For my final assessment piece I could choose whatever technique or combination of techniques I liked. I decided to make a coiled piece, as I have previously had some success with coiling and it seemed perverse not to play to my strengths!
My plan was to make a double-walled piece, inspired by Haeckel’s prints of molluscs (and coral).
The idea was to make a giant clam – though not to scale, as that would take forever! The interior would show a colour gradient from dark blue to pale turquoise, while the exterior would be mottled grey.
I made a small sample to see how best to make this structure, using the same materials as for my previous coiled pieces: a core of wire and flax, wrapped with 4-ply linen yarn. I started by creating an undulating frame for the bottom of the interior. I
Then I coiled upwards and outwards until I judged it to be deep enough. At this point I coiled back down on the outside of this structure to create the double wall.
I started experimenting with mixing colours for the exterior here. From a selection of five colours, I randomly picked two, stranded two threads of each together and wrapped with these. When this ran out, I picked another two colours at random and continued wrapping.
The interior colour change was more considered. I started off with four strands of dark blue, then switched to 3 dark blue + 1 turquoise, then 2 dark blue + 2 turquoise, then 1 dark blue + 3 turquoise and so on, so that the colour gradually got paler.
When I reached the top of the interior I switched to the random mix of grey and other shades and started working back down.
The biggest challenge was creating the ridged shell. Simply creating a gap in the coiling wasn’t enough – it tended to flatten as other rounds were added. In the end I added a completely separate round of coiling hidden inside. Wherever there was a gap created by the ridge, I pulled it to the outside of the gap, stitching on top of the previous row, before tucking it back inside. This held the ridge in place and prevented it from flattening.
As you know, coiling is a slow process. This was no exception, but the advantage is that the rounds got smaller towards the end, so at least it seemed to speed up as I neared the finishing line!
Our tutors assessed our final pieces on Thursday and we will get the results next week. Tomorrow we will be setting up the exhibition of our work, which will be on display at City Lit from 25 to 30 July, 10am-9pm daily.