AnneLawsonArt My art work Texture

Sewing on paper

Lately I seem to have blogged about non-arty things, although I have been talking about what I have been up to in my newsletter. (If you would like to have my art news delivered to your inbox each fortnight, simply sign up here.) Originally I added “….an update” to the title of this post, thinking I had already told you about my latest obsession ~ sewing on paper ~ but it turns out it is a long time since I have written about my art, and haven’t told you about the sewing much at all.  (See, it pays to subscribe to my newsletter!) So, here goes…

Last year I began sewing again, hand-sewing and machine-sewing, creating trees mainly. All the while there was the little thought at the back of my mind “What it I sew on paper rather than material?”. Those What if …..? questions are the backbone of my creativity. So I did. I began with some experimental pieces that I made exclusively for subscribers. They were a combination of machine and hand sewing. (Some are still available, so let me know if one or more take your fancy.)

I was hooked.

My next “What if….?” was “What if I sew over an existing watercolour painting?”. The composition of an old fig painting had never moved me, so I changed it by sewing over the top of the figs, cutting them out and attaching them to another piece of paper, on which I had sewn the outline of a fig leaf. A much better composition.

IMG_20180221_0003 (1)

Since then I have sold a capsicum


a leaf


a teapot


and a pumpkin


There is another pumpkin almost finished


It is waiting for me to return from my latest series.

About a year ago I was playing around with watercolour representations of the trees on Flinders Island. There were parts of the pieces that I loved, but something didn’t quite work. Nothing to ruin by experimenting with sewing over the top.

This was the first one to go under the sewing machine:


Definitely a good learning curve there. (At some other time I am going to blog about the things that surprise me when sewing on paper.)

And then the second:


You can still the glorious watercolour, the way the colours mix together, while the sewing has given the piece movement and flow.

These two photos show the piece at different stages, to give you a sense of how it progressed.




There is another work in progress……I love the watercolour effects of the trees in the original. It seemed to capture the canopy really well. The understory didn’t work; maybe the wrong colour; maybe too many trunks was stopping me from finding my way through. Whatever, it didn’t inspire me, until the sewing stage began. Now I am really liking it. It has a drawing quality about it.


I think I will leave the canopies of the defined trees, and just work up the part that meets the sky.. I will see how that works, as I am not sure about the edge between the background canopy and the other trees. Perhaps highlights there will help. And I think I will leave the dark green area in the middle.


The sewing has improved the understory, and I am still working my way around that, trying to keep the ‘taking a line for a walk’ effect.


It has taken me a while to get to this creative place, a place where I feel confident that I have something to pursue, a direction, to create a series that might be interesting and different. I shall see where it takes me.


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32 replies on “Sewing on paper”

I often think about my machine as well, but I think it probably needs an overhaul…and right now I seem to pushing some boundaries of my own as it is!!!
Visiting an Asian “one-stop-pak” store was so much fun – I know now why there are so many disposable type packets for all kinds of things – mainly food of course…but as the man finally had to say “whatever you want the packet for is okay…” this after a discourse about how to package muffins securely in one of the packets I bought – and when the whole family realised my intention was not “food” related…


It must have been priceless to see when the family realised you were not going to use their packaging for food! I hope you were able to find the right thing to show off your little non-edible treats.
And the sewing machine will still be there when you want it. Mine lingered in the corner for quite a few years, now it has a prominent place on the work table.

Liked by 1 person

I will whisper this to you, and only you….there’s not a a lot of skill involved! I do just straight sewing, and whizz around shapes, so it’s more about taking risks, jumping off the edge. The paper doesn’t allow mistakes.
Thank you for your support!

Liked by 1 person

I like this new direction of yours – it reminds me of the free motion machine embroidery I sometimes do as well as the fact I haven’t done any for ages and how much fun it is. I think your teapot is my favourite so far.


Isn’t free form machine embroidery wonderful? I think my process is the lazy way of doing it. I don’t have to be very precise (and in fact I don’t want too much precision), and I don’t have to cover the whole thing as there is the watercolour underneath.
I am glad you like the teapot. My sister asked me to create it for her, so I will be able to visit it often.

Liked by 1 person

Fiddliness is one of the things that surprises me about it. I thought I would get annoyed at having to change bobbins and tying in threads. However, I don’t mind doing that, it seems to be part of the process, and I am okay with it.
Thanks for your support!

Liked by 1 person

Aww, thank you Rita. You might not have thought of these, but you come up with wonderfully creative things, like the costumes you create for your boys. They are sensational!


Anne, your art process posts are always such a treat. I love your work, as you know. Seeing the process enhances their beauty even more. I wouldn’t mind having my own gallery of “Anne’s vegetables”.

I finally had time to photograph my gorgeous pumpkin yesterday. I’ve had a number of things waiting for pics for my blog. After taking the picture, I’m now tasked with finding the perfect frame and a place of honor on the wall. Until yesterday, it was still wrapped in the protective cello, so I didn’t see the back of the stitching. What fun!



I am so looking forward to seeing it in its frame, Alys. Framing takes art to the next level finishing off the work. A wall of Anne vegetables ~ what a wonderful concept! I will get back to veggies, after I satisfy my passion for these landscapes/forests/bushlands/whatever they are called.

The backs of the works have a charm in their own right, don’t they? They are like ghost images of the front. Or the skeleton of the work maybe.

Hugs xox


I have learnt so much about sewing from blogging quilters, like you Tierney. Looking at the quilting you do was one of the prompts that made me think free form sewing on paper was possible. You would have great fun with it on paper. But I understand that long list of “Things I have to Try” ~ I keep adding to mine too.


These free form stitchings have just given me some great ideas to use in the classroom -thanks so much Anne!


Nothing like a good natter, so let's have a chat!

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