Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Lake House: A Personal Project

I actually started this piece back in the Spring as an anniversary present for my husband.  Then, however, finals came quicker than expected and I got distracted.  It still has some work to go on it- more stitching of course!  I'm not going to stitch the whole thing solid, so the trick will be in deciding when there is "enough" stitching.  

The image is of my husbands' grandparents' lake house.  It is truly one of our favorite places in this world.  Until recently, there was no wifi, cable or cell phone service there.  We all just hung out, cooked, ate, sat by the fire, played in the water, hiked, read books, worked on puzzles, you get the picture-- pure bliss!  The lake backs up to the Appalachian Trail and has some beautiful hiking spots.  We have many, many wonderful family and personal memories at the Lake House.  It was where I first met his whole family all at once.  My favorite memory was when he proposed to me on the dock at sunrise.  

I wanted this piece to feel like a memory.  I was also inspired by the work of my colleague, Susan Brandeis, and how she utilizes layers, printing, and stitching in her work.  I printed (digitally) a photograph I had taken of the Lake House on both cotton sateen and silk organza.  I layered them with 1 layer of 1/8" cotton batting and a backing of cotton muslin.  I added the batting because I did not want the stitching to be flat and I thought the loft that the batting would give to the stitching would be nice. 

The threads I am using are the Valdani cotton sewing and quilting spools.  I love the colors and the soft transitions from color to color on the variegated spools.  The stitches I am using are just basic straight stitches and chain stitches so far.  I'm going to add in some metals into the water but I want that to be my last step.  More leaves on the trees first! 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Cabinet of Curiosities: Pinkeep

This summer I started a new course--The Cabinet of Curiosities: Part 1 Caskets with Tricia Nguyen.  I have long been fascinated by the 17th Century Stumpwork, especially as I have a project of my own that I want to use the techniques for (more on this later when the "idea" is coming together!).  With the help of a Legacy Scholarship awarded by the EGA and my ever-encouraging husband, I am excited that I get to take this course!

In addition to the historic knowledge I am gaining from it, there is also a series of mini-projects that I will be working through to learn the techniques.  The first of these "mini-projects" is the Pinkeep.  The materials for this project are 1750 Montrose linen canvas (approx. 24 count) and Soie Paris thread (3 strands).   The stitching is done all in tent stitch.   

I am using all the same materials, dimensions, and instructions as the project instructions require.  The only difference is that I have used different colors (though still from the 17th Century Color Palette) and my own design.  I based my design for my Pinkeep off of a photo of lily-of-the-valley at my old house.  I had taken a ton of photos of my lily-of-the-valley patch there a few years back when I was prepping for my RSN Silk Shading module.   Someday maybe I will be able to exhibit all my lily-of-the-valley's together!  

This is the first time I have worked with Soie Paris.  It has been an interesting challenge, especially with using the 3 strands.  I have been stranding them the same way as I did with my RSN canvaswork to try to keep it nice and flat.  The silk is soooooo slippery though!  I'm slowly getting the tension more even and smoother and it's great to work with a new thread.  I love the shine of the silk and the vibrant colors and I think once it "clicks" with my fingers I will be a huge fan of the silk threads. 

I thought I would try tramming the stem to make it more raised.  I am happy with the results (mostly) until the stem turns to the horizontal.  I stitched it bottom to top and maybe should have stitched it top to bottom.  Regardless, I'm fairly certain the top portion of the stem will be coming out.  No project is truly a project until something has been ripped out of it I suppose!