Friday, 20 October 2017
'Costa Coffee', in Wool, Organza and Thread
I also did a little bit of unpicking and reworking. It's often the way: by the time I am nearing completion, I can see that areas I did early on are not quite right. In this case, I was unhappy with the weight of the stitching in certain key areas, like the crockery on the table top. It looks better now.
The main thing that is experimental about this piece has been the inclusion of coloured wool. I bought myself some felt-makers wool and played with different ways of sewing it into the piece. I started by using sashiko running stitch to anchor large areas of colour, to create a bold but soft-edged effect, a little like watercolour.
I anchored it very loosely for the writing on the wall. This was a complete experiment too, but ended up working really well as a contrast to the more controlled type above.
I also trapped smaller bits of wool under layers of organza. I love the almost smoky effect you can get, by keeping the wool very thin. You can achieve a very painterly mark by this means too, as with the ceiling light fitting, which I just wanted to suggest, rather then illustrate too literally.
This understatement of the various elements within the scene was important to me. Having moved away from representational pieces in recent months, I wanted to create playful semi-abstractions in the piece as much as was possible, while still allowing the overall effect to conjure the place and the atmosphere. You can see this in the reduction of the information which makes up this man and the way textures and colours flow through and past him:
Also with the other man's bag, which is about lines, texture and marks, rather than solid form, but is hopefully still readable in the context of its position by his chair:
In the original watercolour sketch the piece is based on, I painted the fridge at the back of the room, then a customer came and stood at it. I drew him in line only, over the top, to get the sense of his transience. I took this approach into the textile interpretation, keeping it pretty close to the sketch:
The finished piece is 47 x 39cm, but it will be bigger once I get it mounted up onto a stretcher. I am very pleased with how it has turned out. It's a good halfway-house between the more obviously representational pieces, like the church and the commuters, and the more recent map work.