Monday, 7 October 2013


Having just come back from a very inspiring trip to Dungeness and also France, it has been an interesting process assessing the progress I have made with my personal project as a result.

My first trip to Dungeness was on the outward journey and I had the time to investigate possible sources of research along the beach. I was also able to consolidate the information supplied by Sheila's friend, i.e. connecting homes with the people who'd lived there in the past and getting a general sense of the position of these cottages along the shingle beach.

I had already thought that my theme for the piece would be the layering of stitch and cloth with a general  effect of transparency, and I found this in the following images.

Fragments of this tablecloth had been coloured with time in the elements and I thought it was a reminder of the normality of daily life on the peninsular.

This piece of decomposing plastic sack proved to be a wonderful source of lace like structures.

This image and the next one gave me ideas for layering various net/lace fabrics or papers/wire.

Once in France I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Alencon lace museum which gave me another dimension to the process I had already started to investigate. It encouraged me to think about the intricate construction of the fine lace on display with a view to combining it with the open simple  structures of the fishing nets seen on the beach.

While at the museum I was able to study various lace structures in depth, both by handling samples and observation of those behind glass.

I spent time examining some net like structures but then moved on to the more intricate pieces as I felt these might be of use, when converted to a large scale.

Thinking of scale, I'm still looking at the idea of sails similar to those seen at the Techniquest building in Cardiff.

Interestingly I saw the same design travelling past a town in France.

These are a lot simpler in their arrangement than the ones at Techniquest, which seemed to make design ideas flow more easily.

At this point I started to develop ideas for the first stitch samples.

And then I turned my thoughts back to the sails as I'd collected some walnut husks with the intention of using them for dying cloth.


Finally, I felt ready to transform the above research into the first embroidery sample. I used a piece of the found tablecloth and selected areas that were well coloured with age, oil, rust and weather.

The backing is a piece of tea bag weight paper which has been backed with water soluble medium, which is still in place in the photos below.

Some of the stitch marks have been inspired by the patterns on the fish skeleton found at Dungeness during an earlier visit.

The significance of the distressed table cloth is it's relevance to domestic life, it's suggested fragility and yet contrasting strength to have survived in such a hostile environment, as have the women who have lived and worked in Dungeness. The colours have been taken from the colour pallet put together in the previous post.

The second sample has been inspired by pieces of discarded, disintegrated fishing net and has been worked from a previous sketch.

This is a very different sample and focuses more on the obvious connection of the sea, and the women who worked alongside the men in the struggle to save people in trouble on the sea.

It has been worked on a piece of hand dyed silk and embroidered with hand dyed silk threads, which form a strong contrast to the heavy net used for fishing. 

For me there is a feeling of disappearance to the face, which could be even more solid, with just a fleeting glimpse of the memory, as if lost in time.


  1. Lovely to see where you are going with this Sharon. The tablecloth sample particularly appeals - almost looks like you have printed the pattern on to the teabag paper.

  2. I thought about you last week, Sharon. There's a programme called something like 'How to Build a House with £110K' that's on currently. Last week they visited Dungeness to look at materials used in building construction there, and how they were as one with the environment. I've never been there but I recognised the place from your photos.
    As for Alençon, I've been there quite a few times - we have friends who live there.
    I continue to be impressed by the thought that's going into this. I love the use of the seemingly fragile and yet tough tablecloth to represent the women.

  3. there is a lot of deep thinking going on here...a credit to your determination and also a demonstration of your passion for your went to a lace museum? Wow....

  4. may also find this interesting. This artist uses a petticoat in a derelict building to remember, recognise her mothers life. I'm thinking women, cloth etc. There are images somewhere online . I also have some somewhere so if you can't find any let me know and I will scan mine for you..providing I can find them!!

  5. I love seeing the process of exploring an idea. It makes me realise I need to draw more!