I recently went along to an artist's talk, followed by a mini workshop by the talented textile artist, Karen Richards. She spoke about her work and the 'phases' that she's been going through over the many years that she's been working with thread. It was incredibly interesting, especially her innovative work with reflective thread and the installation that is now travelling throughout Australia.
The mini workshop after the talk was (in my opinion) about her encouraging us to play with threads, designs and to see where the traditional approaches can be stretched and manipulated. Now, that is right up my alley! It didn't suit some of the more traditional stitchers who were there, but I haven't done any formal embroidery since I was a teenager many (many) moons ago, so perhaps I was less restricted by the need to keep stitches tight and consistent. I started remembering a few traditional traits, especially the need to have the back as neat as the front - who does that!! - but I was more than happy to just muck around and have some fun.
So bring on Easter, a raid of my own supplies and a little shopping, and I've settled in to lose myself in my latest little obsession.
This one was my first attempt at playing with stitches, and seeing how to fill in spaces using layering (which was an emphasis in Karen's work). The instagram filter has made it much more orange in colour, but I liked the layering. I was also very happy to teach myself how to french knot via youtube, and whilst the first one wasn't so great, the rest have been fairly consistent since then.
This was one I finished today, using a purchased pattern and transfer (SO much easier than any other method). I have a whole series of these little owls, and I'm using a little 4" frame to stitch them, so I think that I'll make some up into a little coaster set.
This blue one was the second one I did, and I started it on Saturday at the Port Fairy market. I'm enjoying the portability of this new craft/obsession/use of my time and can see it being the thing that I cart around with me to more markets and trips.
I bought some downloadable pdf patterns from a gorgeous etsy store, Polka and Bloom, which is based in the UK. I have completed one of the designs already but haven't uploaded the photo yet. I'm really looking forward to doing more of those projects though - complex, lots of colour possibilities and a bit of a challenge.
I literally hit the mother load with the photo below. I knew that Mum would still have a lot of things in her cupboards, and after I couple of requests, I lobbed over there on the weekend and found a whole boxful of old transfers in the first box we opened. There were some in an envelope dated 1947, some with my Grandmother's maiden name, others from New Idea inserts from the 1970s. There are a lot of great vintage designs that I intend to play with, and whilst some of them have transfer ink that have bled a bit, they look like they might still be tranferrable.
I also 'borrowed' her box of threads too...
I've found this new way to spend my time really relaxing and an effective way to wind down and clear my mind, which is exactly what I need. Now let's see what I can make next...