Stitching

I love stitching! There is something so satisfying about adding to the thickness of a material with stitching.  As with many textile crafts, stitching also is rhythmic and that is relaxing and centering.  As far as creative expression goes, stitches are like brush strokes or pencil lines and the personality of the embroiderer shapes the character of the work.  I particularly love hand stitching because it soothes me and makes me slow down and as I centre, I feel inwardly my energy begins to flow. So, for me, hand embroidery is healing and even spiritual.

Hand Stitches on Merino and Silk Fibre

Hand Stitches on Merino and Silk Fibre

I am drawn to hand stitching therapeutically as psychologically there is something stabilising about lots of stitches adding structure and substance to fabric.  In fact the above photo shows fibres entirely held together by stitches and the diaphanous and ethereal quality of the fibres is combined with strength and durability.  In relation to my current project I am finding that lots of small stitching speaks also of mending and darning, again emphasising repair and healing.

Hand Stitching on Felted Fibre, Velvet and Organza

Hand Stitching on Felted Fibre, Velvet and Organza

Here, stitches are added to materials of different thicknesses creating an organic texture reminiscent of tree bark.

Hand Stitching on Organza

Hand Stitching on Organza

Stitches on ‘barely there’ organza.

Sheer Fabrics and Hand Stitching

Sheer Fabrics and Hand Stitching

I continued exploring the combination of stitch and fabric by experimenting with machine stitching to hold scraps of fabric, yarn and thread together.  Again I think that it is interesting to create different thicknesses through layering and the use of different materials. In places the fabric is thick and unyielding, almost like cardboard and then the ‘fabric’ disintegrates to reveal shaky lines of stitching, floating between the edges of the material.

When the machine-stitched fabric is melted with a heat gun,  the look of deterioration is emphasised and also the impression of fragility.

For my next blog I intend to investigate other methods of utilising stitch with recycled fabric and other textile remains.  I may even try to incorporate some crochet as I think it would also be appropriate as a method to create organic and weathered textures.

Lourdes x

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Distorted Patchwork

I decided that I would like to explore the possibilities of distorting fabric further, as it could be interesting to combine different fabrics and compare their reaction to the bias-stitching (for those who don’t know, ‘bias’ refers to the  diagonal direction of the fabric, as opposed to the straight grain which runs along the lengthwise weave of the fabric or the crosswise grain which runs horizontally)

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I was pleased with the results because they have a weathered appearance, which I was hoping to create.  I included some silk fabric which had been deliberately creased, to contribute to the distressed look.  It’s not that noticeable on the photo above,  so I have added the following photos to illustrate how distinctly textured, silk can become when purposefully creased.

These pieces of silk were washed and then twisted, tied and left to dry.

This crinkled effect is in keeping with some of the textures displayed on the plant matter I collected.

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More experiments of bias-stitched patchwork, including some hand stitching to suggest that the fabric has been repaired.  To salvage, to repair and to heal are qualities I am also looking for ways of expressing, particularly in relation to the meaning of beauty and femininity.

As well as developing ideas for fabrics suitable for clothing, I am also experimenting with ideas for accessories and also embellishments (I love the word embellishment!) to use as decorations for garments.  I added some gathers to this piece of patchwork, which helped to create a three-dimensional floral shape.

I am really excited by the potential of combining different fabrics and investigating their response to bias-stitching.  I feel that the ability to control the distortion  and therefore the form of the material, suggests many applications.  I am also happy that  this technique is suitable for suggesting the ravages of time.

I would like to explore other textile techniques, also in relation to this theme;  such as crochet and hand embroidery and perhaps some felt making too.  Therefore, I will need to consider how these other crafts can combine with the twisting and meandering of the bias-stitched fabric to create  materials and ultimately garments and accessories.

Lourdes x

 

Shapes that Twist and Curl

I have been particularly inspired by the shapes formed by leaves and petals as they shrink and shrivel when they dry.  So many possibilities for textile interpretation becomes apparent when examining these organic structures.

Some of the spiralling shapes are beautiful and hosta leaves are particularly interesting as the prominent veining along their length, forms ripples as they are contorted into a curly appearance.

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Inspired by these characteristics I experimented with machine stitching to recreate the twisting and turning nature of the leaves.

I found organza to be particularly suitable as it distorts easily when stitched on the bias and I also like the fact that it is transparent as it adds another dimension that can be utilised.  An interesting effect is created when layers of different colours of organza are used as there is an interaction between the colours and weaves of the fabric, causing a watermark-like pattern to appear.

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I also liked  the effect created when different fabrics were stitched together before stitching on the bias to form tiny tucks.

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An organic texture is formed by adding more lines of stitching along the bias coming from the opposite direction.

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The fabrics were made to distort further by using a heat gun to melt the fabrics causing them to shrink and also form holes which more closely mimics the deteriorated leaves.

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Melted with Heat gun

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I played around with the bias-stitched organza to form a flower shape which could be used as a brooch or embellishment.

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When I begin to work around a theme I really enjoy experimenting in a broad way to explore all the things that I find mesmerising.  Even if I don’t use all of my ideas they are never wasted as they are often found to be useful in another project later on.   I am finding that as time goes on my ideas are becoming more focused and hopefully more relevant to my work as a whole.

I have lots of different ideas radiating out from this theme which I personally like to think of as a secret garden theme, where memories can be deciphered from the remains left behind.

Lourdes x

 

A Little Bit About Me And Why I Have Decided To Blog

For my first post I decided to write a bit about my current project and what has inspired me.  I’ve been thinking about keeping a blog for a long time and I was finding it hard to start as I couldn’t decide on how to approach it.  Eventually I thought, ‘you know what? Just get something written and make a start!’ and the stuff I’m working on at the moment seemed a good place to begin.  So now I will tell you a little about myself and where I’m coming from.

I am 44 years old and I live in Birmingham, UK.  I would say that my 2 main passions are textiles and psychospirituality, I also love to listen to music of a variety of styles from the hardest to the softest and I am very interested in alternative living.

I studied Textile Design at university and I chose Embroidery as a specialism because I felt it was the option offering the most breadth and diversity.  I love traditional embroidery but my particular love is a mixed media and combined technique approach.  My first source of creative stimulus is the natural world, but I am also intrigued by otherworldliness and fairy tale, as well as textiles distressed out of rebellion or from deterioration.  My aim is to create clothing and accessories which bring together ideas drawn from these things.

When I try to define everything that I am visually curious about at the moment, I struggle to neatly describe the many things which are providing a creative response and finding a place in the development of my present work.  So many things are exciting and I find that I like to explore several different things simultaneously and see how they can be combined and cross-fertilised.

One of the fascinating things about creative work is when certain themes recur repeatedly, for example I have often found in the past that spirals used to find their way into my designs.  I like to guess at what it means symbolically to be attracted to certain imagery and themes and I fervently believe in the role of creative work as a tool for self-knowledge and healing.

The reason I have decided to blog is that I personally really love to read about other artists and designers creative processes and I would really enjoy sharing mine with anyone who finds it of interest.  I hope to connect with people who love creative activities as well as those who are also involved in the field, but anybody is very welcome.  My intention is to describe my creative journey as it unfolds with photos of my work, in addition I will offer information on textile and design techniques that I feel will be of interest and if anyone has any suggestions for subjects they would like to know more about, then please let me know and if I can help I will!

I very much welcome whoever would like to follow me and hope to get to know you!

Lourdes x