Melted and Stitched

Looking at some other ways of creating a delicate appearance. Melting the fabric creates a really organic quality and there is a contrast between the decayed look of the melting and the decorative appearance of the stitching. I feel that this tells a story and suggests some kind of history.

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Silk Heart Repaired with Stitching

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This heart was cut from pink silk and stitched to gold organza with small stitching.  The transparency of the fabric with the softened frayed edges of the heart,  together create a ‘floatiness’.

Lourdes X

Blossoming Heart at Beltane

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Most mornings I like to start the day by centering myself.  I do this by looking at my feelings and trying to identify them.  I don’t always want to and it’s not always easy, but if I manage it, I find that my energy flows better.

Sometimes feelings and thoughts provoke a journey that provides inspiration for creative work, and they additionally resonate with themes that seem to emerge through the day.  I really like to try to understand what these ‘signs’ are representing in my life.

The last few days have brought up many references to the light and power of the sun.  Unfortunately I can’t say that this has been encouraged by the weather, which has not been so great!

However it so happens that today is Mayday also known as Beltane, which is a Celtic fire festival.  The word ‘Beltane’ combines ‘Bel’ the name of a Celtic God, meaning ‘bright one’ and ‘teine’ which is a Celtic word for ‘fire’.

Beltane is a celebration of the beginning of the brighter part of the year.  It is also a festival which celebrates procreation, sexuality and the reproductive energies of the earth, now fully reawakened after the winter.

I decided to continue using the heart as a metaphor for emotion, and this time with the intent to evoke the spirit of abundance of Beltane, and what it may symbolise for us internally.

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‘Flora’ is the name of a Roman fertility goddess and as her name suggests, is a goddess of flowers.  Also known as the ‘May Queen’, she has significance in pagan rituals at this time of year.  The festival of Beltane is flamboyantly characterised by the wearing of flowers and this has also inspired my decision to make a heart shaped from textile blossoms.

I also like the idea of a heart that ‘blooms’ in response to warmth, much as the rays of the sun are vital for the opening of flowers.

I decided to work on folded satin fabric which I felt suggested enclosure of something secret, as in an envelope or folded piece of paper.  I like the sense of mystery and the way that the heart of textile petals is viewed as a symbol or embellishment for something else unseen.

Wrist Cuffs

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Last year I took part in a Facebook challenge to ‘pay it forward’. Basically the idea is to give gifts to people who agree to also give away gifts and so on, resulting in hopefully a very long continuation of gifts being both given and received.  3 people respond to each person taking part, but due to some misunderstandings, I had 5 responses!  Anyway each person is supposed to send a gift to 3 people which could range from a card or postcard to an object of some kind or well, anything!  I thought it would be nice to send things I made myself and I decided to design some wrist cuffs incorporating the ideas I have been working on recently such as crochet combined with fabric scraps and stitching.  The year has progressed quickly and I have been focusing my attention on getting these completed before the year has passed!

I have completed all 5 cuffs but I haven’t yet finished the fastenings,  I decided on brooches as both fastenings and extra adornment, but I haven’t made them yet so I will include them in a future post.

This was the first cuff I worked, using one of my favourite colour schemes of lilac and greens, it includes a couple of pieces of free-form crochet and small hand stitches.

Lourdes x

Tulip Colours and Crochet Lace

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I wanted to create a delicate and feminine appearance by overlaying crochet over the stitched snippets of fabrics.  I am thinking of incorporating these ideas into clothing made from upcycled fabrics, but I am not sure yet how to do that – I will need to experiment!

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Here I used a brighter colour scheme and less stitching, I love the use of chiffons and organzas because of their ‘dreamy’, ‘floaty’ qualities.

Lourdes x

Hand Embroidery in the Lake District

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My family and I went for a most enjoyable holiday to Cumbria in the Lake District a few weeks ago.  I cannot describe how relieving it felt to escape the city and slow down to attune to the more sedate rhythm of the countryside.  It was also therapeutic to leave behind the usual routine of home and stay in a spotlessly clean and uncluttered cottage! Our activities mainly consisted of swimming, sauna and steam room and trips to various picturesque towns and breathtaking views of the stunning landscape.

When I go away my travelling textiles kit consists of crochet and hand embroidery, because I can take very little and still have lots to work with.  I really enjoy a chance to focus on hand embroidery and if the setting is peaceful, it is a very compatible activity.

I was disappointed to discover that in spite of organising myself far more thoroughly than before, I had managed to forget my embroidery threads! Luckily, but a little uninspiringly I had brought a cream crochet cotton.  I reassured myself with the idea that restriction often encourages creativity so I decided that I would accept the confinement to a relatively thick cream stitching thread.

I wanted to explore the potential of various embroidery stitches in combination with various fabrics, and these samples kept me busy in the evenings.

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I must admit that I was frustrated and bored by one colour and type of cotton, but then I do like to jump about all over the place while I work, so it was probably a good exercise in discipline for me.

The restriction in colour provoked me to try other ways of changing the colour of thread by working some stitches beneath a semi-transparent organza.  As you can see some of the french knots appear pale blue.  There is the potential for several layers of different coloured organzas to be stitched with the same colour thread which will be varied depending on the covering colour of fabric.

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Thanks for visiting!

Lourdes x

Crochet and Stitch

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This week I have been experimenting with different ways of combining hand-stitch with crochet.  The cotton yarn I used above was crocheted freestyle, varying the size of hook and there is a contrast of texture between the firmer, tighter stitches which have been worked with smaller hooks, and the loose, droopy, more bedraggled feel of the stitches formed with huge crochet hooks.  One of the attractive features of using crochet as a foundation to add other materials or stitches to, is that it has an appearance of a net which has debris caught up and entangled in it.

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The crochet in this sample has been worked using a much finer cotton thread and therefore creating a more delicate result.

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In this sample the idea was to trap the crochet with transparent fabrics secured with small stitches around it, on a foundation of fabric patches which have been sewn together.  I quite like the idea of different elements being trapped and enclosed within a garment so I decided to look at this idea more closely.

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The crochet flower has been enclosed in an envelope of organza and is free to move about.  A few wisps of Angelina fibre has been added to suggest a hint of faery magic.  This idea suggests things which are collected perhaps on a walk through a forest, on the beach or in a meadow and it brings to mind childhood, where shells, flowers and pebbles are pieces of treasure and in fact for anyone who loves textiles and sees the world of nature as their main source of inspiration, the scavenging for a natural jewel of some kind, continues.  Pockets, pouches also play a part as vessels for collecting, enclosing, protecting and trapping.

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I made some crocheted flowers with a variety of yarns, deliberately aiming for an uneven appearance by using thick and thin handspun yarn and varying the length and size of the petals.

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I ironed the flowers to create the impression of pressed flowers.  I like the fact that the irregular appearance of the flowers suggests that they may have been drawn by a child.  My next step is to explore ways of combining these floral shapes with fabric and looking at ways to enclose them.

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

 

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