Familiarity Breeds……Boxes!

I was back in Coventry with The Embroiderer’s Guild for the third time on Saturday, they are gluttons for punishment! 

 With all the experts in the class, it was easy to move straight in to the boxes and bowl making session we had planned.  Only two ladies had done little or no Friendly Plastic before, and they very soon got the hang of things. I did a few extra little demos for them so they could try out some of the techniques that the others had all tried in earlier classes. But for the rest, it was time to consider their portfolio of FP skills acquired and begin planning their creations. The key thing they all needed to appreciate was to think hard about the order in which they should do things given the nature of Friendly Plastic (it does not ever cure to a permanent state, it is always possible to heat and soften it and rework it – a bonus and design consideration all at once). It is one thing to make a sample, quite another to make a complex structure, and it really does require some careful thought.

 After explaining some principles and discussing box and bowl construction and what is possible in a day class, everyone had a choice of what they wanted to make. Elizabeth liked the idea of using my Lacework technique which gives a lovely open structure to her creation.


Others went for Patchwork and successfully mixed textured and non textured pieces into their boxes. Not only that, but the usual square box was thrown out in favour of a triangular box shape which increased the technical challenge.


One adventurous soul carefully foiled the reverse of her plastic and created a freeform patchwork bowl which had colour on both sides. The interior of the bowl is decorated with the negative shapes of Peel Offs embedded into the warm Friendly Plastic. This is quite a laborious method over a large area, but the end result is really worth while.  It even sits on three little feet carefully made out of FP.


The unexpected hit technique of the day was spaghetti. One quick demo and imaginations were fired and the twisting and rolling began. The spaghetti was turned in to box lids (this is a very small and very beautifully made box by Hazel – a techical achievement, and she came up with her own solutions to things that did not go according to her original plan.


Spaghetti decorated the sides of a small box – little snakes winding their way around the sides of the box; the soldering iron made a bit of spot welding simple.


Another adventurous soul decided to try out the Friendly Plastic Pellets and coloured them with Pigment Powders and made lots of spaghetti to decorate her box with. After a slight mishap the box shape had to be modified, but the intention was to make a fabric hinge and create a sloping lid similar to a cold frame or desk top. The spaghetti here reminds me of Medusa!


Spaghetti became The Thing To Do: forget the box, lets just make spaghetti! These two panels (approx 5″ long) created by Joyce turned out really well, they are perfect to bead or stitch in to and could very easily be applied to a bought box or indeed to a textile piece.


A quick solution to the box construction was to use a little hinged lid tin and cover it with Friendly Plastic, and you can see that one was not enough! As this was Ann’s second and third boxes of the day, she did not get quite as far as she had planned as she wanted to embed all sorts of things in to the surface.


As you can see from the group achievement photo below, there is great diversity amongst the results of the day – from the beginners sampling through to quite complex constructions that required a lot more consideration and planning and knowledge of how Friendly Plastic works. Well done One And All, you should be proud of your creations, and encouraged by the knowledge that you now have more of an insight about how to create three dimensional structures and bigger projects in Friendly Plastic.