Gallery of past work

Friday, 21 June 2013

Teasels in Stroud

As I explore further for my black and white Cotswold and Stroud pieces, I've gone back to a photo I took of teasels early last year and to a drawing I made of a teasel head on a workshop soon afterwards.

For those who don't know about teasels and their relevance to the Cotswolds, they are extraordinary plants which grow in summer here in the UK. Their seed heads are large and crisp to the touch and are covered with hooks to help with seed distribution. They are to be found in hedgerows and on field edges all through the autumn and winter and seem to stand up to the worst of our winter weather. They can often be seen standing tall surrounded by snow.

Their interest for me, apart from their appealing shape and texture and their resiliance, is that they were used historically in the textile industry and especially in Stroud to raise the nap on fabric - and particularly in the case of the Stroud factories - to raise the nap on the red wool cloth that the town was so well-known for.

I have included here a page from my large sketch book showing the drawing of a teasel I made on the workshop and some tracings. The drawing was made in black Quink ink, mostly with a 1 inch wide hake brush - sometimes using the wooden end rather than the brush itself as it seemed to record the character of the teasel stalks better.

The tracing I took of the stem (on the left) was then turned through 90*. 

I also traced and interpreted the seed head and then photocopied several versions, laying the tracing over the top each time.

Then, following the lead from The Crafty Mugwump in her latest post (thank you Pam), I inverted the colours in Adobe Photoshop - more contrast.

This was all great fun to do ... and has now prompted some more fun and games. More of that in another post ...


  1. Those are lovely sketchbook pages, we too are surrounded by teasels, so much so that we take them for granted. Now I shall have my teasel head on and look at them anew.
    Invert colour is a great tool for seeing your work in a different way, I use it a lot.

  2. We love teasels here and they were used by our Scottish and Irish settlers in the textile industries.
    Your tracings look like spiders ! and look lovely !

  3. Great to see your working drawings. I have just planted some, mainly to feed the bullfinches. They grew in my garden in abundance when I lived further south.

  4. What a fun post!!! Great drawings. The teasel heads are truly lovely, aren't they!!?? (I hung some from a lamp to dry a couple of years ago and find their lines so enchanting that I have just left them there!)

  5. Thanks to you all for your encouraging comments. It was great fun to do ... and will lead on to other things I'm sure.

  6. Love the teasels and the way you've drawn them. Thanks for visiting my blog too.

  7. Thanks Ro - and for visiting. I always enjoy your lovely colourful blog and visit regularly.

  8. I love teasels, haven't seen any in years. Your drawings of them are fantastic. Looking forward to seeing what you do next with them.

    1. I'm looking forward to it too ... lots of thinking to do. VMT for commenting.

  9. I'm loving all the experimenting you're doing with black and white. Lots of great playing. It was interesting to find out the significance and use of the teasels in the local wool industry as well. Can't wait to see where you go with this.--Julie

  10. I do have plans - but rather too many at present - so often my problem! Perhaps next some printing (?) but I need thinking time now to pull ideas together.


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