Christmas is over although it won't seem a year before it is here again! I bought myself a couple of books to add to my textile, fibre and embroidery library. My daughter managed to grab one of them to give me for Christmas - she likes to give me something she knows I want - so I didn't get a chance to look at it until Christmas day. Really liked it and would recommend it - The Art of Stitching on Metal by Ann Parr. I have always used metals in my work - even given a workshop on its use in textile and embroidery - but this book is so full of ideas all in one book it is a very useful reference of techniques and samples.
The other book was the latest by Sherrill Kahn. It is a very thin book - only 28 pages - a bit disappointing really. I do love her fabulous use of colour and if it wasn't for that I would have felt very disappointed indeed. However, I never tire of looking at her work so it is more of that at least.
I have been busy creating all through Christmas even on Christmas day until the family arrived and I continued after they left so I have a lot of unshown work.
One piece I made at the same time as I was creating the Rievaulx Abbey piece was a bag. It didn't turn out as I had planned because I tried to use two metallic threads in the needle together and it wasn't a complete success. I have done this before with other threads and it worked fine but metallics are difficult to use at the best of time so I wasn't too surprised at the result. (Didn't stop me trying though). It did mean that I had to cut back on what I had planned for the bag. I used a dark green velour which is another difficult material to work with. (Talk about making life difficult for myself!!) I drew the music and scanned it into my digitising software. I had planned to use an actual piece of music but it would have taken too long for a one off digitise so I simply repeated the same line three times. I also suffered the results of cutting and using velour - tiny dark green bits everywhere and on a cream carpet too. Another reason to cut back on what I had planned. One of those things you wished you hadn't started!! I covered the lining with lots of musical notations and on the shoulders of the handle which don't show but here is the finished bag.
This was to be the basis of the design. I sized it to A3 and made a black and white pattern for it thinking I would create a painted and quilted piece. Then I changed my mind and decided to create something a bit more stylised instead. I masked off the black fabric background and left some strips to spray with Moon shadow mist - mystic malachite. It works wonderfully on dark colours and is as far as I can see is a spray form of Golden's interference oxide green(BS). Next I sorted lots of green textured threads and pinned them onto the sprayed background. These were to be the stalks.
They were machined down with decorative machine stitching. Next I needed to create the flowers. These were made using lutrador and dry brush painting it lilac. They were free machined and cut out and then couched over the stalks. The leaves were made using black scrim brushed with the Golden interference oxide green paint - a perfect match to the sprayed background. (It is times like this which justify having such a huge stash of materials!)
A very different piece to the one I first envisaged. Now I must get on with a new piece I have planned.
The next blog will probably be in the new year 2009. Where has 2008 gone?? Can't believe a whole year has passed so quickly.
Here's wishing you all a happy new year and look forward to reading all your blogs next year.