Exercise 2.4 Composed and Developed

Sample 1 Lightning

Selected drawing:

The main idea I pursued for this substrate was that some papers give a white mark when folded, to emulate the white check in the background of this drawing. After trialing several alternatives, I settled on tracing paper.

Of course, the white fold mark only became obvious once the paper was laid against a dark background. To my delight, it resembled the drawing even more so, as the spaces between the folds were now a ghostly grey.

I knew I needed a ragged thread to render the black zig-zags. Thin strips of felt (synthetic) were the winner. The thin strips did not stretch during the sample; however, this was an issue during making the final piece, which required using small lengths and frequent re-threading of my huge tapestry needle.

This is an effective piece; the link between the drawing and the stitched outcome is very obvious.

The back of this piece is interesting. Like hieroglyphs. It reminds me of a piece by Hillary Ellis, which shows how beautiful the result of developing this motif could be.

Hillary Ellis, Enigma II,

Sample 2 Lino Lines

Selected drawing:

I was bereft of many ideas for the substrate until I reversed my thinking, and started thinking white on black, rather than the more mundane black on white. Then, the ideas flowed.

I discarded the ones I had already used (stitching on card, sanding glossy card) so that I could explore new territory. Two samples were in consideration for the final piece:

White 100% polyester wound around black card.

White ‘orange bag” fused (not iron) to black 80gsm paper.

Once created, both pieces were laminated on one side to address the issue of tearing that I encountered during my earlier pieces.

The ‘orange’ bag substrate curled, and was not as evocative of the drawing, so I chose the thread wrapped page.

The white stitching needed to be bold. After auditioning a range of threads, a double DMC #5 perle cotton was chosen for the main lines. Once stitching began, I wasn’t pleased with the level of definitionn, so added couching.

The result flounders, not capturing the quirky lines of the lino print; it seems too ordered, because I have made the lines within the zig-zag parallel.

It is a failure of observation; going ahead without my eye on the original drawing. Drawing with thread is no different than drawing with a pencil. There, I learnt that the eye must spend most its time on the subject; to draw what I see, not what I THINK I see. I feel more in my element with stitch than a pencil, so I neglected this golden rule. A good reminder.

I am, however, pleased with the different levels of shading when looking at the piece from a distance.


Ellis, H. (2014) Enigma II, detail,
Viewed: http://www.hilaryellis.co.uk/portfolio1314_image1.html, 5 May 2020

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