I’ll Show You Mine If You’ll Show Me Yours: Reimagining Art #2

Is there a half-finished project lurking in your studio? Maybe it’s time to reimagine how to complete that piece of artwork, time to look at it from a different perspective. Here’s an example. Five years ago I stitched this swatch of wool as a step-out for the Tasty Apple project in my book Joyful Stitching. Now I’m using it to jumpstart my next free-form embroidery project.

Tip O’the Day: Contrast is Your Friend

The leaf was already filled in with lazy daisy stitches in a variegated size 8 thread saving me some work. So I’ve filled in the remaining apple shape with lots of textural stitches like scattered seed stitches, needle weaving, and my favorite, grids of blanket stitches with French knots placed in the boxes.

Notice that dashed line around the leaf, stem, and apple? That’s a back stitch. I’ve embroidered the back stitch with a light green thread (Sprouts size 8). This thread not only outlines the shapes but is in high contrast with the background fabric. Contrast of color or value defines shapes and projects them from the background. So if you want something to show up, use colors that are in sharp contrast in color or value.

Now that I’ve shown you mine. Can you show me yours? I’d love to see what you’re working on in our reimagination series. Email me at laura at artfabrik.com.

Planner or Improviser? Reimagining Art #1

Are you a planner or an improviser? For a large piece of artwork, I’m a planner. Sketching the design and then creating a pattern gives me a sense of control. These boundaries help define my vision of the piece.

But with smaller artwork, I’m an improviser. A good example is the FrankenStitch Story seen here. The spontaneity of the improvisational process fills me with a sense of freedom and joy!

And if you enjoy the process and challenge of improvisational embroidery, why not make more?

The trigger for my next embroidery is a leftover step-out from the Tasty Apple project in Joyful Stitching. (I was thinking of calling the project Daughter of FrankenStitch! Ummm… maybe not.)

The stages or step-outs for the Tasty Apple project are stitched on a rich purple felted wool. My friendly wool provider, Tracy Trevethan, hand-dyes beautiful colors. I should know I own a lot of it!

I have four swatches with partial hand embroidery to choose from.

And this is the one I picked for the embroidery project. Why? Because the leaf is already filled in with lots of lazy daisy stitches. Don’t you love how the variegated size 8 Lime Frappe changes color across the leaf shape, adding interest and zing?

I hope you’ll join me and follow the process for this next improvisational embroidery. Who knows what will happen? Think of the possibilities!

Rethinking Embroidery Finished!

How do you rethink or reinvent an embroidery project? Here you see the finished Yellow House Landscape project (top) from Joyful Stitching and a step-out (bottom) from the book. For the past month, I’ve used this step-out as my canvas to reimagine the Yellow House project. And I like the results!

My one regret when making the original Yellow House embroidery was the sky. It looks unfinished to me. So in this remake of the design, I’ve stitched the sky with curves of running stitches.

The Nasturtium size 12 thread used in the sky contains colors analogous to the silk fabric. Thread colors blend in and out with the fabric colors lending texture and movement. Maybe I’ll go back and add this same stitching to the original Yellow House.

My final step in making this iteration of the Yellow House is stitching it to a background fabric. I like this pea-green batik. It repeats the greens in the vegetation and lends the design a fresh, springy feel.

This has been a fun distraction for me this past month. And you may find redoing something entertaining too. So why not reconsider an old embroidery and develop a new piece of artwork today?