Leaves, Fabric Scraps and Stitching

I am revisiting the leaf theme I was working on the last time I posted here.  However now I am working with fabric, machine embroidery and handstitching.  I wanted a fairly simple idea that I could endlessly experiment with…and I would like to create a motif that can be used for different things.

My last blog was a year and 8 months ago!! largely because the focus of my attention has been on surface pattern design.  Basically surface pattern design is the designing of patterns for absolutely anything where a pattern is required from dress fabrics to wallpaper to crockery. This is a new direction for me and there has and still is a lot to learn.  

A couple of years ago, I returned to sketchbook work and I really wanted to be able to make more use of my drawings. I discovered digital pattern design and it provided me with the answer I was looking for. It has surprised me that I enjoy digital work so much…but I find it to be enthralling and the endless possibilities are exciting! 

So, I am now juggling my embroidery work with surface pattern design, however I try as much as possible to connect the 2 things and that is not hard to do.  After all, any sketchbook work I do for embroidery can easily be explored digitally and developed into a surface pattern and in fact I am hoping that the development of my signature style is distinctively informed by my work as an embroidery designer.

Nevertheless, on the whole I am going to focus on embroidery in this blog and I am working on a dedicated blog for surface pattern design (link to arrive shortly).

Therefore to continue, I have been exploring the combination of fabric scraps (re-using materials is at the core of my endeavour to be as ecologically-conscious as possible), handstitching (inspired by darning and Japanese Boro), freestyle machine embroidery and handmade felt;  because I love the quality as a base fabric for embroidery.

My plan is to try to refine my process as much as possible while simultaneously experimenting with many variations.  The leaf shape was chosen as a simple motif that I can apply different themes to.  For example my first designs are around the theme of ‘Springtime’ and I am using a colour scheme which, is quintessentially of this time of year.  The colours are of fresh green shoots, young leaves and blossoms in an array of pinks and lavenders. Creams and yellows complete the positive and hopeful energy of the colour scheme.

Intricacy

_20200229_222712

DSC_3232

Inspiration for Winter Project

wordpress-journal-1

metallic-christmas-leaves-1

Kintsukuroi Heart

image

This heart is inspired by the Japanese art form, called ‘kintsukuroi’ which involves the repair of broken pieces of pottery with gold or silver lacquer.  The cracks in the clay are consequently made into a feature and in fact the ceramics are more beautiful as a result.

This solution to something seemingly destroyed is such an astoundingly beautiful metaphor, particularly when applied to people or hearts that have been ‘broken’.

It reminds me of certain people who are kind, gentle and loving to others in spite of their flaws and able to see their ‘light’ when there may also be much darkness.  The opulent gold revealing the previously separated fragments,  is just like the healing energy from such gorgeous people.  They allow one’s heart to not only feel whole again, but to also shine confidently like the sun!

Lourdes X

 

Preparing Materials

20180529_195458Carded merino, silk and angelina fibres; so much like textile candy floss!

20180529_195148

Lots of individually frayed snippets of fabric.

20180529_194942

Threads from frayed fabrics carded into fibres.

20180529_195340

Beginning stitching.

Lourdes X

Crochet Lace for Necklace

20180528_115142

Yesterday I worked on this piece of freestyle crochet for a necklace.  ‘Freestyle’ crochet differs from conventional crochet in that a pattern is not followed and it is worked spontaneously.  Therefore it often has an irregular appearance.  I choose to use this approach as I want these pieces to look organic, almost as if ‘growth’ is taking place in the work.  It is an amazing way to explore with crochet as it is experimental and hence exciting and unpredictable.  I found it very liberating when I fell upon this way of working, as I had never considered breaking the ‘rules’!  It also fosters an understanding of crochet and how it is used to create shapes and patterns.

20180528_120451

I selected some fabrics to use with the crochet lace.  I will cut these pieces up and fray them before stitching the fragments together and attaching the lace.  I will then decide whether to add more ornamentation.  The crochet is quite elaborate so it may not need anything else.

Lourdes X

Crochet Choker in Progress

 

dsc_0532

I have added the crochet strip to the frayed fabric tatters and fibres I wrote about in my last post.  This will be made into a choker but I have to source some appropriate clasps.

img_7742

I would usually add further ornamentation to my designs with organza petals, small crocheted flowers and semi-precious beads, but I am tempted in this instance to keep it ‘purer’ and leave it as it is.

Lourdes X

Feathery Fabrics and Fibres

image

I started making a choker today.  I already had the length of crochet lace made and I was playing around with ideas for a suitable background.  I decided to use small frayed pieces as I liked the feathery effect and felt that if layered, would create a pleasing contrast for the crochet.

I cut up lots of pieces of lightweight and transparent fabrics, mainly along the bias, as the irregular edge formed was appealing.  I then frayed each piece, I wanted to include the loose threads as they reminded me of the fluffy material in flower heads.  I felt that the best way to do this was to add some wool fibres to the threads and then to needlefelt them with some of the frayed pieces of fabric.  Needlefelting is achieved by using a purpose-made barbed needle which tangles wool fibres together, when used to repeatedly stab them.  This creates a felted fabric and the more it is worked, the denser it becomes.

image

These are some of the pieces of fibres needlefelted with frayed fabric.  They are possibly a little thick, so I will use them sparingly, combined with the layered, frayed pieces and attach the crochet strip on top.  I will include the finished result in a coming post.

Lourdes x

Inspiration from the Garden

 

As is so often the case, the garden provides the inspiration for my textile design.  It never fails to amaze me how much change takes place, creating a complex and intriguing storyline woven through the turning of the year.

In very early spring there is the need for hope and faith, when the ground is still hard and the air stil speckled with frost.  Then the excitement of potential as the sudden appearance of bright green shoots that emerge through the earth, reassure that although hidden, ‘life’ has not been extinguished after all.

As Spring burgeons, there is a glorious display of verdancy and colour, especially exhibited by trees now in blossom.  Infact I usually find most inspiration from petals that fall, and start to wrinkle and dry, at the end of summer as the colours intensify.

This year I am attracted to the grouping of delicate new flowers, which together form abundant textures of soft femininity, suggestive of ruffles and flounces characterising summer ball gown dresses in fairy tales.  It is just prettiness in excess! But it can be really lovely to appreciate colours, shapes and patterns that scintillate the sight and seem to celebrate the increasing warmth of the sunshine.

image

Lourdes x

 

 

Hearts with Kisses

 

imageHeart with kisses

%d bloggers like this: