Work is progressing well with my piece for the exhibition. At this point I thought I’d share how the piece evolved and the materials and techniques used.
I have combined two themes that run through my textile work: using local materials (specifically wool) and an interest in visualising data. If you do an image search for ‘visualising data’ you will find numerous examples of how information and statistics have been used to generate graphics and charts, some really beautiful ones can be found on http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/. Not as sterile or mathematical as it sounds: lines connecting data become threads, clusters become masses of stitching.
The material I have chosen is Herdwick wool, machine spun yarn from Texere yarns, the data I’m using as a way of creating a landscape is from The British Wool Marketing Board website, where they publise the wool prices for over 200 separate categories of fleece.
I inputted this data onto an Excel spreadsheet and generated a couple of charts from the data as a starting point. The first one was a line drawing of each year and shows how the wool prices have fallen and risen over the last 10 years.
More refinement and a 3D chart of each wool quality: the landscape emerges.
So each slice of the landscape is worked in crochet using a small hook to produce a firm fabric, each representing a different quality of wool, each crochet stitch is one pence and each year is worked over the same number of rows. I propose to make about 25 slices ranging from the very low value fleeces up to the highest quality ones.
Here’s the working sample, showing the low value wool at the front (just 2 pence a kilo at its lowest!)