Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Other projects in embroidery


Birthday card using blackwork and goldwork.

Pair of cushions using silver metal threads and fabric paint, from a design supplied by Sophie Long on a day course at Hampton Court, originally stitched in gold.These were ordered by a local customer.

Tortoise and Turtle.
Two little pincushions using hexagons and machine stitching patchwork.  

Book cover using fabric printing and machine embroidery.

Some stumpwork Bumble bee cards after attending a workshop at Stitchfest,  Ardingley. All of these were given away or sold.

Beaded dragon fly after attending another Ardingley workshop, which was sold at an open house sale.

Book cover after attending a machine embroidery course on Klimt designs. I have given severla as presents to fruiends.

A foray into bag making and the joys of using PVC fabric!!

And another.

A little stumpwork design from Sachiko Morimoto's book, Stumpwork Flowers.  This contains some beautiful little projects that can be stand alone pictures or made into notebook covers or other small items.

A Cosmos design from a course with Kate Cross at the RSN sold at Brighton Open Houses in May 2016.

Another RSN day course project.

Whilst creating my stumpwork, I made a beaded 'slip' for the glade which I didn't use in the final piece.  Since I store away such pieces for future inspiration, I knew it would ultimately find a use.  Having also experimented with making wings from shear fabrics and machining, the two ideas came together to make beetles!

Having made one, I was then asked to make another, so I have a growing collection of creepy crawlies, many of which I have sold!

Shadow applique

This project was started at the Embroiderers' Guild summer school in June 2016. It involves applying paper, stitching, gimp, lurks and beads and sequins to a piece of sheer fabric. The honesty design was great and very delicate; fastening off was tricky and stitching with the silk floss quite a challenge. I loved the effect of it being suspended and therefore appearing real. The design and tuition were by Jennie Adin Christie, a really organised and supportive teacher. I gave this to my brother as a housewarming present.

Sweet Pea
For some time I have had it in mind to do a silk shading of another of my paintings. Last year I purchased a small travel slate frame, planning to take it to Central America. However the prospect of taking something that complex and the doubt of having appropriate lighting, made me change my mind. But this spring I set about tackling this project. I had to reduce the size of the picture in order to fit it within the bounds of the frame. I used all the proper procedures for setting up the frame and transferring the design. I had collected a substantial range of silk floss but due to the reduced size of the piece, needed to reduce the range.  It was only after I had begun stitching that I realised the silk Dupion I had purchased was sitting in my bag and I had embroidered onto the calico!  It is a perfectly suitable background so I carried on, saving my silk for a later project. I worked on this during my two weeks in Scotland, and completed it in August. I did not use RSN mounting procedures, double sided tape works perfectly well for framing purposes.

Stumpwork project

After completing the project for my RSN diploma, I decided to try another, similar composition.this was created in a similar way with separate pieces cut out, embroidered and applied. The wings were machine embroidered before application. This was displayed at Kirdford in April 2017 where it was sold.

I always like to take some small projects when I travel and these two floral pieces were done whilst I was in Central America. This latter piece has been sold at the Kirdford Community shop exhibition.

This piece was inspired by a painting course.  We were advised to take a flower and analyse it mathematically.  This was a fascinating investigation and resulted in a drawing that looked like a plan. So it became the plan for a piece of silk shading.  The background silk was part of an experiment for the background of one of my RSN projects, which didn't quite work for that project.  Everything finds a use some time. So now I have embroidered several other versions of this.

My latest piece was a special request for a friend for a family gift. It is a Diamond Anniversary clematis in wired stumpwork set in a garden.  The work was sold framed in a washed boxframe set on  a maroon mount to complement the colours.  I use Nicolas Gentle Framers Washingtom, West Sussex.

I have also made some embroideries and applied to calico bags for the Art Fayre in October and am making more covered books with similar embroideries, and some more of those favourite pincushions, that have been so popular.  All would make presents for Christmas!

A little private sale at my house and the Bonnet cap mushrooms, top right has now gone.

This was a little brooch project made st Ardingley Stitchfest in July with the Embroiderer's Guild.  It has even survived the washing machine!

I am now making items for the Horsham Artists' Open Studios event at Parkside in October.

Small pincushions  on a wooden bases.

A variety of embroidered book covers stiffened with pelmet vilene and reusable on standard book sizes.  These all have lined books in them, A5 and A6.

The books were all sold at the HAOS event in October.

I am currently working on  another Autumn leaves piece based on observations in New England in 2016.  I am embroidering the leaves individually and forming veins from florists' wire, then I will overlay and embroider them onto brown tweed to look like the forest floor.

This piece is now finished and framed, having added some felted and stumpwork pieces during the Annual Embroiderers' Summer School in 2018.

I have just completed a piece started at Stitchfest 2017. As usual I am not happy to follow a prepared design, so have modified that provided adding beads and ribbon work and changing part of the layout. It uses a variety of metal threads with homework techniques and is all hand embroidery.
More book covers, one decorated with a stumpwork beetle and printed leaf, the other with embroidered stumpwork.  All ready for the Coffee and Crafts morning on 11th August, see events page. 

'New England Forest floor' has been completed, mounted and is now awaiting a photograph, before going to be framed. The acorns and leaves  made at the Embroiderers Guild weekend have added a great 3D effect. I hope to have some cards printed.

I am now making some more little boxes based on my tuition at the Royal School of Needlework, and some little gift bags. I am hoping these might be of interest towards Christmas.

More items for Christmas sales.  A good way and relaxing to pass the evenings and use up odds and ends of thread and donated aida fabric.

Experimental embroidery

Inspiration for these projects has come from a range of sources.  Sometimes a piece of printed fabric suggests a design, sometimes a photo, then a technique bring together an idea and sometimes a concept is the starting point.

This scene was developed from a piece of experimental printing I made at a workshop by Sandra Meech.  I subsequently visited a bluebell wood and looked at the fabric in a new light.  It is largely machine stitched using automatic stitches from the machine's repertoire, then embellished with hand embroidery.  This was exhibited as part of our Embroiderers' Guild exhibition at Horsham Museum in 2014. Following this event, a friend donated for this.

I had two photos, one of a fern and the other of a wall, taken whilst in Northern Spain.  I attended a course by Frances Westwood from our local Embroiderers' guild, called Transfer your Affections. I learned how to use transfer paints to print onto fabric, just the techniques I needed to use these ideas and have subsequently used them again. I used some new stitches, including Basque stitch, which seemed very appropriate, since I had been in the Basque country when I took the photos. This is on my bedroom wall!

Experimenting with sheer fabrics and machine stitching to create Autumn leaves.  I used a watercolour painting as the starting point.  I then tried some using soluble material and assembled all into a composition based on a painting I had done.  The jug is padded to make it 3D and  the background is printed. This was sold at the South East Embroiderers' Guild exhibition at Denbies in May 2017.

This piece was constructed during a weekend course at West Dean led by Wendy Dolan.  We overlayed sheer fabrics with machine stitching.  Mine suggested a garden so, I made little flowers to attach.  The finished piece was made into a a silk bag which someone purchased at the Brighton Arts Trail 2016.

This picture arose from the Sandra Meech course too, where a piece of printing looked like a cornfield.  Having lived in Norfolk for some years I tried to replicate the Norfolk poppies, using soluble material and machine stitching.  A friend donated for this at my first Macmillan event.

This is a very large piece.  It was made after the Applique project I did for my RSN course.  I made a number of experiments to create the background and some of these were not used so I decided to create Gardens of Heligan Mark 2.  I began with some background machined embroidery, including some of the foliage.  I then created all the little foxglove trumpets in needlelace and applied to the design.  I also incorporated a silk shaded butterfly that I had made at an RSN summer course led by Kate Cross.  I embellished with a number of applied and embroidered flowers.  This was on display in the Horsham Artists Open Studios exhibition at Roffey Park 2015 and Brighton Open Houses trail 2016. It has now been sold at The South East Embroiderers' Guild exhibition at Denbies in May 2017.

Two book covers made at a workshop with Anne Kelly. They were composed using photos and mementoes from my holiday in Central America, to make covers for my next trip. The larger cover has 'Gracias por la vida que me ha dado tanto' sewn on to it.
(Thank you for life that has given me so much).
To see why perhaps look at my blog  Carolyn's Adventures.


My latest experimental piece was inspired by the wonderful leaf colours seen in New England in 2016. We stayed in a resort called Magic Mountain and walked around a lake called Emerald Lake.  There were wonderful reflections in the water and we walked across a forest floor covered in leaves.

I have made opaque leaves using florists' wire for the veins and transparent leaves using machine embroidery and sheer fabrics.  All have been cut out and will be applied to the tweed fabric background.  I have used many RSN techniques, but also broken a number of 'rules' This is work in progress.

Royal School of Needlework Projects

This was my first project at the Royal School of Needlework, Jacobean Crewelwork.  I was surprised at how long it took to prepare the frame for embroidering and to work out and plan  the design and colours.  It was a good learning experience where I was introduced to a range of different stitches. The mounting of the work was also a new experience for me, but there has been plenty of opportunity to improve on this with successive projects.  The design is called Tree of Life and I found shapes and symbols in the RSN library and also from the internet.It is not a technique I have repeated yet as I do not enjoy working with wool.

Silk shading is probably considered one of the most challenging techniques, but is one that I love.  It is very much like painting but using a needle and thread.  This has its danger points give the fineness of the needle and my ability to prick my finger. This led to a major accident with this piece and I was forced to bring my creative skills into action to modify the design to overcome the effect of my 'accident'.  I used my Summer Rose painting (see Botanical Art gallery) as inspiration, incorporating the seedhead, stem and leaves.  It took a number of months over the summer of 2013.  This piece has been published in the RSN newsletter, and was exhibited at an Edexel exhibition.
This Blackwork piece was very challenging for me, largely because it is only in black on white linen and I love colour.  The challenge was to create a photographic effect using various thicknesses of black thread and about 6 different stitches in different sizes. I tried to logically analyse the combinations of effects but soon found this did not really help.  It was necessary to use them as a palette to achieve the desired effect.  I did not particularly enjoy the technique, although mastering it quite successfully;  this piece was displayed at Hampton Court Palace at an RSN exhibition.  The picture was drawn from a photo of a cottage in Lacock. Wiltshire.

This last project for my certificate course is goldwork.  I developed the design using some photos from the National Geographic Although the stitched elements are not complicated, the potential for damage is significant.  Pieces of  gold thread were very easily damaged, sometimes after hours of careful attachment and just the touch of a needlepoint!  Cut pieces of wire had a habit of distributing themselves across the floor, becoming unusable and metal thread getting caught on the sewing thread, would sometimes unravel.  I have used this technique but added in coloured beads and also combined with blackwork which is great for small greetings cards. 

This is the first project on my Diploma course.  I used one of my paintings (see gallery) as the design and simply translated it using wool to shade on canvas.  The colours were mixed together in the needle using two different coloured threads, then the background was embroidered in Kashmir stitch.  I was so pleased when my lines of sewing met around the toadstools and matched up!  I found it quite difficult not to create bulk underneath with constantly changing colours and despite careful checking as I went and after I finished, some missed stitched were identified.  With my history of sewing tapestries I expected this to be easy but it wasn't!  Stretching and mounting were very hard because of the inflexibility of the canvas.

This Applique module is one of the more creative elements of the course.  It has to incorporate a number of techniques, joining mechanisms and edges.  The design was derived from some paintings I had done after visiting the Gardens of Heligan.  It was the Foxgloves that appealed.  I used a mixture of machine and hand embroidery to create the background and some of the 3D pieces.  These were gradually assembled with copious amounts of hand embroidery.  I made a second interpretation which can be seen in 'Experimental Embroidery'.

This is the fourth of my RSN projects, Stumpwork.  I used a small painting by a friend as the design had to include a figure.  Similar to the applique, it used a variety of stitching.  The little figure was made from felt and stuffed, then dressed;  his head, hair, face and hands all made and embroidered and attached. This reminded me of those 'dressing the doll' activities of childhood days. I painted the background, then embroidered most of this later, applying pieces of fabric and embroidery to create the daffodils and slips (separately constructed pieces) to create the glade.  I then stitched and attached numerous little plants and blades of grass.  It really was great fun to do!
My friend has been made custodian of this piece.

My most recent project proved to be quite a challenge.  The subject needed to have fur, hair or feathers.  After some debate I chose the kingfisher because of the beautiful colours.  It was an enjoyable piece because of the colour range, although sewing outlines for each individual feather before silk shading was time consuming., The thickness of stitches then makes it difficult to get the very fine needle through.  I am a very good customer for needle purchase.
This was given to my brother in law as a special birthday gift!  

I have now completed my advanced goldwork. This piece, once more took inspiration from the work of Angie Lewin. Her stylised rints interpret well into embroidery.  I first dyed the fabric and applied applique grasses with couching. Then a range of techniques were applied using gold, bronze and red metal threads. These included basket weave, laid work, s-ing, chipping, couched threads and plate. I am pleased with the result but will await the marking. This piece might go well in my redecorated lounge. My final module will be box making and could start a whole new aspect to my work!

 May 2018 And now for something completely different.  For my last Diploma module I am going to make a jewellery box.  I have first made the tiny sample box, which involved lots of careful cutting, sticking, padding and sewing but no embroidery.  However the main piece will need some embroidered decoration.  I am rather looking forward to doing something completely different and am thinking about the colour as it could be focus for the colour scheme for my bedroom overhaul.  Something like lime green and violet spring to mind..  Oh wasn't that the colour of the Queen's dress for the wedding!