Book structure with embroidered panel – related to media
For my final piece for this module I decided to create a photograph album / sketchbook with an embroidered cover. In June/July 2017 I am very fortunate to be taking part in a Tall Ships Race from Boston USA to Nova Scotia, on a ship called Jolie Brise. My idea is that the decorative elements of the album will be inspired by my trip, and the pages inside will be used to house photos, sketches and mementos of the trip.
In chapter 10, I made various different book forms and particularly liked one which folded in three and decided to use a similar form for this piece. The colour scheme for the piece was based on my ‘media’ page i.e. the base fabric is calico which is a similar colour to manila envelopes, with blue elements like the inside of envelopes, and some red like the stamps.
My starting point was to create a base fabric which would have several layers of decoration added on. I chose a mid-weight Calico and cut a piece approximately 20in x 10in (slightly larger than the final piece will be ). I made the lettering ‘Jolie Brise’ using a hot glue gun – see image 11.1 and used it to rub the lettering onto the calico with a blue oil pastel (image 11.2). I chose a shade of blue which is similar to the ink in a biro pen to continue the media theme.
Image 11.1 Image 11.2
I did several layers of rubbing in different directions in order to create shapes and the suggestion of words rather than legible text (Image 11.3).
Next I used free machine embroidery to trace over the lines of the rubbings with a dark blue thread (image 11.4)
In one of the earlier chapters I had created different examples of text, and then doodled around them to create new designs. I decided to use this technique with hand stitching. I added hand stitch using a navy perle thread. I ‘doodled’ around all of the dots on the ‘i’s in the words Jolie Brise with a running stitch (image 11.5)
Once this was completed I added some pale gold stitched doodles around some of the loops in the writing (image 11.6)
And then I added some lines of straight stitches to fill in some of the shapes inside the ‘B’s and ‘J’s (image 11.7).
To finish this base layer I then added some monoprinting of the words Jolie Brise using white and blue fabric paints on a gelli plate (image 11.8).
Next I started working on some decorative elements. I wanted to use the drawn thread technique learnt in this module and decided to use it in two ways. Firstly, to create a net to represent the rigging on the ship (images 11.9 and 11.10 below)
Image 11.9 (rigging with dolphins visible through it!)
Image 11.10 – net made from drawn thread-work,
with zig-zag stitching over the remaining threads to add strength.
From this net I cut sections to stitch on to the base layer; one to resemble the rope ladder up the mast (image 11.11) , and one to represent the rigging.
I stitched these on to bse layer as shown ion image 11.12
Next I created some sail shapes. The Jolie Brise has five distinctive red sails (see image 11.13)
My second use of drawn thread work was to create a base for some handmade paper sails. Firstly I stitched the sail shapes on to a piece of course linen (image 11.14)
I then used a mix of Procion cold water dyes to create the red colour of the sails (image 11.15)
I then withdrew some of the threads to create nets (image 11.16)
I created some paper pulp which I dyed with the same Procion mix and added it to the nets (image 11.17)
Finally I machine stitched lines into the sail shapes and hand stitched ‘DS2’ which is on the Jolie Brise main sail (images 11.18 and 11.19)
Image 11.18 Image 11.19
The final extra to be added to the base layer was some numbers representing the journey from the race starting point (42°N) to the end point (46°N). I created these in Word and then printed them onto photocopy fabric (image 11.20)
I tried a few different layouts as seen in the images below:
Image 11.21 – discarded as it reminded me of a fish skeleton!
Image 11.22 – random positioning of the sails – discarded as it didn’t really look like anything in particular
Image 11.23 – I chose this layout with the sails in the correct Jolie Brise position, and stitched the sails and numbers in place.
I then used a rotary cutter to trim the piece to 7in x14in (image 11.24).
Next I started to create a second fabric for the reverse of the album cover. I started with a lighter weight calico and wrote on it using a white oil pastel. I intended this to act as a resist and painted over it with a blue Procion dye solution (image 11.25)
I then machine stitched all over the fabric with white thread, writing ‘Jolie Brise’ in different directions as shown above. On top of this I added mono-printed lettering in blue and white fabric paint (image 11.27)
The final decoration on this fabric was hand stitched doodling in a cream perle thread (image 11.28)
I then trimmed this piece to the same size as the front cover piece (image 11.29)
To create a fairly stiff cover, I used a piece of pelmet stiffener which had iron-on adhesive on both sides and sandwiched it between the two covers. To hide the raw edges I made a long twisted cord using navy and cream perle threads and stitched this around the edge (image 11.30)
Next, I decided to add a boat themed fastener, like the rope and cleat used to moor a boat (image 11.31)
I used an off-cut of embroidered fabric and created a tight roll which I then stitched in place to make a cleat (image 11.32)
I used another length of twisted cord as the rope attached to the edge of the front cover and twisted around the cleat to close the album (image 11.33)
The images below show the finished cover.
My next task was to create the pages of the book. I decided to have a concertina style book made from pieces of Khadi paper connected together by fabric hinges. I chose Khadi paper as it is made from rag fibres and so would be less likely to tear when stitched.
Firstly, I made some fabric strips to connect the pages together. I cut 1-inch strips of some Shibori fabric (ready made) and ironed them to make binding strips (image 11.36)
I used some fabric stiffener to help the fabric hold its shape when ironed (image 11.37).
Image 11.38 – verification photo of me making binding strips.
I then carefully tore the Khadi paper into the required size, and made 8 pages. I decided to decorate the top page with a map showing the race route which I hand-stitched (image 11.39).
I used the binding and a large running stitch on the sewing machine to attach the pages together in one long strip as shown in image 11.40.
I stitched two of the fabric hinges of the middle page to the cover. This completed my album, as seen below.
I am really pleased with this piece. I have used techniques from every chapter of this module, and cord and toggle making from a previous module. When filled with mementos of my trip I think it will become a well-treasured keepsake. I spent a long time thinking about how to make this piece. Initially I had planned to make a rectangular cover for an album with a simple construction. I’m glad that I changed the design to this folded version with the cord and cleat closure as it feels like one is unveiling something precious when undoing the fastener to reveal the pages within.