Module 3 – Chapter 12

Artists Study

Zandra Rhodes


Image 12.1 – Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes is an internationally famous designer whose career started in the 1960s.   She is famous for her dramatic but graceful designs which often take inspiration from organic material and nature and travel. 

Relevance to this module:

Zandra’s designs frequently involve:

  • heavy embroidery
  • embellishments such as beading and tassels
  • spirals
  • contrasting colours
  • use of cords

Examples of these are shown in the images below

image image

Image 12.2            Image 12.3

Image 12.2 shows spirals and wavy line embroidered patterns.  The irregular shaped hem creates an almost fringed look to the dress, similar to the fringing we learned about in the beading section of this module.

Image 12.3 shows a wavy line motif which is used in many of Zandra’s fabric prints and embroidery designs.  It is similar to the wavy embroidered lines that I used on the shoe fronts for my resolved sample for this module.

image Image 12.4 – Bugle beads attached at one end.

We tried different ways of attaching beads in this module.  This image shows an example of how attaching the bead at just one end produces an interesting, quite spiky looking effect.

image image

Image 12.5   Image 12.6

Images 12.5 and 12.6 show examples of Rhodes using colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel, similar to the approach we used in this module.


Image 12.7

Image 12.7 shows a sketch from one of Rhode’s comprehensive ‘Style Bibles’ which catalogue all of her designs from 1960 to date and are available digitally.  This sketch shows the use of spirals, cords and tassels.

Deirde Hawken

Deirdre Hawken originally trained as a stage designer at the Central School of Art and Design, and in 1998 won a QEST scholarship to study couture millinery. Her work is sold and widely exhibited in the UK and abroad.  Most of her pieces are one off, although sometimes a piece is repeated using a similar theme.  The headpieces are witty  and often explore the attitude of woman to food.

Relevance to this module:

Hawken’s work shows how accessories can be created using incredible imagination along with embroidery, embellishment and beading.  The images below show examples.

image Image 12.8 – Crevette headpiece – made with spiralling wire ‘salad’


Image 12.9 – incredible use of beads to create fruit hat


Image 12.10 – lemon hat – showing use of spiral

M.C Escher


Image 12.11 – MC Escher

Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world’s most famous graphic artists.  He is most famous for his ‘impossible constructions’.

Escher may not seem a natural choice for this module; after producing quite dramatically coloured, ornate samples throughout the module it is a contrast to look at Escher’s monotone work.  However, it is relevant as spirals are a recurring feature of his work as shown in the images below:

image Image 12.12


Image 12.13


Image 12.14


Image 12.15

Escher used spirals in his drawings and so they were  two dimensional.  However, they demonstrate how a spiral shape can appear to have movement and depth through his amazing drawings.


Time and costs


Time (hours)




£21 – cotton lawn fabric and Procion dyes





£12 – threads













£7 – beads





£12 espadrille soles

£4 Fimo

£2 Ink jet print cotton

£3 denim fabric

£2 linen fabric

£5 estimate cost of beads (already had them)






Health and safety considerations


Safety precaution

Machine stitching

Use chair with back support and easy access to pedal.

Keep flexes out of the way of tripping or damaging wires.

Mono printing

Protect surfaces with newspaper to stop inks and paints transferring where not wanted


Wear protective gloves and clothes

Work in ventilated area

Dispose of excess bleach safely

Cutting with blade / rotary cutter

Use self-healing mat

Put cover on blade when not in use

Cut away from yourself


Protect surfaces.

Do not touch wet glue when using hot glue gun


Switch off when not in use

Ensure flex is not trailing to cause trip hazard

Using wire to wrap objects

Use long nosed pliers to twist the wire and prevent stabbing oneself with the ends of the wire

Storage of materials and samples

Item Storage place Ideal conditions
Design work in progress Flat pieces attached in sketchbook, 3D pieces kept in plastic containers Away from sun, dust, children, pets, liquids
Completed embroidery Attached in sketchbook Wrap in acid free paper
Completed design work Stored in plastic container with lid Wrap in acid free paper
Papers for design work In sketchbook
Inks and paints Stored in plastic container with lid Upright, lids secure, cool dark conditions
Glue, bleach, sprays Stored in plastic container with lid Upright, lids secure, cool dark conditions and away from children and pets
Embroidery work in progress Stored in plastic container with lid next to my desk Accessible to continuous work, away from usual hazards
Fabrics Stored in plastic containers with lid. Sorted by colour and type of fabric. Dry, away from sun. Flat or rolled in colour or fibre order. Acid free tissue paper
Threads Frequently used threads are on a wall mounted bobbin holder, others are in plastic lidded containers by colour. Dry, away from sun, untangled and in colour/type order
Beads, metal threads etc Stored in plastic container with lid. Beads in small plastic pots. In acid free tissue, not plastic bags.
Dyes, paints etc Stored in plastic container with lid Lids secure, cool temperature, lidded container.
Sewing machine On desk in working position with cover over it when not in use. I have separate desks for sewing and messy work Normal room temp and humidity. Kept upright. In working position ready for use.
Other electrical equipment Stored in plastic container with lid Dry place with flex tightly wound.

Module 3 – Chapter 11

Completed accessory and composite sheet

Image 11.1 below shows a composite sheet which shows the journey that I made in designing and creating the beach shoes.  The main elements were:

  • choosing colours, textures and resource materials/images
  • ideas for the fronts
  • ideas for the backs
  • Ideas for the soles
  • Ideas for the cords

image Image 11.1 – composite sheet and finished beach shoes

image11.2 – finished beach shoes

Evaluation of accessory

The completed embroidered assessment piece for Module 3 is an accessory based on colour and curved lines in the form of spirals.

How do you feel about the resulting conclusion?

I am very pleased with the shoes for the following reasons:

  • they include spirals in two ways:  the embroidery design on the front i.e. in the curved lines of the hand stitching and couching as well as in a functional element i.e. the cords which spiral up the legs to secure the shoes.
  • they incorporate several techniques from this module such as beading, fringing with seed beads, cord making, hand stitching in spiral shapes, making beads and embellishments i.e. the polymer clay shells
  • they include techniques learned on previous modules such as reverse appliqué and Shibori.
  • the design and materials effectively represent what I was trying to achieve.  I wanted the shoes to represent various elements of beaches such as sand, driftwood, pebbles, dry sea grass, shells, gentle tide lines, frothy water edges, rock pools.
  • the linings of the soles give a fun surprise when the shoes are taken off and the fish print inside is revealed with the heads on one shoe and the tails on the other.
  • the cords add extra interest to the shoes and have an important role in pulling the colours together.  Before they were added, the blue fronts and sand-coloured backs looked a bit disconnected.  As the cords contain both colours as well as the same type of beads that appear on the fronts and backs they united the various design elements effectively.

Is it fit for its purpose?

Yes.  The shoes are fit for purpose: they fit my feet, are comfortable and have waterproof soles making them durable enough to wear outdoors.

In terms of whether the shoes meet the specification for this assignment, then I also feel they are fit for purpose.  The shoes are three-dimensional and include several of the techniques learned in this module and have spirals included in the design.

If you were asked to make it again, what changes would you make to the way you designed it and the way you made it?

One of the effects I tried to achieve was a layered edge to the rock pools, as if one was looking down through the layers of rock into the pool.  I tried to achieve this by using reverse appliqué.  The technique worked well until I then added heavy beading to the edge to look like rocks and pebbles.  As can be seen in the image below, this largely obscured the frayed fabric edges of the reverse appliqué.  I could therefore have achieved this same effect just by beading directly on to the top of the fabric and not bothering to layer the fabrics and cut away.


I would also make the rock pools a less regular shape.  They are both similar sized ovals and I think they may look better as more random shapes.

Module 3 – Chapter 10

During the cord making part of this module I had thought that it would be interesting to use some of the techniques learned to make cords for espadrilles, spiralling up the leg.  As the module progressed, I also thought about adding buttons or beads to the cords.  My mind therefore settled on making espadrilles.  Much of this module was influenced by holidays I took over the summer in various seaside locations, with much time spent on beaches and many of the findings from beach-combing added into my samples.  It was only a small step therefore to decide to create some ‘beach shoes’…shoes which represent the beach rather than being designed to wear on the beach.  The spiral theme could be further explored through hand embroidery on the shoes.

As a starting point in designing the shoes I compiled a page of images that represented the colours and textures that I wanted to use for the espadrilles.  image

Image 10.1 – sketchbook pages

Image 10.1 shows the colours and textures and images that I wanted to be represented in the espadrilles. I very much liked the faded, weather worn textures of the painted wood in the photos, the pale shades of the shells and the rough textures of the rusted chain and the bits of old rope.  I thought about elements of a beach that I might want to use such as pebbles, fish, driftwood, sand, rock pools, sea-smoothed pieces of pottery, frothy water’s edges.  Having decided on a general ‘feel’ for the espadrilles I next considered what fabrics to use.

image Image 10.2 – sketchbook pages

Choosing and treating the fabric

I liked the idea of the espadrilles representing someone dipping their toes in the water i.e. the front part being blue like the sea and the back part being the sand.  The fabrics needed to be fairly strong and also needed a flat i.e. not shiny, surface.  I decided on denim for the fronts and a natural coloured linen for the backs.

I considered various ways of treating the denim to give it the sea-like look that I wanted such as:

  • monoprinting with fabric paints
  • using bleach to monoprint a pattern
  • using bleach for shibori

To get the sea-worn look that I was after I decided to explore with different ways of bleaching the denim.

image image

Image 10.3 and 10.4 – monoprinting with bleach

I tried using thick bleach on glass.  Whilst this was successful in lightening the denim, it did not produce any of the subtleties that I wanted i.e. variety in colours.  Also, the bleach spread out when the fabric was pressed on to it causing big blobs which weren’t particularly attractive.


Image 10.5 and 10.6 – shibori bleaching

I had liked the effects that I got on a previous module with Shibori dying and decided to see if I could so it in reverse i.e. through bleaching.  I tied the denim into tight bunches and immersed it into a bowl of diluted bleach until I could see the colour start to fade.  I then washed the fabric and untied it.  I was very pleased with the effect achieved.  The pattern reminded me of how water looks when the sun is shining onto a rippled surface.

image image

Image 10.7 and 10.8 – shibori bleaching

This time I tied the denim into tight pleats and immersed it into a bowl of diluted bleach until I could see the colour start to fade and then  then washed and untied it.  This produced a beautiful effect on the denim, quite similar to the edge of waves lapping over each other on the beach.

I decided to use the fabric in image 10.6 as I liked the random nature of the pattern and the greater variety of shades of blue produced.

I had decided that I wanted to create a rock pool on the shoes in some way and decided that I could use reverse appliqué to this effect so that the cut away section looked like the edge of the pool.  I selected a rough woven canvas to be the layer beneath the denim as it would give a rough textured frayed edge.

image Image 10.9 – canvas for reverse appliqué layer.

I decided on three layers, the base being denim, then canvas then the top layer the shibori denim. 

I wanted the rock pools to have some sort of creature living in them and so designed a fish and a starfish which I created from beads.

image image

Image 10.10 – starfish     Image 10.11  Fish and seaweed

I then cut out the fabric for the shoe fronts and sandwiched the layers together with the beaded motifs on the bottom layer.  I stitched around the shape of the motif and cut back the top two layers to reveal the beaded motifs.    image Image 10.12 – reverse appliqué ‘rock pools’

I then made a design of loose spiral shapes with tailor’s chalk on to the denim and hand stitched it with a variety of blue threads, and then added some lines of wool which I machine couched in place.

image Image 10.13 – machine couching

I wanted to make the edges of the beaded motifs look more like the edge of rock pools and so added some beads and stitching to look  like rocks and pebbles.  I realised at this point that the same effect could have been achieved without reverse appliqué as I had embroidered and beaded all over the exposed layers!

image image

Images 10.14 and 10.15 – beaded rock pool motifs with hand stitched embroidery and couched water design

Next I cut out some cotton fabric that I had monoprinted in an earlier chapter of this module and made a lining for the shoe fronts.  I then stitched them with the right sides together and turned them inside out as shown in image 10.16.


Image 10.16 – lined shoe fronts

  I wanted to add some ‘froth’ to the edge of the water shapes and so used white seed beads, some of which came over the edge of the show as a fringe.

imageImage 10.17 – frothy water beading

The soles

I bought a pair of ready made rope espadrille soles online. 

 image Image 10.18 – espadrille soles

I wanted to decorate the upper surface in a beach-related way.  I initially thought of a play on the word sole as in shoe sole and the fish called a Sole.  I had a go at Gyataku (the Japanese art of fish rubbing).  I came cross an artist doing Gyataku in the Isles of Scilly this summer and was very impressed with the artwork he produced.  I bought a Megrim Sole and covered it in acrylic paint.  I then pressed a sheet of lense tissue on to the painted fish making sure that the whole surface was covered, then lifted the paper off to reveal a print.  Image 10.20 shows the print made which picked up the beautiful scale pattern of the fish.

image image

Image 10.19                        Image 10.20

I contemplated doing a print on to cotton lawn fabric to use for the soles but felt that there wasn’t quite enough pattern in the print for it to be clear what it was.

I like the fish idea for the soles and so then decided on a different approach.  I used a photo of some mackerel caught by my son on holiday.  I created a picture and printed it on to printable cotton.


Image 10.21 – printed image on cotton

I decided it would be fun to have the fish print starting on the left shoe sole and continuing through to the right sole so that the tails were on one foot and the heads on the other.


Image 10.22 – lining the print up ready to cut the sole covers

imageImage 10.23 – the covered soles. 

I then used Bondaweb to stick the fabric to the soles and tacked around the edges to ensure they held in place.

The back and sides of the shoes

The back and sides of the shoes were to represent the sandy beach.  I cut double layers of my linen fabric, interfaced one layer to give it additional firmness and stitched the two pieces together, turning them inside out to create the neat edges required.  After pressing them I started decorating them.

First of all I stitched some stranded pieces of yarn on to the look like sea grass (image 10.24).

image Image 10.24

I wanted to add some shell-like pieces to the fabric. I considered trapping some shell fragments under a sheer fabric but didn’t think that this would give me the texture or finish that I wanted.  I therefore decided to make some shell like pieces from white Fimo polymer clay – see image 10.25


Image 10.25 – Fimo ‘shells’

When I baked the Fimo I had a happy accident…some of the pieces became discoloured and turned to a pale pink colour.  This was the perfect shade for shells and so I was happy to use these pieces.  I also made some more and baked them for a shorter time to give me some paler ones too.

image Image 10.26 – baked Fimo ‘shells’

I then added more threads, the Fimo shells and some wooden beads.  I used a natural linen thread in Sorbello stitch to add additional texture.  The Sorbello stitch created a lovely fishing net type pattern. image

Image 10.27

 Finishing touches

I stitched the fronts and backs onto the soles using blanket stitch in a strong thread.

I was now ready to add the cords which would spiral up the legs.  I decided to make a stitched cord with cotton string as the core.  I chose string because it had the right colour and texture for the look I was trying to achieve.  I used some blue and orange threads to decorate the cord (image 10.28)


Image 10.28


Image 10.29 – stitched cord

I pulled threads out whilst I was stitching the cord in order to give a loose, messy look and  varied the intensity of the stitching in places to give dark and light sections.  I then decorated the cord by stitching Fimo shells and beads on in random places and adding shell and bead tassels to the ends of the cords. 

image Image 10.30 = beaded cords

The completed shoes are shown in the images below.


Image 10.31imageImage 10.32


Image 10.33


Image 10.34

I am very pleased with how these shoes turned out.  In sentimental terms they bring back memories of lots of wonderful days spent on beaches with my family this summer.  In design terms I think the patterns and textures have worked better than I expected.  The shibori bleaching produced an interesting, varied base for my embroidery and I think gives a realistic representation of water.  The Fimo beads added some very natural looking shapes to the backs; better than regular shaped beads would have done.  I was also pleased to have moved the spiral theme on slightly from the earlier chapters.  The hand embroidery had loose spiral shapes, more abstract than the embroidery I did at the start of the module.

The decorated cords helped to balance the shoes.  Before I added them I was concerned about the stark contrast between the blue fronts and the pale backs.  Adding the cords really helped to pull the two sections together and unified the design.  Finally, the shoes are very comfortable to wear!