Saturday 10 September 2016

Experimentation: Drawing in Stitch

I have been getting really excited about stitching lately. I do have a degree in Printed Textiles, but have not really had textiles on my radar since leaving university, as I moved straight into illustration.

This new interest started because I have been trying to think about new ways to progress my sketch work. I have all these sketchbooks heaving with drawings and paintings that go nowhere once they are done.

This is because I find it a boring and pointless idea, just replicating sketches larger, as artwork and, up to now, anything I have tried to do which uses the sketches as a starting point has only ever been less interesting than the originals. I think this is because the originals are so instinctive and the dynamism gets lost in translation.

Anyway, I suddenly got one of those light bulb moments. By working in a totally different medium, I am exploring ways to rework sketches by drawing in stitch. Because it is a translation process, it remains a totally creative adventure.

I have no experience in this area, so I am having great fun learning embroidery stitches and seeing what I can do with them. I bought a sheet from the charity shop, so I wouldn't be precious about things. I tore a section of it into strips, then sewed them back together again, deliberately roughly, to get some texture and see what would happen. Ultimately, I want to play around with layers of applique to create areas of colour, but for now I just painted onto the fabric. I like how it responds to the paint very differently to paper. 

I want to hand-sew, partly because I like the contemplative nature of sewing, but also because my old Singer sewing machine won't allow me to do free machine-embroidery. Luckily John Lewis had a sale on their embroidery silks, so I got lots of different colours for 10p each - great starter-pack!

I thought a contour drawing would be interesting, so I am working on an enlargement of a contour sketch I did on a train a few months ago. The piece will be about A2. It's not finished yet, but the close-up images here are all details from it as it is at the moment.

I am going to embroider text onto it too. I don't know if it will work, but I am having fun and learning loads.


meweatherson said...

Absolutely awesome Lynne! You would never know you have no experience doing hand embroidery. Clearly there is some natural talent there :) As an aside, I bet you can do free motion on that old Singer...even if it doesn't have a way to drop the feed dogs, there's a work around. Simply reduce the stitch width and length to the lowest settings possible, switch out to a darning foot, and have at it. By changing the stitch length and width it minimizes the action of the feed dogs down to next to nothing thereby allowing the fabric to move freely beneath. Not that you need to do free motion work when your hand embroidery is so outstanding... Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Elderberry said...

This is out of this world, I love it! The look of the stitches really mixes well with your drawing style, and I'd never have guessed that you were a beginner at embroidery! :)

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks you so much guys. That's really encouraging to hear.

Thanks so much for that great tip too Michelle. I would love to be able to combine the fine-line drawing of the machine with the stronger hand embroidery, to get more layers and greater variety of mark-making. I will definitely give it a go.

Mokki said...

That looks like such fun to do. It looks great, I love the paintwork and your stitching seems very intuitive too.

dinahmow said...

I re-purposed a print (jungle scene printed onto cotton sheeting for an exhibition) into an apron.Well, it would hardly matter if it got inky in the studio!
I love the loose contour drawing;you may have given me a nudge in this direction...

Eleanor said...

I think I'll just send you my embroidery machine and spare threads while I catch up with you illustration-wise!!! It all looks very you but with a superb new twist. And easier to take on a plane to China :)

Joey J said...

You are a hot little thing... I'd like to teach you a few things.