process

Hello there! Here’s the part where I say yes, it’s been a while, but you know, life happens. Blah, blah, blah.

Now, on to the good stuff.

I made some things!

white grid 1It started out that I had this page about subtraction that I wanted to use. So I started thinking about how to visually show subtracting. The idea that I settled on was one of a disappearing blackwork pattern. Sounds simple enough, right? I did though, want to fight my tendency for perfect symmetry and just wanted to remove some random pieces and go from there. I sketched up a pattern, poked holes, stictched it and… was unsatisfied. The scale here is all wrong. The stitching fits the page, but the pattern doesn’t really work, nor does the white. red grid 1

So I ditched the math book (I have more subtraction pages, but I think I’ll save it for something else), and switched to a French version of The Swiss Family Robinson — only because the pages were larger and have some interesting illustrations. I redid the same pattern doubled in size (with maybe a variation here or there) and switched up the color.

red grid 2At first, I was a bit unsure about if it worked or not. After stepping back from it (photographing always helps me see things better), I am pleased. So I drew up another pattern and stitched that one, too. This one I’m unsure about at the moment; it’s a bit wonky in places (but normally I don’t mind that). I also have a compulsion to do things in threes, so there might be another one eventually, but I can’t settle on a blackwork pattern that isn’t too intricate or doesn’t tile too well, or looks too similar to the ones I’ve already done.

red grid 1 - details
My favorite bit, for those of you still with me, is this part of the octagonal piece, where I’ve happily accidentally framed the initials of the illustrator.

 

But getting closer to done.

Making messes and working on some thready, tangly bits. Still in progress ( I think).

I am still considering if any other thread bits need to be added; and most importantly, thinking about how to finish the piece. I normally mat things on black, but that won’t work for this piece. And the white I have on hand looks too stark. So, I’ll keep experimenting.

The ever lovely Bridgeen of Cherry and Cinnamon invited me to participate in the blog hop that’s been going around. See her post here. So here’s a look at what I am working on and a bit about how I work.

What am I working on?

Hedebo
Honestly, I’m working on figuring out what I want to work on next. I’ve been thinking about doing some simple Hedebo embroidery (pictured above) in combination with a moth wing. I’m still contemplating how exactly it will work.

Burlap side 2 progress
While I ponder away on that, I’ve picked up the burlap sack again and started on a snake and some apples. Plus, I’m stitching up some baby presents for a few friends. Keeping my hands busy while my brain works on another problem works well for me.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I like to think that my work has a certain something to it that makes it special. I’m always drawn to little things in a book that make it unique — typography, illustrations, water damage, embossed pages. I love a sense of story in a piece. Sometimes that comes from a photo that I’m working with, and sometimes it comes from the narrative that a book tells itself. I am certainly not the only person who uses embroidery and paper together, but I think my work has its own definite look about it.

Why do I create what I do?

I love the satisfaction of creating something out of an about to be discarded item. And I love the sound that thread makes going through paper. Embroidery also lets me slow things down. Having a job and two kids means sometimes things get a bit hectic.

How does my creating process work?

In large part, I start with a page and then figure out what to put on it. I keep lists of topics that interest me, and of possible images that might go together well, but I try to just let the embroidery take form as I go along.

in the weeds

I’ve been trying to keep things looser lately. The first burlap side came together casually, and my last few paper pieces have been more improvisational. I am starting to really enjoy working without a very specific plan. Over-thinking can be such a barrier for me.

For next week…

Keeley keeps a blog called Stitch and Color where she shares her embroidery and illustration creations (I’m particularly charmed by her watercolors). You can also find her on Flickr and Instagram.

And so many other awesome folks have already written a post for this “hop”, I encourage you to check them all out. The aforementioned Bridgeen, Sol, Rebecca, Julie, Carina…And in the non-embroidery world: Chiaki, Roybn, Katie, Kim, and Rachael (and so many others…).

Pressed flower, paper and embroidery. Work in progress.

This Memorial Day weekend, we don’t have any big plans. We had some family to visit yesterday afternoon but, that’s it. No parties, no softball games, no running the kids around. Nothing but free time. It took me a little bit to work up the nerve — this flower was inside this Hungarian cookbook (and on this page, even). Once I stuck it down (I use these scrapbooking adhesive squares) I just sucked it up and went for it. It’s very much not close to done, but I’m happy with how it’s going so far, particularly the bits around and over the flower.

in the weeds

I realized the other day that I haven’t done much stitching in the past few weeks. It’s been a bit on the busy side in my day-to-day life as of late. I resolved to correct that last night. I’ve been thinking lately a lot about what is in the spaces between things. Meaning, things that don’t fit into any one category. People that cannot be categorized. Things that live in the cracks.

in the weeds

I started this without much of a plan. I knew I was going to piece together scraps from the paper quilt, and I knew I wanted to use the blank (or mostly blank) sections. But that was it. I tried to challenge myself a little bit by not sketching anything anywhere. Not on the back, not on another paper, no planning of where the holes were going to be, just to go for it.

In the end, I’m pretty pleased. Once those seed stitched circles happened, I felt like I was on the right track.

I’m hoping to do more of these improvisational, smaller type of pieces. It feels good to just start off running without knowing where things are going.

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