The Archive (1.1)

There are no easily accessible textile archives that I could find in Hobart. I decided to use textiles from a shop called Wafu Works. They source antique japanese textiles and other things from auction lots in Japan. I went to the shop and browsed all available, looking for interesting used textiles.

I have chosen a child’s kimono:


Things I have learnt from the lady in the shop. This type of kimono was used in school uniforms for kids pre second world war. It is made of cotton and all hand sewn. The fabric is resist dyed in the Ikat style, which means that the threads are resist dyed prior to weaving.


And a sake straining bag:


Things I know so far. These bags were ‘tanned” with persimmon juice hence the brown colour. There are now valued in Japan for use in handbags. That’s all Jan was able to tell me about these.


And a fragment of a futon covering:


This was quite expensive. It is a fragment of a futon cover that has been repaired on both sides with handstitched patches, in what is now known as boro style. Boro means rags. There are pieces of ikat dyed indigo fabric and also some pieces that look like they could be silk. Some areas are completely holey now without patching. It is from the 20 th century, early or mid. There is lots to see in this piece and I hope to have fun spending many hours examining and recording it.

Textiles as a discipline

My broad definition of textiles is any largely two dimensional material that is soft and can be manipulated and stitched into. I realise this is not as broad as some definitions. In my definition I would consider some papers as suitable for use in a textile context but not  thick cardboard, stiff metal or wood.  These things could be made into what I think of a textile – as in chain maille or wood pulp making rayon – but I think for me it’s something to do with the form the material is presented in. It must be essentially flat or linear, have some degree of drape and flexibility, and often made from smaller parts, essentially fibres or fragments of the material formed into a sheet.

So, for me, asbestos fibres presented in a fire blanket is clearly a textile, whereas asbestos fibres set in concrete sheet is not. And a plank of wood is not a textile but pulped and presented as rayon it certainly is.

Lots of different materials could be made into a textile, but the materials themselves are not a textile to start with.

Plastic, wood, plants, milk and animals can all provide the raw materials but some processing is required before they are a textile.

All textiles have stories behind them. Because they are largely processed to become a textile, they all have the story of how they came to be in the first place. History of the development of that textile, why it exists and how it was first used. Its cultural significance in different parts of the world, and its history of uses through the ages.

Then there is the personal history and story of an individual piece. Who spent time making it and why.  Where it travelled and who it was close to. Who loved it and cared for it and held it close. Who used it to protect them from the elements and wrapped it tight around them. Who used it to comfort the sick or miserable. Who waved it in joy. Who repaired it and passed it on. Some much to love about textiles.

And there is the message from the work itself. Was the maker trying to convey something with the textile. A surrender flag or a protest banner. A clandestine message. A celebration of an event. A record of history.  Textiles can convey and hold so much meaning.

I’m sure I could think of many more examples but I’m eager to get on and work with my textiles so I’ll leave this as a place holder and if I come across visual examples or other ideas I can add them here.

Quick reflection on the intro project

Was taking my time on the intro project because I was going by the online pdf which had the intro project as the whole work for Assignment one. Went into a bit of a spin when I realised that my hard copy of the course guide was a later version and had assignment one as the intro project and the first three projects. Had to extend my deadline because of this but now need to move on to the next bits rather than any more time on the intro project. I haven’t done any really big ones or worked up any ideas but I’ll leave it for now and come back if I feel like it or if I have time. Probably more sensible to put the effort into the upcoming bits as I don’t think the intro project is formally assessed.

I enjoyed doing the project although I must admit that I’m eager to move on to textiles. Still, pretty much free drawing was enjoyable and I loved using the watercolour even if it was only black. Reminded me of tusche on a litho stone.

Thinking my blog is a lot more basic that some of the others. I’m including everything because I don’t plan to send anything heavy to the UK.


scratch and flow.jpg

Top half is scratched to direct the watercolour along these channels.

Attempted to burnish the bottom half of the paper to make it smooth but didn’t really alter the characteristics of the paper which still looks rough. But the flow pattern is different. This paper was also bulging down the centre. Worked well to apply the watercolour at the top of the bulge and the rest of the drawing just drew itself as it dried. My kind of drawing. 🙂

Based on this close up


Watercolour drypoint

Tried scratching the outlines of a whole picture into a piece of A3 paper with a stanley knife. Difficult because I couldn’t see what I had done. Then I painted over the whole sheet of paper and the lines individually hoping to fill the channels with watercolour.

Only limited success. The lines don’t stand out as much as they do in the little flower drawing, but still works in principle. Plus gave me a very free drawing because it has been defined by marks that I couldn’t easily see as I was making them.


Towel flowers

Looking at ways of illustrating the texture of the printed flowers on the beach towel.

First I have tried adding dots of glue to raise up the texture of the paper. Gives an interesting effect but fairly dominating like dots and not an accurate representation of towel texture.


Next I have very smooth yupo paper as the base and tried to draw texture with watercolour. Mild success I would say.


Thirdly I have textured the paper with a stanley knife prior to doing a little tester painting. I was very happy with the way the watercolour went into the channels giving the appearance of a drypoint. Excited by this.