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Monday, October 21, 2013

An Oriental Diversion...



Well, I'm easily distracted.  This piece had been kicking around my studio for ages, without the hand stitch.  As you can see...it now has Quite A Bit of hand stitching... my current obsession.  Sadly, I don't have a before photo to go with the after, so you'll have to take my word on it that it looks Much Better.  The piece was made from a piece of my hand dye, with scraps of a commercial batik added.  The circle has some foiling round it ; as always, glitzy bits don't show up well here...but never mind.


I particularly like the back, though.  It is hand dyed cotton velvet, and the stitch shows up beautifully against it.

Problem is, it looks better shown this way from the back and the other way from the front.  In theory, a box frame you could look through from both front and back would be the answer; in practice, I think I'll have to choose...


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Intuitive Working...



is my norm.  I make a mark, I make another mark, in response to the first, and on it goes, until a piece is finished.  In the last day or so, I've been making interesting marks on Evolon; the image above is one of the small pieces, which I decided to hand stitch.  It's a series, with a working title of Organic Rhythms.  The photographs don't really do it justice; it is layered and relayered with transfer dyes, and they merge to produce interesting juxtapositions of colour and shape.  Click on it, to take a closer look.

I decided to hand stitch this one.  I've recently been using perle and other thicker threads, but for this, I'm using a reel of quilting cotton I bought on the way home from Scotland; it so happens that it seems to reflect all the darker colours in the dyes.  I started the way I usually do, selecting a shape, and filling it with stitch, then moving on to another one :
So far so good, I thought... and continued to stitch, with an increasing sense of discomfort.  My stitches were getting longer and sparser, making the earlier section appear fussy and inappropriate...

... plus, it made me think of an art movement....of which I couldn't remember the name.. .in the end, I found  it.  Suprematism, a Russian school founded by Malevich.  "The term suprematism refers to an abstract art based upon “the supremacy of pure artistic feeling” rather than on visual depiction of objects." (Wikipedia)
Which pretty much sums up my work, really...though I had never seen myself as having much in common with that particular school.  It's amazing how your tastes change as you make more art.  But I digress (no surprises there).

So, there was only one thing for it; the earlier stitching had to come out...and out it came.  I detest unpicking...but when it has to be done, it has to be done.  Leaving me with this...


I'm very pleased with it.  The long stitches are interesting.  Purists would doubtless be appalled, and say it Wasn't Quilting.  But they are stitches, holding together more than one layer of cloth.  And what's more, looked at in certain lights and at certain angles, they throw interesting shadows beneath themselves, strengthening the line.  Above all, they are simple, and that's the effect I want.