What I’ll be making
The project I’m working on is a geometric textile sculpture of a peacock. The final piece will be made of yarn primarily, along with some wood, plastic and electrical elements for structure and motion. The yarn to be used to crochet the structure of the piece was sourced from a region in India known for its handicrafts, and the colors and product design are inspired by art pieces seen in that area.
The primary goal that I have for this project is an exploration of color and other aesthetic qualities. If the final piece gives a certain feeling and flavor of Indian design qualities, then I will feel successful in my work. I would like the detailed nature of the final piece to be apparent in its intricacies and embellishments.
My desire to get a good color scheme and feel for the project led me to take a lot of photos of similar art and textile pieces that I saw while traveling in India. The color palettes are usually very rich and diverse, with multiple light and dark hues to balance it out.
I chose to make a peacock for multiple reasons. First, because of its prevalence in Hindu culture as it is the mount upon which one or more Gods ride. Second, I thought it would lend itself to a triangular geometry, and lastly because a peacock design would lend itself to a bright color palette.
It took some time to come up with a good construction pattern for the triangle pieces. I used a peacock model from Thingiverse (1) and then used a decimate modifier to change the model to be a more low-poly design to accentuate the triangle planes. I used this low poly peacock as a reference to add an icosphere mesh to design the peacock body with only equilateral triangles. I formed the neck and head of the peacock by adding more mesh and guessing on the size. This digital model gave me an idea of the final size of the piece as well as a pattern to determine how many triangles of each color to make.
How I’m going to make it
To begin the creation of this sculpture, I first began by designing a new pattern for a small crocheted triangle. I find triangles to be an interesting shape, yet it’s not an easy one to create with cochet. I was inspired by the crochetkingdom pattern here (2), but this needed some adjustments for what I was looking for. The yarn I’m using is really thin, so I didn’t want to be working so many stitches inside other stitches. Instead, I designed an open pattern where the stitches went into chain loops, making the pattern go more quickly. And I made my design a little smaller.
The next step was…Make a whole bunch of them. I was traveling in India during this time phase of the project, so it was a nice time to crochet while looking out the window of the train.
Each finished triangle is then stiffened to provide structure for the piece and make sure they hold shape. To accomplish this, a starch solution is made, composed of 1 part sugar and 2 parts water and brought to a boil while continuously stirring. Each triangle is soaked in the starch solution and then laid flat on tin foil using pins to stretch the triangle to a good size and shape.
This phase is still ongoing! I still have more triangle pieces to create, starch and dry. Meanwhile I have started assembling the pieces that are finished. To do this, I have created a binding technique where sticks are used in between each triangle. Single-crochet stitches are placed around the stick and into the space of one triangle, then back around the stick and into the space of another triangle, a method that binds the two triangles tightly together while providing support and color embellishment and hiding the stick at the same time.
So far I think it’s looking beautiful, especially with the gold embellishments being added. The colors seem to be turning out well and the overall feel mimics the feel of some of the artwork in my inspirational photos. But I think it also feels kitschy and I’m not sure how I can avoid that. I’m hoping that the next phase of adding the feathers with some motion will help bring it all together.