The out coming process started by purchasing 6 meters of fabric to cut from so as to create the desired length. The outcome shall engulf the viewer and be able to be wrapped around a body, so the finished structure must be well proportioned. To create the narrative of the sculpture, it was necessary to make sense of all the previous drawing work and find distinctive shapes at each interpreted bodily process. The references consisted of the fabric banners, sculpture experiments and original drawing materials. It was crucial to study the original visuals for each section as the image has been abstracted in a number of ways since that point. This allowed for the spontaneity and organic shapes to be replicated in the final work.
The narrative is as follows;
The Mouth and Chewed Food
Sections of Fat (x3)
Shuttles Transporting Fat (x2)
A Tsunami of Neuro-degeneration
The next step was to cut paper patterns for pinning and cutting the fabric to shape. Creating pattern templates allowed for the length of the overall piece to be determined, and also seam allowance and tabs (for joining) to be added. The fabric was folded in half so both sides of the fabric could be cut together, and the template was cut on the right side of the fabric so each piece was facing the correct way. This stage took some time as all the pieces needed to be cut precisely so as when it came to attaching each section, the shapes would fit perfectly. The first thought was to have one long pattern rather than individual patterns for each section, but the technicalities of this meant that the sewn shell would not have been able to turn through the narrow joins. The shapes are also arranged so as the final sculpture will not run in a straight line. I felt that this would enhance flow of my design, and complement the mark makings in my practice.
The next stage was to create the visuals for each shape from coloured felt and painted linear marks. The chosen colours were based on the success of the latest experiment and related back to true bodily colours. This was due to the fact that my work is already extremely abstracted from the visual truth, and therefore the colours can allow for a familiarity to be reformed with the sculpture. The colours (alongside the chosen denim and black) were white, wine red, dark pink and rich yellow to represent the colour of fat. The felt sections of each shape were cut and sewn before the ink was added as I found that the other way round resulted in disjointed lines. The felt shapes were inspired by previous drawing work, where the blocked out black areas turned into colour. Through discussion with tutors it was clear that the curves needed to be reminiscent of those created by a paint brush, they could not be restricted by the thought of technicalities. To achieve this, I used a small pair of scissors to give more detail. Each shape was individually sewn in black thread by sewing machine. The larger pieces of materials were challenging to get through the machine whilst still keeping a neat line. Extra time was spent on the lighter coloured felt such as white and yellow as the black thread was more prominent. To sew tight curves, I moved the fabric slowly and manually stitched with the wheel on the side of the machine.
The line work was painted onto the fabric sections in quink ink as previously experimented with. Once dry the line was also neatened with a fine liner and bero pen to sharpen the edges and get closer to the felt sections. These linear details allowed for flow between each design, interacting and strengthening the overall narrative. The ink was also added over the final joined work so as to guide the audience’s eye. The ink lines also acted as a way of matching shapes across seams.
When constructing the sculpture, the process started with pinning the two pieces of matching fabric together (wrong side facing outward) and sewing together, making sure that there was a gap left to turn through and for the joins. These were then turned through so as the right sides are revealed. To ensure quality seam allowances were approximately 1cm for durability, and in tight curves the seams were cut smaller or snipped to stop puckering. Furthermore, sharp corners (pointing inwards) were rounded off, and the seam allowances of external facing points were cut so as they could be turned through fully. Where gaps were left in the sewn line for filling and joins, the end stitch was reinforced as that area will be stressed when turning through. The most difficult area to construct was the ‘Suffering Brain’ as the rounded tentacle shaped areas were too thick to pull through the narrow openings. To overcome this, I left the seams open to give more space and then joined on the right side by hand.
The fabric shells were filled with polystyrene beans and fed through a funnel into the space. I used a paper funnel as this could be fitted to each opening with masking tape, and a glass jug as this is not a static material. For most shells the gap for turning through was used as the funnel could be larger, therefore becoming more time effective. Some shells were further topped up through the smaller openings. Soft stuffing was also used in the joining areas as this allowed for hand stitching, and gave a barrier for the beans to stay in the allocated section. Each shape was joined together by over stitching in a blue thread to make the seam invisible and folding the raw edge so as the material will not fray.