Threadwork: silks, stitches, beads and cords Effie Mitrofanis

 I realised as I was sewing one of the final textile works for Assignment two, that I was being inspired by Effie Mitrofanis book Threadwork: silks, stitches, beads and cords. I have this book at home but unfortunately not with me here in the outback. The book is written in the context of embroidery but it highlights lush colour and texture with the use of stitch and inclusions. 

I know it was in the back of my mind as I couched nylon ribbon on to my work. 

The Batsford Encyclopaedia of Crafts

Just got this great book in the mail. I found a copy of it in the house we are staying in. There are no libraries or shops to choose from here so I have looked at all the books that the family that have been here for 10 years have collected and was lucky to find this one. 

It has an amazing array of crafts and rather than giving projects for a handful of techniques, it simply outlines techniques to allow you to do with them what you will. 

I’m really excited by this book because normally you buy a book and quickly master the technique and are done with it. I have no interest in following someone else’s pattern. But this book is more of a reference book. If I want a refresher on any technique I can refer to it and I can browse for numerous techniques I’ve never heard of. 

It’s originally published in 1978 and includes information about working with all different types of mediums. I love it.

Working on works for Assignment Two

Assembled this made from non woven material and an old towel as padding. Thinking of using this as an embossed work with a piece organza over the top and sew down around the shapes. Started to do this but unhappy with the clunkiness of it. Not possible to get the organza to sit tight enough to really give the embossed look. I like the look of the fine non woven net in the square which is not visible in the photo but also lost under the organza. 

Going to restart and this time cut a square out of a disposable towel I found at work and work a stitched net in the background. Considering using some of my embossed look fabric and my found red grid on the surface of the towel as other references to embossing. 

Using Joomchi like bonding I tried to bind two layers of organza with silk fibre in between. I did a lot of work on this and ended up having to machine stitch to hold the layers together anyway. They did not bond in the sculpted fashion that paper did. I wanted to use this because a lot of effort had been put in but it’s not right. The thick lines do not evoke the fine mesh of my red collage or the drapy lines of the sewn paper sample. It doesn’t even refer to the graphic T shape because it’s so tatty.  I think it needs to be put aside unfortunately. 

I think this large piece of dyed silk organza is what I will use instead. It is life size as clothing and I am thinking of sewing fine lines vertically with dark thread left to float free at the bottom. Simple sewing to highlight the drapy line. I’m thinking that because it is very thin material I will be able to utilise the fact that the lines will be seen from underneath as from the top. So will try intertwined lines as in my drawing and the paper sample. I’m aware that these are a series and thinking about linkage between the three. It is basically likely to be the red colour, and I plan to use only red and “black” thread. My black thread is hand dyed so it’s really more of a rich dark brown. I do have other threads with me too but I don’t usually work with much pure black. 

Here is another failed fabric Joomchi attempt. This is two layers of dyed raw silk that is bound together with milk silk. It is holding together enough to use but I have not been able to get the inner fibres to migrate to the surfaces. Thinking that I might be able to pull some of the fibres up with stitching. 

Plan here is probably to use this as a stiffer base. Possibly I will cut it into the T shape before stitching heavily over this with small stitches in the shape of a T possibly in a range of sizes or at odd angles as in my collage sample.

I’m not sure but I need to get started with these or they will not be done in time. 

Assignment two- Stitching: Placed and spaced. Sketchbook

Starting to think about my final series of three works. 

These are the three works I think I’ll be using to inform my first textile works. The features I am looking at are the embossing and the dense red textural colour in the first, the net overlay with something visible beneath and the kimono shape in the second, and the drape and linear marks of the third.

Actually looking more closely at the fabric, I think that the embossed affect is due to the weave rather than the stitching

Don’t know what this has come from. It was just lying on the ground in the middle of the road. There is a fair bit of discarded material on the ground here. Brian called our walk “going shopping for free art supplies”.

Developed and composed samples (2.4) results

Here is the first of my two larger samples of stitch on manipulated paper. My paper supply is a bit limited here but I have tried to emboss this paper with folded flower shapes which I have then pressed into damp paper with the aid of a towel and my not inconsiderable body weight. Because the paper is a bit light it has not held the embossing well like my squares embossed paper which was proper heavy weight printing paper. 

I have chosen to use the embossed marks as my guide for stitching creating an irregular stitched flower shape. I have then used the movement of the sweeping yellow paint line and stitched in parallel lines to evoke this movement and varied the distance between the lines from one side of the page to the other to further evoke a sense of movement further away from the viewer as well.

That’s all well and good but I’m not really sure that I’m happy with the end result. It looks too scrappy and messy for me. If I was to try again I would make sure my surface was more clearly embossed by using better paper and possibly use a more contrasting colour thread for the lines. 

This is another fairly direct translation of the drawing. I have used handwoven grey thread and then when I lost that thread I resorted to handdyed thin brown silk.  Turned out to be a blessing because the thinner thread adds a bit more variation to the work. I was going to cut the threads in the middle to try and evoke a mending repair aesthetic but at the last minute I chose to put a hole in the paper instead. This is a bit of textural Joomchi paper with an inclusion, which I love, but I’m not sure how much the stitchis adding. Given more time I think this would benefit from a lot more stitching but I am happy with the placement of the hole and the brown patch. 

Both of these are very literal translations of my drawings and I don’t think this is good and will try to get away from this in the textile works. 

Thinking aheadĀ 

Considering the need for some base textile to work on. I am living remote at present and only have undyed textiles that I brought with me, and some dye.

So before I think about manipulating the textile, I first have to consider what colours I would like to use in my base textiles. At this stage I’m not sure where I will be going with my textile works, but I can’t ignore my surroundings. I am draw to the distinctive colours of the outback, the red of the earth, the green of the plant growth and the blue of the sky.  

It’s going to be pretty hard to choose textile for my base because I don’t have much available  and I understand that I am making links always back to my drawings or my stitch works so possibly I should be using my cream/ white fabrics undyed as paper is undyed.  Actually reading the brief again I see that I should only be referencing colour in a limited way and relating it to the colours in my drawings.

Still I’m going to have some fun dyeing some fabric to use at some stage anyway in the colours of the outback.  I want to extend my work ultimately and apply what I’ve learnt to a body of work relating to my time here. 

Here I am trying to match the colour of the sky with dye on paper