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Assignment 4

Climate Change ~ Hanging by a Thread

Climate Change ~ Hanging by a Thread, Niki Gibbs 2021
Climate Change ~ Hanging by a Thread, Niki Gibbs – reworked March 2022

Having researched other artists for this part 4, the overriding impression was for a statement piece, something that was in your face, bold and forced you to interact wit it. I wanted the viewer to interact with this piece in a different way; to question it, then become intreigued by its textures and materials then reading the story into it.

Climate Change ~ Hanging by a Thread, without flash
Climate Change ~ Hanging by a Thread, with flash

When buying the threads I was shown many different samples, but was so inspired for the lightening by the reflective and the glow-in-the-dark threads. These I had to stitch and weave together in the lightening form. Photographing the final piece with the flash really brings the lightening to life.

The idea came for this piece when I realised that I did not want to crete a completely abstract piece, I wanted my work to have a message or story and say something, something that I could use to illustrate some writing possibly.

Initial sketch for tapestry

I began in my sketchbook. I knew from my previous pieces that I could stitch the paper, it had enough integrity, although needed a quite sharp needle otherwise the paper tended to tear. The image represents the water cycle around the planet that is causing so much flooding and in contrast in different areas, wild fires that rage across vast areas of land.

I began with the blue plastic bags to create the turbulant sea as it cascades from stormy mountains down the rivers into the sea causing sea levels to rise. The land is made up of the handmade paper stauned with inks and stitched on in layers. I had to think carefully about the order that I would add each section so that it cam etogether most effectively. I went to buy the frame and could only get 110cm cross bars, 100cm would have fitted the paper better, so I added a 10cm strip down the left side and added more land. This was mainly because unintentionally, The two cities and fishing net looked like a smiley face, a bit inappropriate for Climate Change!

Lightening in daylight

The sky is made from black stained Khadi paperand stitched on with fringes of black lace. The clouds are unspun wool in greys and blacks with white shredded plastic bottle clouds.

Lightening with flash

The lightening worked so well with the flash, I would suggest that a light be placed to flash on it occasionally if displayed,

Plastic Sea

The water was stitched in place in a way that the thread did not show.I overlapped it and placed some transparent plastic to give the impression of breaking waves.

Sun and fire on parched land

The sun and the fire on the hill tops is made from yellow and orange unspun wool with bits of grey woven in to represent smoke. The sky is stitched handmade Khadi paper that had been torn into small pieces.

Fife igniting dry brush

The baked land has stitching that represents cracked soil and some straw packaging represents dry organic material that is set alight by the

Fishing an empty sea filled with plastic

The fishing boats are cut out plastic painted with acrylic and stitched on with fruit packaging to represent the netting. I had a couple of plastic Soy Sauce bottles one in the shape of a fish hat represents all that mankind will be able to fish in the future if we are not careful!

Sea level rise – drowning cities

The island is sinking and the town becoming submerged. The town is represented with torn and stitched pieces of printed maps.

Human occupation 0of land

The main cities on the land are seperated by raging rivers and have towerblocks made from plastic inserts that come supplied with a small Daler-Rowney canvas, an ironic last addition to a part that asks us to deconstruct the canvas!

I then realised that when I stitched it to the frame, that paper may not be strong enough hold the stitching. I made a Calico backing a bit like a pillow cover wityh a velcro seal in the middle so that I could access the stitching at a later stage if needed.

I then carefully chose the thread I wanted to use to string it up with. It was not quite thick enough for what I had in mind, I went back to the weaving shop, but they did not have a thicker dark mottled thread. I actually used the original thread quadrupled up so that four strings made one thread. I stitched it on and tensioned it once it had all been attached.

I am pleased that I have produced a bit of work for this assignment that I am happy with. I wanted to create a piece that said something and had a purpose or message. It was quite fun to construct the tapestry with all the different materials to make up the different aspects of the image. The choice of materials and their palcement was also important, that the cities are plastic as is the sea, and the land was all represented in the textured dyed paper. The fire and other more organic elements suited the unspun wool and easily stitched to the background.

Since my tutor’s feedback which suggested that I could have been more abstract in my approach, I have pondered for some months since, and have revisited the work to roughen it up by attacking the threads. The result, I feel, does improve the sense of a tattered and tenuous message.

Climate Change ~ Hanging by a Thread, Niki Gibbs 2021
Climate Change ~ Hanging by a Thread, Niki Gibbs – reworked March 2022

Niki Gibbs

17 August 2021

Updated May 2022


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