Isolated Moments – Soft Strata

The next in our Isolated Moments series, aiming to keep spirits buoyed and creativity alive during COVID-19 global social isolating and quarantining measures, comes from artist Kaitlin Ferguson. Kaitlin’s practice adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the environment, through explorations in geology, ecology and the planetary shaping processes.

Kaitlin Ferguson - Rocks

My practice is focused on responding to the environment, in particular exploring the concept of ‘deep time’ – the notion of geologic time, which spreads out across the planet’s 4.5 billion year history. I often look and respond to geological specimens in my artworks, as windows into the vast time scales and cycles of the planet.

During Covid-19, I have spent much of my time slowing down and noticing things I often overlook, as much of us have. Picking up rocks on my walks each day, I’ve paid more attention to the layers and patterns of the strata. I started to ponder about the layers below my feet and the millennia taken to shape the landscape I live in.

I began working with materials I could find around the house and started a ‘Home Artist Residency’ where I’ve begun making a series called ‘Soft Strata’ – using textiles to represent different layers and strata of the earth. Here is how to make your own:

You will need:

  • Scraps of fabric you can find around the house
  • If you have it, thicker fabric as a backing – I use a piece of canvas
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Pins or needles
  • A needle for sewing and any coloured thread (alternatively, you can use fabric glue)

Begin by imaging what’s under your feet… For my artworks, I imagined boreholes and deep chunks of the earth. Using a backing fabric of your choice, sketch out your design with a pencil.

Once you have your design planned, organise and cut up your fabrics to form the layers.

Attach each layer to the base fabric by pinning it down with either pins or spare needles; then sew each layer on and remove the pins as you go. If you don’t feel confident sewing, you can use fabric glue instead.

Once you have attached each layer of ‘strata’ you can begin to add detail. Either by sewing on more pieces of fabric in contrasting colours and shapes or by experimenting with different threads and stitches.

Spend some more time looking or researching in detail the geological make up of your area and what the strata looks like as inspiration for more complex and detailed artworks.

Kaitlin Ferguson

Soft Strata - Kaitlin Ferguson

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