Geological Transformation


This piece was begun as a FET project under the title “Time and Tide”. The theme as I see it is therefore connected to geology and the action of water on rocks, as exemplified in the gorges of south-western Crete.

The source
Gorge as photographed

This particular image is from the gorge at Souyia (not the better known Samaria gorge), a vertical rock face with interesting streaks of colour.

First sketch
Gorge sketch

I copied this image using Graphitint pencils. I then manipulated it by cutting a copy into strips, pulling them apart and drawing lines between them to join them up.

Second sketch
another Gorge sketch

In the course of doing this, I changed to using Pitt pens, and had to alter the colour scheme to what was available. The image thus arrived at lent itself much more naturally to being turned through ninety degrees and seen as a landscape - hence a ‘transformation’ in several senses. Because the strips were shifted vertically as well as horizontally there are some blank patches where what was an edge of the original image is now pulled into the interior. In the final embroidery these were filled in by extending the lines to cover them. Once the design was seen as a landscape, there was a natural recession from foreground to distance, expressed to some extent by colour and much more by texture. As I had chosen to work with couched threads, I was able to use really chunky and nobbly ones in the foreground, thinner and smoother ones in the distance. This is a really good way to use up oddments of knitting yarn!

Another gorge - Imbros
Imbros Gorge

The only away to see the Cretan gorges is to walk through them. Fortunately I did this when I was still comparatively young and fit (longer ago than I now care to contemplate!) The Samaria gorge is the the big one which people tend to have heard of - some eighteen kilometres long, beginning with a steep zigzag descent into the gorge. The Imbros gorge is shorter and less arduous, though still dramatic, and makes an excellent warm-up for the longer Samaria walk.

Imbros Gorge as worked
Gorge machine embroidery

I am the little figure at the bottom of the spectacular overhanging rock. I translated this picture fairly literally into an early effort at machine embroidery on soluble fabric, mounted on a painted background.

Samaria Gorge
Samaria Gorge

About halfway down the gorge are the remains of the village of Samaria, where I took a siesta on top of a drystone wall.

Samaria Gorge as worked
Samaria Gorge City and Guilds piece

This picture became the subject for a City and Guilds sample of soft sculpture. The figure is made from pieces of fabric covered card, appropriately layered. The flesh parts are old tights with some stitched detail, and the clothes are scraps of my own dyed fabrics. The wall is quilted space-dyed fabric, the background is also space-dyed and the tree-trunk is embroidered in split stitch. The foliage is distressed organza held down with detached chain stitches.

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