MMT Part 2 Joining and wrapping-Project 1 Joining

Exercise 1 Joining straight flush edges

I started with joining paper.

  • Sellotape-Joins neatly, flush, remains flexible
  • Staples- not as neat as tape, joins flush if you are careful with placement, creates a stiff centre that’s not flexible
  • Pins- hard to make flush as the paper moves up and down the pin shaft, sharp ends, no flex over join
  • Toothpicks-paper can be flush but keeps moving, sharp both ends, no flex over join
  • Straight stitches- flush depending on tautness of paper
  • Cross stitches- flush depending on tautness of stitches, neat
Joining straight edges- paper

I then used the same techniques on pieces of a plastic dog food bag. The results were basically the same except for the toothpicks as it was harder to get the plastic to stay flush as it scrunched up.

Paper, plastic and card- flush edges

I moved onto corrugated card

  • Rainbow tape- to make a feature of the join. The stripes of the tape echo the lines of the corrugation. Flush.
  • Wire- card kept tearing when pulling the wire through. Edges stay flush if the tension in the wire is correct.
Balsa wood cross stitch and balsa wood and foam with jute string

Other materials

  • Balsa wood with cross stitches- Holds the edges flush really well and is neat and tidy. Reverse looks neat too. The colour of the thread blends well with the wood- doesn’t stand out but is subtle and adds to the design.
  • Balsa wood and foam- nice contrast of materials, one hard one soft and flexible. The jute string complements the wood. The knots make a feature out of the join. The reverse looks neat and tidy.
  • Clear plastic and patterned tissue paper (no image)- joined with sellotape. The materials are transparent but have different weights and textures. The tape is transparent to complement.

Outcomes- I used a range of different materials for comparison. Most worked well with the joining methods I chose, the exception being the toothpicks. They joined the paper and plastic OK, but the edges were not really flush. Not all methods of joining I noted at the front of my sketchbook would have been suitable for this exercise due to the edges needing to be flush. I liked the results of the contrasting materials together, it adds interest and different textures. Some methods of joining were complementary (the balsa wood with cross stitch) and some were detracting which added further interest (the rainbow tape and corrugated card).

Exercise 2-joining straight edges with a gap

Straight edges with a gap
  • Paper and sellotape- even gap, neat. Added sellotape to the back as well so it wasn’t sticky on the back. Using the sellotape makes the gap join ‘invisible’ from a distance. Flexible join. Unremarkable.
  • Corrugated card with raffia stitches-even gap. I alternated the direction of the corrugation for interest. Rafia in a contrasting colour. The raffia is delicate but because it is folded up it makes it stronger. Flexible join.
  • Printed tissue paper, raffia and sellotape- even gap. I twisted the raffia at each end and joined it to the tissue paper with sellotape. I spread the raffia out in the centre to add interest and curves which break away from the linear form of the squares. Also by spreading the raffia out it gives it back its delicacy which mirrors the tissue paper. Flexible join.
  • Balsa wood and wire- Uneven gap. By adjusting the tautness and length of the stitches I created an uneven gap. The wood and the wire complement each other, in colour and also in strength- they are both hard but flexible. Flexible join.
  • Balsa wood and thread- uneven gap. Again i created an uneven gap by lengthening and adjusting the tension of the stitches. But this time the thread adds a softness to the sample. The stitches are neater and more delicate, creating a contrast to the wood. Flexible join.
  • Plastic and cable ties-uneven gap. Although both flexible materials the cable ties give a quite sturdy join. I like the abstractness of this one with the ties left pointing out instead of being cut off. Somewhat flexible join.
  • Plastic and tags-(no image) Even gap. Joined with plastic fasteners from a tag gun (same fasteners as used to attach labels to clothes). The join has flexibility. Both the plastic and the fasteners are the same opaque plastic so complement each other.

Outcomes- Looking back at my samples for this exercise I realised that I didn’t experiment with putting contrasting materials together- if I have more time I will remedy this. Also I could have experimented with the length of the gap, from really small to quite a considerable distance apart. I just concentrated on the gaps being even or uneven. Playing with the raffia by opening it up gave it a different look and feel- same material but highlights the strength or delicacy of it. The cable ties and the plastic fasteners were interesting to use as they would not normally be something that would used in this context.

Exercise 3- joining curved edges

Drinks can circles, plastic bottle cap rings, beads
  • Plastic bottle cap rings- Inspired by Barbara Cotteral’s work using waste materials. Joined with perle cotton. Hard plastic, soft cotton.Touching and gaps. Not very interesting. I like the triangular gaps created between the rings.
  • Drink can circles joined with jump rings- Also inspired by Barbara Cotterell’s work using waste materials. Touching and gaps (dependant on how close to the edge the holes were made). I really liked this piece. The simple pattern of the repeating circles teamed with the jumbled up pattern of the design on the can and the silver inside of the can. A lot going on but I think it works. The silver jump rings joining the circles complement the design rather than detract from it.
  • Beads and wire-White and red beads joined together by wire threaded through them, creating rows. Touching and gaps. This didn’t work out as well as I envisioned it, I think the wire was too bendy to hold the beads together tightly. Reminded me of one of those car chair covers people used to have!
Joining curves-straws
  • Straws and thread- Inspired by Pippa Andrew’s work. Cut straws in varying sizes. Joined in a cluster with cotton thread. Touching and gaps. Not that great, may work better on a larger scale?
  • Various straws and thread- Touching and gaps. I used bigger transparent straws mixed with smaller pastel coloured straws. I placed the coloured straws inside smaller cut offs of the larger, transparent straws. I threaded them together, in a line with cotton thread. Again, not a great sample but could be explored on a larger scale with multiple pieces hanging together.
  • Straws and sellotape- In an attempt to join the straws with no gaps I bundled them tightly together with sellotape. This looked very messy and the outside straws stayed together but the inner straws kept falling out as the bundle obviously wasn’t tight enough to hold them all together securely.
Gaps and no gaps, and tessellation
  • Felt and hook and eye fasteners- nice even gap, the metal fasteners have nice detail and are sewn on with contrasting thread.
  • Felt and cross stitch- nice neat line, no gap, tidy, could join any shaped curve this way.
  • Paper- Started looking at tessellation as a way to join curves. No gaps. Reminds me of patchwork piecing. Used envelope interiors for contrasting patterns- makes your eyes go a bit funny!
  • Foam and straight stitch- tessellation, neat, flush edges. Small gap is due to my inaccuracy in cutting out. Firm but flexible. Reminds me of a christmas bauble shape. Could you make it 3D??
Balsa wood, straws and polystyrene balls, drinks can circles and plastic bottle lids.
  • Balsa wood and raffia-Nice clean join line, no gaps. Chose wood coloured raffia so it complemented and maybe looked like a flexible type of wood. Simple knots holding it together. Not very exciting but on a bigger scale or with different pieces all joined together it might look better.
  • Polystyrene balls connected with straws and thread- touching and gaps. Inspired by Pippa Andrew’s work which reminded me of molecules. Creation of any size or shape would be possible with this method. Thin wire might have held better than cotton thread to make it a little more sturdy. Experimentation could be done with different sizes of cut straws, different colours.
  • Plastic lids and drink can circles- again inspired by Barbara Cotterell’s work with waste products. Gaps. Joined with plastic fasteners from a tag gun. Simple forms and lines but an effective design. The plastic fasteners look delicate between the plastic lids and aluminum circles. A statement necklace perhaps??
Felt ball, bottle lids
  • Felt ball- made of 6 circles joined together. Touching and gaps. Simple but effective design. Could experiment with scale, multiples and colour.
  • Plastic bottle lids- threaded together and tied into a circle- looks a bit like a spring. With a different colour lid glued on top it looks a bit like a chinese lantern. Could experiment with interconnection, size and scale.
Drink can circles with beads
  • Returning to the drink can circles joined with jump rings, I cut circular holes out of the 3 middle circles. I then added a wooden bead to each center with a metal jewellery finding. The bead can spin round.
  • I wanted to keep the alterations to this sample quite simple as there was already a lot going on with it, and I wanted to complement the design rather than detract from the original design element. By using circular beads to mirror the circles and and another type of jewellery finding to attach them I feel I achieved this.
Plastic bottle cap rings
  • This sample already had holes in the center that I could add things to. It was a rather boring sample to begin with. I used the off cuts of straws and the centers of the drinks can I had cut out for the previous sample. I was aware that I wanted to use the scraps and off cuts so nothing was wasted- being as this sample was made from plastic waste.
  • I also added wooden beads and some knotting/looping techniques.
  • I feel the additions on this piece have improved the sample greatly. It has more interest now.

Outcomes- I feel this exercise gave more scope for experimentation. I found more ways of joining curved edges than straight. I also think the curves gave more interest, especially the 3D curves like the straws and polystyrene balls. A lot of the samples could be expanded upon given more time.

Exercise 4 Overlapping edges

Overlapping straight edges
  • Balsa wood and velvet split pins- I like the combination of the textures on this one. The contrast of the soft velvet pins and hardness of the wood.
  • Plastic and poppers- I like that the poppers and stitches are visible on the see through plastic. Poppers would normally be used as an invisible method of joining/closing.
  • Multiple overlaps- I used a range of materials- foam, paper, plastic, card and tissue to create a sample of multiple overlaps joined with split pins. Not a great sample.
Overlapping straight and curved edges
  • Variety of papers and netting- Torn strips of gelli printed papers, deli paper, net ribbon and a net onion bag. Joined with straight and curved machine stitch. Overlapping edges. Where the onion net is joined to the papers there is a fair amount of stretch that can be achieved which buckles the piece, adding to the curve. More interest than the overlapping multiples sample above as the papers are decorated and colour coordinated.
Overlapping curves and straight edges
Overlapping curves and straight edges
  • Various sample materials- organza,painted and embossed bubble wrap, painted and heated polysatin and plastic bottle strip. All pieces from my off cuts/scraps box. . The plastic strip (cut from a bottle) at the end was an offcut from an ATV sample so it has a thinner piece of plastic threaded through it.
  • When the plastic was attached it made a curved shape with the organza, a bit like the boning on a corset would do.
  • I like the contrast of sheer delicate organza paired with denser painted and heat treated materials.
joining overlapping curved edges
  • Corrugated card- cut into curves and glued overlapping. Has an armour type feel to it. 2nd sample was then
  • machine stitched along the curves. This flattened the corrugation making it look pleated with a frilled edge. Much softer look than the 1st sample.
  • Paper circles- gelli printed papers, 3 circles, joined with machine stitch at each side of the circle. Not a great sample. Maybe if done with transparent materials with something hanging inside?

While looking through my paper and material off cuts I found samples, fishing rope and hagstones from the final project of ATV . The hag stones reminded me of one of Andy Goldsworthys pieces of Art. (Below). I decided to try joining and overlapping some organic materials.

Andy Goldsworthy
Hag stones and fishing rope
Hag stones and fishing rope
  • Hagstones and fishing rope- loose, abstract, organic, using objects found in nature. I like the colour combinations of the fishing rope against the stones. Tied with knots, threaded through the natural holes. Stones balanced on top and overlapping each other.
Dried orchid flowers, overlapping curves, joined by stems
Dried orchid flowers, overlapping curves, joined by stems
  • Dried orchids- organic, curved petals, overlapping, joined by threading the stems through the petals.
  • Natural objects. I didn’t want to do the leaf thing as that would be too obvious a choice and also I used leaves and stitch in MMT 1. Using flowers instead seemed more original, but in keeping with using objects found in nature.
Recording the details with watercolor and pencil

Outcomes- I experimented with quite a few samples in this exercise, looking at the more normal ways of overlapping and joining like poppers and stitch, but then trying to take my ideas into more abstract, original samples, like using stones and dried flowers. These last two were the most exciting to work on, creating organic forms that had lots of curved, unusual, overlapping edges and pretty colour combinations that worked well together. I enjoyed recording the details of these pieces in my sketchbook.

Exercise 5 forming corners and angles

corners and angles- hinges
  • Paper hinge- copy paper joined with a paper hinge (instructions in my sketchbook). Working hinge, sturdy. Doesn’t look very nice but functional.
  • Card and straw hinge- functional but only a 90 degree opening angle. Again not aesthetically pleasing- the sellotape makes it look bad.
  • Plastic hinge- 3D printed hinge using PLA-Polylactic acid. Hinge made using this file good range of movement, lightweight, functional
corners and angles, curved angles
  • Foam cube- simple form, creating corners and angles, sewn together- not very exciting but a basic sample showing corners and joining. Could be expanded upon, maybe using waste materials like plastic from plastic bottles so it would be transparent or opaque.
  • Gelli printed card- taking inspiration from stitching curved seams. Small snips along the bottom edge and glued onto another piece of card. You can attach almost any shape with this method. Flaps can be glued behind so not on show or in front to create a feature.
Creating angles
  • Popsicle sticks- joined with split pins, good range of movement, can be manipulated into many different shapes creating lots of different angles. Simple but fun to play with!
  • Straws and net- similar idea to the popsicle sticks but using straws. Straws didn’t move as easily as the sticks. Covered with a piece of onion netting to provide stretch to add to the movement. Doesn’t look as appealing as the sticks and not sure how to take it further.
plastic angles
  • Going back to using plastic waste- strips of plastic drinks bottle
  • Flower- strips of plastic, creased in the middle and joined together with thread. Could add more pieces for a complete flower, could make multiples and join them all together.
  • 2nd sample- 4 pieces of curved plastic bottle strips, joined with split pins. I like the shape this created. Could repeat this or use whole circles to create a repeating pattern.
Curved ball
  • Curved plastic strips- split pins top and bottom, forming a 3D ball. Moveable angles.

Outcomes- a lot more scope with angles, creating 3D pieces. Really liked the simplicity of the popsicle sticks, fun to rotate and move into different shapes. I liked the plastic strips, lots of possibilities for joining and creating curved angles.

Developed piece one

Plastic bottle strips

Using the plastic bottle strips I wanted to develop on the 4 pieces of curved plastic joined with split pins in the image further up (with the plastic half flower). My intention was to join them next to each other creating a ‘flat’ piece that would have that wonderful curved diamond shape in between each circle. However as I was playing I was pulled to build them up in a 3D way, randomly adding more circles at angles to each other and the image above is what I ended up with. Reminiscent of molecular structures, it is flexible and stands any way up. It can be moved and twisted in places. It also sort of reminds me of a balloon animal- maybe a poodle! It was fun to make and further development could be adding objects or thread knotting to the empty space of the circles.

Developed piece 2

Thinking of filling in the circles in the above piece led me back to Rickie Wolfes work.

Art by Rickie Wolfe

Although she uses mostly metal and enamel to create her works there are some with what looks like paper. I don’t have the access or the knowledge of welding bits of metal together so I decided to use willow branches to make the circles.

Developed piece 2

I raided my scrap box again for different papers to add. I used shredded cardboard packaging, hole punched paper, burnt hole deli paper, crepe paper, bubble wrap, glassine paper and gelli printed papers. With the gelli printed papers I made cones to fit inside the rings. I used invisible thread to attach the papers although the more delicate papers did tear in places. I like the overall design and textures of the piece but it is not as well put together as I would have liked. The papers were tearing, I couldn’t get the willow circles perfect and it does look a bit childlike and naive! The idea in my head seemed better.

Developed piece 3

Developed piece 3

Wanting to improve on sample 2 I tried again. I had some vintage brass curtain rings so used those with different papers inside and then I burnt holes in the papers. I had no way of welding the rings together so I hung them from a willow branch. Maybe this was moving away slightly from joining, I’m not sure- the papers were joined to the rings and it seemed a natural progression from the willow ring sample. I coated the papers with acrylic wax to make them a little more sturdy. Overall I really like this piece. It’s neater, more refined than the organic messiness of sample 2. The holes in the papers have been made with consideration for pattern and design and the colours chosen carefully to complement the brass tones of the rings.

Developed piece 4

Developed piece 4

Back to the willow again as the organic nature of the willow mixed with the paper shapes continued to appeal to me. I used one large circle and made 3 circles to go inside. I used PVA glue this time to attach the papers. Neater than the invisible thread.but still not perfect. What I have to remember though is I am using totally different materials than Rickie Wolfe. I used very fine gold wire to attach the circles and used some to create lines between the circles and the outside circle at the top.

Developed piece 5

Developed piece 5- joining corners

Still using willow but this time focussing on joining corners and angles. Working with the willow and different papers reminded me of making willow lanterns with my kids at school for the local lantern parade. They were made with willow withies and tissue paper.I used deli paper instead of tissue paper as it is slightly stronger. I burnt holes into the deli paper to create patterns which would be highlighted when lit from inside. I used a battery tealight candle, but I can also see this being used as a lampshade with a bulb inside of it. I used raffia and PVA glue to hold the willow sticks in place. (full instructions are in my sketchbook). Further development of this piece could be made with felt (ideas in my sketchbook).

Developed piece 5- joining corners
Developed piece 5- joining corners
Developed piece 5- joining corners


My developed pieces started off from the plastic circular piece (molecular structure type one) and then each one seemed to evolve from there, developing on from each previous one rather than from samples from each exercise. This seemed a natural progression to me. Influenced by using natural materials (willow) and papers and the light and shadow effects that could be created with them. My pieces were inspired by the work of Rickie Wolfe. I have tried to stay within the brief of joining materials but have also been led by the shadow and light possibilities of the samples.

Capturing the shadows

I did a few quick ink drawings, capturing the different shadows created by the samples. I particularly like the bottom right one from the plastic circular piece as the green shows in the shadow.

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