Technique - fuzzy effect.
All our phase designs come from the Japanese Embroidery Center and for most phase pieces they offer us a number of different designs to choose from, for phase 8 it's; Final Dress Up - beautiful autumn maple leaves, Queen of Flowers - a lovely peony, and a much larger design Crane with Reeds. I decided the crane was too big to attempt for a phase piece, but I do like it so might go back to it at some point - watch this space. I liked the peony but it didnt' 'speak' to me, the autumn leaves however ...
Fuzzy effect is a reasonably easy technique to learn when just talking about how the stitches are put into the fabric. Ideally fuzzy effect is worked on a crepe fabric which has very well defined weft valley lines. It consists of a twisted thread being laid in a valley of the fabric which is then couched down either diagonally or vertically with a thinner twisted thread. The threads can be laid in every valley, every other valley, or spaced out even more, the closer the threads are together the more solid the effect.
Now comes the interesting bit, the colour. The colour of the fabric shows through the centre of the motifs, leaves in this case, so this will affect what the finished piece looks like. Very dark colour fabrics will leach out colour from the silk threads so what looks very bright on the reel will be much more subdued on the fabric. How the foundation thread is held down will affect the colour as well, couching with a different colour than the foundation helps to blend two colours together, but using diagonal couching will combine colours more than a vertical couching.
So how did I choose these colours? Well Margaret sensei (my tutor) said to choose the brightest most acid colours of silk that I had in my box and then to experiment with combinations of colours. So that is what I did.
I had hours of fun putting in a foundation stitch and then couching it in different ways and with different colours to see what the end result would be.
On this piece is was possible to choose colours randomly since each leaf could be treated as an individual section. On Queen of Flowers or Crane with Reeds the overall picture has to be taken into account and one must choose colours and technique to create an overall impression. If you'd like to see pictures of these and other designs using fuzzy effect visit JEC, JE UK, Kurenai-kai, or the Nuido Gallery - all linked at the right.
I really enjoyed stitching this piece, it's only just gone to the framers, and I'm looking forward to getting it back and hanging in on the wall where I can enjoy looking at it.