Monday, 28 November 2011

Black Heart

I've been working on some smaller designs over the last few weeks.  I really enjoy the larger pieces but when working on them from scratch they take a long time to complete.  Autumn Shell Box is up to 150 hours so far!  I've made more progress on it since I took this picture.

I want to get some more pieces done so I can add pieces into the Gallery on a regular basis.  So started this piece off in July of this year, well I'd done the transfer and spent some time deciding on colours.  I took it to our class a few weeks ago framed it up and made a start. The idea was a very simple colour scheme, the petals of the chrysanthemum would just be two colours.  The first colours were a bronze metallic and silk.  They looked lovely on the black and red.

However ... I put a few stitches in and hated it.  So back to the drawing board, various discussions were had with my stitching friends and I decided on black and red to match the fabric.  The weft of the fabric is red the warp is black, depending on the angle the fabric looks either red or black.

I decided to do the turnovers of the petals in red and the rest of the petals in black.  The petals were padded with either two or one layer of padding, a couple were self padded and the rest had none.

Most petals were stitched with flat silk, 2 strands, have I mentioned how much I love the effect of flat silk!

One or two of the black petals in the centre were stitched with a twisted black metallic thread.

The twisted black metallic was also used for the stamens, knots were formed with a black twist with a touch of gold.

#8 real gold was used for the leaf, 1 pair couched with black silk.  It has been impossible to capture the colour and beauty of this piece, the way silk glows against the dark background and the richness and variation in colour, it has turned out so much more beautiful than I had hoped and I am very proud of it.  I only wish my photos did it justice. 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Quick update

 Another busy few weeks here.  I've made progress on getting the house back into order. My bookcases were collected and put into place, which meant all the books hanging round on the floor could go into place and my frame stand could go back up.  This is the view from my sofa as I look across the room at my new stitching place.

Things aren't completely straight yet, but it's close enough and does mean I can stitch again after a few weeks of not being able to (hooray).

We had one of our twice weekly classes in Garstang.  Along with existing students, who are all getting along very nicely we had two new students who did very well and three students who finished their phase one and moved onto their next pieces. 

 This is a lovely group of students and I thoroughly enjoy teaching them.  We have a great week, they all work had but we do manage to have a few laughs.

I made two sales in the Gallery no originals sold yet, but the prints are starting to go.  Autumn Shell Box is coming along, but as I'm up to 150 or so hours yet and still have a while to go I thought I'd  start a smaller piece or two which I can get through quickly to top up the pieces in the gallery for Christmas.

 The first one I'm calling Black Heart!  The November light here is very dull so I'm having problems getting good pictures of this, but here are a couple of 'tasters'.

 The fabric is a lovely obi silk, it's two tone like a taffeta, in black and red.  I'd chosen the colours for this piece ages ago but as soon as I put the first silk petal in I knew it wasn't going to work.  Change of plan and discussions with colleagues, and I went for red (108) and black, with the odd piece of twisted black metallic thrown in.  I'm pleased with it so far, it's not going to be to every ones taste but they won't be able to say it's not eye catching!

Before I go here are some new links for you to enjoy.

A new site for JE frames in the UK.

A new blog about Japanese Embroidery - in French and English, Isabell is just starting out on her JE journey.

Website of one of our new students, Jill, who runs trips to Japan, courses on Japanese crafts and various other things - Festival of Japan

Have fun and happy stitching.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Progress on all fronts

It has been a mad few weeks at home, home improvements put a stop to any stitching while I went from this ... 


 ... to this.

Pictures still left to be hung, but it's getting there. 

Have managed to get the frame back out and have done a little more work on Autumn Shell Box. Last time I posted I had done this work on the large shell. I decided I didn't like all the different colours of the small maple leaves.

So out they came and I've re-stitched them all in the same purple as the foundation,  but at different angles to the foundation to get a variation in colour. 

I left one black maple in and I've really like how this has worked.  Next job lots of short stitch holding to keep the foundation in place.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Still here ...

... but progress has been slow.  It's been a busy few weeks, I've been doing some home improvements so everything is a bit chaotic, who knew I has so much stuff to move to put down new floors!.  Still, it has prompted my to do some sorting out so a load of stuff has gone to the British Heart Foundation (don't even ask how many bags of books I sent!).  None of my embroidery ones of course, but it was quite amazing how many I have gathered over the years. 

I've been to meet the lovely people from the Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire, and am very pleased and proud to announce that I'm now a part of this group of very talented artists and craftspeople.

A couple of weeks ago one of my stitching friends came for a visit and we and a couple of other friends spent a week stitching and planning new designs.  I made some progress on Autumn Shell Box and have worked out how all the sections are going to work, so it shouldn't be long now before it's finished.

I marked out the chrysanthemum motifs on the small shells and stitched it with #1 silver in line of staggered diagonals.  This technique will also be used for the small chrysanths.

I finished off the tie-dye section (I don't seem to have taken a picture of it completed, but it is done). I put in the top of the shell and the black foundation with a silver sayagata design. It wasn't until I took out the tissue paper from the sayagata that I realised it was wonky.  But it's staying in for now, it hasn't been couched down so it'll be fairly easy to take out and re-do.

I decided I liked the effect from the top of the shell box (in this post) so much that I'd try the same thing with the maples. I photo-copied the maples onto thin card, cut them out and then placed them where I thought they ought to go on the purple foundation.

Then tacked them all in place.

In this attempt I've used various colours which were used in the large maples. I really like it and it looks lovely but they will be coming out - well, all except the purple ones.  I've decided there are too many colours and I like the more subtle effect of the purple on purple.

Things will be quiet again for a couple of weeks until the new floors are sorted, everything is being packed away out of harms way.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Own your own Yoyo San

A couple of weeks ago I took some of my embroideries to be professionally photographed. My plan was to be able to produce prints of my work to make them more affordable for people. 

I made my way to the photographers and spent a very interesting morning watching him work. The resulting photographs were great. They captured the sheen of the silk and the texture of the stitches and fabric really well.  Sample prints were sent for and, I have to say, they looked beautiful.

So, with thanks to Matthew who did a great job with the photography, the prints are now available from my Etsy shop and you too can own your own Yoyo San, or Blue Iris, or Peonies, or ... well you get the idea. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Teeny tiny toadstools

As regular visitors will know I've been having a break from teeny tiny chrysanthemums, but not to stitch teeny tiny toadstools.  This teeny tiny toadstool is a gift to myself from myself and comes from the very talented hands of Gretel Parker who, on her blog, describes it as the home of the creator of ‘Puddletown Tales’, childrens illustrator, needle felter and toymaker living in a tiny cottage in the Cotswolds countryside, England. With cats.

Gretel makes the most wonderful needle felted sculptures, and I have long been in need of one (or maybe more!). One of these days the fates will collide and I will be able to commission a piece. The sculptures are in great demand as as soon as they appear in her Etsy shop they disappear.

At the weekend when I was having a little surf round the net and doing my usual visits to various blogs and websites and, oh joy, a wonderful teeny tiny toadstool had appeared in the shop.
So I bought him, and yesterday he arrived to live with me.

He is wonderful, from the teeny tiny seed beads to his teeny tiny cap. I love how the green moss is creeping up his trunk.

And here he is posing in front of two Puddle Town Tales books (French versions for my niece and nephew, but English is available, click on the picture for the link to Amazon) which feature more needle felt creations and illustrations from Gretel.

PS - Gretel will be having a book signing for Puddletown tales in Oxford soon - check out her website for details - do go along and say hello if you can. 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Autumn shell box

I've been living with this little shippo style since my last post.  I decided I didn't like it as the scale just seemed wrong.  I took it out and went back to the original.

This is a very small scale, the example here is only 3cm across, which means each little shippo is only 5mm wide - 1/2 the size of mine.

So, out it came and I re-did it on a much smaller scale (no pictures I'm afraid).  I still wasn't happy with it, the scale works but I wasn't happy with the embroidery or the colour.  The shapes show up much better on the white background.  I didn't want to introduce any more colours into the piece so I think I'm going to have to practice this on some kind of sample piece.

So out it came again and I've decided to do the outside of the shell box in a much simpler way, I've used the same size lattice as I've used for the tie dye on the large shell.
With simple knots in the centre.

I'm happy with how this has worked out, and it mirrors the tie dye on the large shell very well.
The colours of the tie dye on the large shell are a matched to each other. The lattice over the white foundation is actually the same colour as the other foundation.

We almost always work tie dye over a white foundation, but I have to say I do like the coloured background on this shell.  I think I may use this style of tie dye again. 

This piece is coming on quite quickly now. I've got all but one of the various sections sorted with techniques and colours. Just the outlines on the small chrysanthemums and shells to figure out now, but I've had an idea about this today so that will be the next thing to try out.

So here is where I'm up to now.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Shell box and chrysanthemums

After our recent trip to Edinburgh, I felt inspired and was looking forward to getting back to my own embroidery.  I'd made some progress on the large chrysanthemums but was still not sure how the lower layers of petals would work.

I enjoy the challenge of taking a colour picture and turning it into an embroidery, but this chrysanthemum has been through about five or six different versions to get to this point.  In fact, even though I thought I'd got this right on a previous attempt I still wasn't sure about it and had been very near to giving up on this piece, but then came our trip to see Kusano san's work. Her kind encouragement to develop our own designs struck a chord in me and I came back with new energy and excitement.  I had one or two false starts for the background petals, but then it all clicked into place and suddenly, as if by magic ... 

I have a few more petals to do, but my fingers know what they are doing now with this so I was able to leave it and go onto another section - the lid for the shell box. 

It looks a bit wonky in the photo but it isn't really.  I thought I'd put a lattice design over the lid top, but then decided I didn't like it so it came out.

The guide lines on the sides of the lid is for the shippo design.  Rather than our usual way of doing this I'm working it like the example below.

First the main lines with a 2-1 twist. 

Then the holding lines to shape the main lines, black couching thread.

Then the stitches to fill in the centre.  I think I'll change the colour of these, there isn't enough contrast between the centre and the edge.  But for the moment it will stay in and I'll live with it a while.

I was going to do the flower on the top of the lid with a stitched transfer but then I thought I'd like to create some kind of embossed feel so I cut out the petal shapes in a light card and, after taking out the lattice, I tacked them onto the foundation. 

I'll need to put some short stitch holding on here to keep the foundation in place, but I had enough for today so will get back to that. I really like how this has worked out, I think it works really well.

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