On Venturing into the Third Dimension

Again I sing the praises of Stitch Club. This week I learnt how to sculpt with textiles through an online tutorial with Clarissa Callesen, sculptor, installation artist and instructor. After watching the video on the TextileArtist.org Stitch Club site, I took a deep breath, pulled out a bag of leftover bits of batting and the remains of some fabric from a tree quilt, and started stuffing shapes.

3D Tree. 35 cm high

To my delight and surprise I managed to create a 3D object that resembles a tree. Clarissa Callesen makes astounding abstract textile sculptures, but I decided to stick to my comfort zone and to try and follow the lines of a tree. First I rolled strips of batting into fabric covered ‘sausages’ and stitched them closed. Wrapping the thread around the cylinder is also an option. Then I made some ‘potato’ shapes by stitching around the edge of a round shape, stuffing it, and then gathering the stitching to close the shape. These round shapes ended up being useful as ballast in getting the tree trunk to stand upright. The tutorial was not only inspiring but also had practical demonstrations on how to manipulate the fabric and stuffing into usable shapes.

In progress photographs of the tree construction. (At last I have found a use for these fancy clips.)

The tree roots and trunk were stitched together and then the branches were added. I wound some thin copper wire around some of the branches and the base of the trunk, for a bit of interest and also stability. Finally I draped a chain of leaves over the branches for fun. I have not yet sewn them down and may remove them. Now I think I might try to make a forest!

Before making the tree I had had quite a bit of practice in stuffing shapes. Here are some pincushions, pieced from batik scraps and then stuffed.

I was inspired to make these after seeing gorgeous scrap pincushions on Wendy Tuma’s blog called piecefulthoughts. She often makes them as gifts and posts photographs. Then, when I read a recent post called Scrappy Batiks I took the inspiration to my sewing machine and started piecing a pile of batik scraps that had fallen into my lap, as it were.

This leads me to the final installment of my stuffing adventures. I have been making draught excluders for the TRADE at Home local virtual market. Because we have just been through the windy season in Grahamstown, I had sold out and needed to make more for this month’s market. I had run out of fabric scraps to stuff the draught excluders. My quilting friends kindly donated their offcuts and one of the bags contained a treasure trove of batik squares which I could not consign to the dark depths. Hence the pincushions.

The latest batch of draught excluders

The wind has died down (thanks be) and I have a set of draught excluders in stock if anyone in the area wants to purchase one.

26 thoughts on “On Venturing into the Third Dimension

  1. Your tree is very impressive. Rolling the batting scraps makes sense; it would be a challenge to stuff those little shapes. I really like how it all turned out. I’m enjoying the projects you are making and sharing through Stitch Club. I’m delighted that my pincushions inspired you to make a few, and they are lovely!


  2. That tree works really well and is so clever, and the fabric is great. I also really like those colourful pincushions.
    What do you use to stuff the draught excluders? I am wondering if they need to be ‘weighted’ in any way?


    1. Thanks for all the positive responses Carol. I use small pieces of fabric to stuff the draught excluders. If tamped in tightly they give a surprisingly weighty result. One generates a lot of fabric offcuts when making quilts, and it is satisfying to be able to put the small bits to good use.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So much good stuff in here! I especially love your tree – it’s heading for autumn here so a tree with a few golden leaves remaining on the branches seems perfectly in tune with the changing season. I’d love to see a forest of these! Also loving the cheerful pincushions and draught excluders – what a great use of scraps!


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