Stitch Sampling

Visiting Goldhawk Rd to source fabric was a confusing yet also exciting experience. The rich variety of materials was compelling and within the different stores there was so much to take in and explore. With this overwhelming compilation of materials, my visual imagery including the wrappings became crucial in helping me select appropriate fabrics. I was conscious of colour as well as the different weights and textures of the material. Knowing that I would be exploring these fabrics in depth and manipulating them within different processes I felt it was important to have a variety of material qualities that were very contrasting but also in a way evoked a compelling narrative of juxtaposition.

Immediately back in the studio I surrounded myself with my drawings to begin sampling. Although it is very tempting to get lost in the visual research, through my making and experimentation I was able to isolate a few sources that really inspired my processes. Looking at even a single drawing there was so much to explore,  from the way the media lay on the surface of the page, the interaction of marks to combinations of colours and more. The broken needle technique was intriguing, as in combining the delicate grey fabric with piles of thread, this almost aggressive stabbing action revealed a very subtle mark and beauty, with the thread pierced through delicately on the reverse side. From my drawing on the sandpaper, qualities of texture and relief arose and using stretch jersey and the free machine embroidery I was able to create a textured surface . The emerging colour palette became inspired by the greys and peach tones in the drawing and what was most interesting was how the pastel was ingrained into the coarse sandpaper whilst also sitting loose in other areas. 

“The act of stitching is one that is simultaneously repetitive, meditative, and industrious. It is also a series of tiny acts of violence: cutting, piercing, grafting together, that when added up, become a realized form.”- Laura Bell (

In thinking about different levels of texture I also tried quilting techniques with the blue fleece. Here I was looking into the pockets of depth suggested within one of my swatch drawings, thinking about layers, cutting away, meeting points and intersections. I also felt the bold blue cobalt colour I pulled from my photos was an exciting choice and brought about a new sense of mood within my samples.

On the second sampling day I was helped greatly by my tutorial with Yemi. At this point in my sampling it was valuable to be able to reflect and receive some feedback on how to develop. With the blue quilted sample Yemi liked the idea but suggested that it possibly wasn’t fully satisfying because it had a different quality to what my drawing suggested. She brought out the idea that the drawing conveyed ideas of translucency and suggested that the top layers should possibly be lighter, in contrast to the deeper pocketed hole slits.


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