Chapter 9: Out of the Shadows




Reflections in windows


Bottle glass window

Check fabric

Fabric crayon over rug canvas and net curtain

Soluble plastic with stitching

After washing (bottom row granite stitching on Aquasol)


Poly-cotton with a paper bag print (ironed on) with plastic sequins used as shisha mirrors attached using machine satin stitch, and free machining in metallic thread.

Close up


Actual Shisha

Gelli plate print on printed organza

Free machining on soluble plastic to make a mesh to hold the shisha mirrors

Mesh attaching shisha

Close up


Transfer-printed Felt

(Photocopy of the felt with initial drawing of pocket placement)


By the time I came to work this sample, I was running out of energy and didn’t understand exactly how to work the pockets (ie. with two layers of sheer)  I had to oversew the machine patterns.  The items in the pockets are shisha mirrors, sequins and chocolate foil.


Painted Acetate

This is probably acrylic paint.  The acetate is stitched using a 100 Leather needle to free machine in rayon and metallic thread on to cream stretch velvet and dark grey organza.



Resolved sample showing ‘shadow work techniques’

Looking through

One of our favourite NT properties is ‘Batemans’, Rudyard Kipling’s home.  He wrote a poem called The Way through the Woods

‘There was once a road through the woods  Before they planted the trees.  It is underneath the coppice and heath…  of a summer evening late,’

I remembered the title, and looked it up, and then tried to find something to illustrate it.  I am a great fan of Eric Ravilious, especially his wood cuts.  I found a tiny illustration about 2.5 cm square for a London Transport publicity book called ‘Country Walks’.  This is it blown up to 400%.

It seems to be winter with bare broad leaf trees and evergreen bushes.


I made a crude torn paper mock-up including the evening sky ‘Red sky at night’, not summer, but you get beautiful sunsets in winter:

and discovered what is apparent in so many of Ravilious’s works: that he includes so much patterning in what appears to be a straightforward picture.  The bare trees are a grid through which you see the missing path through the woods, shown as a shadow of the tree trunks in the picture.


Initial planning form.


Braid on linen

Braid on tape

(The tape was not wide enough and definitely the wrong colour.  After a bit of consideration, I decided to mount the sample onto a piece of linen using one of the ‘leafy’ machine stitches and work an ‘evergreen’ cut edge outside it).


Resolved Sample


Stage 1  (using Super Mend powder)

Stage 2 (and Free Machining)

Stage 3 (The Road through the Woods)

Stage 4 (using Bondaweb)

Stage 5 (Carrier Rod trees)

Stage 6


Stage 7

Stage 7 (Close-up of Birch trees)

Stage 8 Close-up

Resolved Sample:

The Road through the Woods.




Stage 8 extra tree


Stage 8 – 2

Photo taken 28/03/18











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