Monday, December 31, 2012

Chapter 2 - Traditional embroidery samples

At this stage I had not selected a type of flower to study historically and so no obvious design came to mind when I needed to make embroidery sample flowers.
I decided instead to examine a favourite embroidered panel from the 17th century, take a small area, enlarge it and use selected areas of design to sample embroider.
Photo 2.1 shows the presentation A3 board with the original panel top left and the section bordered in a white frame enlarged to give the large design in the centre.

The embroidery samples are displayed around the outside using selected motifs or white framed areas (approx 2.5 x 3cm) as the design.  Starting from top right these samples are as follows:

Long and short satin stitch in cotton embroidery floss on linen.

The attached flap (top right in 2.3) is sewn in dyed Perle cotton on linen using a chain stitch border and Hollie point interior.
The 3-dimensional petals were sewn using the same thread and stitch.  An initial wire shape was couched onto linen backing, covered completely in buttonhole stitch (photo 2.4) before being filled in.  Having completed only 2 petals I can't imagine doing a whole flower let alone the motifs created in the light-challenged 17th century!


Photo 2.6 shows a sample of tent stitch in cotton floss over fine cotton using waste canvas as a guide.  Some of the canvas threads have been left in for demonstration.

Photo 2.7 demonstrates close rows of chain stitch in various shades using cotton floss on linen.


Photo 2.8 presents one of the design leaves in Kantha stitching (running stitch).  Several layers of fine lawn have been used as this embroidery technique often combined fabric layers with slight puckering to give extra warmth to the material as well as decoration.


Blackwork or monochromatic stitching was popular at this time (photo 2.9).  The slip here outine in stem stitch uses speckling in green to give shading to the motif.

Photos 2.10 and 2.11 show a slip motif in raised embroidery (stumpwork) in satin stitch over a small felt shape and a raised couched band in green on calico.




Chapter 1b - Foreign Embroidery study

The second part of chapter 1 research called for a study of floral embroidery from a foreign country. For this part I looked to the history of textiles in Japan, particularly Japanese embroidery
Like many cultures, different embroidery techniques exist in Japan eg. Rozashi (a geometric embroidery using silk threads on rigid silk canvas), Bunka (punch embroidery), and sashiko, but true Japanese embroidery has unique characteristics.

The embroidery stitches are essentially the same as those found in western embroidery eg. sashinui (long and short satin stitch) and sagaranui (knotted stitch, similar to French knots) but it is the precision and execution of these stitches in layers using silk and metal threads that makes Japanese embroidery highly recognisable.

Gray, Julia D. (2009) Traditional Japanese Embroidery, Search Press
Tamur, Shuji (1998) The Techniques of Japanese Embroidery, Krause Publications (embroidered japanese kimonos collection)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chapter 1a - Historical Embroidery study

With 2012 almost over and thoughts turning to resolutions I've managed to get some of my work on Module 4 finally down on A3 card and, of course, up on the blog.

Initial historical research in Chapter 1 looks at flowers in embroidery from the Elizabethan era (during 16 and 17th centuries).  I started by looking at samplers as I had a wonderful book on the Goodhart Samplers I picked up from Montecute House last time I visited the UK.  The collection itself on display at Montecute was amazing and I could have spent the whole day studying them in detail.

The next board (1.2) looks at embroidery in costumes and the third (1.3) at embroidery in accessories such as gloves and bags.



Towards the end of the 17th century, raised embroidery or stumpwork was particularly popular often with floral themes.  Much of this embroidery appeared in wall hangings, mirror surrounds, and caskets, boxes or small cabinets.  Examples of this embroidery are found in 1.4.


I acknowledge several publications and websites for some of the photos and material used in this presentation.

Bromiley Phelan, Dorothy (2008) The Goodhart Samplers, Needlepoint Press
Exhibition Review, Wrought with the Needle, 2011, March/April Embroidery
Mayer Thurman, Christa C. (1992) Textiles in the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago Press
Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Sunday, October 14, 2012

After my week felting in Geelong, I've had a bit of a felting frenzy.  I love the softness of fine merino roving, particularly for wearables but after working 3-dimensionally with coarser wools, I've grown attached to the ruggedness and natural look to those undyed fibres, so I've been using those in my bigger bags to give robustness to them.
I used corridale roving in a bag made earlier in the year for an exhibition with a musical theme, and so have made a few more.

This one uses dyed corriedale wool roving with hand-dyed silk velvet and surface embroidery with a leather strap. It's about 40cm by 30cm.

And this one uses a mixture of bluefaced leicester and jacob wool roving with a slightly different musical arrangement.  The felt looks quite grey here but actually it's more of an oatmeal colour.  I feel a theme coming on here!

These wool breeds are commonplace in the UK but a bit more unusual in Aus, so it reminds me of home. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Felting at Geelong

Last week I was at TAFTA's Geelong Textile Forum enjoying 3D Concepts in Felt with Anita Larkin. This workshop formed part of the forum's Design Focus Program where 5 workshops and tutors joined together each morning for an hour's lecture from each tutor on their inspiration and design process, before breaking off into each group's daily workshop activity.  I first thought that this would be quite disruptive but quickly realised that I got so much from these lectures it felt like I was being taught by all the tutors, each approaching their 'craft design' from a different viewpoint.

From a felting viewpoint I learned such a lot from Anita.  My knowledge of techniques used in sculptural felting was minimal to say the least, let alone my experience, but by the end of the week we were designing and using resists like pros. If anything my appreciation of the work involved has only increased, particularly of the design process involved to achieve that 'simple sculpture' outcome.

My favourite part was felting around a found object - a typically 'easy looking' task that is anything but.
I chose a ceramic goblet to cover completely and was pretty pleased with my effort.

The 16cm goblet is in this large hairy blob somewhere.

 And it only took 2 hours of strenuous fulling to transform the 'vessel in felt pillowcase' to a recognisable form!

Comments were "that's cool" from daughter and "is that it?" from other half.  I don't think I'll be felting a whole crockery set at that rate, but if my other half annoys me he may just find critical parts of his bike 'under wool'!

As far as my C&G diploma work is concerned, this week has really helped me realise some of the ideas I have for a sculptural assessment piece to come, so watch this space....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Layers of Texture

Saturday saw me teaching a one day 'taster' workshop for ATASDA NSW entitled "Layers of Texture".
15 ladies came along to the Epping Creative Centre and enjoyed (hopefully) a day creating texture through mixed media and stitch in layers of sheers and scrims.

3 scrim layers on mixed media background

common shapes, different textures in layers
Textured backgrounds were laid down using fabrics with gel mediums and texture gels ready for stitch embellishment.
Then as lace is a particular love of mine the girls spent some time to practise free machining on loosely woven scrims creating lacy features for layering up.

Scrim lace by K Murray
Scrim lace by C Cooper
Many thanks girls for your enthusiasm and patience.  Had a ball!
Hope I get to see some of those creations completed at the next meeting.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The end of the Metallic line!

I've finally had time to work on and complete my 2nd PAP that I last blogged on in May.  The photos below show the front, back and side views of the wearable.

 When I last blogged about this I had begun work on the bodice.  After some suggestions from Sian I adjusted the neckline to follow the shape of the head a little more and developed the straps to link in with the metallic bust on the back.

The face on the metal shim is drawn free motion without thread in the needle (not too clear in this photo) which unfortunately appeared a little more solid in shape than I had intended, but still gives an interesting contrast to the sheer faces. This leads down to the central back panel -

which includes faces cut from sheers and printed on dyed scrim with metal shim and embroidered highlights.

My original intention was to focus on metallic lace in the piece so I added 4 shaped lace panels to the bottom of the bodice that incorporated the metal shim shapes in the bodice sides and schematic faces prepared from embroidered sheer.

The lace followed the width of the side panels as did the cream silk overlays underneath.  The cream was used to show off the darker metallic lace and dark sheer.  The long edges were roll overlocked for neatness and the lower edges were trimmed also in shim and metallic lace.

 The metal shim shapes are the same but half size.  The lace was made first and then added to the silk, cutting the surplus silk away close to the stitching line. The bottom of the main skirt fabric was shaped by embroidering the same shape around the edge then removing surplus fabric with a soldering iron since this fabric was synthetic.

This edging alone I felt looked too rounded when compared to the 'spiky' edges of the metallic lace above so the underskirt, a grey chiffon, was edged completely in metallic lace.  This was done deliberately rather unevenly so that in sections of the hem the lace could be seen more than other sections, bordering the skirt shapes like the shim in the shim lace pieces.

More of the shapes were embroidered and cut out in the central lower edge to add interest and reveal the chiffon layer underneath.

Timing involved in this PAP:

Design work for this piece started in August 2011 and was completed April 2012 (covering 20 hours)
Sampling and embroidery work started Feb 2011 and completed June 2012 (covering 55 hours)

Costing involved in this PAP:

1m silk dupion
3m polyester chiffon
1m silk georgette
1m cotton
0.5m polyester organza sheer
0.25m scrim
0.5m batting
0.5m Vliesofix
1m watersoluble fabric
metallic threads and other sewing threads (5 reels)
2m x 60cm 0.004"copper metal shim
Miscellaneous (liver of Sulphur gel, bicarbonate,  mordant for natural dyeing, eyelets, printing ink, machine needles!)
Total 220 AUD

Self Evaluation of PAP:

Metal shim is not something I'd like to work with every day, but I did enjoy the challenge and the result.  My development samples along the way were very useful and tested out most of my ideas, marked the boundaries and gave me confidence to tackle the finished larger piece successfully.  Once you make a hole in the metal you can't go back!
Some things I may have done differently eg. made the head in the central back of bodice less solid and 'blocky', perhaps used a darker coloured underskirt to highlight the cutwork in the skirt, but overall I am pleased with the result of a wearable piece that I can actually wear!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Biennale of Sydney

Yesterday I visited the 18th Biennale of Sydney, the festival of contemporary art held on Cockatoo island in Sydney Harbour.  The island used to be a prison for convicts and then a dockyard for shipbuilding and repair, but now the disused warehouse buildings will house the works of art from all round the world until the middle of September.

We got there by ferry laid on free during the festival and then wandered around the exhibits, some of which had live performance art going on.  I could have well avoided the 'performance art' (cutting strips of paper with sound amplified scissors for half an's too short) but some of the static installations were amazing.  My favourite was Hylozoic series 2011 by Philip Beesley.

 It was made largely from plastic with light bulbs and a whole array of robotics and movement sensors so that as you walked through it these feather-like arrangements fluttered and lit up.

The shadows on the stone walls were amazing on their own.

My son loved Ocean of Flowers 2012 by Li Hongbo, a huge floor full of colourful paper decorations, the kind that open up like honecomb lanterns.

Reason he thought they were cool?  Many of the shapes derived from AK-47 machine gun lanterns!

Quite a few had a textile theme but somehow they didn't jump out at me - maybe I'd seen the inspiration /story quoted before and it left me a bit cold.
One I did like however was Stitching time by Erin Manning, a floor sized textile proposition, a giant sewing circle in which to become involved.  Colour coordinated fabrics many sheers, with embellishments like buttons and buttonholes added were hung all over the space and gave great colourful shadows in the sun. The sheer scale of the piece did it for me.
We were invited to participate as we felt but alas it reminded me too much of the pile of ironing I had waiting at home!

and my son felt we'd never get home if I got a needle and thread in my hand - he knows me too well!

The Bienniale is on until 16 Sept 2012, and you can catch a ferry from Circular Quay every half hour.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Made for you"

Now only 4 days until the opening night of the North Shore Craft Group's exhibition and sale. I've been a member for 3 years now and this year, the 55th, the show is entitled "Made for You".  It's always a wonderful display of handcrafted items covering ceramics, wood, leatherwork, textiles, glass, jewellery and so much more.

We always have a Challenge within the exhibition where each member creates one or two pieces in their field of craft, eg. textiles, ceramics, jewellery etc, to a specific theme and the public vote for their favourite piece.
This year it's rhythm and blues and I've created a couple of bags for the challenge, one of which was chosen to feature closeup on the invitation above.  It's amazing to see what everyone comes up with.

I've also been concentrating on more of my nunofelting work for this exhibition, with jackets and bags featuring nunofelted sections within various wool fabrics.

Would love to see you there at Ku-ring-gai Town Hall, Pymble this week if you can make it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Surface embellishment workshop

Last weekend I was at an ATASDA workshop tutored by Carol Wilkes, a textile artist from Queensland and had an absolute ball!  She taught us wonderful surface embellishment techniques that stretched my free machining skills somewhat but wow, what inspiration.
There is so much detail and intricacy to Carol's work that first looks so striking then draws you in closer wondering just how on earth she managed to do that!

There was just not enough time to finish everything during the class of course but today I just had to get back to it and make more cords and make more motifs and and.....Addictive to put it mildly.

Anyway I put it all together today and made up a bag - a great reminder and now a piece of inspiration hanging in front of my workspace.

Surface embellished zipped pouch, with embroidered silk dupion back

detail showing 3D nature of motifs

spiral detail

Thank you Carol for your knowledge, expertise and a fun day!