Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Plastic tubing couching

More or nue, but me being me, I'm still eskewing traditional metal threads and trying something new within the spectrum of 'goldwork'. This time it's the turn of thin plastic tubing as a base thread with which I can then couch over in stranded embroidery cotton.

The red 'escape' measures 5cms by 2cms:

And another interesting use with the transparent plastic is that you can have stitches beneath it, worked directly onto the background fabric, which still show through: this way, part of the background can be given a 'shine' (I think it looks a little like the shadow on the 'A'is underwater). Solid metal threads obviously do not have this potential. And in the right direct light, the plastic really shines, 'illuminating' it.
Blue stitched area 2.5cm by 2.3cms:

The next one was worked onto cotton organza (which is the most transparent fabric I could find). Unfortunately, unlike the organdie I've been sticking to as of late, it's just too fine for this sort of stitch: the slightest pull, the slightest over-tensioning of the stitch as it's worked, and the organza will just rip. I got away with it here due to excessive patience but practically, it could 'run' and spoil far too easily.

But feeling inspired by my persistently patient approach to the sample above, I took an A4 plastic wallet, chopped a section out and started stitching onto that too. It spells out 'nothing' but didn't especially need to be done to completion:

There's some even stranger stuff following shortly in another post.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Whitework eyelets re-worked

As I've already briefly explained on a previous post, whitework currently has my interest. But before I can start 'creating' anything out of it, I need to fully explore the technique and just what its specific potential holds for me and my work. So I've embarked on a sampling spree to become better acquainted with the technicalities of what works, how to do it and what effects can be achieved. Nothing especially 'final' at this point, more of a space to play....

No white thread on white cotton, that really doesn't inspire me - so surely I should be working with materials that do? Hence the 'less traditional' fabrics I'm embracing (although cotton-a-broder is still my favourite thread of choice.) As for the name 'whitework', it refers more to the traditional techniques encompassed by that name rather than a specified colour scheme.

Black PVC - it's easy enough to sew onto: the shiny surface has a stretchy nylon-like backing, which means the plastic won't rip apart or tear without considerable force. Just don't overly tighten the hoop or the tension will leave a mark.

'Shark fin' -  some form of rubbery synthetic that still has a woven base so, just like the PVC, it can be stitched without ripping. It's a matt surface but it was the closest thing I could find to latex (the craft shop didn't sell that, sadly). The interesting thing is that it doesn't fray. Technically, the oversewing of the cut eyelets is therefore redundant, but as an aesthetic function I still like it - you can introduce other colours, eg red, and even the black oversewn edge stands out slightly.

And then I got hold of some black latex.... and proved it is actually possible to stitch on, much to my surprise. The key is patience, to go very gently, and remember that one little rip whilst working it will destroy the entire sample. I'm still not sure as to its stretchability post-embroidering: the sample can stretch a bit, assuming you'd need sufficient 'give' to get a garment on, but I doubt there'd be a great deal of stretch without distorting the stitching.
Nobody else really seems to be embroidering into latex, at least as far as I've seen: probably for good reason, but it's an area I want to consider playing with. How to embellish it, and what to do with it afterwards.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Anti Valentine's Day

Have been experimenting a lot with the technique of whitework. Now, back at the Royal School of Needlework, we had a whole module in it. Which was a brilliant technical grounding that I now consider absolutely essential to have done.

But I don't particularly find white thread on white fabric very inspiring. The techniques, yes: broderie anglaise, cut and oversewn eyelets, trailing lines .... But producing traditional tablecloths and suchlike? Not so.

I've been compiling a whole book of samples entitled 'Whitework Gone Wierd'. In this I'm using all the traditional techniques but on things like latex (I do love my latex) and transparent PVC. Partly for the simple reason of whether or not it's technically feasible, and partly because it's something new I've not really seen before. Text still features a large amount in my current practice, alongside the corporate logos I'm still completing in goldwork, and seeing that it's currently Feb 14th..... happy Anti-Valentine's Day:

Worked on cotton organdie in the technique of trailing - a form of couching where the entire of the base thread is covered with the oversewing one on top. The black letters are about half a cm tall and the red ones about 2cms tall.