Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A tale of three embroideries

Last week when I dug out my Japanese embroidery piece for this week's class, I found two other pieces. The above is the Japanese silk piece I began seven years ago. I left this class drained of any confidence or sense of skill. It took a long time for me to come back to it. (it's a paper wrapper around the stems of a bouquet)

In 1-1/2 days of class so far this week, I've reoriented myself to the piece and the techniques. I stitched five small leaves (4-1/2 really, the instructor stitched the first half of one), finished the iris petal that's started, and stitched some teeny grass heads. Slow going and intense but very enjoyable and so very beautiful. (I keep reminding myself of the galloping horse rule--if you can't see the mistake while riding by on a galloping horse, then it isn't a problem.) Karen Plater is a wonderful instructor, very positive and kind. And inspiring.

Each day begins with a morning talk. The comment that sticks with me from today is that you need to slow your head to the speed of your hands. Wise advice!

In the same suitcase, I found two other mounted pieces that I'd begun. This one was designed by Shay Pendray. She is a wonderful teacher and this class really helped restore my stitching confidence. I really enjoyed being in this class (Needle Artisans workshop in 2003 or 4). This is also Japanese embroidery. I'd always admired the technique used in the leaf, called fuzzy technique.

But, I was never thrilled with the grape design and I felt the drawing was clumsy. I've learned that if I don't get the drawing right initially, the piece will never be right. It's really difficult to get elegant curves on this ridged fabric--I probably should have couched the pattern lines. Plus, you can see the damage wrought by six years left strung tight on the frame (my bad). The silk ground was ripping and there wasn't much extra space to allow for repair. So, I've decided to chalk this one up to lessons learned and not finish it.The last piece in the suitcase was this needlepoint, from 2003 or 4. It was designed and taught by Judy Souliotis. I will finish this. In a way it's a no brainer--none of the techniques are new to me or very difficult (except laying and couching the gold and much of that is already done). The gold "water" and shading on the fan were applied by Judy before the class, using techniques she learned in Japan. I remounted it (the canvas was very loose) and have already stitched a second camellia. The only challenge, really, is working on black canvas. (18 count) It uses Needlepoint Inc silks and Kreinik metallics--almost every leaf and petal incorporates some metallic thread.


terryb said...

The Souliotis piece looks particularly appealing. I love black (or dark) canvas. On the other hand, the Japanese embroidery sounds really intimidating--I think it's the flat silk that puts me off for fear it will shred in my rough hands. Shay Pendray was my very first Seminar teacher. I really liked the project (Christmas ornaments with a couched silver bow), though I've never completed it (close though--I should get it out someday). I also bought one of her kits at Merchandise Night--unfortunately, it's still in the bag.

Jenny said...

Your Japanese embroideries are beautiful. I must take a look at more japanese embroidery next time I go to the V & A

Lelia said...

Your projects look lovely : )

Kathy said...

All the different needlework pieces are fabulous. It is so great that you are able to take all the different classes. I love seeing and hearing able all the different techniques.

Judy S. said...

I especially like the piece with the red camellias and am glad you've decided to finish it. It's hard to decide sometimes to let somthing go or keep going, isn't it? Thanks for sharing your work.

Jane said...

I've been back 4 or 5 times to look at your Japanese embroidery. Are you going to be able to keep going on it at home, or will you wait for more seminars?