December 5, 2018

Using the last bits

I had stamped several bowls on white linen instead of natural, and decided to make a few cards from them, no stitching added. These needed a black or gray background instead of cream.

Then I did some improvisational work, using the scraps generated from trimming the abstract compositions shown in the last post. This piece is about 6x11 inches.

I enjoyed working on this, playing around with what can be made from a variety of related shapes. The fact that the bowl shape includes both straight and curved lines makes for interest in the cropped forms. I think I will leave this as is, without trimming the edges further.

I only have a few small scraps left. Not much variation of mark/texture in what's left, so I'll stop here.

December 4, 2018

More work with printed and stitched bowls

I've continued to work with the bowls stamped on linen, using up all the imagges already stamped.  The photo above shows the first 3 stitched bowls in front, not mounted on cards. These are still my favorites, which I think I'll mount together in a frame. (Thanks to Beth for this suggestion.) Four more stitched bowls, mounted on cards, are along the right side.  The remaining 11 (center and left) are cropped pieces that I got out of the overlaid stamping below.

I enjoy cropping to get new images. This one makes me thinks of two canoes tied up on the shore:

And when I looked at the bowls upside down, I got this, one of my favorites:

This one makes me think of a camping tent:

But I like it better turned 90 degrees, for a still life of a wedge of cheese and a bottle of wine. Click on any image for a close-up view that allows you to see the complex texture in some of these.

Here are a few photos to show how I make the crops. The first photo shows the cardstock window over the fabric, the window cut to the 3 x 5.5" size that I know will work well on the Fabriano cards that I use.

Then, holding the top of the window in place, I slip a quilter's ruler underneath, lining up two of its edges with the top and right side of the window. Then I remove the window, cut those two edges with a rotary cutter, and finish by rotating the ruler to cut the other two edges.

Here's the finished crop. The shape on the right reminds me of a goblet.

I love the complexity of shapes that can be drawn from simple repetition of one shape. And it interests me how difficult it is for the eye to accept something as abstract, but wants to see other objects in the cropped compositions.

These photos were taken before securing the cloth to the card, which I've now done with double-stick tape. The linen was also reinforced with a fusible stabilizer (some before stamping, some after), which makes the cut pieces easier to handle and keeps the edges from fraying. I also did one sample where I deliberately frayed the edges, but it's very difficult to get the composition lined up with the thread lines, making the fringe uneven, so I abandoned that.

I've bought more linen, some the natural color used here, and some white, which I could dye and/or hand-paint. But perhaps this is enough for now. I'll see what I feel moved to do next.

November 19, 2018



I'm continuing with hand-stitching, using it to make new work that focuses on the shape of a bowl. I've used this shape before, working from about a dozen stamps in variations of a bowl shape that I used to make a screen used for cloth napkins. I've also used these stamps to make cards:

I decided to use the stamps as a base for stitching, rather than to do a drawing and then stitch it. Here are eight bowls stamped on tan linen. I used varying amounts of pressure, and I also varied how I applied the ink to the stamp--sometimes with a brush, sometimes with a sponge. (I used Versatex water-based screen-printing ink.)

And here are the same eight bowls, with three of them stitched (2nd row middle bowl, 3rd row first and third bowls).

Here are the three isolated; each is about 3x4". The third has just a small amount of red thread added to the stamped image (click on the image to see the detail). For thread I used some hand-dyed 20/2 perle cotton that I had on hand from other projects.


I really like these, and will definitely do more. I like the way in which the somewhat unpredictable marks made by the stamping gives me guidance for the sewing--a mixture of spontaneity and intentionality that is appealing to me. I'm not sure what I will do with them. They would certainly work very well as the front of a card, but I'd like to also think about ways to put a number of bowls into a composition together.  I will be looking at Susan Moss's stitched drawings to further my thinking on this; her drawings are an inspiration to me for the possibilities of using thread as a drawn line.

And another tack: I also did multiple overlapping stamps on the linen, using uniform pressure. I did this with the intention of isolating various areas by cropping, to get possible compositions. Here's the stamped piece as is, followed by a few possible crops.

I would keep these as is, no stitching.


November 12, 2018


Early in October, I took a two-day hand-stitching workshop at the Pacific Northwest Art School with Christine Mauersberger, someone whose work I have long admired. The image above (about 6" high) combined two stitching exercises. The first was to stitch a circle. The second was to draw lines that captured a series of breaths, transfer the lines to the fabric, and stitch them. I decided to use this as an opportunity to try out a variety of ways of making a line with stitches. My enthusiasm for hand-stitching was re-ignited by the workshop, and when I got home I decided to explore further the variety possible in line-making. I started a sampler using all one type of thread, varying the stitches. I got up to about 45 and paused to do some further trials and a project. I'll pick this up again sometime later to explore further types of lines. (You can click on an image to enlarge it.)

About 45 different ways to stitch a line.

Close-up of top right column

One stitch, different threads
From the further trial of various threads, I chose a nubbly Tassar silk thread from Habu (the 4th one down in the image above) to stitch on a sleeveless blouse of mine. I very much enjoyed working on this, and I like the stitch I used for it. I think of it as a variation on my "conversation stitch," with the conversation not just between 2 or 3 stitches, but between each stitch with the one before and then after it and sometimes in groups. This kind of stitching actually takes more attention than aiming for a regular set of parallel stitches. It keeps my mind engaged as I work, and I'm happy with the look.   

detail of stitching


I got the idea for the placement of the stitching from a tunic that Christine wore during the workshop. The design was actually printed onto her tunic rather than stitched, but it really looked like stitching.


I am now on the lookout for other items in my wardrobe might benefit from some stitching. . .