I have a confession to make – I am a 2D person; I work best on flat surfaces, paper, fabric, copper plate. Basically I draw, stencil or stitch images onto stable sheets of material. Occasionally I take the images for walks round bodies or vessels, but although I studied, taught and worked in both fashion and textile design, my strength is in surface decoration, and the flatter the surface the better……so it is always perplexing but fascinating when I work with makers who are sculptural.
Dail Behennah, is a 3D maker at heart, although she does work in several divergent materials ranging from cane, through enamelled steel and copper, via stone and fabric. And for Heart Space Studios she is conducting the next Master Class using re-cycled paper for a 3D plaiting technique. “Plaiting is a way of weaving in three dimensions in which all the elements are active. (In most weaving techniques there is a passive set of warp threads and active weft threads weave between them). The thin-walled elegant forms which result may be viewed as vessels or sculpture.”
The technique is common throughout the world wherever flat, ribbon-like materials are available. These include palm leaves, grasses, rush, bark and split bamboo. It is used to make flat mats
and 3D structures
ranging in scale from tiny shoes
to huge dams…..
as well as baskets designed to fulfill a variety of functions.
The 2 day workshop will cover the basic techniques of bias and hexagonal plaiting and “corners may be turned wherever you wish. The aim is not to make a conventional basket but to push the technique as far as possible and see where it leads moving from 2 to 3 dimensions and back again…..
For dressmakers the process may be seen as similar to making your own fabric with integral darts. Each corner turned makes the material go off in a different direction, creating hollows and bumps.”
This idea has got me thinking about a plaited corset….imagine some of these cinched waist pieces in plaited ribbons or leathers….although Dail is using re-cycled papers as her main material it is expected that the participants will bring their own materials to experiment with as well.
The idea behind the Heart Space Studios Master Classes is for makers to expand their own practice by being introduced to a new technique or material by a tutor who is an acknowledged expert in their own practice – so sparking off new ideas and possibilities for other makers.
And to prove a point here is a 2D piece of work that has been inspired by this technique – 2 paper maps have been intersected by intricate stranded patterns for a water-coloured collage.