Stitching, embroidery and telling stories with thread

image

Stitch is a gentle and impactful manner to tell stories, create imagery, and spend time. 

IMG_0453

Take, for instance this graffiti, a snapshot taken while in Barcelona, Spain, just over five years ago. I love birds, and am smitten with the quick, illegal stroke of the graffiti artists’ hand. Combine the two, and I definitely feel the need to snap a photo and go on to figure out how to use it in my own work!

image

While most of the imagery I use in my work is drawn by myself, I don’t really feel badly about recreating a graffiti drawings in my work. I receive graffiti as an issue of the public domain, perhaps I am wrong in my thinking, I do not know. Beside which, I will not be selling any work with that bird in it, it is for my own enjoyment and personal use.

That trip to Spain was quite pivotal to me as an artist. I saw some graffiti that bowled me over and made me seriously embrace upon how to go about multicolor printing. That trip caused me to change course artistically.

image

It made me start using stitch differently too. I began to use stitch as a means to journal, to use cloth as a place to store memories, thread as a medium to impart color, to draw and even to write. It made me start thinking of stitch as my own personal form of graffiti. Even if I am not doing it illicitly. 🙂

image

It feels good to settle back into embroidery and stitch. In the next month or so, I will be creating content for my newly renovated teaching web site, The Clever Guild (there have been some behind the scenes updates and I am still fiddling with the particulars-but it is coming together, finally). I will be working with the idea of Journal Stitching and hope you might be interested in taking a class with me.

In the meantime, please read my rambles about the process here!

Thread as traveler.

David and I just got back from shanty town, oh uh, I mean, Seattle. What a great city. It feels like a town, which is nice.

It is such a working town, quiet, humming right along, I loved walking the streets. We passed through neighborhoods, quaint with corner shops, over highways, alongside real traffic, through alley ways, the whole deal. We kicked back, ate, drank, walked, boy did we walk. Maybe 6 to 10 miles a day. We had a clean fresh room, we found a coffee-shop to land in, I stitched, he read. We ate doughnuts! The raised cinnamon sugar doughnut? I am glad those doughnuts are on the other side of the continent! Can’t walk there from here! We went two days in a row and each ate 2 doughnuts a day!

 

A total of 4 doughnuts! OMG

 

We don’t eat doughnuts in-real-life.

 

Anyway.

The production of Sew-plies Purses is unceasing. The above Poppy Sew-plies Purse feels very Inspired to Quilt in look and feel. Working with organza just feels comfortable to me. And to watch the sheen of the thread against the organza? Very i2q.

I painted these poppies, perhaps a year or more ago. It was just a sample, playing around with dye and trying to paint and achieve color variations, I liked it, so I batched, washed and put it aside. Layering it over this scrap of Japanes kimono fabric is really opening up the visual conversation. Being able to see through the organza, to see some but not all of the silk undeneath? And to sew them all together? That is the magic of working in layers like this. 

The difference is the use of commercial prints and hand embroidery. What fun a single stitch is. I love hearing the needle rip the cloth, the thread pulling through. Joy. Relaxation. Did I mention the tea shop we found? I am looking to find a yummy green or white tea. I am sorry, I keep derailing my own post. We have been having such fun!! Tonight we will walk Manhattan.

The Sew-plies Purse is playing a huge role in my makings! I am literally sewing on the subways, at the coffeeshop, wherever possible. My goal is to draw, transform, change, create texture, communicate through needle and thread.  To sew imagery from experience as quickly as possible, given the medium. It slows me down just enough! 

Fun, fun, fun!

100% Human

I am enamored of labels. I remove them from my clothing, collect them in baggies, I love them. I daydream of a collection of labels organized by color. The last time I visited my folks, I nabbed a coffee bag label printed on twill tape, I am telling you! Precious Item alert. Yup.

I am making this ‘garment’ for myself. So I decided to stitch my own label, so far I have embroidered,

‘Made in New Haven, Ct

100% Human.

What should the small print should read?

Do I need some care instructions? I like the idea. 

David and I are still enjoying a vacation with each other, so I will be scarce for a few more days.

The Twilight Zone

We were out and about today and we spotted this tool chest. As you might imagine, any use of the word chest is satisfactory to me, right now. Breast Pockets, Tool Chest, You get the idea. And it is so very red.

This is our newest throw. Made of silk saris sew together by women in India. I am sewing two together as a throw for David and I and a few friends. 

This is Tim’s throw.

This cloth is dreamy. I am in love with the feel. I want a pile of ten. They are just like Jelly Rolls. Just like potato chips, you can’t have just one.

I had potato chips this week! I forgot how much I love them. I had also had a great chinotto soda, Boy! is that soda a treat cold! I love good soda. 

This Sew-plies purse is coming around. The color in this photo is quite yellow. The picture below is a better representation of the actual color. But this one shows my first attempts at needle turn appliqué. I am not great at it but it interests me.

I am now designing the flap and backpack style straps. 

 

This week I have had computer troubles, all flukey type problems. My server keeps blocking my ip address because there is a device here on premises that is attempting to contact it in quick succession. So then I can’t access my web site or The Clever Guild, I call, they, ‘white list’ the problem and it clears for a few days.

I feel like if I touch an electronic device, it is going to act up, get buggy, break, stall, something! Earlier in the week I deleted my entire email account, no idea how I achieved that one. Then I couldn’t upload video content. It has been electronics intensive week!

Geez.

So I have been trying to steer clear of the computer and limit my exposure while still getting what I need to acccomplished.

Fragments old, made new.

The poppy sew-plies purse got nixed. I like that piece too much to cut it down to size and at the same time, I don’t want to have one off sized purse in the lot. So I searched my stash and am making a new ‘graffiti style’, embroidered ‘Gather your Sew-plies’ purse. Perhaps I could even call it graffiti boro, to go with the rockstar boro wrap! I am pairing each of these bags with a garment that I am embroidering and embellishing. Basically, no clothing in my wardrobe is safe! 

So I took a very old ragged and dilapidated cross stitch piece and sewed it in place on some sturdy linen. The canvas sew-plies purse in the background of this photo is the notorious Belly Button Sew-plies purse, mentioned in this post. But here you can see why Leslie named it the Belly Button! It’s an outtie. 

Alright, so here is the thing…I have fallen in love with making these purses. I sort of want 30 of them in various styles, colors, patterns and styles. That Belly Button? It is a magnet, a fabric covered magnet. Magnets have become, The Bomb. Do you remember finding cloth covered snaps in clothing? You hardly see that anymore. I have mastered the art of covering magnets, it is easy really, I just like to inflate my ego and give myself props.

So this morning, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, I logged onto Amazon to search out strong disk magnets and I found them, in two sizes. They have already shipped… I await them with baited breath.

Today is the last day you can sign up for my online class give away! So go to it!