Finally back from the land of nowhere and into my creative zone! I have begun a new series and completed the first two works. Even while I was not feeling very motivated I was still working. I did the drawing below with some ink. It is based on a design on an old Japanese kimono.
For no reason in particular I drew a grid of fine lines, well, actually I did it to get used to using a dip pen and to get a feel for how much ink it would hold.
For a long while I have been thinking of doing a series inspired by the traditional crafts of peoples from around the world, which is what started me on the drawing above. I had no idea what format the works would take or how I would integrate the varying styles of folk traditions.
Then I found this paper. It is A4 size. It looks like woven straw mat doesn't it? But it is actually made of cotton. The woven structure makes it perfect for stitching, what with those intrinsic holes and all.
Here it is in close up. Delicious, isn't it? I love the uneven weave and the contrasting textures of the fibres. I still wasn't sure how my single drawing would pan out into an entire series, but after spending a couple of hours in the bark cloth room at Mona the ideas started to gel (you can read about the bark cloths in my previous post here).
The combination of ink and stitch was going to suit this project perfectly. My first challenge was to transfer my drawing which I did by drawing a grid over the original drawing and redrawing the image onto the woven paper in ink.
Here is the ink drawing finished. It took about 3 layers to get good dark coverage. I was really pleased with the glossy finish that so resembled the finish on some of the bark cloths.
While the ink looks indigo, it is actually a very dark green.
Here's the finished work.
It was surprisingly difficult to stitch curved lines into the uneven weave. Fortunately, because the paper is cotton it was possible to split the fibres with the needle without the paper tearing.
The motif on the bottom half is repeated in shadow form overlaying the 2 motifs at a 90 degree angle.
Work number 2 drawn up and ready for painting.
Mixing up the ink to just the right shade proved difficult with my limited colours, especially the "white", which kept coming out baby pink!
Ink drawing completed. On the red/brown side I did a very light wash over the paper before painting in the triangles.
The white has this lovely matte chalky look..........
.....that contrasts beautifully with the glossy finish of the red.
And here's what happened when my needle was finished its work.
Love these little cross stitches.
Again, overlapping shadow elements feature.
So, do you like my new series so far? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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I am a hand embroidery artist living and working in the rugged and wild Central HIghlands of Tasmania.