Exercise 2.3 Drawing with Stitch onto Paper

Drawing with stitch onto prepared paper surfaces.

Sample 1 Pineapple Spikes

Drawing Substrate

I put loops around the snipped paper to mimic the overall shapes around the pineapple skin spikes:

I wasn’t happy with this. It lacked the ‘scrappiness’ of the drawing and the fine detail. Using a finer thread to add more stitches was my impulsion.

I thought the regular pattern was a strength of the sample so far. It wasn’t an exact copy of the drawing, but a distillation of the elements, repeated in accordance with the snips on the paper. What else could I distill in this way? What was common?

I took the work off the main sample to do some experiments, making a quick mock-up. Testing various repeating marks (sets of parallel lines, couching the large thread at various points along the loop), I was most pleased with the ‘V’ shaped ones. They really echoed the marks on the drawing, and mimicked the lead into each spike. This also determined where I should place them. The result:

The back of this piece was interesting. It developed into a zig-zag pattern.

Sample 2 Pineapple Scribble

Drawing Substrate

I treated the drawing like and embroidery pattern and traced a section and transferred it to my substrate with pencil. There were long curved sections, and I choose a black #40 Milford crochet cotton to give the lines. How to attach them? My impulse was to stick them. What better way to stick them down than with couching.

I chose a cream 40wt 100% cotton machine quilting thread (Signature brand) to match the background, so that the couching would not take centre stage.

As I progressed I became more willing to take longer and longer pieces of the black thread through various loops and curves. But, I was less and less happy with the cream thread. It put discontinuities in my long pieces of black. I was hesitant to change, because I had already worked about a third of the area. Who said it had to all be the same? It was a sample.

So I tried black 50wt 100% cotton sewing thread (Gutermann), and red 100% cotton thread (I’ve had this lying around, so not sure of the weight, but looks about 40, and I can’t remember the brand.

The colour differences was the spark that made the sample more interesting!

Were I to do the sample again, I think I should give more consideration to ‘white space’, seeing how this would impact the composition.

Sample 3 Stitched

Drawing Substrate

I have chosen this photograph to illustrate the texture on the paper, which was deliberately chosen for its ‘linen’ texture.. I am thrilled with the outcome here. With a little judicious unpicking it is quite evocative of the original drawing.

Sample 4 Woven Voile

Drawing Substrate

I did a number of tests with weaving thread with fantastic results before embarking on this sample; however, my investigations did not include a piece with holes. Upon stitching, the practical considerations of the fragile paper meant that the stitching needed to stop about 1mm from the hole, making it much more obvious than I had envisaged.

I prefer the other sample inspired by the drawing, as machine stitching better captures the crispness of original image. I couldn’t resist stitching this paper sample, with pleasing results:

Sample 5 Short and Long

Drawing Substrate

I used a 400% enlarged photocopy of my original drawing to observe and emulate the tiny ‘dots’ of the drawing, created as the pencil skipped over the rough paper. A series of experiments with various threads to make French Knots with various numbers of ‘windings’ (a single ‘winding’ to about 5 ‘windings’) did not yield satisfactory results.

I have some experience with embroidery. As a girl I stitched a sampler in short and long stitch, and loved the result. I turned to this stitch, rendered in shades of white, grey and black. Using DMC metallic threads was interesting:

This was very painstaking and time-consuming. After about 20 hours of stitching I had completed enough to show me the effect that would be achieved. As it is merely a sample, I stopped at that point.

I am not happy with the result. If it is at all interesting, it is because of the strange, disembodied shape; but, the stitching is very traditional.

Sample 6 Grubs

Drawing Substrate

Really thrilled with this!

The idea emerged from an increasingly abstracted drawing that arose from treating a section of the drawing as a unit. A side study of repeating tapestry stitches added to the overall inspiration.
This is the last page of my sketchbook, where the design is resolved:

Then, the search for an appropriate way to render the design ensued. I wanted something rope-like. Serendipity showed me the most wonderful velvet covered piping in the haberdasher store! I bought it immediately, just as I was resolving to make my own cording. The gentle sheen of the velvet was perfect.

Sample 7 Floating

Drawing Substrate

For both the pieces created from the goggle drawing, the round shape interested me, so it came to the fore.

I used a ‘view-finder’ within the round shape to explore various ways of rendering it: including outlining with various materials, and layering organza to create the shadows. When I stitched the ‘lines’ in this part of the drawing onto the plastic, the straight lines took on curved edges and seemed to ‘float’!

Because I am now using a sketchbook, I could capture that serendipitous observation, and it became my sample. I love the results:

The main problem to solve with this piece was tying off the threads. The plastic has none of the friction that keeps threads in place on fabric, so they loosen and the design is lost. My solution was to press the edges in a heat-sealing machine. The metallic threads are plastic so they fused. I was delighted with this solution, as it maintained the integrity of the process, which began with melting plastic.

One of my favourite samples, I’m keen to re-visit this piece, and develop it into a larger project. Exciting.

Sample 9 Round and Round

Drawing Substrate

This piece explored the rubber band in the goggle drawing. I found the curve and fold of the drawing attractive, and ended up depicting it with a curved piece of 6mm one-sided satin ribbon.

The main feature of the substrate was the wonderful burned-out holes, which I wanted to emphasise with cord. The only problem was joining the ends of the cord. I could have joined them under the substrate, but it frayed awfully. Once again I turned to the primary source: heat. Melting the ends of the cord in a candle allowed them to be firmly fused. The ribbon bands join the circles, as in the goggles.

Sample 8 Coconut Chromatograpy

Drawing Substrate

The amazing chromatography of the black paint used to produce this paper was perfect to render my coconut inner drawing. The wandering brown lines resembled the edges of my wet media, and the blue-ish black shadow at the bottom of the pages added another element. To take full advantage of these marks, I overlaid several pieces of the substrate.

The running stitch delineates the areas. I could have been more creative with this! However, I am pleased with the more spontaneous stitches: the coconut fibre, and the white vertical stitches.

Sample 10 Gerbera

Drawing Substrate

To make this sample, I photocopied (at actual size) my drawing onto tracing paper. I pinned it to the backing paper and machine quilted it with black thread, to closely resemble the original drawing.

The dense stitching rips the tracing paper guide when it is removed (the bottom half of the sample): but I quite like the little tears and holes as they give more texture. In the top half of the sample, the tracing paper remains intact within the petals.

The back was quite interesting, too. A dark version:

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