Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Empresse of Flowers - Part 2

On the second day of the course we again split into two groups. My group picked up were we left off the previous day, experimenting with stitches for our finished piece.

I tried out a suggestion offered by Nicola for the cornflower. Nicola described a technique that she had seen on an extant 17th century embroidery where the petals were divided into three distinct shades of blue rather than the blended change of colour achieved by using long and short stitch shading. In Nicola's version the divisions follow the zig-zagged petal edge. First, I drew guide lines for the divisions and then outlined the petal with split stitch.

© Ornamental Embroidery/Carol-Anne Conway

Starting at the outer edge, I satin stitched the first section in the darkest shade of blue.

© Ornamental Embroidery/Carol-Anne Conway

I split stitched a line along the edge of the next section before filling it with the medium blue, and likewise with the final section, which I filled with the palest shade.

© Ornamental Embroidery/Carol-Anne Conway

© Ornamental Embroidery/Carol-Anne Conway

I don't like the appearance of this method as much as the blended shading but I think it will be interesting to have both techniques on my final piece so will do the cornflower this way and use long and short stitch for the honeysuckle.

In the afternoon, my group were taught plated braid stitch by Lynn. I have done PBS before on the Goldwork sampler, in deed, I experimented with several variations of this stitch but I think you can never learn enough about a technique, especially a complex stitch like PBS so was looking forward to the lesson. Lynn had prepared very good notes for us to follow and went through the steps one by one. Although PBS is not a counted stitch, we used a low count canvas and tapestry wool to learn the stitch before having a go with gold thread on our muslin.

Unless I did it very regularly, I would not be able to do PBS without refreshing my memory so I needed Lynn's input but having done the stitch before, after a few repetitions I was stitching quite confidently.

Throughout the weekend, Nicola spent some time with each of us developing our own design guide, making final colour and stitch choices. This is how I spent the last part of the second afternoon. I had already, more or less, decided on the colours and techniques I would use for the peas, strawberries and cornflower but we considered different options for details I had not yet thought about, like the peas and the strawberry flower. We also discussed options for the honeysuckle, which, as previously mentioned, I think I will work in long and short stitch shading. Nicola discussed some options other than PBS for the trailing vine, including an interesting zig-zag satin stitched version she had seen on an extant embroidery. I think I will probably do mine in PBS; I rather enjoy the stitch and would like to work more than the short, sample lengths I have done thus far.

© Ornamental Embroidery/Carol-Anne Conway

This was a great two-day workshop. I really enjoyed the format of developing our own design ideas for the piece. Lynn and Nicola are extremely talented and knowledgeable and I took full advantage of the opportunity to learn new techniques and better acquaint myself complex techniques that I was not fully confident with.

Happy Stitching

1 comment:

Rachel said...

These complex stitches do need practice, but it's so satisfying once they make sense!