The Fourth Labourer

PinningFourthLabourerFinally, after all that trouble with the Third Labourer, I moved on to the fourth.

After some playing around with colours, I decided to dye some of the fabrics I’d bought to clothe these fellows (Bahama Blue, if anyone wants to know!). It proved to me that some of the fabrics which I had expected to be cotton weren’t, but that doesn’t matter in this context. This project is going to be a positive riot of different materials!

You can see that I made considerable use of pins to control the fabric and keep the pleats in something resembling order, holding the fabric to be ironed, and simply leaving it while I thought about the next stage.

Fourth Labourer Finished

Fourth Labourer Finished

The stripy fabric for this fellow’s shirt is the same as the stripes on the first one, overdyed with the blue, and the bold blue check was overdyed with a stony beige colour, to try to make it look a little dusty. It barely made any difference, but sometimes “barely” is good enough.

I’m very pleased with the way the folds suggest the raised leg, and the turned in sections of the tunic create some bulk for the shoulders.

And, though I say it myself, I think the folds of the shawl (if that’s what it is) are an absolute triumph. They are secured in a few places, but I defy you to find the stitches, even if you zoom in on the picture, and I’ve avoided crushing any of folds.

Yet Something Is Missing

Yet Something Is Missing

The basic figures are now completed, and I’m really rather pleased with how they’ve turned out, but I do feel as though there may be some details missing.

More staring and thinking required…


  1. Sue Jones says:

    The people are wonderfully three-dimensional. So much so that I think – and this is really sad – that they make the packing case look like a drawing of a box. So how can the case be given more of a visual lift? Fabric paint to tint the sides? Shadows where the heads and shoulders shade the box, definitely. And maybe some more ‘business’ in the background sea/sky – darker cloud streaks and a horizon line going across would help to raise the box visually. I am sure you will think of better ways of improving the solidity of the box, to make those wonderful people do some heavy lifting.

  2. This is a most impressive project and is coming along really well! I’m enjoying seeing your updates. =)

  3. Karen in Bath says:

    I am so impressed with this. It has been fascinating watching you dress the labourers. Well done!

  4. elaine says:

    Very impressive and life like! I am really enjoying watching this progress

  5. Janice says:

    I think it’s fantastic! Well done!

  6. Penny says:

    You have every right to feel proud and pleased with this project. You’ve done a wonderful job of bringing these workers to life. The movement of cloth to suggest movement of the workers is perfect!

  7. jenclair says:

    You are finally showing up on my Feedly! Your fabric choices for the figures seem perfect, and they draping does suggest movement.

  8. karen says:

    these really are amazing Rachel….wow….

  9. deanna7trees says:

    Haven’t been here in awhile. This is amazing.

  10. Terrie says:

    Really a live picture! Every inch is so delicate. The folds the draping are incredible.

  11. Lady Fi says:

    Wow – I’m so impressed by those figures!

  12. Jules says:

    I was thinking that you had given a great three dimensional slant to the whole piece – the texture on the packing case has come into it’s own now and given the definition you needed. The figures are simply – excellent. I think this is a fabulous work and I’m looking forward to seeing it progress even further.

  13. Mary Addison says:

    A tour de force. The figures are looking really good. well done.

  14. Carolyn says:

    Those figures are very three dimensional but being that they do overpower you packing case a little and there is a lot of interesting stitching on that. I keep looking at it and think perhaps you need a little bit of shadow on the edges of some of your figures? (I have forgotten what your original photo was like to check this.)

  15. Susan says:

    Are you a painter?? I first opened this on the small screen of my phone and thought it was a picture! Not sure I see the overpowering of the box but you’re doing a brilliant job of clothing these men. Wow!

  16. Anita says:

    Very impressive ! I like Sue’s ideas..but am sure you’ll come up with something.

  17. This looks fabulous!!!!!!