Embroidery is the textile medium I've pursued longest on a more-or-less continuous basis. I started in 6th grade with an envelope of iron-on patterns, some J&P Coats floss and a denim jacket that my mother had sewn for me. With the typical child's scorn of hand made, I didn't think it very authentic, though at least it never occurred to me to whine (because I knew perfectly well it wouldn't do any good) for the more expensive article. The yellow wax patterns included, as I recall, a cluster of grapes and a ladybug. I tried stitching the ladybug first, with all six strands of floss, and results were pretty horrible. Eventually I settled down to using two stranded satin stitch, a preference I still retain when using 25 floss.
It soon dawned on me that I could draw my own designs, which I thought were prettier. Certainly I could easily compensate for the limited palette available—my only source, at first, was Minnesota Fabrics, and this was before the days when they carried DMC, or even before I knew DMC existed –and the fact that I could never remember, without a reference on my lap, how to do anything besides satin, chain, stem or french knot stitches. I've embroidered for close on a quarter of a century now, and am pleased to say that within the last year or so finally managed to memorize the boullion stitch.
After the jacket, I turned to chambray shirts, decorating them with unicorns and other fantasy characters. I was particularly proud of a monarch I put on one shoulder, because one day my mother tried to brush it off. Nevertheless I longed for more hues, especially realistic flesh tones, and was therefore enchanted when a coworker brought in a cross stitch project (a bedspread, still in progress, as far as I know) in colors I'd never seen before. She said she'd bought the flosses at a little town in Wisconsin. I reasoned if a little town could support a such a market, there must, in a big city like Detroit, be a similarly stocked shop. I was correct, and my quest led me to Needlearts, Inc, where I was eventually to learn some basic precepts of traditional Japanese silk embroidery, and where I still purchase the bulk of my embroidery threads.
This pouch features glass beads, embroidery, fabric dying and sewing by me; its semiprecious accent beads co-ordinate with the rosary (restrung by me...) it's designed to hold. 24aug2015
Inspired by stockings, this is the 2nd in a series of abstract wall-hangings/mini-quilts. Originally posted 27apr09. 27apr2009
Inspired by stockings, this is the Ist in a series of abstract wall-hangings/mini-quilts. Originally posted 23apr09. 23apr2009
These embroidered stockings are—surprise—in the Embroidery section of the site, but as they are a holiday craft as well, I've posted them here, too. Enjoy. Initial post 11feb05, last updated 23jan2014 24jan2014
a piece of black and white bead embroidery photographed over several years with 4 different cameras... 27aug2015
pastel bead embroidery for a hexagonal box. Still in progress 7 years later though the embroidery, at least, was completed in '08. 25aug2015
I've never regretted the discipline required by this technique-driven form of the needlearts; (though neither have I finished my piece) but I'm glad I taught myself most of what I know about embroidery. Much of my formal visual training has come out of the academic tradition, which has as one of it...
This shirt is one of a series of 4: a sailboat and still life featuring a violin or viola, both made for my mother; this one; and one a rejiquar, the last. My mother delighted me by wearing hers till they wore out, and so they exist now only in memory. This shirt's sleeves became worn, and so it ...
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