This will be a rather unusual post for me. I have only just started stitching, a couple of days ago in fact, so there is not much to show. So, instead I have decided to focus on how I ended up with this particular design.
I use the term design with some trepidation, as I don’t really design anything. At least not in the traditional sense. For a start I cannot draw. Neither do I have the kind of creative imagination that enables one to create something out of nothing.
A lot of my embroidery work does not involve any designing at all. Often I just follow a pattern from a book or from an online site. To the extent that a piece involves more than just copying my contribution is more akin to arranging or re-arranging patterns or designs of others.
My current project is an example of this. Though it has undergone a few ups and downs on the way. My starting point this time had nothing to do with a finished design or even an arrangement. The whole thing began with a frame and the fabric.
The frame was found in a charity shop. I liked the size and the colour of the wooden frame. As you can see I haven’t yet taken out the print inside.
The fabric is a 28 count Brittney a dark pine green. I have only a small amount of this fabric left and it would fit nicely into the frame. As I usually only use this fabric for Blackwork embroidery, everything was coming along nicely. I had even decided on the thread to use, but before I could get started things began to fall apart.
Firstly I had no idea of what design, pattern to stitch. Secondly and probably more relevant, the more I thought about the frame and the fabric, they did not seem to match. The green of the fabric was just too dark and dense to go with the rust brown of the wooden frame.
So, back to the drawing board. I started by revisiting some photos I have of shapes, patterns that could possibly be used for embroidery. Some were most suited to a circular frame. This reminded me that I had an embroidery hoop, just waiting to be filled. So a circular design it would be, and the fabric was almost cut in size with the hoop in mind.
I still had to find/create something to stitch. After much cogitation and rummaging through books I finally decided to base my composition on an example of Mexican lacquerware. I have in my collection an illustrated book on this beautiful traditional art. One example has always attracted me – a tray in the Four Flowers style. The tray is circular and below you can see the intricate painting on the base.
I liked the overall circular shape of this part of the design. I particularly liked the mixture of lines and flower patterns. The final inspiration came from one little section of the design on the sides of the bowl.
I liked the dark curving lines in this section and decided to use this as the central feature for my own composition, which you can see in outline below.
As you can see I have used two curving lines with a flower shape at the ends of each line. This flower shape is also from an example of Mexican lacquerware. I have still to decide whether to enclose the piece in a circle.
My arrangement is of course a very simple affair. But I quite like simplicity. The four flowers will all be stitched in the same colour – a purple from au ver à soie’s Soie d’Alger collection. I intend to use only two blackwork patterns for the flowers. For the background I am using another silk thread. This time from Japan – a 12 ply silk in jade from the Glissen Gloss Colorwash range. The whole background will be in just one pattern. The photo above gives a glimpse of the background pattern and one of the flower patterns.
I have still to figure out how I will stitch the curving lines, and in what colour. There will be plenty of time for that, as this is pretty slow, but satisfying work.