Exercise: putting together your portfolio.

I really feel I am struggling with the breadth of this exercise… It all feels a little overwhelmingly huge but at the same time quite limiting. I have a lot of sourced images saved to work from but feel I keep getting stuck in a representational approach to my samples, ie simply recreating items with a twist.

I narrowed my themes down to Momento Mori, Loss and Protection.

Samples and exploration

Pitt Rivers Pig Gut Parka
To start to get myself out of this I started to explore the seal gut Parker that is in the Pitt rivers museum. I was fascinated with the materials used and also having read the ‘cradle to cradle’ book recently how environmental and un-damaging to the environment the choice of materials used is. These coats were made by the Inuit as a natural protection from the elements when they went out fishing.

I started to consider what i could use to recreate something similar. I thought I would try natural sausage casings. I bought 2 meters from my local butchers..

I tied one end and inflated them with a football pump…


what really struck me was what a wonderful texture and pattern it had…


Forms sketchbook I stitched some samples some with cotton thread and some stitched with some horse hairs…


I am pretty sure that pig guts for sausage casings are very over processed and are almost certainly more fragile than they would otherwise be. They are very like tissue paper once dried and incredibly fragile, but are beautifully delicate.

British Museum – charm / amulet

See the charm on my Evernote page…

I was interested in this again as a source of protection but also as a potential reminder of loss. Amulets were often worn on the body as protection and often contained passages from religious texts and items that were thought to bring good luck. I started to consider how I could use this idea as a reminder of loss or protection from loss.


Pitt Rivers – Textural Amulet

Textural Amulet Link

I was drawn to the use of text within some of my museum finds. This amulet uses folded small biblical texts and excerpts within a small cloth pouch as a way of carrying and having to hand pieces of text poignant to daily life. I was intrigued and started to consider the quotes and phrases that have affected me through my life…

Hell is other people…….. She was not quite as bright as Emily….. It runs in the family……. Leave her alone she’s OK……. L’enfer c’est les autres…….. Stop judging me………

I printed a repeating list of these quotes onto fabric that had been soaked and wrapped with rusty iron to give it an aged appearance. I then looked at ways of using this finished fabric.


British Museum – Norwich Shroud

Link to The British Museum’s Norwich Shroud Blog

Whilst browsing the British Museum Blog I came across a number of posts about The Norwich Shroud. It was facinating and covered many topics including preservation and discovery but what I was really interested in was a post about how the Egyptian Hieroglyphics were deciphered and read. I then started to research The Book of the Dead a book that the Egyptians refered to when preparing their dead. Quotes were written over the wrappings of the body as well as onto items left with the body to prepare it for it’s journey to heaven and to give safe passage.

Using this book hieroglyphic vocabulary of the book of the dead by E.A. wallis Budge I started to look at the symbols and words used.


I then found phrases for ‘to drink’ and ‘to stop’ I experimented with printing these symbols using foam card…


These were OK but not really reliable enough as a printing tool. So I tried it with lino…


Feeling this was too new and crisp looking I then soaked a Lino printed sample in tea…

I also experimented with burning fabric to give an aged appearance…