will tell as to whether the form can ‘hold’ or sag. I like the way each one takes a different form even though they have been made in the same way.  I think it depends on which part of the loop I’ve suspended it from.


I like the way it looks from different directions and shows me that this is just right to translate my drawings.


Now to playing with how to decorate the cane in some way. A bit of ‘embroidery’ fun. Hope to post this soon.


  1. These look great Sian - I love the depth and colour

  2. Looking good. I was wondering how it was going with your piece when I was watching the following programme last night:
    the last five minutes of the programme were particularly relevant when John was filming lapwings and their flight patterns. I was intrigued by how he kept comparing the images through the lens with his own full panoramic view so can see how fascinating it will be for you as you decided on your next move.

  3. The canes look like doodles on a page! They remind me of a piece of work that was on display at the Festival of Quilts called "As the Thread Falls" by Rosa Dames. This was basically a piece of organza with very simple stitching depicting how threads curl up as they fall. Here's a link to a picture of the piece:

    1. Thank you so much for this link Meg. This is a very beautiful quilt and I love the simple idea behind it. This reminds me that it is often a good idea to draw a textile, perhaps my canes at this stage, to lead on to a further set of thoughts. Maybe you've thought of doing this to your amazing series of minis?

    2. I hadn't thought of drawing them. I might find it less daunting to draw something like a collage since the drawing won't need to look like a recognisable object!

  4. What a wonderful idea Sian, and a very happy combination of your original concept with the cane. Looks great.

  5. Just shows how possibilities are endless in a creative mind. I also love the spiral patterns in the cane.

  6. Wonderful! do they need 'embroidery'!?

  7. Lovely ideas, especially once the cane isdyed - takes on a whole different look.

  8. What a great interpretation, I love the dye colour it's a really rich black in the photos. The spirals look great over your paperwork too. Looking forward to seeing where you take this.