on paper

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Five Swap: pentagon tiling

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.

three together
I fell in love with the slightly sad illustrations, and the leaf shape. And now I need to put them somewhere so I can look at them all the time.

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.

White as a feather

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?

Sunday Morning


Sunday Morning - detail

My science swap piece made it to my partner today:
The Earth and Its Layers: closed

The Earth and Its Layers: open


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:

The Earth and Its Layers: layer 1

And the second:
The Earth and Its Layers: layer 2


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.

white chain stitch

I enjoyed the chain stitch on paper so much that I decided I needed to do another white piece. I haven’t done a white doodley piece in a while now and in fact, I don’t even have but one of them in my possession now. I miss having them around.

white chain stitch detail

I think I’ll be keeping this one for a bit.

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