Sunday, 25 August 2013

Constructing a heart

Making fat

This is the lump of wool I picked up from a field. It was pretty dirty so needed a good wash (without too much agitating to prevent it felting too early).

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At History Live! I had bought myself a little hand spindle, which I used to make a ball of rather lumpy yarn out of this wool. I didn't card it first because I wanted it to be irregularly lumpy like the fat itself!

Hand-made hand spindle - wood and ceramic

Then I crocheted it into a shape like the one in my painting of a heart. I thought it would be good for the fat pad, but that it needed some colour variations.

For some of the fat pads I did this and then shrunk it in the washing machine to give it a denser texture, reminding me of what I am reading about the Fullers and Weavers of Ghent in the 14th Century being the start of workers' rights movements.

What shape is a heart? - not 'heart-shaped' for sure!

The shape was a bit more difficult to work out, but I decided to make it with four irregularly shaped pieces of fabric. I guessed the shape, generously, since there would be room for adjustment when I put them all together.

I wanted it to have the fibrous thickness and density
of heart muscle, so I cut the shapes out of an old quilt.
(The colours in all these photos are less yellow than in reality)

Then I tacked on pieces of fabric of the colour and texture
I envisaged.

This one shows the 'fat pad' applied at the edge of the shape,
with darker chiffon applied in parts with texture made from
stitching in a similar colour of a darker shade.
Blood vessels were added using a mohair mix yarn.

This shows another way of making a fat pad - a flatter one
this time, The colour is given by the lower layer of fabric,
and the texture by polyester lace fabric over the top,
embroidered in lumps in a darker thread.
(The red lines are tacks)

Once the fat pads were finished, I started putting in the
other blood vessels. Here you can see some made by slitting the top
fabrics to show the red from beneath,
and some by appliqueing strips of maroon on top.

While doing this sewing, I was thinking about how to make the golden container in a bit more detail, and wondered whether I could incorporate any of the formal patterns from the St David's Cathedral tiles into it - perhaps around the largest blood vessels at the top.  This should reinforce the contrast between the formal 'architectural' squares of the gold and the soft organic flesh of the heart.

I found some gold wire from around bottles of Rioja that is very fine and flexible but holds its shape well, so I may use that.

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