I have been considering how to display my clay pieces which have held together remarkably well. It would be great to use the red cloth because of its significance to Stroud’s cloth industry and its strong military connection, so I have been experimenting with a few ideas.
Stitching through the holes put me in mind of stitching on buttons although it was also necessary to secure the edges due to the weight of the clay. I thought about the insignia stitched in place on military uniforms and the fact that the clay, a grey monotone, is a visual opposite to the decorative appearance of these motifs. Perhaps an insignia of clay could be seen as more appropriate as we commemorate the centenary of World War 1 and remember the mud and horror of the trenches.
To begin with I cut out accurate squares of fabric 15cm x 15cm and played around with various formations. The edges were too neat but not neat enough. I thought the straight edges of the cloth square, juxtaposed with the random clay shapes would work best but felt I should test this thought by experimenting with torn fabric pieces. I wondered if a torn edge would suggest a remnant from a garment but I didn’t like the visual effect the ragged edges of the cloth had on the clay. It seemed to lessen and diminish the visual impact of both materials.
Recalling historical fields of drying, red cloth stretched onto tenterhooks, I thought about using a similar method to display the clay and cloth sample pieces. This worked on individual boards but exhibiting these next to my other work, which is also made up of individual pieces, I had a feeling it would all look too bitty.
The notion of stretched red cloth seemed like a good avenue to follow and using a large frame I cut out and stretched a piece of fabric to fit.
This was more successful. Nothing detracted from the clay carvings and the colours worked beautifully together. However I still have decisions to make and continue to try out ideas. I have been keen to use the luggage labels that we saw used for archiving at the industry partners and heritage centre, but I am not happy yet with the example below and will try to find a better solution.