Tuesday, 27 March 2007

TAST Cross Stitch

My mum has a small piece of green Aida decorated with cross stitch that one of my brothers or myself stitched at infant school. It was always on display on top of the TV until they bought a new TV that has a black plastic moulded top that you can’t display things on. I wonder where it is now! When I visit her on Thursday, I must ask who stitched it and take a fresh look at it.

I’ve done a few counted cross stitch kits, including a bell pull with an owl and cherry blossoms that my Dad asked me to do. It took me ages and I might not have completed it but Dad rarely asks for anything so I really wanted to finish it for him.

I have seen some beautiful examples of cross stitch but never really thought the stitch itself to be very exciting until I bought a book called The Liberated Canvas by Penny Cornell. I love this book; it did make me look at canvas work in a whole new light but I have never gotten around to experimenting with some of the ideas in it. I’m not a liberated stitcher. I have a neat orderly mind that refuses to do random, so instead of just giving it ago, I agonise over HOW to do random.

When cross stitch came up for week 9 of TAST, I was determined to be liberated. I started cautiously with regular stitches worked in vertical rows but mixing colours, threads and sizes within the rows. I am quite pleased with the result, it has an organic look and I like the subtle colour changes. It reminds me of stalactites.

I also wanted to experiment with irregular stitches. I tried hard to just stitch, constantly changing colours and threads; altering the size and shape of the stitches. Whilst I succeeded in doing that, I don’t think the result is a success. As I was stitching, J said that it looked like a mish-mash and I agree with him.

I look at random ‘pictures’ created by textile artists and I see beauty. This may sound daft, but there is usually some order to their work, the way the colours flow through it, for example. I look at my little sample and I see a mess, there is no focal point, no flow or movement. NO DESIGN. I don’t think this is a case of me being over critical of my own work. I try to be objective, especially in the case of TAST, which I view as a learning process. If anyone has any thoughts on how to make random a success, I would be interested to hear them.

Happy Stitching


Susan said...

I think it's a lovely piece. To me, it's like being on the inside, back against the tree trunk, looking out through the leaves. There's a mat of fallen leaves on the ground, and it must be fall. =)

Leader-ender: When you start or end sewing, some people just pull the thread out long, some people sew onto a little piece of fabric. I sew pieces together for another project - two squares that go in a four patch scrappy, two blocks from another quilt, or a crazy quilt project.

coral-seas said...

Thank you Susan for answering my question about leader-enders and your comment. Now you mention it, the hanging rows of cross stitch do look a bit like the willow trees outside my bedroom window.


Margaret said...

I agree with Susan that it is lovely, but it reminded me of wisteria vines and fallen leavs and flowers underneath. I think you are off to an excellent random start.

Helen Ann said...

I think its a lovely piece too. I thought it was a willow on a shaddy bank looking out into the bright white of a sunny day. The inner critic is very strong in all of us and it is difficult to get enough perspective when you are working on a piece to see it as it is ( both physical and emotional/intellectual). I hope you dont mind if I pass on some tips given to me about seeing the work as you progress. You may know all this anyway 1) I think it helps to make a card frame so you can see the piece with an edge you can use two L shaped bits and then you can frame it in your minds eye so to speak. 2) Use a mirror and look at the piece again every so often. There is also a very good bit about the inner critic here
I like the bit about fooling the inner critic

Nancilyn said...

I think your piece is visually stimulating. The delicate colors and stitches immediately brought an image of willow branches, and I saw grass with flowers starting to come forth. It makes me think of a season, a place, and it makes me feel relaxed. No mish-mash at all!
Could you picture this same composition on a tonal (handpainted maybe) background? What would it look like with more dimension -- say, a few overlayed
"willow branches"?
When I get stuck or am not entirely pleased with what I'm doing, I stop and start asking myself questions to determine what it is I'm not liking, then I start with the what-if's.