Exercise: Making Connections

Initially interested in both the textural amulet from the Pitt Rivers archive as well as the cotton textile from The British Museum. I was intrigued by the similarity between carrying an amulet everywhere for good luck with the sense of carrying sadness from memories, within us. But that sadness can become a burden.


I used a flow chart (shown above) to plan and show my thought processes. I also started to sketch out basic initial ideas to see if I felt that the overall theme worked.


Using the image below as well as others of jaundice and liver cirrhosis, I started to to do some colour experiments. I started to research yellow colours to represent jaundice. I used onion skins initially, but the yellow was too attractive. I then tried dyeing with juniper as this is used to flavour gin and therefore could be perfect but I didn’t feel the colour was strong enough. I then tried cochineal as well as with an iron mordant, as this is a product of death which would again seem appropriate, but again I did not feel the colours were quite right.


After more sampling in various combinations I found that a simple dye mix of 25% black Dylon with 75% tulip red Dylon gave me the basic starting colour that I wanted.


The surface remained quite matt which I was expecting but I decided to start experimenting with combinations of latex, thickened latex as well as latex coloured with acrylic paint. I also started to explore texture with the use of glass pebbles tied into the hessian fabric to produce a nodular surface.


I started to feel closer to finalising my ideas and so I started to put together my storyboard.


With this first sample i felt that the colours, textures and ideas had come together.


Close up of sample…


I created a more finished sample which I am really pleased with. I wanted to create a sense of weight, something that would look hard to drag, a burden, which I feel this has. The liver cirrhosis texture I think works well and does look quite unpleasant. I would envisage this being pretty big and I would like to see a trail of milk thistle seeds behind it as if coming from a split in the bag. Overall I am happy with this sample and I feel that it successfully fits with the conceptual requirement.