For the latest Phat Quarter swap I created this piece for Rebecca (aka hugsarefun) loosely based on an image of a carved sandstone screen I came across in one of my many trips around the internet. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to come close to reproducing the level of detail that was in the carving (isn’t is just wonderful, by the way?) but I knew I could emphasize the pentagons and add a few levels of “five” (aka the theme of the swap) to the piece. I had actually picked out a different piece of paper to use for this but I ripped the darn thing. Ah well. This one worked out just fine.
It’s been ages since I did any work on paper that I was happy with. It was what, February when I did a little chain stitched doodle? That’s crazy. I have been itching to get back to it. I started a little white doodle on a book cover, but it’s sort of languishing.
After an afternoon of messing about with a dictionary page — a piece that didn’t work out at all, I gave another book a try. This book is one I picked up at the used book store near my office. They frequently have their in the worse shape books out on the street for sale at something like $3 a book. I bought this one in late February. It is full of pretty bits — the cover, an inscription, and some embossed pages.
I’m always a bit timid when starting in on a page that I find particularly precious. But things would never get put on them if i didn’t just go for it so… First up is the inscription page.
One thing I always do is sacrifice one page in the book (at least) when I start on a new one — to do stitch and color-testing with. Paper quality is hard to judge — sometimes it’s more brittle than I thought — and the patina in each book is always different so colors are important to test. This book has a nice quality of paper and it holds up to a bit of tugging. I was itching to do a bit more feather stitching so after a quick test and a decision to stick with white I just went for it. I’m pretty pleased with it.
Next up, an illustrated plate page. I hardly ever work horizontally on paper, if ever. I used a slight grayish/green color on this page. It ended up being pretty darn beautiful, don’t you think?
This was really fun to put together. The Earth is based on this illustration by Wild Olive (with some adjustments).
When I was little, we had this set of World Book Encyclopedias that had these really detailed, acetate/transparency inserts that were layered and showed things like the inside of a frog, or the human head, skull, brain, muscles etc. I thought I’d try and accomplish something similar, but simplified.
The process turned out to not be too difficult to nail down. I started with a tiny prototype — it’s just a piece of vellum button-hole stitched over muslin. The hard part was nailing down what exactly I wanted to stitch. I wanted both pieces to be interesting on their own, but also to look good together. (I also loved that the “layers” had a double-meaning. Layers in the piece and layers of the Earth.)
I’m quite pleased at how well it turned out.
Here’s the first layer on its own:
I had planned on satin stitching the yellow as well, but after using almost a full skein (with just a tiny bit left over) on the orange, I didn’t want to chance not having enough for the yellow ring. I like the way it turned out regardless. I loved combining embroidering on fabric and embroidering on another surface. I might just do it again sometime.