One of the techniques of flax manipulation that Damien showed members at his workshop was how to make a grasshopper. The technique below was developed from this – so we called it the caterpillar.
By Val de Lautour
Education Committee 2014
From Academy workshop with Damien Koh
[Click photos for a larger view]
Take one piece of flax remove the centre ridge and sides so that you have two pieces of the same size. Place wrong sides together and secure with 20 gauge wire.
Pull wire to the centre of the two flax pieces.
Bring the left piece of flax around the back of the wire then loop through the flax and pull tightly.
Bring the right piece of flax around the back of the wire and loop through the flax and pull tightly.
Twist the flax at the back so that the right side is facing – this is the trick to making neat loops.
Continue to loop around the back of the wire alternatively and pull tight.
Work down the length of the wire remembering to twist and have the right side facing.
When you are nearing the end of your piece of flax take it to the back of your work and tie it off.
The grasshopper was made in a similar way and with the addition of legs and wings looked most impressive. By changing the flax to a different form and making lots of ‘caterpillars’ they could be grouped as below and with a few berries added became a minimalistic design. The wire in the flax form made it easy to manipulate the flax into a curved shape.
Completed Flax Caterpillar Design.