Saturday, January 31, 2015

Playing and learning with running stitch

Tweet Tweet - running stitch & variations  20 cm x 20 cm

The apple theme has slipped just a little but I have continued to play with running stitch.   Who would of thought that you could do so many things with just one stitch and its variations.   I posted a stitched apple a little while ago using running stitch .   As you can see I have also stitched up a bird inspired by a Mexican folk painting.  The backing was small piece of hand dyed cotton which I had held on to and have finally let go of.  I think it was the backing that inspired the colours of the the threads I used. 

Looking at running stitch and its variations (and exploration on the net with my friend Google) has reminded me of the some cultures that use  running stitch stitch in their s embroideries.

So far I have read about and played with Kantha a little.  You can sort of see it in the textured background of the bird above and the apple I put up about two posts ago.  That probably is the only similarity other than the use of running stitch itself.  In Kantha works the running stitches create the colour blocks - in the little bird above I have whipped and wrapped to get a more intense colour.   

Kantha Image credit  - V& A Collection
Kantha is a form of quilting and decorating fabric that is a speciality of women in the Bengal region in the Indian subcontinent.   The running stitches have a little tension to them which gives the fabric textures and shadows.  I found this really interesting link to an article by an organisation called the Institute of International Social Development (an Indian NGO) which talks about the origins of Kantha.

Image credit -
Sunjani embroidery . Image credit

I have learnt that there is a form of stitching called Sujani (or Sujini) which is similar to Kantha in the region of Bihar.   Here is a link which tells a little more about the history of stitch in this region.

So far in my research on the web the only really consistent statement as to the difference between the two styles of stitch is region, traditional motifs used that relate to that region and  that the motif in Sunjani is always outlined in chain stitch.  The other difference stated on a couple of sites was the Sunjani stitch is always in a straight line whereas Kantha lines will curve and circle.  Not all the images i saw backed this up.   I need to find some print sources and check it out st some stage.

Nevertheless, I have enjoyed my armchair exploration of two parts of India and stitch and will keep browsing as many of the tales and images I come across are inspirational.

And of course I will keep stitching and making.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

An apple a day # 2

I have picked up a paint brush again – the first time in ages – and painted (apples).   Looking at the apples – I mean really looking at the apples – made me realise how many colours are actually in an apple.

I purchased a recent inspirations magazine which caught my eye – especially an article about Gary Clarke and a project which was embroidery on organza.   I have linked here to Gary’s bio on his web site.  Take a moment to have a look around and you will see some organza embroidery.  Gary is an interesting designer, an innovative embroiderer (definitely outside the box) and an encouraging teacher.   I had the opportunity to do a ‘whitework’ workshop with Gary a number of years ago and was very happy with the result.

Anyway – thinking out loud – I reckon that Gary’s technique in the Inspirations magazine will be an interesting way to embroider some apples.    In the magazine article Gary embroidered a hummingbird using variegated thread, French knots and straight stitches.    The variegated thread may be the way to get the varied colour of the apples I painted.  Pointillism with thread?  Also, Gary raised the embroidery so there is depth.  

More thinking out loud – it occurred to me that I should look at crab apples - there is a large planting of crab apples near where I live and I will keep an eye on them as they grow to see what I can do.   Perhaps I will try and document the trees over a year?

What else have I been up to?   I went to a machine embroidery workshop run by Susan Barker and have been told I need to love my machine.    Susan is right of course.  I will never get anywhere being afraid if it and I need to leave the machine out and play a bit more rather than just use it to run up a straight seam.  Anyway, I have to say I learnt heaps including that I can use thick thread in the nonadjustable drop in bobbin ... came a way very happy knowing that.  And I learnt quite a few other things as well.   I will have to try and work up some apples on solvy now!

Solvey faces being test driven -  ready to be applied to a background

Monday, January 12, 2015

Back to the real world!

Apple in running stitch - whipped, laced and pulled at the bottom to create a kantha effect. 20 cm x 20 cm

Well I have had quite a break since my last post.  The lead up to Christmas was just too busy but now I am back into the swing of things after some time off. 

I have been thinking about and working on projects which I am committed to in the coming year: group exhibitions with Lateral Stitchers in Wollongong in March and Stitchers Plus at Guild HQ in November. Added to this mix is running paverpol and stitch classes early this year and a longer term plan for an exhibition in 2017.  

I bravely stated last year that I would work an a theme of an apple a day.  I think I have spent the couple of weeks trying reconcile this statement with my commitments this year and have determined that I will keep working on the apple theme with a view to incorporating it into the November exhibition.   This exhibtion is more about process and how each of the group goes about working to acheive a desired end so it is a perfect way to practise putting down ideas in my studio journal and building up a small body of work for the exhibition.

Thats all for now.  Wishing you all a creative 2015.

Not quite a self portrait

Not quite a self portrait
small 8' quiltlet with embroidered hair

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