Sea Lavender – Textile Translation

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This is the whole spread of my sea lavender design that I made after spending a super workshop day with Vinny Stapley at East Mersea. I was really inspired by the coastal flora there and still have ideas based on the sea holly and sea purslane that I sketched while sitting on the beach. I also recorded some beautiful burnet rose with spectacular cherry-like hips, but all those will have to wait until another day as I have several ideas I want to develop with the sea lavender.

First I decided to make a stencil, directly from my own design. I taped together two pieces of acetate, which I collect at Christmas time from our cracker box lids. Using a fine liner pen I traced the sea lavender directly onto the acetate, let the pen dry and then used my soldering iron to cut out the shapes. The picture below shows the stencil after it has been used with all the paint colours.

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By layering up sheer fabrics on a painted bondaweb background I created a surface ready for stencilling. I made a very long piece – just over 90cm x 30cm – as I had a ready made canvas that size which would have been ideal to use. My error, which I didn’t realise until all the stencilling and stamping was complete, was that I began at one end and worked across to the other side. What I should have done was begin in the middle and radiate out from there as when I looked at the finished piece I could see that the centre was the weakest part of the design and had no focus to it at all. Disappointed I decided to cut off the two ends, use them as separate pieces and resolved to make another, longer version as soon as I get time. Good ideas keep! Below are two photographs of one of the smaller pieces completed with partial soldered detail and machine stitching in a bluey-grey to emphasise the sea lavender forms.

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The current pieces are very true to the original design and I’m pleased with the effect of using transfer paint through the stencil to get some ‘background’ images of the sea lavender. I really do just want to repeat the whole exercise, but I think I will just change up the colour scheme on the next one – if I can force myself!

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