Friday, November 19, 2010

Module 4 Chapter 3 - part 1

Following on from my last post - at Sian's suggestion, I have added a postscript to the virtual sketchbook for Glimpsing the Storm explaining how I used a telescopic pole to make it freestanding - you never know when it may be useful.

For chapter 3, I am exploring ideas that could be turned into 'slips' for embroidery, based on flowers.  I did sort of start doing this in the summer and sketched a couple of flowers but now we are in November, I have turned to my photo collections for inspiration.  I found I had rather a lot of close-ups of flowers, so I chose three to work with; two are from a visit to the National Botanical Gardens of Wales (I don't know what the flowers are - can anyone enlighten me?) and the third is a rose from our garden.

Source photo 1

Source Photo 2

Source photo 3
 Then I played in Paint Shop Pro - the first step was to isolate 3 of the flowers by using lassoo selection and pasting as a new image, which has a transparent background. 

Flower head 1

Flower head 2

Flower head 3

Then I created the following images

1. Flower head 1 changed to greyscale and applied black pencil effect.  Suggests a padded or quilted piece.
Image 1
2. Flower head 1 with rough leather texture effect

Image 2
3. Image 2 layered on top of a copy of flower head 1 with the opacity of the top layer reduced to 44%.  I used the eraser to rub away parts of the centre of the top layer to reveal the colours beneath and applied the rough leather texture again. 
Image 3

4.Flower head 3 with the details softened by the smudge brush.

Image 4
 5. Flower head 3 with the hue brush applied
Image 5

 6.Flower head 3 with saturation brush
Image 6
7. Three copies of flower head 1 layered up slightly misaligned and opacity reduced between layers to 50%. I tidied up the image by using the eraser and the clone brush to remove the extra stalks and  fill the gap with nearby colours, and then ran the soften brush around the edge. This image is less harsh than the original photo and suggests silk shading or layers of sheers.  Or the softness could be translated into felt.
8. I wanted to try using the shape of flower head one as a template so I used it as a mask layer on source photo 3.  I had an idea of it being crammed full of petals or flowers - this trial doesn't look right so I may come back to it, I may be able to play with the scale.
Image 8
9. I printed out copies of all these images to make up sketchbook pages and when I was cutting them out, I put one on a background and took a  photo.  The background is a used piece of TAP (I had been experimenting with transferring an image onto a collage of fabric scraps but the printer ran out of coloured ink and produced a peculiar colour.  I went ahead anyway to see how the fabrics took the transfer and it left behind a lovely grungy texured image on the paper).

Image 9
10. I scanned in the sheet of TAP, put image 7 on top and cropped to a square.

Image 10
11. I pulled out an image from my module 1 study of pylons which was a scan of a paper rubbing and used it as a background.  On top, I used flower head 3 which I had manipulated as for image 7.

Image 11

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Website Update

One last photo for the assessment piece - I have put all the stitch samples together onto one long strip for storage.  As before, I have gathered up all the notes and photos from this log into a 'sketchbook' on my website, which you can find at - follow the link for Glimpsing the Storm.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Module 4 Chapter 2

 For this chapter, I have been working tiny samples based on stitches and styles from Elizabethan and Russian embroidery studied for chapter one.  I have worked in the style of a spot sampler on red silk.

The black and white image below gives the key for the samples. I have just realised that I forgot to include a size reference in the photo, but sample 5, the tudor rose, is 4.5cm across.

1. Motif from an 18th century Russian towel edge - chain stitch in metallic thread with small sequins.
2 Flower from Russian peasant embroidery - chain stitch and satin stitch.
3. Stem in raised stem band.
4. As 1 but reworked a little larger in black stranded cotton.
5 Tudor rose design taken from an Elizabethan hanging - worked in cross stitch and French knots on waste canvas, outlined with back stitch.
6. Silk shading on linen backed with calico, cut out and sewn onto background with edges turned under.
7. Ceylon stitch over a wired shape - stitched on calico, cut off and attached to background by one edge.
8. Satin stitch over petal cut from craft vilene.
9. Detached buttonhole worked on calico and cut off, then applied to the background over a black felt petal.
10. Blackwork pattern taken from a 17th century sampler and stitched on linen, petal edged in stem stitch.  applied to background with edges turned under.
11. Flower centre filled with speckling.
12.Leaf copied from Elizabethan hanging - layers of satin stitch in cotton perle over two layers of felt padding.  Edge, stalk and central vein in couched gold jap, other details in stranded cotton.

I am also including here a picture of a cushion I finished earlier this year following a workshop with Fay Maxwell as it shows another interpretation of flowersand more stitches, this time based on crewel work.  The flowers are cut freehand from thick felt and the stitches worked in tapestry wools and perle threads.  The background is silk supported by cotton and it has been backed with wadding and another layer of cotton, and quilted in the style of a kantha which makes the petals stand out. I added further padding to a few of the petals by cutting into the backing to raise them up further before the quilting was done.