Printed Embroidery

art, corvallis, embroidery, Prints

A few days ago I made a post about my collection of vintage printing blocks, with a teaser about a new project I used them for.

typecut embroidery.06It’s probably pretty self-explanatory–I used them as embroidery patterns. By taking them through my Challenge proof press with carbon paper, I printed them on unbleached linen, then embroidered the images.

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Printmaking and embroidery are two mediums I don’t often get to combine. Somehow using antique printing blocks as a base for a similarly antiquated medium like embroidery seems kind of right.

typecut embroidery.02These are each in either 3″ or 5″ hoops.

typecut embroidery.03And right now, they’re all available for sale at the Corvallis Art Center’s Art Shop!

typecut embroidery.07Bonus Oregonian tree embroidery:
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Type Cuts

art, corvallis, embroidery, Prints

On the shelf above my workbench there’s a box.

DSC_0602That box contains my collection of type cuts–also known as printing blocks, or letterpress cuts. They’re images etched into wood or lead, meant to be printed alongside letterpress type.

Christy Turner type cut collection

It’s an eclectic mix of images that I’ve hand picked for one reason or another. These are a few of my favorites:

Turner typecut collection.01

Turner typecut collection.02

This one is a simplified line etching of a traditional platen press–the kind of printing press used for traditional letterpress printing.

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As a Pacific Northwest native, I do love trees.

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And crabs.

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By far my strangest cut is this one–it’s about 3″ across, and was presumably used for creating dental records. Can you even imagine something as mundane as dental records being hand printed?

Turner typecut collection.06

But this one is my favorite. Surrounded by intricate images of elk and horses and trees and other oddities, this pointing hand is the jewel of my collection. It looks like metal but it’s not–this is my only wood etched type cut, carved from a single piece of wood rather than from lead (or lead mounted on a wood base).

The hand itself is probably recognizable–this design, called a manicule, has become popular in modern graphic design. They were originally used to draw attention to important text in documents and books dating back to the 12th century, a common form of marginalia on some of the earliest letterpress printed materials.

Given its history and delicate line quality, it’s hard not to love. I mean look at the individual carved lines–so much information in such sparse, elegant detail. This is what you think of when you think traditional woodcut design.

I recently used a few of my favorite cuts for a somewhat eclectic project, which I’ll explain in a later post. For now, here’s a teaser:
typecut embroidery.06

Happy Friday!

Neck Muscle Study, 2015

anatomy, art, corvallis, embroidery, skeleton, work in progress

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 Muscles.05

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?
Neck Muscles.01

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.

Neck Muscles.04
What about you, fellow embroiderers? How do you hang your work?

2014 Recap

art, corvallis, embroidery, Prints, work in progress

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.

sketchbook6

 

 

Muscle Study

anatomy, art, embroidery, skeleton, work in progress

Unfortunately my giant mountain woodcut is on hold right now, because my neck is sort of jacked up and sore and I’m a huge sissy who doesn’t feel like coming home from work and carving. So while I wait for my next chiropractor appointment I’ve started a new project that doesn’t require quite so much physical effort.

Neck muscles!

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This week I discovered the library’s medical anatomy section–I spent most of Sunday sketching from a pocket version of Gray’s Anatomy and my own copy of Human Anatomy: A Visual History from the Renaissance to the Digital Age. Awesome book.

Photo Jul 17, 3 25 16 PM

My intent is to embroider this sketch first in black, then to lay in some color in the most dense areas of muscle. Usually muscular anatomy doesn’t interest me as much as skeletal–bones are just so more more solid and strong, where muscles flex and lack a lot of definition. But the issues I’ve been having with my neck and back have made me more interested in the way muscles fit together and work, which is what prompted this project.
2014-10-12 19.15.00

My usual embroidery setup has a new component, this awesome clip on light I bought from work. It’s meant for a music stand, with two flexible lights, one for each side. It’s absolutely amazing for embroidery–the two lights can be positioned to fully light whatever I’m working on, which is invaluable given that I usually sew in my dimly lit living room. Anyone who sews or cross stitches should consider getting a light like this–Mighty Bright Duet2 LED Music Light.
2014-10-13 18.53.27Sewing time!