Hexagons and Holes
OK, I have to hold my hands up yet again….I hadn’t looked at my diary yet this month and so completely forgot about today’s blog post!! It’s funny how it’s so easy to forget what you should be doing when you really don’t have anything much to remember anymore, thanks to Covid!
Thank goodness for our quarterly challenges….always a handy blog subject when you’re caught out last minute! I’ve really enjoyed the first one of 2021 which was to make something inspired by the decade 1900-1909. Lyn gave us lots of examples of people, events, etc from that era which could be used as a starting point to fire our imagination and get us thinking about what we were going to create. As soon as I read the dates I knew instantly that I would be using the book Art Forms in Nature as my main source of inspiration. The book is a compilation of illustrations by the German botanist and zoologist Ernst Haeckel.
I’d bought the book about a year ago having accidentally come across Haeckel’s illustrations during an online search. Although based on reality they are very stylised and have an instantly recognisable quality which has led to them being used as inspiration by artists and designers from the Art Nouveau period through to the present day.
A recurring shape seen throughout this book is the hexagon, hardly surprising as it’s everywhere we look in nature……from the basalt pillars of the Giants Causeway to honeycomb, it’s also found in the eyes of insects, tortoise shells, fish scales and as a cloud formation around the North Pole of Saturn…..the list goes on and on!
There are lots of fascinating facts about hexagons in nature which I hadn’t ever given a thought to in the past, but that’s a great thing about doing these challenges…..you never know where they might lead you or what you might discover.
I like working in 3D so decided to use the hexagon as a raised surface decoration for two wet felted samples. They were both made with the same size resists using Bergschaf fibres and each piece is approximately 32cm across and about 5cm high.
The first was a very simple form which can be open or closed. The second was created using exactly the same template but what was negative space on the top layer in the first sample became positive space in the second, creating a totally different look.
The domed shapes were created using differential shrinkage so didn’t need padding but I’ve added it anyway so I could get a little more height in the centres. I’ve also added a few Colonial Knots to one of them.
I don’t do enough sampling so I’m now working on some more designs of this size but, rather than keeping the backgrounds circular, I’m thinking of cutting them into hexagons so I can join them together without gaps as one large “sampler” Wallhanging.
Another challenge I’m currently making for is titled “Filled Holes” and this is one I’ve set for my local Belchford group. It came about during a Zoom meeting when Lucy showed us a project she had done for her college course. As you can see from this image Lucys is very small, the holes have been made from magazine pages and some contain found objects.
I set off with the intention of making circular holes in fabric and using a soluble backing to fill them with free motion stitch. As often happens before I knew it I’d veered off and ended up with something completely different! I found some fabric I had stamped with leaves and acrylics and another piece that I’d rust dyed ages ago and done nothing with. The one painted with acrylic was quite stiff and so perfect for creating raised domes (this must have been at the back of my mind since the hexagon samples). The other had small rust marks from washers and bolts which could be framed by allowing them to peep through the holes.
I’m really happy with how these three pieces turned out, and each little hole does have a rust print “filling”, but are they “Filled Holes”? I’m not totally convinced I’ve met my own brief so next time I will show you what I did when I returned to my original idea of using the soluble fabric and the free motion stitch.
Source of images.
Giants Causeway: https://discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/giants-causeway-p696331
Insect eye: https://nautil.us/issue/35/boundaries/why-nature-prefers-hexagons
Tortoise shell: https://www.tortoiseowner.com/can-tortoises-turtles-live-without-their-shell/
Honeycomb Cowfish: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/acanthostracion-polygonius/
18 thoughts on “Hexagons and Holes”
Lovely samples – particularly like the negative spaces on top. Very pretty. You’ve given me some ideas for all the unused nature print samples I have piled up too!
That’s great, be sure to share what you do with your prints on the forum.
Super Karen. You’re going in the right direction by creating a wall hanging from the hexagons. It will look amazing. Can’t wait to see it! Love the natural colours of the dyed samples too. I love it that working with fibre facilitates tangenting and exploring diffent avenues not considered at the start of the journey. There’s nothing quite like going with the flow. 😁
Thanks Helene. I’ve always embraced change so I find it easy to divert from what I’d originally planned and just see where I end up! The good thing is, if it doesn’t work out, you’ve nothing lost as you’ve always got the option of going back to plan A 🤪
Gracias por compartir. Muy interesante y me inspirate para probar. La altura 5 de la primera muestra ccmo lo realizaste, usaste hexagono de prefieltro de ea altura. Gracias
Thanks Haydee, it’s good to know you’ve been inspired to have a go yourself! The 5cm height was achieved using differential shrinkage. Simply by laying one or two prefelts on a thin fibre background you can create the domed effect. The prefelt itself is not 5cm thick, it’s only thin, but because you leave a narrow strip between the slightly thicker areas of prefelt your work will “dome”. I hope this makes sense!
Inspiration can be found absolutely anywhere then worked into unique pieces. You’ve demonstrated that very well by showing how Lucy’s lovely project idea developed into your pretty fabric and stitch filled holes (and the hexagon-at-the-back-of-your-mind shows how one thing leads to another!).
I agree Lyn and when we’re designing we are probably influenced far more than we realise by our subconscious.
Love the inspiration source and the resulting samples. It’s good to let the ideas flow and morph into something else. Creativity at work. I’m looking forward to seeing what else you create in this vein.
Thanks Ruth. Rediscovering that small piece of rust dyed fabric has inspired me to do more of that. I’ve been round to my local hardware man this week and blagged more rusting bolts, chain links, etc. and going to try it on felt
Beautiful, Karen. It’s lovely to see what you make and equally fabulous to have a glimpse of your flow of ideas and the various avenues these take you down. Particularly like the hexagons with negative space and think that blocks of these on a hexagonal background could be really spectacular.
Thanks Lindsay. I just need to to get it started before our second challenge is launched….otherwise I might go off the boil!
Beautiful stuff as ever, Karen! Those hexagons with negative space are something to behold.
Thanks Leonor. I’m still waiting for that light bulb moment to show me where to go next with them, if anywhere.
A great source of inspiration and wonderful samples. I look forward to seeing your hexagon!
Thanks Marilyn. I’ve yet to start that larger piece…..I keep getting distracted!
Fabulous work Karen!
Thank you very much Kim.