Janet Haigh : Her Work

Textiles: ideas, drawing, design, stitching….


2 Comments

Drawing Vintage Fabrics

IMG_2746

first drawing of the day – the eye of the dragon

I have been invited to deliver 3 day drawing classes at the Bristol Drawing School based at the Royal West of England Academy. I was asked to work with my collections of vintage embroidered textiles which include Chinese embroidered robes, Japanese kimono and Indian/Pakistani children’s  clothing and tent hangings.. first I brought in the Chinese robes…

IMG_2736

starting to draw the threadbare theatrical Chinese Dragon robe

the old tattered, ripped and worn fabrics never fail to inspire students; each class is different – although my teaching methods remain basically the same: – take care to tell the truth about what you are seeing, pay close attention to the making processes and most of all the colour.

IMG_2748

the sensitive drawing slowly evolves

As we start to draw using only dry media – pastels, crayon and pencils –  getting the colour correct is always tricky, but I try to get students to develop a colour quality rather than to try to copy the real colours…this teaches awareness of atmospheric colour.

 

IMG_2747b

another study of the same fabric – aiming to describe how it is stitched; not painted printed or stencilled…

I gave these students an hour to develop their first studies… they seemed to be engaged immediately – always surprising who picks what to draw. Unfortunately I have a very bad grasp of names – I could describe each student’s appearance perfectly  by looking at their individual drawings but names evade me for this first week – my apologies to all.

IMG_2752

starting out….

 

IMG_2769

trying to get that elusive faded grey/ brown silk ground colour

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The silk theatrical costume of a dragon is really in a sorry state now but the colours are subtle, faded and very beautiful. The wild cardboard eyes of the dragon still command attention and trying to capture the quality of the threadbare silk really tests the students. For a totally opposite colour experience, the  choice for those who like bold colour is the red and blue silk court skirt…

IMG_2740

starting out with bold geometric colour blocks

working from more decorative sections of the skirt still produces a strong response.

IMG_2737

starting to map out the decoration – in reality a tiny hand stitched red binding on a yellow silk applique

IMG_2741

getting to grips with the colour of the yellow silk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

using the coloured paper grounds with the pastels makes it possible to give an impression of the nuanced colours of the faded and friable silks – blending the colors to achieve the exact shade is difficult but rewarding – and you learn a lot about colour mixing and trying to keep everything clean…

 

IMG_2743

1 hour into the drawing, it takes time to build up this quality of colour in pastels.

The soft grey-blue padded jacket, embroidered with wisteria blossoms, brought out everyone best attention to stitch…and although the colour proved  illusive, many lovely studies were made from it.

IMG_2735

drawing the meandering blossom on the padded and embroidered jacket

IMG_2739

this simple tentative sketch captures the quality of the meandering blossom stalks

 

IMG_2749

well the colour is way off – but what an interesting series of marks to try to capture the nuanced and subtle effect of the silk embroidery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ended the morning with a short critical discussion about the work achieved  in the first hours of the morning. In the afternoon session everyone chose different pieces to work with. I had more or less dictated the scope of first drawings (detail, detail, detail) now the students could choose how they wished to interpret the fabrics. The grey silk jacket still held its appeal.

IMG_2757

wriggly line drawing trying to capture the crepe silk and hand stitched appliqued braid.

IMG_2756

detail of the fastenings and braiding of the silk jacket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

detail

detail of the the hem of a large embroidered court robe with resplendent dragon

it is always interesting to see different interpretations of the same subject…the drawings below probably say more about the artists than the robe.

IMG_2759

careful but lively study of the embroidered sea.

IMG_2760

flamboyant cloud interpretation from the robe above

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2773

careful gradation of colours to describe the embroidered flower

My own black modern Chinese embroidered jacket has resulted in these 2 different interpretations…however in the drawing below, the student told us that she had not drawn anything for more than 20 years – so as far as I am concerned this study is a major achievement – for bravery – but had it been on black it would have been even more striking…

IMG_2777

strong drawing of a tiny frogged fastening – a very brave and successful start after 20 years of not drawing!

when studying textiles it is often difficult not to get engrossed by the garment they constitute – here are 2 images of drawing the same skirt – the first is about the skirt, the second about the textile and the fabric manipulation.

IMG_2750

getting engrossed in the bands of stripes made by a shibori technique on a hand woven hemp, Chinese skirt.

 

IMG_2771

more attention to the detail of the dying technique shown in the second study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the following drawing is totally different in its approach – the whole folded cloth has become a world of its own..

IMG_2766

this large undulating drawing reminded me of a surreal landscape – fabrics as fold.

who would have guessed it is a study from a wrapped and folded silk skirt…but oh the colours!

IMG_2767

how innovative to fold an old silk skirt and make a colour study .

 

and last of all this simple line drawing of a white hand embroidered black jacket – each line describing the direction of the stitch. How wonderful it would be to see this extended for a whole wall full!

IMG_2778

simple linear drawing – a tiny detail from a Chinese embroidered landscaped jacket.