Foray into Pots

23 Jan

Unexpectedly I find myself in the Land of Pots. Obsessed almost. Tearing fabric into strips–1/2″ x 18″-24″ long. Loving the sound of threads rending, coming apart, readying for the alchemical transition which I can’t even begin to predict once colors and patterns are wrapped and coiled. Then, beginning with the spiral center. Turning. Turning. The flow of it. Counterclockwise.

So I want to say this because Grace asked–“Could this technique be used for rug making?” And I think “Yes!” it could. And the shape would be determined by the genesis of the spiral. Round, oblong, rectangular even.

There must be gobs of tutorials online. Goggle coiled fabric bowls I suppose. So no reason to add to that treasure trove–instead I’ll just mention a few things that have made coiling MUCH easier. At first I was working with long strips of varying width. Short is better for me. 18 -24″. And width makes a difference to. If the strip is too wide, it doesn’t coil well. I suppose it would if your cloth was cut on the bias, but I don’t have the inclination or patience to do that. So I simply eyeball what seem to be 1/2″ intervals, give or take, snip across the entire piece, set down the scissors and RIP. When I have an adequate pile, I tie the pieces together.DSC02119

and when I have enough bundles, I begin coiling. I’ve found that my technique has evolved naturally. I couldn’t begin to explain it. But it does get faster. Much faster. For me, wrapping left to right feels natural. But it probably doesn’t matter.hands

On my first bowl, I tried to start the spiral on the machine–but it was hard to see and it meant putting my fingers way too close to the needle. So I start the spiral by handstitching a short distance and then stick it under the needle.



I hate to say this, but looking at this last picture, I see that I started on the wrong side. And now I remember. I did have to remove the spiral, flip it over, and begin again. Because–because–it’s important that the coil grows on the left of the needle rather than on the right. One of those things better understood when you actually experience it.

The base can be as large or as small as you want. And if what you want is a circle, then just keep going. But at some point, if you want a bowl, the base gets flipped up perpendicular to the sewing platform….turn

and grows…


and grows….DSC02139

8 Responses to “Foray into Pots”

  1. Liz January 23, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    I’m with you … I love, love, love the sound and feel of tearing fabric. But when I recently asked my spouse which of my cloth-making habits was most annoying (aside from the way I casually toss thread ends into the air over my shoulder), he cited the dust that flies up as the cloth tears (I should mention that I do the “wet cleaning” in the house, while he gets the vacuuming and dusting detail). Ha!


    • Patricia January 24, 2015 at 7:58 am #

      thanks for that visual–casually tossing thread over your should. it brings on an out-loud laugh and BIG grin. and yep–the dust from tearing cloth. mainly i try to do it where there’s no back lighting!


  2. grace January 23, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    it’s BEAUTY FULL!!!!! love this much of seeing you do it…i do have my mother’s old
    singer from the 30’s but alas, no zigzag. and then the now even old Huskvarna of my
    own, yes a zigzag, but it would require going into Albuquerque for a make over first.
    Hasn’t been used in maybe 20 years. so for now, i’ll watch you and be fill with
    Big Love


    • Patricia January 24, 2015 at 8:00 am #

      this could all be done unplugged. looping the coils together with string or twine and i imagine once i get to the end of this experiential study, i may move in that direction.


  3. Mo Crow January 23, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    Wow, what a brilliant machine (love good tools) & what I really like is these vessels are functional, beautiful and can be made in a day.


    • Patricia January 24, 2015 at 8:01 am #

      it is a brilliant machine and i’m beginning to know its different sounds and what they mean. and yes, function and beauty together–hard to beat


  4. Nancy January 24, 2015 at 2:49 am #

    Ooh…I love this and I appreciate seeing it being created (well parts of it). What gorgeous colors you’ve chosen. And what shall you do with the pots of your new obsession? Keep, gift, sell?


    • Patricia January 24, 2015 at 8:07 am #

      a big hello to you, Nancy! you ask what i plan to do with these? keep/gift/sell? probably a little bit of both. selling has always been so difficult for me–not because i haven’t tried but because my cloths don’t seem to have much appeal to “shoppers.” i do have a booth at a downtown artists’ gallery, and there is a minimal monthly rent–but sales have been sporadic and unless i at least start recouping the rent expense, i’ll probably have to accept that my cloths aren’t going to sell well. perhaps the baskets will have more universal appeal? but really, i’m not making them now with any intention other than to see where they’ll take me. and right now that seems to be “into the spiral!”


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