My embroidery work is continuing to engage and enthuse me. It is encouraging a number of creative threads to come together. (Do you like that pun, Kate?!) I will tell you more about those mental ramblings at a later date.
My very good friend Liz is a reliable sounding board and creates wonderful embroideries of her own. She helped me to see that I was heading in the direction of trying to put in too much fiddly detail. I am attracted to detail ~ botanic art was great for this! ~ and find abstraction very difficult.
My original thought was to take a part of a watercolour I had been working on and make it into a small embroidery. The photos tell the story.
I then traced the outline onto the tapestry canvas. You can see the beginning of the problem…..too much detail already.
As I was working I was feeling that it was all too cramped. Liz’s comment, that it needed to be more abstract and less of a copy, confirmed this. I would be interested to hear what you think, understanding it is only 10 x 10 cm.
It probably didn’t help that I attached the boulder, which I had carefully woven to fit the image, upside down!
Liz came to the rescue again, loaning me some of her textile books. Stitch Magic: ideas and interpretation by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn was particularly inspiring.
So, armed with my 10 x 10 squares and the threads I have been working with, I played with stitch samplers. The first was blanket stitch.
By putting down layers of stitches and by varying the length and direction of the stitches I was able to create a lot of texture. Also it covered the area quickly. Much less tedious than the usual half stitch filling in each hole. Great for foliage.
The next was chain stitch.
This creates a dense flat mat, as you can fill in the spaces with more chains. The creamy buttony things are made with an extended French knot. I can see me using chain stitch for the movement of water, as it gives a great sense of direction.
The third, feather stitch, is my favourite so far, possibly because I am getting the hang of creating these samplers.
There are three layers of stitches here ~ a dark olive green, then the lighter lime green and then the shiny yellow green on top. I love the messy texture that it makes. It doesn’t have the definite edge of the blanket stitch, which makes it even more random. However it also doesn’t completely cover the canvas either. You can see it peeking through. So I added in the twisted chain stitches in the yellow green and the darker green. (That darker green is different colours because it is a variegated thread.) I also sewed some blue green cross stitches, but I don’t think they add much. Maybe the thread needed to be thicker.
In my usual impulsive fashion I have already begun a bigger piece using some of these ideas. My aim with it is to keep my ideas really free, just laying down stitches to see where they take me. I am enjoying this journey!