Tuesday, 17 February 2009

... Preparation ...

I tend to view preparation as a necessary evil. I’d rather be doing the embroidery but I can’t begin that until the fabric is on the frame and a certain amount of preparatory stitching is done. If I didn’t already understand the importance to framing up correctly, my experience with Karahana taught me that and transferring the design onto the fabric for Flutterbys taught me to value time taken to outline the designs.

Outlining can be a boring task, especially if all done in one step, as I did with Flutterbys, but while my hands executed a well-practised stitch that requires little conscious thought, my mind took time to get to know the design.

On the face of it, Himotaba is a simple design consisting of 8 cords and a single tassel but even the simplest of designs has its intricacies. The cords curve and twist around each other. Careful consideration must be give to the colour of each cord since it can lie beside first one cord, then another. Will this cord clash with its neighbours? Is there sufficient contrast and tonal range? Do the colours make a harmonious set?

The cords also weave under and over each other. In Japanese Embroidery, the foreground is always stitched first. This means that certain cords must be started before others can be worked, but they may have to stop and resume later when that cord crosses over them. This applies equally to preparatory work. The outlines for the cords must be spaced exactly 7 mm apart, so cords that lie on top of others must be carefully measured and outlined before those below them. Learning which parts of the design should be stitched first during preparation helps me to determine the order of stitching when I get to the embroidery.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

They say that preparation is the key to success and I am told that a firmly stitched outline is the key to a well-embroidered cord. Preparation may not be my favourite part of the process, but I do not underestimate its value. Nine and a half hours into outlining cords I'm getting to know Himotaba and I think I'm going to like her.

Happy Stitching

1 comment:

haranorte said...

Hajimemashite--Nice to meet you!
I'm haranorte.
Thank you for your comment on my website.

Your works are very lovely and beautiful.

Actually, I didn't like preparation. Me too :-)
However I changed my mind when I looked at my friend's preparation. Her preparation looked like a perfect completed work. She enjoyed preparation as well as embroidery. Since then, I've tried to do careful and beautiful preparation.

And your preparation is so beautiful like her. I'm sure your himotaba will be going well.