Stroud Blog Update 5

My work this week has centred around creating a soft sculptured ball pattern and getting my metal bands cut to size. I have also continued to work on my felt cog objects which are beginning to take on a life of their own.

Ball Pattern see diagram below

Draw 2x circles the same size, 2nd circle should be 2/3 of its diameter away from 1st.

Join both circles edge to edge then narrow neck part of diagram by 1/4 diameter of circle top and bottom. Now ignore outer lines as they are for reference only.

Using inner lines as a guide to make final template round the inner corners.

Draw a dotted line around the outside of your shape allowing 1/4″ seam allowance = cutting line


The idea for this piece of work emerged as I contemplated  and compared the devastation and chaos war causes with the order and uniformity of war grave cemeteries. The beautifully crafted, pre-dyed white billiard cloth has given me the opportunity to express this notion while its shape is a suggestion of its original intended industrial use.  While hand sewing the final gap used for stuffing, thoughts of sewing up a body floated into my head and I decided that rather than trying to hide the stitching I would use it as part of the narrative. I wanted to make three sculptures and strangely I have just enough material for three.   I felt it was important to make this work as near life-size as possible and researched the headstones dimensions on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Obviously the dimensions aren’t exact due to the shape and materials used.  I rather like the applied decorated felt piece but haven’t made any firm decisions about this yet. It echoes carved inscriptions on white headstones and the embossed embroidery suggests a similar method used for insignia on military uniforms.

Lucy, workshop technician at Somerset College, had agreed to try to help me cut my waste metal bands, and kindly arranged a parking spot for me for ease of transport.  The machine I had to use for cutting was noisy but great fun. After inserting the metal strip I had to jump on the foot bar to exert enough pressure to cut the metal. It was a good workout! Drilling was a little more difficult. Lucy had managed to drill a hole but I did not. It seemed that I would need more strength than I had to do the job. I have been advised that if I heat the metal with a blow torch enough to break down the steel I will find drilling much easier. So I have bought a blow torch and am looking forward to having a go at this with gloves and a bucket of water at the ready.

I am really pleased that the felt cog sculptures are developing into such organic forms. The wet painted clay seems to cling to the fibres and when dry remains fairly flexible and doesn’t crack. Surprisingly I am able to stitch and stuff the fabric once the clay is dry without any detrimental effect to the painted surface.


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