Saturday, 25 April 2015

Samples 2015: Week 16, Cave Art

Free machine embroidery on felted wool blanket. I used the embellisher to add streaks of ochre and white wool tops to the fabric before stitching, and then more afterwards to blend the “drawings” into the background. Burmilana and cotton threads gave me thick and thin lines. Finally the roughly cut edges were distressed with the embellisher.     

Source picture
“Prehistoric Ardèche cave art brought to life in €55m replica. France is opening up the oldest art gallery in the world – although the Caverne du Pont d’Arc is a meticulously conceived replica of the nearby cave and its 36,000-year-old paintings.”
Perfect fake … artists used techniques from the paleolithic era to recreate the Caverne du Pont d’Arc in the Ardèche. Photograph: Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA
Sample design
This isn’t a specific section of the cave wall. I copied a few manageable-looking animals and partial drawings into my own arrangement. As usual the aim isn’t accurate reproduction – my challenge here was to make my embroidered sketches blend into the “rock” so that they didn’t resemble stitching at all. I’m quite pleased with how that worked, the technique might even some potential!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Samples 2015: Week 15, Monopoly

Crochet in two shades of cotton 4 ply yarn.

Source picture
From this article in the Saturday Guardian 11/04/15:
“The secret history of Monopoly: the capitalist board game’s leftwing origins. In 1903, a leftwing feminist called Lizzy Magie patented the board game that we now know as Monopoly – but she never gets the credit. Now a new book aims to put that right.”

Magie’s original board design for the Landlord’s Game, which she patented in 1903. Photograph: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Sample design
Last week’s sample took ages… and I didn’t have much time to spare this week. I nearly settled on simple black machine embroidery on white, with squiggles for the writing, but I fancied something completely different. Inventing a crochet square loosely based on the monopoly board didn’t take long, it’s so quick and easy to try a few stitches and pull them down again. Adding a second colour on the surface as I went along was the trickiest bit to work out. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Samples 2015: Week 14, Beano

Hand embroidery on calico over felt.
Couching and French knots in a variety of threads.
Source picture
“My hero: The Beano by Danny Wallace. The comedian and author on how the comic celebrates storytelling and the joys of a joke.”
Tales from Dundee … The Beano. Photograph: DC Thomson & Co. Ltd
Sample design
A small, enlarged section of the comic title, with enough for an interesting composition and to keep the spirit of the lettering but without being readable as letters. I consciously chose to keep the colour scheme this time, but instead of smooth single colours I used texture and a variety of shades.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Samples 2015: Week 13, Herdwick

Machine and hand embroidery on soluble fabric.

First I free machined a network on Aquasol – see below. Then I filled it in with raised chain band using a mix of threads. The tricky thing with hand stitching on soluble is always fastening the ends in - there aren't many hiding places when the fabric is going to vanish!

Source picture
From this article in the Saturday Guardian 28/03/15:
“James Rebanks, Twitter’s favourite shepherd: ‘Sheep farming is another form of culture, just like Picasso or punk’. Shepherds are disappearing from the countryside — but there’s one in the Lake District who has 40,000 Twitter followers and an acclaimed memoir to his name. Over a day in the fields, James Rebanks explains why he’ll never give up on the life that has sustained his family for 600 years.”

One of Rebanks’ flock of 450 Herdwick sheep – a tough mountain breed synonymous with the Lake District. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
Sample design
I loved the curve and banding of the horn, and wanted to do just that, not any more of the sheep. So making a free standing horn on soluble seemed apt (OK, any excuse for soluble).

Just machine stitching would be too flat, so I decided to use a technique I developed for a cuff (pattern here in my Etsy shop). Lovely nubbly raised chain band into a machined grid.
I’d nearly finished before it dawned on me that it didn’t have to be so… wholemeal! I didn't try to copy the actual shades, but the more I deviate from the source picture the better, so I should’ve used a completely different palette. At this point I wanted another go, imagining zingy rainbow hues. But, the other important lesson I try to learn from this project is to finish and move on, not try again. So wholemeal it is, sorry.