Invisible – ribs

As I  mentioned in my last post, I’ve spent time over the last couple of months obsessed with ribs and the rest of the human skeleton. I’ve been sketching, playing with shapes, patterns, looking at materials and generally just trying to figure out how to take my first idea of ribs with red lines of pain coming between the bones to show how my Fibromyalgia is causing costochondritis pain and a feeling that someone is trying to pull my ribs away from my spine and breast bone.  I ended up working a sample of a germ of an idea to see if it would work.


I layered up stretched out fruit net between 2 layers of water-soluble fabric. Drew my design on and then started to stitch. It was at this point that I realised my original idea wouldn’t work, the depth would be flat and I wanted to try and show that it wasn’t a flat shape. So I ordered some dark grey thread and kept stitching. It was only a sample, I just needed to see if my rough idea would work.

Can  you see the ribs now? The dark grey thread for the spine and the curve of the ribs at the back did help show depth.

Dissolving the water-soluble fabric away:



Drying the stitched design over the side of a mug to get a slight curved shape. It worked! The stitching has all held! Can’t see any depth as the threads are soaked and barely any colour difference can be seen:


Finished sample:


I am so pleased! It’s not perfect but it is a sample and samples are about figuring out the design, the techniques etc   I know where I am taking this idea next but for now, I’m basking in the joyfulness of knowing my sample worked!!!

I’m now working on the next sample idea and figuring out if the idea for my finished piece will work. And helping me with that is my new friend.

Meet Stan:


One of my thoughts about the sample was that I’d really like to work bigger but trying to draw correct sizes when using a tiny drawing in an artists anatomy book was proving difficult. I tried to find a skeleton in a local museum with no success and the Royal College of Surgeons Museum in London is closed for refurbishment till 2020. So onto google I got and up popped an link for Stan on a well know auction site and lo and behold Stan came to live with us!  Stan is a full sized anatomical skeleton (and he does have the 2 missing teeth, they are loose so I’ve kept them safe until I can fix them!) and he’s perfect as a model. He’s also proving a great source of amusement for my boys and the rest of the family!

Becca x

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