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.