Fiber Sculpture Seven

David Somers bio photo By David Somers Comment
Object dso#57410
Detail during production of: David Somers, Untitled, 2016, raffia and handspun silk yarn on canvas, 101 × 20.0 × 3.0 cm (~ 40" × 8" × 3/4"). [Object dso#57411].

This object was a double-experiment.

Firstly, to test working on a larger scale (as hinted at during the second one-on-one). Instead of directly jumping to 1m × 1m, a size of 1m × 20cm was chosen in part because it may be easier to work with these physical dimensions, but mainly because the amount of fiber required was on-hand.

Secondly, to test working with a new material: banana fiber. Banana fiber has been in use since the 16th century to make rope, cords, textiles and clothing. The fiber is extracted from the banana tree bark, which is peeled, the skin thrown away, and the cleaner or white portion retained and processed into knotted fibers. The extracted fibers are sun-dried which whitens the fiber, spun, then dyed. Like the handspun silk in an earlier piece (id #57407), this is an ethically sourced material from a women’s co-op in India.

The result of working on this object was mixed. After a dozen or so strands were placed considerable twisting occurred. Banana and other cellulose based fibers lack the elasticity of protein based fibers (such as wool) and this causes them to sag, droop, and be unaccommodating when twist is added. In this case, perhaps too unaccommodating. Another dozen or so loops were made where the fibers were considerably tensioned in an attempt to reduce the twisting. This was more successful but at the cost of time and effort. A third method was attempted, and this was more successful, and perhaps the way forward when working at such scale and with this combination of materials.

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