Last week we talked about visual texture and using pattern in your work to achieve texture on a 2D surface. Today we’re going to talk about tactile texture. This is what I love in fiber art. All that fiber and woolie goodness. This is a French Knot sample that I did for my Level 1 Hand Stitch class. We were supposed to do a square that was 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ filled with French knots and “messy” French knots. Mine overflowed a bit. But I had the best time making some of the biggest French knots I’ve ever made from yarn. You can see from this shot that it looks almost like the stitches have been padded underneath. They haven’t. It’s all knots. Now this is my kind of texture.
The background piece is hand painted felt with sheers, netting and tulle fused on top. I used a variety of yarns, threads and floss to make my knots from tiny ones up to humongous ones. And I love the texture. What do you think? Did I go overboard?
Here’s another sample from class. It’s satin stitch done with a variety of weight cotton threads as well as some wool threads. Look at how the stitches themselves lend texture to the piece. The different weight fibers also tend to lead your eye through the piece. I hadn’t really thought about using threads in this way before. This is another small piece less than 2 inches square. The design is based on wood grain. I have such a hard time just drawing a design out of my head. We were asked to sit down and draw four different designs and then choose your favorite. I didn’t like any of mine but luckily we had a break after that. I went to break and saw the wood grain design on the break table and oi la! It always helps me to design from an inspirational source. How about you?
This is one of my pages from our stitch sketchbook. I had never hand stitched on paper before and sometimes felt like I was in Occupational Therapy but I found it enjoyable. Don’t you like the texture of the chain stitch sitting on the surface of the paper? I’m working on more stitches to go into the book and I’ll show you the entire book later when it’s finished. The page is painted with Procion MX dyes. We painted the pages with the same dyes that we used to dye our threads.
When I think of visual texture and patterns, I usually think of commercial fabrics similar to the ones I mentioned in last weeks post. But when I was thinking about what I do with texture, I realized that the flour paste resist technique on this scarf is visual texture. It is not a repeating pattern but is a pattern and it does give texture to the scarf visually. These natural and organic patterns are my favorites.
The other thing I have a tendency to forget is that texture doesn’t always mean woolie (felting on the brain) but can be smooth. Do you prefer a certain texture in your work? Do you use mainly visual or tactile texture? What could you do differently with texture in your next piece? Let me know what you like about texture. I’d love to hear how you use texture in your work.