CREATIVE EXPLORATION



A page

from the studio . . .

  ideas and instructions 

Processes &  materials 

recycling   reusing and creative solutions



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ROLLED PAPER WOVEN MAT




A woven paper mat made using recycled 
paper and very little else!



Materials


26 sheets A4 size paper (recycled copy paper with print is perfect)
thin stick e.g. bamboo skewer
glue stick
small hammer or rolling pin



Method


Roll each sheet of paper fairly tightly around the bamboo skewer starting from the long side and rolling across to the other. Glue along the opposite edge to secure the roll.

When you have 26 rolls, flatten them with a light hammering or roll flat with a rolling pin

Weaving them together is a simple matter of feeding the rolls over and under each other, starting with 2 vertical and 2 horizontal rolls as the centre and adding in a new roll each time.... all very well if you are familiar with weaving! If not, then I recommend searching online under paper weaving - there are some wonderfully inspiring projects you might like to explore - and my explanation may be just too confusing.

Here's a link to images, ideas and instructions [and a whole world of rolled paper projects]:










WRAPPED JEWELLERY






fabric wrapped and tied jewellery



MATERIALS 
(aiming to use recycled and/or easily found ...feel free to find a substitute)
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old magazines
long thin stick
paper glue 
masking tape 
fabric strips [approximately 1cm wide and 30cm long]*
embroidery threads 
sewing needle [size depends on the thread used to wrap]
pins
leather thonging [1 metre length - optional]
brooch clasp [optional]



METHOD


Roll up a magazine page diagonally from corner to corner, using the stick to wrap around. When you reach the other side, glue the remaining triangular shape to hold in place. Trim 2cm off each end of the rolled paper and bend to form a rough circle shape. Join ends using masking tape. Manipulate the circle to make the shape you like. Flatten the circle using a bit of force [I used a small hammer - this compresses the paper and makes the shape sturdier.

Start wrapping strips of fabric around the circle, overlapping half way across each previous strip. Wrap tightly in a slight diagonal direction so that the fabric sits flat on the shape. When the strip ends, hold in place with a pin and start a new strip over the top. Wrap to the end and hold with a pin.

To wrap threads, start with the needle and embroidery thread: knot one end of the thread and stitch into the fabric base, coming in under a layer to hide the knot. Take the thread out of the needle and continue wrapping by hand around the circle. Stop when there is about 20cm of embroidery thread remaining, rethread the needle and secure by stitching into the fabric a couple of times. Continue wrapping, changing colours and adding multiple layers to suit.

To finish, tie on a length of leather for necklace, stitch on a clasp for brooch, or wear as a bangle [a group of three would work well]

* fabric strips cut on the bias work best 









Papier Mache Bowls




1 cardboard egg carton 
bucket of water 
Hand held blender
wire sieve (around 15cm diameter)
bowl
sponge (10 cm round is ideal)


Tear the egg carton into small pieces and leave in a bucket of water (1/3 full) for a day or two. Use the blender to make a pulp. When the mixture is an even, soupy consistency,hold the sieve over the bowl and pour enough of the mixture (slowly) into the sieve to fill to the brim. Rest the sieve over the bowl and wait for the water to drain, taking care not to move the pulp around. Then use the sponge to gently press the pulp against the sides of the sieve, starting at the bottom and then working around the sides, lifting the sponge up gently each time. Squeeze out the excess water from the sponge as you do this. When you have removed most of the water, turn the sieve upside down and gently tap the sieve against your other hand to release the bowl.Reshape the edges if needed. Dry off the bowl in a cool oven (defrost setting or around 80 degrees centigrade)for about an hour.

NOTE
One egg carton [dozen eggs]and a 15cm sieve make around 5-6 bowls. Most egg cartons are grey (the one in the photo above was a surprising blue and the one below a pumpkin yellow) but you could easily colour the pulp by adding food colour or edicol dye (food-safe powder colour)







Hand dyed and stitched linen mats

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Suddenly it's all about the blues ... dark and broody and capturing the darkening days of approaching winter.

METHOD 

I have cut up linen scraps into squares (roughly), put a big pot of water on to boil, added the remains of a bottle of navy machine-dye and then a batch of squares at a time. As the dye is taken up with each successive batch of fabric, the shades get lighter. Although different fabrics take the dye differently, I don't mind what shades result and the more variation the better!





As well as fabric I have thrown in some linen thread which is used in the stitching afterwards.

When dry, each piece is ironed and threads pulled from the sides to get a nice frayed edge. The threads removed from the squares can also be used in the decorative stitching.

The mats are made simply by placing one smaller square on top of a larger one - two different shades and then stitching them roughly, simply, multi-directionally, meditatively even, in threads of your choice. My preference is for using those from the dyed squares.





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Coiled and stitched plant fibre bowl 









I have a plant growing in the pond with a long maroon stem which, when whithered and dying, is perfect for making coil baskets. I cut the stem off at the base and hang it to dry off a bit more (not too long - can't wait forever!)





Using various threads(embroidery, 
frayed linen fabric thread, a silk 
knitting yarn) and a long needle...






Start with dry plant stems, make a coil about 2 cm diameter. Stitch through the coil back and forth to secure. Then start growing the coil by wrapping the plant 
stem around the coil base and joining it around the edge with an 'over-under' stitch. As long as you do this, the piece will stay flat. For curved edges, start laying the stem on top of, rather than next to, the previous row.


For more ideas and inspirationyou might want to have look at  WAFTA (Western Australian Fibre-Textiles Association)for a story on one of their a coiled basket-making workshops.













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