Wednesday 28 August 2013

Finished but not fully flying yet

The series of eight pieces made of spiralling cane after lots of re-arranging, re-twisting, taking apart, re-steaming and re-joining!

Now off to shop for tiny rings to attach to top for hanging fastening and then to work out how it all fits into a box/boxes tomorrow.

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Friday 23 August 2013

More and more birds

Short lengths of chiffon tied at intervals around the cane spirals denote the murmuring birds and, as Meg noted, they need to be dark. I could see that my dyed chiffon ‘birds’ needed to be darker so I dabbed each one with black Indian ink which worked well and also partially soaked into the grain of the cane, embedding the chiffon visually into the cane – an extra bonus. The image below shows the painted and the unpainted ‘birds’.


I wanted an element of ‘sunset’ in the colouring too so decided to ad touches of different reds to some of the birds.


The paper surface on my worktable became rather interesting too as the canes were rotated around in the bird painting process!


Spiralling canes with painted ‘birds’ drying in the garden, pegged to the bird feeder – temporarily a flower and cane hanging device.birdtree2

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Getting wrapped up

Having coloured the canes with dye, the next stage was to add extra features to the spiralling lengths. Working out what to use and how to wrap continue to be interesting tasks. I dyed some fine paper thread and cut silk chiffon (left over from a previous project) into strips. Fighting with lengths of thread and fabrics to control the wrapping rhythm was exciting! One method was to stretch the cane from one sewing machine to another so I could have both hands free. What a fun day!


As well as wrapping with fabric strips, I tied short lengths at intervals to suggest the bird wings. I used some undyed fabric and some dyed to make tonal variation.




Next stage was to join the two different types of wrapped cane lengths to make a more complex structure. Below you can see two sets of pairs. The cane seems to want to ‘do its own thing’, surprise, surprise. I need to work out how to take control of these spirals so they hand just as I want them!


Thursday 15 August 2013

‘Six of the Best’

A new book venture for Siân, in combination with Maggie Grey and five other textile artists -

'Six of the Best'

This book, working title 'Six of the Best', looks at the work of six textile artists.

Their work ranges from quilting, stitching, mixed media and journalling, and each is an expert in her own field. You can see examples of their work below although this is not necessarily the topic they will cover in the book.

Each artist will talk about her work and then expand on this so that the reader will be able to try a technique (or two) for themselves which they can then adapt and develop as a base for their own experiments. I'm really excited about the people we've invited to join us and everyone at d4daisy books is confident that this will be one of our best books yet.

Visit if you'd like a chance to win a good prize of stitching essentials. Just click the 'Let me know' button ; there is absolutely no obligation to buy.

My title will be 'Turning to the Bottle' or 'Get Wired Up' and will focus on the use of wire and stitch. The design source will be bottles because they form such great shapes. We will add character by wrapping, dipping, stitching and painting. The aim will be a free-standing textile still life!

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Adding the birds

Today I explored ways of adding the ‘birds’ to the cane, trying not to be too pictorial.  I appreciated having a studio full of ‘materials’ that I can pick up and use. It was thoughtful fun to wrap, tie, stitch, knot and loop.




I tried wrapping by hand with paper yarn fabric strips and small fragments of printed fabric and perforated paper.

The perforated paper is old OS maps that have been machine stitched, painted with the charcoal dye and then varnished to strengthen.

I also tried machine stitching which I find a bit too automated looking. 





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 ( 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.