Cabbage white (2005)This winter, on my way to shower every morning I have looked out of the window at next door's veg. patch, and admired their cabbage leaves. I love their sculptural shapes. And indeed I have been thinking about cabbages for other reasons recently. (Not least because now is a good time of year to eat them!) And also in looking for design inspiration for my printmaking classes I looked more closely at the above image.
Crambe maritimaAmongst recent photos I took at Dungeness were some of sea cabbages which proliferate on the shingle. In November it was their skeletons which attracted my attention.
For whatever reason - the contrast of the regular grid with the natural form of the leaves, or perhaps a symptom of my control freakery - I am drawn to photograph cabbages under netting.
One year despite netting over my own cabbages the caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly had a banquet! The resulting lacework of holes was magnificent, however, so I photographed them, and decided somehow to make a piece of work from those photos. I scratched my head over what to do for a long time until I turned my thoughts towards the caterpillars and the holes.
So, I stitched the whole of a piece of off white silk noil, which would become the background and support. On the computer I whited out the holes and took away extraneous elements.
I heat transferred six or seven of these onto silk habotai. The result stiffened the silk, and also was double-sided, having also printed onto the cotton which I had under the silk. I used the same piece of cotton under the silk, and so used that as my base for the figure, which was stitched densely by hand. I cut out all the holes from each sheet of silk, and then arranged them on the white background, catching them in a few places with a couple of stitches. I was so pleased with the result that I have the framed piece hanging on my studio wall. The silk has darkened a little, but retains more green than is evident in the photo above, and I think still looks good.
I never grew cabbages again, however!