Friday, 29 January 2016

chapter 8 continued

Sian suggested some further developments to my samples in this chapter which I have found very useful and helped me think the design through further. I’m particularly interested in finding ways to create a forest floor effect with my leaves and letters and didn’t feel I was quite there but Sian’s ideas gave me the courage to play less safe and take more risks!

Sample 5

Sian suggested I tear away some of the paper whilst leaving some clinging to the lettering which has resulted in a more organic feel

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Sample 7

Again Sian suggested I rip back some of the paper to reveal the dyed linen scrim below which gave an aged effect


Sample 8

I loved this sample but didn’t feel the stitching had  highlighted     the leaves and letters enough but Sian suggested I think in terms of reverse applique and cut around the leaf shapes to outline the American Oak. this was very effective but  was tricky as the handmade paper layers were very thick and I couldn’t cut very clearcut edges. If I decide to use this again I’ll use a finer paper. the yellow one works better than the purple [ slightly different leaf shapes ]


And then the embedded leaf and letter silhouettes at the end of the chapter which I experimented with…………

Sian suggested I try adding decorative stitched lines of leaves to an embedded leaf or letter

I chose the sample with the maple leaf first:

Sample 10


And set about adding leaf and letter shapes in such a way to produce interesting linear patterns. I drew it out first

pencil drawing forest floor idea

And then added free machined straight stitching stitching:


I lke the fragility of the paper and the debris scattered on the surrounding scrim; the stitching has also highlighted this fragility in places.

I still felt, however that I could take this further. I wanted more of a layered look and more definition. I wondered what would happen if I cut round the image. So I tried cutting round the drawing first and loved it:

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I took the plunge and cut! Things started to look exciting when I placed this against a contrasting background:

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But I really liked the contrast of the dyed scrim behind it which seemed to give a more autumnal feel and looked fabulous against sample 9 – an adjacent page perhaps?

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Finished piece:

maple leaf forest floor final

I’m very pleased with this and love the beautiful leaf shapes and the negative shapes created by cutting and using reverse applique.

Sample 11

I tried the same idea with the letter N

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And added stitching:

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Cut around it and completed it:

forest floor N final

Very pleased with these and I feel I’ve achieved the layers and texture I was looking for. It’s quite difficult to achieve the fine reverse applique when working with scrim but on the other hand it does give a rustic feel of a forest floor.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Chapter 8 continued

I promised to add the paper leaves embeddinto scrim. These were strightforward to make as shapes described in chapter4 in my 4th batch of papers [positive and negative shapes]. I just held the piece of scrim under the PVC so that the scrim entrapped the pulp. these are in their raw state and I could stitch into these later.

leaf paper and fabric

letter fabric and paper Yletter N paper and fabric

This was my attempt to capture the forest floor previosly and I wondered if I could improve it by embedding letters and leaves onto scrim

sample 8

Letters and leaves embedded onto scrim with added running stitch to define shapes

forest floor 2

Still not sure! And the paper proved fragile to stitch into despite fabric backing. I need to think again!

I experimented with using letters and leaves as view finders and was pleased with the results and will experiment more by making the view finders out of my own hand made paper:


Here is one using handmade paper:

american oakleaf 2






I’m interested in incorporating these leaves [pages] in my book in some way.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


Stitchery into paper

This chapter involved using any type of stitchery embroidered into the embedded grids made in chapter 7.

I attached  backings of linen scrim attached with Bondaweb so that the samples could withstand stitching.

The stitching had to echo some feature in my research theme of lettering and media patterns and it was important to look back on on my previous stitchery samples for inspiration and ideas.

Sample 1

It took me a while to work this process out – to echo some features of my research theme of lettering and media. The logical side of my brain saw letters but I had to look further to appreciate the patterns they formed in stitching.

I chose lettering sample 11 from chapter 2 and sample 4 from chapter 7:


I wanted to make us of the grid patterns formed by the scrim coming through the paper as a basis for the letter patterning. I set about echoing these using straight /satin stitch but this looked too spiky so I softened it with some couching which added to the layered feeling of the letters. For the open grid I wrapped the drawn thread bars with stranded cotton to follow the patterning through and reversed the letter shapes on alternate rows to make them more abstract. I love the shadows which have been created behind it.

sample 1 stitching

Sample 2

I created a new lettering sample using my colour scheme:

sample 2 lettering

And sample 3 from the previous chapter:


For my embroidered sample I started by using a background of free zigzag to pick up on the impression left by the scrim sandwiched in the pulp. I added a random Chevron stitch [stranded cotton] to echo the letters N,Y,K. The chevron also added an interesting range of negative spaces which also reflected the background grid patterns. I added an extra strip of scrim to complete the N in the centre. The paper Y and K seemed to ‘kick’ in with the Chevron and are secured with more zigzag.

I learnt a lot with this piece especially with the chevron. I could let my ‘logical’ brain go and and let the abstract patterns produced by the stitching take over:

sample 2 chevron

Sample 3

I was inspired by the collaged pattering of lettering samples from chapter 2:


And use the wrapped wire frame from ch 7 I’d thought about adding stitching in the spaces and Sian clarified my thoughts by suggesting adding letter forms:

009sample 3 working page


sample 3 stitched

Sample 4

Sian suggested that this sample from chapter 7 gave the impression of a sardine tin and that it would be interesting to stitch some fish into it.


Here they are. A lovely idea.  With a simple straight stitch outline and the effect of the supermarket mesh to represent the fish scales I’ve produced a tin of sardines! Fun and quick to do!


Sample 5

This sample looks at pattering in text.

First in pencil:

newyork writing pencil

Then in coloured inks with bamboo pen followed by stitching [Free machine satin / zig zag using whip stitch]:

writing sample 5newyork writing stitched

Sample 6

I love the American Oak leaf and feel it has elements of my loopy handwriting so I wanted to try out an idea to look at the patterns as they form

I used a background of trapped threads from chapter 7:


and drew a rough sketch before working in free machined satin stitch

 american oak leaves patterning sketch

oak leaves patterning stitched

Sample 7

I really love the technique using dried PVA glue to form lettering from chapter 7


I’ve used cable stitch [stranded cotton, tapestry wool and knitting yarn] to represent this letter patterning and experimented with the addition of some Vermicelli on the lower part. Really love this.

newyork cable stitch

Sample 8

I’m interested in somehow depicting the forest floor as we visited New York in the fall so I tried combining shapes of letters and leaves [chapter 7]

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sample 9 writing 1

When I was drawing out this I thought it too busy but on the screen now it looks more interesting. In fact I could add more leaves on the right?

writing sample 9 2

A simpler version:

sample 8 paper

Stitched samples. The yellow works best but shows up poorly on the purple

sample 8sample 8 22

I tried stitching in purple for letters and yellow for the leaves but the yellow hardly showed up so I added purple which is slightly better. Disappointing as I’m keen to depict the forest floor. I tried adding a leaf shape for more impact.

leaf over stitching

Sian suggested I try adding these letter and leaf  shapes to linen scrim and I’ve made some more samples as per the techniques in chapter 7 which are now drying and I’ll post these later.

Sample 9

This is my favourite sample and I’d like to use it as my embroidered panel for my final piece I think.

It has been inspired by this photo taken in New York. I loved it because the leaves were such a glorious colour and reflected the colour of the lights in the building behind. I collaged the image for my travel journal.


I used this lettering sample from chapter 2


And this piece of baking mesh dipped in paper pulp [chapter 7]


I machine wrapped the bars of the  baking mesh to represent the building’s windows and  letter forms. I varied the purple and yellow thread whilst adding whip stitch in places to vary tone

The trees were inspired by the photo and by an example of experimental drawn thread work in the book Drawn Thread Embroidery by Moira McNeill page 121.

I placed a piece of dyed linen scrim in a small embroidery hoop and stitched an oval outline. I withdrew threads horizontally from the centre over the lower two thirds of the oval and left the ends free at the edges. I free zigzagged the the vertical threads to represent tree trunks and branches. Some horizontal threads were left so I could loop them to depict leaves. I added some detached chain stitches. Really pleased with this.


I’ll post the new leaf and letter samples when they’re dry and I have experimented with some shaped viewfinders on some of these samples which are interesting. I’ll add those later too………