Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hoop Dreams

I'm ready to make an original embroidery project again. Last year I started a 12x12 series on birds that I'm going to continue into this year. I had designed a piece a couple of months ago, but I hadn't started because I was stuck on how to solve one design problem: how to incorporate text into the piece.

I was re-inspired to tackle this challenge after an email conversation with JoWynn. I don't quite have it figured out, but I've got two strong alternatives, so I'm going to go ahead and start.
Before I designed this piece I read this embroidery book by Elsa Williams. I'm constantly inspired by the fiber work in books from the 60s and 70s, and Elsa Williams's books are still widely available and offer a wealth of design inspiration and technical knowledge.
This book is on crewel embroidery, but the designs are easily transferable to other embroidery media.
Aren't these leaves and stems wonderful? They remind me of Jane Sassaman's recent designs. When I read the book, the spine broke, so I'm planning to have it spiral bound at the copy store.

I designed my piece by combining Elsa Williams's Jacobean botanical designs with my own study of botanical prints of chile plants. I've begun with some leaves. That's a herringbone stitch in the outer layer of the leaf design.
You can't see the background print very well since I'm stitching my design through water-soluble stabilizer. And where are the birds?
I'm using a vintage shirting fabric for this piece, and the birds are in the background.


Sue in western Washington, USA said...

I have at least one of Elsa Williams' books too. Gorgeous stuff. I've always been particularly fond of the Jacobean designs. I'll be interested to see how those birds fit into your embroidery!

Allison Ann Aller said...

Hoop dreams indeed...great title for this post! And the leaves are lovely..great use of herringbone along the edge, too.
What kind of difference does using that stabilizer make if you are already using a hoop?

Debra Spincic said...

Very clever use for that fabric! I am sure to like this piece-Jacobean designs are very appealing and earthy.

Nettie said...

Your duck is so sweet! Love how the lines in the fabric look like currents of water or air.

cynthia korzekwa said...

great embroidery!

JoWynn Johns said...

Will you be making a book of this series? I love the way you've incorporated the print of the fabric into your design. And the first leaves look great!