Friday, 17 August 2018

Chapter 12 Stitch trials - using extreme contrasts

This is the final chapter leading up to a resolved piece for this module.

As you can see I've chosen cow parsley as my chosen design. The design is divided into textural areas which I've numbered to link in with the samples which follow on the coming pages

 I have to take each textured area of this chosen design and work out how I can translate it in any textural way with fabric manipulated methods and hand stitching so I've uploaded my sketchbook pages with my comments about plus some close up detailed studies. I'm delighted with these and will need to choose which ones to take forward for my resolved sample.

Samples 1. Fabric manipulation, hand stitching and a combination of both

Detail 1a

Detail 1b

Detail 1c

Samples 2. Fabric manipulation, hand stitching and a combination of both

Detail 2a

Detail 2b

Detail 2c

Samples 3
As before Fabric manipulation, hand stitching and a combination of both

Detail 3a

Detail 3b

Detail 3c

Samples 4
At this point I may add some colour as these samples will represent the leafy shapes around and underneath the florets of the cow parsley. I worked it in both green and white to see the contrasting effects and then I'll need to choose between the two. The details of each are written up on my sketch book pages.

Or white:

I took these to Summer School to discuss with my Tutor Sian Martin and my fellow Distant Stitch students.

I decided to work with samples 2a, 3b and 3c to represent the florets plus the green sample [4b or c] not sure yet!! to represent the leafy shapes along with the centre / background as a base. 

Next step - my resolved sample!  

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Chapter 11 continued

I have decided to add a few more experiments using textural surfaces before I proceed with the next chapter and my resolved sample.

These are the beautiful grasses seen earlier. Sian suggested that these could be sub-divided in their own right. They certainly lend themselves to making interesting shapes.

More wonderful teasels, I'm very pleased with these.
This time I've used bleach on Quink ink - one of my favourite techniques. I have dragged a seed head which has been dipped in Quink to give these fabulous patterns and then added the dried leaves and seeds to give added texture. I love the energy generated here. Lots of opportunities for tucks and pleats, chain and fly stitching.

Ivy clad ditch
The surround is comprised of a leaf monoprint but again the relief textures bring added energy so I'm intrigued. The texture is provided by dried garlic peelings in the centre, and dried rose petals to the left and right both of which have been painted with white acrylic paint. Lots of opportunities here for stitching and fabric manipulation; I can see Fly Stitch, gathering techniques, N American Smocking.

Ivy Stick in Undergrowth
The addition of a different patterned paper [rubbed coral reef fossil] along the top adds energy alongside the relief strips [dried rose petals and garlic peelings] and the leaf monoprint along the bottom. I can see gathering, N American smocking, Fly Stitch.

Cow parsley
I adore cow parsley but I felt this lacked energy despite the relief surface [hole puncher waste and hollyhock seeds]. The background is a simple monoprint with the addition of a rubbing using hole puncher waste.

I therefore decided to change the background and went for a different patterned paper - a leaf print to offer more contrast to the cow parsley 'florets'. Here it is! The frothiness I've been looking for. Now I'm excited!
I've experimented more with the 'florets' using printed cork and biro ends to the left, painted hollyhock seeds to the right and hole punch waste at the top.
Lots of opportunities for stitching maybe woven wheels and knots plus fabric manipulation using samples 8.4 and 5.

I took this chapter to Summer School to show to my tutor Sian and fellow students as I paused to think and decide on the way forward. 
I have now worked samples for the Cow Parsley idea as a resolved sample and will post tomorrow.
Another day!!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Chapter 11 Design from landscape

1. Use of texture

The first step for this chapter was to decorate some papers with flat textures and others with raised textures, these will then be used for cutting up and developing my designs later in the module.
My aim will be to create several design ideas and the select one to take forward into the next chapter for translation into manipulated fabrics and stitchery methods.

The module suggests that we stick with one colour to ensure that the textures remain the main focus.
Although I could bring colour into the process I've decided to stick with white partly because I'm really enjoying working in monochrome but also because I have some gorgeous new threads to use!

I started the process of designing by selecting a few images from my research in ch 1 to inspire ideas for creating marks which would relate to the textures there. I then used these to decorate some papers.

 Flat textures
 11.1 Printed marks using a range of 'utensils' and white acrylic paint and Quink ink with bleach:

11.2 Rubbings using Neocolor wax pastels and Markel sticks:

11.3 Monoprints using white acrylic paint:

I particularly like the monoprints and used a viewfinder to look at textures and shapes.

11.4 and 5. Ivy leaf print, I felt this may be a little contrived but I was pleased to see the wonderful abstract shapes within the viewfinder:

11.6 End of cork with added rubbing with Neocolor wax pastel over fossil and hole puncher waste:

11.7 Plus some Quink ink with bleach prints using the side of a piece of cord and

11.8 Quink ink with bleach added by the dragging of a cocktail stick and dried grasses:

Relief textures
To create raised surfaces. I added a skim of white acrylic paint to highlight the texture in most except for those where I may consider using tea to colour fabric and threads later in the next chapter.

11.9 I like to work with sources from nature as much as I can and I enjoyed using these to make some relief textures starting with baked [ for drying] garlic peelings and dried rose petals. 

11.10 Dried hollyhock seeds  and long grain rice. Baked and sliced onion skins below.

11.11 Straw packaging and dried grasses. I'm particularly pleased with the grasses and the way they created a lovely rhythmic pattern on the paper

11.12 Tissue paper spread and manipulated on the page:

11.13 Baking parchment folded into a concertina and leaf shapes cut out, I've then used the shapes within the remains of the concertina on upper right.
The same methods repeated with the tissue paper middle left.
Bottom left - strips of ripped and twisted corrugated cardboard plus a swathe of sand trapped in PVA on the bottom right: Skim of white paint added.

2. Use of shape:

Whilst referring to my resource photos I looked for simple shapes to see how the images could be sub divided.
 I then took one of my flat textured papers [cut to post card size] and drew one of my subdivisions on the back before cutting or tearing along the lines. These were then laid on another piece of [contrasting background] paper  and in the correct order with gaps inbetween each to define the divisions.
I had several goes at each image taking notice of the lines in the images inviting division, negative spaces or gaps to look through plus any abstract shapes.

11.14 Ivy roots
I chose a print made using Quink Ink and bleach to represent the roots although you'll notice the image has come out in the reverse but I don't think this matters to much to the design. The divisions have helped create produced a strong image with an impression of movement.

11.15 Cow parsley: 
For this I chose a monoprint using white acrylic paint and the end of a wine bottle cork with added rubbings using a white Neocolor pastel crayon and a fossil [brought back by a friend from The Great Barrier Reef] and a sheet of hole puncher waste glued to paper.
I've tried to create the wonderful frothiness of the cow parsley and I can just see it in the subdivided images although I think it is better captured in the Fibonnacci strips on the bottom right                                         


11.16 Ivy, stick and undergrowth
For this I chose the monoprinted leaf prints, I'd though at first that this may be too obvious but I love working the natural sources whenever I can and I really love the abstract shapes and negative spaces produced by this. The top right could be my favourite!

11.17 Teasels
Quink ink and bleach with marks produced with a bottle brush and the swishing of dried leaves from the garden. Beautiful images and another potential favourite

11.18 Ivy clad ditch: 
More leaf prints and a stab at colour but I really want to stick with monochrome.
I could clearly see a leaf shape with the source image and would love to try and repeat that in some abstract way.

I'm now looking forward to the next chapter when I'll work on my resolved sample.
I need to choose one design to carry through and so will take a little time to consider carefully bearing in mind the opportunities for fabric manipulation and stitchery.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Module 5 Chapter 10. Stitching to translate

In this chapter the task has been to translate some of the rubbings from the previous chapter into stitchery using mainly one stitch for each whilst bringing in as many variations as needed to achieve the desired effect.Threads and yarns  of different thicknesses and texture also add to the end result.

It was a matter of identifying a simple shape consistent through out the rubbing and choosing a stitch
to represent it. This was intriguing as the rubbings reveal very different markings. I also did some rubbings on fabric and then stitch into those which was very effective.

10.1 Stitched translation of rubbing of tissue paper relief representing Teasels
The rubbing of the teasels bore some resemblance to the paper relief showing longitudinal marks diagonally and vertically across the sample.
For this I used Chain Stitch in its many variations including detached chain, elongated detached chain some with long or short tails, and a twisted chain to couch the stems.
It is worked over a rubbing on chiffon over linen. I’m really pleased with this and the rubbing adds a beautiful ethereal feel.
Threads used are rayon ribbon, fine crochet cotton and cotton perle.

There is a fabric rubbing in the surround [top right] on polycotton.
You may have noticed that I've placed the chiffon on the linen the wrong way round so the teasels are placed opposite ways to the rubbing but I didn't have the heart to undo it!

10.2 Stitched translation of rubbings scrunched tissue and chocolate box paper relief representing Ivy, stick & undergrowth
A stitched sample worked in Double Knot or Palestrina Stitch on linen.
This was inspired by the knotted appearance of the rubbing [top left]. I was fascinated by how different in appearance this was from the paper relief and loved the feeling of rhythm and movement it brought to the work.
The threads used were silk yarn, Gutterman polyester machine thread, rayon ribbon, linen thread, cotton perle and a wool yarn.
I have included some rubbings on fabric as the surround which are : centre right – Markel stick on linen; bottom right Markel stick on polycotton and centre Markel stick on chiffon over linen.

10.3 Stitched translation of rubbings of scrunched and folded tracing and grease proof paper relief representing an Ivy Clad Ditch
Again the rubbings gave a different impression to the paper relief and suggestive of arrows shooting off in every direction hence my choice of Arrow Stitch worked in various sizes and directions in strips of Chinese silk plus single and double thickness linen thread.
There is a rubbing on polycotton fabric on the centre right.
I certainly had to look harder at the rubbing as I stitched on the bare fabric.


10.4 Stitched translation of rubbings of strips of gathered copy paper relief to represent Cow Parsley
I was delighted with this rubbing. I adore cow parsley and the sight of it immediately transports me home to the Somerset Levels!
Fly Stitch instantly revealed itself to me and I decided to use it as I had in my informal sample [chapter 9] in a clockwise fashion to form circles, other stitches are worked around the edges according to the rubbing.
I’ve used linen threads of different thicknesses
I worked on the polycotton rubbing to demonstrate the effect as I’d already used the chiffon in sample 10.1 although I think the rubbing on chiffon on the left surround is really beautiful, I’d use this instead in the future as I think it captures the fairyland feel that cow parsley can give.

I'm really proud of the work in the last 3 chapters and I'm looking forward to the next and the challenges it brings as I work towards the final piece.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Chapter 8 revisited

I have revisited Chapter 8 briefly to look at a couple of samples following Sian's helpful feedback.

Sample 1 [top] shows a layered piece of wool and cotton which the relief was created by shrinking to give a quilted appearance to which I'd added a strip of gathered chiffon to add a further dimension representing the ivy clad ditch. Sian suggested I add the chiffon prior to shrinking.
 I too was intrigued.

The results were just as pleasing although less gathered as I relied on the shrinking to manipulate the fabric something to consider should I decide to use this at a later stage.

Sian made 2 more suggestions:
 Firstly that I the teasels in samples 8 and 9 could be attached as part of the tuck making stage perhaps as part of an up-side-down tuck.
Secondly that a tea stained effect may work well So I combined both suggestions in one added sample. The effect of the tea upon the silk muslin really enhances the texture of the fabric and it's undulations.
I love the effect of the teasel added to the up-side-down tuck, a lovely contrast to the cable stitched tucks either side,

More beautiful threads

I came across these gorgeous threads at Olympia whilst visiting this spring's Knitting and Stitching Show - beautiful box of Swedish threads available from Hoya Obscura. Linen, silk and cotton. Thread heaven and bought with my Module 5 samples in mind!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Module 5 Chapter 9 Threads and Stitchery

This chapter is about looking at threads and their purpose for this module.

So what is a thread?
A thread is defined as anything that can be threaded through a fabric surface and in this instance we have been encouraged to use traditional embroidery threads plus more diverse and interesting non traditional threads such as knitting yarns, machine threads, metallic threads, wire, string, ribbons, strips of fabric and plastic, dried grasses, shoe laces and raffia. These could also include solid items such as sticks, twigs, hair pins etc. A whole range of exciting textures to explore as we experiment with different 'threads' which to stitch.
A variety ‘of threads’ are featured in the photos below – examples of those gathered as part on my research for this chapter.


Stitches and Stitching
There are hundreds of embroidered stitches to learn and play with and we have been asked to to experiment with a variety of shapes and formation. I have taken inspiration from the following sources:
The Constance Howard Book of Stitches Constance Howard Batsford 2005
Stitches: New Approaches Jan Beaney Batsford 2004
Embroidery Jessie Hughes Evans Practical Handbooks 1963
Youtube Bees needlework videos

Here is my work in progress! A sunny day in my studio. Stitching and coffee - great combination:


I've looked at each batch of stitches for labelling purposes: 

9.3 Flat stitches 1
1. Back stitch
2. Arrow stitch
3. Cross stitch
4. Chevron stitch
5. Satin stitch

9.4 Flat stitches 2
1. Thorn stitch with thread used for spine
2. Thorn stitch without spine
3. Dot stitch
4. Darning
5. Stem stitch in various sizes

9.5 Looped Stitches
1.Wave stitch
2.Buttonhole /
 blanket stitch
3.Feather stitch
4. Fly stitch
5. Cretan stitch

9.6 Chained stitches 1
1. Cable chain
2. Double chain
3. Detatched chain
4. Twisted chain

9.7 Chained stitches 2
1. Braid stitch in 
metallic threaded
2. Braid stitches 
small / large versions.
3.Wheatear stitch
4. Split stitch
5. Braided chain

9.8 Knotted stitches
1. French knot
2. Bullion knot
3. Coral knot
4. Antwerp stitch
 [knotted blanket stitch]
5. Knotted diamond stitch
6. Peking or Chinese knot

9.9 Composite stitches 1
1. Whipped chain
2. Raised chevron
3. Chevron stem
4. Raised chain
5. Raised stem stitch
6. Portugese border stitch
7. Laced herringbone

9.10 Composite stitches 2
1. Guilloche border stitch
2. Pekinese threaded stitch
3. Twisted lattice made up
 of a double and twisted 

9.11 Another composite stitch below:
Needle weaving 

Although the Hollie stitch below is another knotted stitch, worked here in error!

Stitch effects

Treating the stitch as a way of mark making, looking at how a stitch is formed, the size, shape, how it looks in a group or built up as a single unit. I'm looking for interesting patterning and negative spacing which give way to exciting rhythms.

I selected the Fly Stitch - read on below:

9.12 and 9.13

This was very exciting - working with stitches to develop different effects, this was the first set and made up of formal stitch rhythms. I loved the surprising patterns which emerged, really exciting challenge!

To add to the excitement the next exercise was to create informal effects with the same stitch, these are not to be random but rather more thought out to bring about more rhythmic patterns. I took the original formal stitch samples and did a sketch to try and transform them into an informal representations as presented below.

Here are 2 sheets of the transformations:

9.14, 9.15 & 9.16

This is the informal set as a finished sheet of samples. 
This process has been fascinating. The possibilities posed by the variations of a single stitch in this way and the energy they create within themselves has been very exciting.

I'm looking forward to the next stage and making rubbings from my paper reliefs in chapter 3 to provide added inspiration for stitching.

Rubbings from Paper Relief Surfaces in Chapter 3

Through taking rubbings of my relief surfaces I have created marks that relate to the surface beneath whilst creating a different interpretation; through this they provided a fresh perspective. 
I've used  light weight black papers i.e. tissue paper and a 80 gsm paper [other heavier papers were too thick for a rubbing to appear] with either a white Markel Oil Paint Stick or Caran D'Ache Neocolor wax pastels which were both soft enough to create a good rubbing  whilst other harder crayons etc left a poor result and tended to tear the papers.
Another option was a white copy paper rubbed with a white candle to form a resist against a wash of black Quink Ink.

Each sample is labelled accordingly below:

9.17, 9.18, 9.19, 9.20 & 9.21

These will be used to inform stitchery in the next chapter and to provide new textural and design ideas where a different angle is  required on a raised surface.
I can see many possibilities already and can't wait to get started on these!