Beginning the People

Stabilising the People

Stabilising the People

Once the packing case was in place it was time to put the people on. I’ve used iron-on transfer adhesive to stabilise the cotton fabric for the people. It isn’t likely that I will make use of the adhesive, but at least the tracing paper on the back allowed me to draw outlines of the people to cut out.

There was a brief pause while I made quite sure that I had traced the people the right way round to ensure that when I put them on, the fabric side would be uppermost and not the glue side, then I cut them out..

People Attached

People Attached

Attaching the people was fairly straightforward, using single strands of silk pulled from a bundle of odds and ends. I even tacked them in place with silk – which just shows how cavalier I have become since working with metal threads and Gilt Sylke Twist!

Very little of these cotton people will show once I’ve dressed them. They are there for two reasons – because I felt that it would be easier to do that dressing if I had some sense of the bodies beneath, and because I know from working on the Camberwell Panel that small bits are hard to place precisely, especially in conjunction with other small pieces. Since the people are inside their clothes, putting the heads and feet on last would put them out of kilter in comparison with everything else.

I have cut and left unattached one foot of one of the people because I need to put a trouser leg behind it, and roughly stitched a line between the two people I’ve cut out as a single piece of fabric. That should help me to ensure that when I dress the furthest of them, I don’t use more fabric than I need, or create a finished, turned edge that adds thickness where I don’t want it.

Now I need to stare thoughtfully at the photograph for a while and work out just how to approach the next stage.


  1. Sue Jones says:

    Look out! The Shadow People have come to steal your packing case.

  2. Lady Fi says:

    Great work!

  3. Andy Lloyd Williams says:

    This is fascinating watching the people metamorphose. All very clever.

  4. Penny says:

    Wonderful work – and so precisely done. I’m working a bit smaller myself these days and it take longer because everything has to be cut down to the proper size. Well worth it however. I can’t wait to see these people ‘come to life’.

  5. Jules says:

    I was thinking that in their unclothed state, they look like a piece of contemporary textile art I saw recently! (That was completed and didn’t look as good as this does now…) Looking forward to watching you get them dressed creatively!

  6. Terrie says:

    They look lively, especially the one with his foot lift.

  7. The figures are quite spooky, as if they have crept out of a crypt!

  8. jenclair says:

    It is so interesting to read the step by step creation of this scene. All the intricate details of planning and positioning involved in the process require such thought!

  9. Janice says:

    This is really taking shape Rachel. The packing crate looks excellent set amongst them.

  10. Carolyn says:

    I used to make my students at school keep a process journal when they were doing practical assignments for Art. People don’t realise just how much thinking that goes into each original piece and you have done lots of thinking here.

  11. I love the way this is coming together and I had to smile at your comment about checking and rechecking that you were drawing the figures on to come out the right way round – I’ve got caught out like that sooo many times!!

  12. karen says:

    it’s fascinating to observe your process Rachel….your attention to detail.