on paper

Earlier this week, my department went to a lunch and had a tour of this amazing place, The Mansion on O Street, and while there I happened upon this amazing Algebra book (among other things: like hidden doors and a bathroom with a chess table set up inside of it!)


While I am not ready to tackle one of the pages with amazing typography, I did feel ready to play with one of the end pages — full of problem-solving. This particular page happens to be very sturdy, so it will hold up to having a lot of holes put into it. I’ve also been longing to put together organic embroidery stitching and geometric stitching into one piece. I find it helpful to take photos of my pieces as I go along when I only sort of have a direction. It’s easier for me to look at a piece in its entirety in a photo than in person for some reason. Here’s a look at how it progressed.


photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

This piece in particular doesn’t quite feel done just yet, but I’m sleeping on it for now.

Over the holidays, Bridgeen of Cherry and Cinnamon and I worked out a little private swap. (If you remember, our artwork was in a show together out in Seattle.) Her work is pretty amazing. I love how the Internet facilitates exchanges of this type, and I also love waiting for an opening packages!

Being that I’m still completely obsessed with stem stitching in very pale icy blue/greens, leaf shapes and french knots, I made her a little wintery tree piece from one of the embossed pages in the front of a poetry book. A bit like a plant growing out of the embossed seal. And how great is that embossed detail? It was one of the reasons I ended up buying this particular book.


The color is a bit hard to capture on camera, but I used DMC 3756 which is very light and ever so slightly blue.

She sent me a completely awesome portrait of Paul Rudd (because I adore him). Read her post here about it!

I don’t know why I waited so long to try silk threads. In a bit of an impulsive moment, I picked up one pull skein at the local shop one night. In the piece here, I used two strands of Au Ver a Soie Soie d’Alger (color number 1812) and I love the results.

winter branches
winter branches detail

I think that this little experiment was pretty successful, and I will definitely be using more silks in the future.


One of my favorite things about embroidering on paper is when things go just slightly wrong and have to be fixed- not torn to pieces wrong, just slightly off. Maybe there’s a whole in not quite the right spot, maybe things look a little wonky.

Take the piece I am currently working on, for example. The crosses were just a little bit too long. I wanted them larger, and it just so happened this was the size of the graph paper I have on hand. But, I only have a few pieces of blank paper from this particular book to work with, so I didn’t want to just chuck the whole thing out. As hard as it is to do when I have a very clear idea in my head (I just want to Get. It. Out.), I walked away from the work for a whole evening. The solution came while I was sleeping, and it was simple and very obvious: just make the crosses into double crosses. Done.

And it looks a thousand times better.

I never know exactly how things are going to turn out, but I am pleasantly surprised more often than not. The second piece to go along with the first was finished much faster (now that there was a plan).

Here’s the whole thing, with photos from my proper DSLR.

diamond + chevron



I took a little bit of inspiration from the photo of my great-grandparents that I have sitting on my desk. Diamond shape at the top, chevron at the bottom.

Also, this piece needs a title. Ideas anyone?

It's been a while since I've snuck in some lunchtime embroidery

I’ve been working on a new piece in my head for a week or so, and I finally sat down and started it on Wednesday. It’s moved along pretty quickly, but I won’t be able to share it for a while. It’s got a secret future. But I will share eventually. I have one more page with this embossed detail that I will be doing something with soon.


I also finished up the second piece from The Teddy Roosevelt Book. I can’t remember if I ever shared the first one; if not, here it is: The Good Citizen. And here are the two together. (Please forgive the mobile phone photography. It’s been rainy and gray.) I’m honestly not sure how I feel about these. They feel a bit forced to me. But I’ve had the sketch of the covered wagon done for ages and ages. It needed to get done so I could move on. I do think I’ve come up with a way to do satin stitching on paper, so there was at least something interesting learned from it.

In other news, I’m starting to seriously look for calls for art to respond to. I’d like to see some of my work out there in the world before this time next year.

  • See my photos See my photos
  • RSS feed RSS feed