Thursday, February 24, 2005

I promised a chat about adding layers of stitching to my work. Why do I do it, and where did I get the inspiration?

I actually often THOUGHT about before the first time I did it, but I was trapped into the idea that it was somehow wrong. Not part of the "quilting rule book".

Then I discovered the stitching queens in Britain.. Maggie Grey, Valerie Campbell-Harding, Jan Beaney and Jeanne Littlejohn. Their whole approach to work is often to layer textures and colors. I found their works to be "soul candy". I didn't want to copy thier styles, but I wanted to take in some of their message to define my style.

Two of the books that really changed the way I work are: LAYERS OF STITCH, Contemporary Machine Embroidery by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey and MACHINE EMBROIDERY, Stitched Patterns by Valerie Campbell-Harding. Both books are available from Meinke Toys. But, be forewarned. Whenever I visit the Meinke site, I MUST set a dollar limit for myself or I'M IN BIG TROUBLE. Just writing this blog has cost me $100!!

With "permission granted" to add stitching texture to my pieces when I wanted... not necessarily only at the end... I was on roll. Odd that my "quilting" permission came from a non-quilting source? Probably not. We find inspiration and lessons where we may.

In the current piece, Vessels, the background texture will be made continuous, and when the foreground images break up that texture, it will be accurate..not contrived with stops and starts in the stitching. Any pieces that I do in transparent fabrics will show the stitching and texture behind them.

And this is what I like.. the layers of textures both in stitch and fabric added over time. As I continue to work in this manner, I suspect that this one trait will be the "thing" that identies a work a mine. The subjects will change; the palette may not be predictable; the layering of stitches and color will always be there.


Junott said...


Your right about the Meinke Toys Web site.....oooo so tempting...the colored threads spoke to me....

Thanks for the link.


arlee said...

OOOO i LOVE Val's books--visual feasts for inspiration!!