Tonight I tackled two small blocks with a color layer, the first time I’ve used anything but black ink in a loooooong time. These were modeled after the burgundy dahlias in my wedding bouquet, my favorite flowers.
My trusty studio cat supervised the process.
Yesterday I took an impromptu trip to the beach to get away from the stifling heat and smokey air here in town. For me, that means finding something to work on in the car, because I can’t sit still for a drive that long without something to do.
Luckily I still had the tracing around from my bat skull print. I’d already been thinking about turning it into a sewn piece instead, so I put it on some starched cloth and took it along.
Not bad for a quick embroidered sketch!
Who knew bats looked so canine? It’s like they have tiny little fox skulls.
Drawing, tracing, and woodblock.
For the past few months I’ve been working on a new embroidered piece. Here are some progress photos!
Step one: initial sketch.
Step two: make a photocopy of that sketch and trace it onto some fabric using carbon paper.
Step three: stick it in an embroidery hoop and get sewing.
At this point most of the outlining is done, but I still need to get the shading finished.
In the spirit of my New Year’s resolution, I finally finished the muscle study I started way back in October. The original sketch for this stemmed from some neck issues I’d been having, which got me thinking in terms of muscles–a departure from my usual focus on skeletal structure, but just as interesting.
Neck Muscle Study, 2015
I’m still trying to decide how this will be displayed–either in the hoop, as shown here, or stretched around a wooden frame.
I’ve been both praised and criticized for showing embroidery in the hoop. Personally I don’t think there’s a problem with displaying it in a way that reflects the utilitarian tradition of the medium. That’s half the reason I do it: to connect the artwork to its roots. An embroidery hoop is a simple, elegant item, rife with history, and used in the right context, it can add another layer of meaning to the work it holds. Why shy away from that?
Love it or hate it, you have to admit that it’s visually striking to see a piece hanging like this: the raw edge of the fabric, the wrinkles, the shape of the whole thing. I’ll probably clean this up a bit before it’s shown anywhere, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I prefer it this way, loose threads and all.
What about you, fellow embroiderers? How do you hang your work?
In retrospect, 2014 was not my most prolific year.
What little work I did turn out was some of my best — my skull studies, Pacific Northwest alphabet book, and various other small projects. I was even lucky enough to be featured in Mixed Media Art Magazine. But full time employment leaves little time for personal projects, and this year my creative efforts flagged considerably in favor of lazier and less fulfilling pursuits. I imagine I’m not the first person to fall victim to creative malaise, but that’s no excuse.
I’m planning for 2015 to be better. I’ve got some vague project ideas, some even vaguer goals, and bunch of sharpened pencils, so I’m good to go. Here’s to a fresh year.