Stitchy Gardens


Hi again

I hope you’re having a great weekend. Here are two lovely flower embroideries just in case you’re needing some stitchy eye candy.

Thanks to Stewart Bath for the awesome photos of the stitching.

The first is another diary cover by Marjorie Gilby filled with an elegant and traditional flower garden….

Flower Garden Diary Cover stitched by Marjorie Gilby

Detail 1 of Flower Garden Diary Cover by Marjorie Gilby

Detail 2 of Flower Garden Diary Cover by Marjorie Gilby

Detail 3 of Flower Garden Diary Cover by Marjorie Gilby

Detail 4 of Flower Garden Diary Cover by Marjorie Gilby

Detail 5 0f Flower Garden Diary Cover by Marjorie Gilby

Detail 6 of Flower Garden Diary Cover by Marjorie Gilby

Detail 7 of Flower Garden Diary Cover by Marjorie Gilby

Detail 8 of Flower Garden Diary Cover by Marjorie Gilby

The second is a lovely flower garden needle case stitched by Yvonne Kingsley…..

Flower Garden Needlecase stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

Back of Flower Garden Needlecase stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

Opened out Flower Garden Needlecase by Yvonne Kingsley

Detail 1 of Flower Garden Needlecase stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

Detail 2 of Flower Garden Needlecase stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

Detail 3 of Flower Garden Needlecase stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

Detail 4 of Flower Garden Needlecase stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

Detail 5 of Flower Garden Needlecase by Yvonne Kingsley

Detail 6 of Flower Garden Needlecase stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

Detail 7 of Flower Garden Needecase stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

Detail 8 of Flower Garden Needlecase stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

Hope you get to enjoy your  garden this weekend.  Spring is starting to arrive here and the camellias, hellebores and jonquils are out in our garden – Yay!!!!

Take care

Carmen

The Elegant Geometry of Hardanger

Hi everyone

This post focuses on the beautiful and elegant form of Norwegian Whitework called Hardanger.

The home of this embroidery technique is the Hardanger Fjiord in South West Norway – you can see where it’s located on a Google map here. It looks like a beautiful place:

ulvik

History

Up until recently the historical thinking had been that Hardanger had its origins in Persian designs and came to Norway via Italian techniques such as Reticella and Venetian Lace in the Middle Ages. Earlier silks with Persian patterns were thought to have been part of the loot gathered in Viking raids in England and Europe.

However there’s been recent research done by Associate Professor Marianne Vedeler at the University of Oslo that’s shedding new light on the history of Hardanger. Her research suggests that the silk trade in the Viking era was much more extensive than previously assumed and that they traded regularly with the Persian and Byzantine empires.

One of the most important sources of Viking era silks is the Oseberg ship – a well preserved Viking ship found in a burial mound at Oseberg farm near Tonsberg in Norway. The treasures found on this ship include silk from 15 different textiles, embroideries and tablet woven silk and wool bands. The silk textiles include Persian patterns. You can read more about Professor Vedeler’s research here

Hardanger Technique

Hardanger is Whitework that’s based on a counted thread technique combined with drawn threadwork and needleweaving. The patterns and motifs are geometric but the angular quality of the designs is softened by the cutting and needleweaving which create a lacy effect. It’s stitched on even weave fabric usually 22 count.

It’s thought that the relative isolation of the Hardanger Fjiord is the main reason this very distinctive style evolved. Traditionally it was (and continues to be) stitched as white on white and was used in the folkloric costumes or bunards of the region as well as to decorate homewares.

It became known worldwide when an apron with Hardanger embroidery won an award at the Paris Exposition in 1900. The needlewoman was Brita Skalveit of Aga in the Hardanger district.

Contemporary Hardanger includes colourwork and you can see examples of both the Whitework and Colourwork styles on our Hardanger Gallery.

Now to some Eye Candy……

The Guild has developed a collection of samples of different embroidery techniques stitched by members with expertise in the particular style. Here’s the Hardanger sample stitched by Bonnie Crawford who is a master of this technique:

Guild Hardanger Sample stitched by Bonnie Crawford

Mat with Hardanger Motif by Marjorie Gilby 

Marjorie needs no introduction to regular readers of this blog – this is just another example of her exquisite stitching and generosity in sharing her work. Stewart Bath has taken some wonderful close-ups of the motif.

Pink Hardanger Mat by Marjorie Gilby

Hardanger Motif on Pink Mat stitched by Marjorie Gilby

Close up 2 from Pink Hardanger Mat stitched by Marjorie Gilby

Close up of Hardanger Motif by Marjorie Gilby

Detail of Edging on Pink Hardanger Mat stitched by Marjorie Gilby

Three Pieces by Levona Lea 

Levona is one of the quiet and gentle achievers of our Guild. She’s also one of the first to offer to help – in this case with three examples of Hardanger for display on a Guild stall at a recent craft show.

I really liked the art deco feel of this first piece with the green motifs:

Hardanger Square with Green Diamonds stitched by Levona Lea

Corner of Hardanger Square with Green Diamonds stitched by Levona Lea

The second piece is Whitework with an interesting cross pattern:

White Hardanger Square stitched by Levona Lea

Detail of Central Motif in White Hardanger Square by Levona Lea

While the third is in delicate shades of pink, aqua and mauve:

Pink and Acqua Hardanger Square by Levona Lea

Detail of motif on Pink and Acqua Hardanger Square by Levona Lea

Detail from Pink and Acqua Hardanger Square by Levona Lea

Detail 3 of Acqua and Mauve Hardanger Square stitched by Levona Lea

Detail 4 of Acqua and Pink Hardanger Square stitched by Levona Lea

Jillian Bath’s Needle Roll 

The final piece is Jillian’s small and highly decorated needle roll. Again Stewart Bath has taken some awesome shots of the detail which really allow us to share this special piece with you.

Hardanger Needle Roll stitched by Jillian Bath

Top end of Hardanger Needle Roll stitched by Jillian Bath

hardanger Needle Roll rolled out stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 1 of Hardanger Needle Roll stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 2 of Hardanger Needle Roll stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 3 of Hardanger Needle Roll stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 4 of Hardanger Needle Roll stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 6 from Hardanger Needle Roll stitched by Jillian Bath

Enjoy!

Carmen

 

For Downton Abbey Fans

Hello everyone

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Those of you who are fans of Downton Abbey will know that the location used for the series is Highclere Castle in Newbury, West Berkshire.

This historic house also has famous gardens with spectacular beds of perennials and walled gardens. You can see some of the garden’s glory in the gallery on the Highclere Castle website here.

Pat Bootland visited Highclere Castle a few years ago and created a walled garden scene from a composite of two photos. Like all her original pieces it uses an amazing array of stitches densely layered on the fabric to create a sense of profusion and texture. There are also her signature ferns created with needleweaving.

We’ll start with the work in its frame

Walled Garden from Highclere Castle by Pat Bootland

now closer up

Unframed Walled Garden from Highclere Castle by Pat Bootland

The view through the arch – the lawn was created by using very small straight stitches. Pat laid down the straight stitches in one colour green and then repeated the process in four other greens until the whole lawn area was covered and blended.

Archway with Cat from Clereview Castle by Pat Bootland

the wonderful espaliered plum tree with its bullion leaves and padded stem stitch branches. The brickwork of the wall has been created using canvaswork stitches in a range of colours.

Espaliered Fruit Tree from Walled Garden at Clereview Castle by Pat Bootland

and here’s the beading which is so totally cool

Close up of espaliered fruit tree from Walled Garden at Highclere House by Pat Bootland

then there’s this adorable puss

Cat from Walled Garden at Highclere Castle by Pat Bootland

He was based on her daughter’s cat. Pat wanted to show its dark striped coat so that it had definition and presence but without being overpowering. The plant next to it was embroidered by first doing very long straight stitches and then wrapping them in blended threads.

Finally these cute hedgehogs and delicately woven ferns

Hedgehog detail from Walled Garden with Cat by Pat Bootland

Watching Pat at work is an amazing experience. She usually has a rough drawing of what she wants to do but no detailed plan. She starts and decides how she’ll do a particular bit. Then when that’s finished she’ll work out the colours and stitches for the next section and so on. It’s a very open and fluid creative process……and fast, very fast. She flies through pieces while chatting away and telling very funny stories.

We’re trying to persuade her that doing some You Tube videos on her needlewoven ferns would be an awesome idea.

Take care

Carmen

 

 

 

A Sense of Place

Hi again

In this post I’m going to share another work by Caroll Pichelmann. Caroll is a longstanding member of the Guild and a gifted textile artist. I’ve had some long conversations with her recently while arranging for her work to be photographed for the Members Gallery.

Lyn’s Postcard

This story starts with a postcard that Lyn Baldwin (another member of the Guild) stitched and sent to Caroll. Lyn draws with thread and fabric and her postcard featured some sandpipers. Here’s a fragment of it

Sandpipers on Blue Book Cover by Caroll Pichelmann

Caroll is highly creative and very focussed on the potential of materials for making art. Textile art isn’t static for her and she can see future stories and purpose in anything she makes. She constantly recycles pieces and they evolve over time.

She also has a very strong sense of place and how it can be evoked in fibre and yarn.

So when she received Lyn’s postcard she didn’t put it away or on a wall or somewhere safe. She sent it on a journey.

Textured Seascape

In the postcard’s next life the sand pipers have found a context and a sense of place in this textured seascape that was in the Guild’s 2013 Annual  Exhibition.

Contemporary Textured Seascape

Contemporary Textured Seascape by Carroll Pichelmann

Detail of Textured Seascape

Detail of Textured Seascape by Carroll Pichelmann

Diary Cover

Then Caroll decided to look more closely at these shorebirds and their habitat along the shoreline – especially the inter-tidal zone where they feed.

So she deconstructed the seascape and out of this morphed a diary cover that evokes all the rich detail of life in that zone.

It’s worked in wool in many forms and with a relatively restrained palette of stitches – darning, couching, Tunisian crochet, french knots, chain stitch, fly stitch, buttonhole stitch, back stitch, some needleweaving. But the main story is the wool – the variety of yarns, fibres, colours all put to awesome use in freeform stitching.

Here’s the diary opened out

Blue Diary Cover 3 by Caroll Pichelmann

And here are the covers and then detailed close-ups of the surface textile. I’ll leave you to enjoy the richness of the detail

Blue Diary Cover 1 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 4 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 2 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 8 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 9 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 10 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 15 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 7 by Carroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 16 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 17 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 18 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 11 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 12 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 13 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 14 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 21 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 20 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 6 by Caroll Pichelmann

Blue Diary Cover 5 by Caroll Pichelmann

I feel like I’ve been looking into rock pools and under rocks and beach combing along the shoreline when I explore this piece.

Did I mention that Caroll is also the most generous of people? So where are the sandpipers now? Back with Lyn of course and on the cover of her annual diary.

Caroll’s creative process where all the textiles are forming and reforming into new stories and surfaces reminds me of Jude Hill. You can see her work on her Spirit Cloth blog here

Have a great weekend

Carmen

Sublime Stumpwork

Hi again

The header on this blog post isn’t an exaggeration. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word sublime means ‘of very great excellence or beauty’.

What makes this Stumpwork embroidery so sublime and out of the box is the combination of the Jane Nicholas design, Lorna’s extraordinary skill in executing the design and Stewart Bath’s wonderful photography.

We’re in the process of photographing the work of one of our members, Lorna Loveland, who does the most amazing sewing and embroidery but it’s her Stumpwork that’s beyond awesome.

The first lot of photos that Stewart has delivered has enough material for four blog posts and includes two exquisite, jawdroppingly beautiful Jane Nicholas Mirrors. So over the next few weeks you’re in for a treat! You can find out more about Jane Nicholas and her designs here

I’m going to bookend the series of posts on Lorna’s work with the two Mirrors and here’s the first. You don’t need any words from me – the beauty of this Stumpwork eloquently speaks for itself.

Don’t forget you can click on the photos to get a more detailed look.

Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 in frame stitched by Lorna Loveland

Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 unframed stitched by Lorna Loveland

Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 Top Panel stitched by Lorna Loveland

Flower Detail from Top Panel from Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

Middle of Top Panel of Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

Needlewoven Flower Detail from Top Panel on Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

 

Spider Detail from Right Panel of Jane Nicholas Mirror stitched by Lorna Loveland

 

Pink Flower Detail from Right Panel on Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

Pea Pods and Pink Flowers from Right Panel of Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

Red Flower Detail from Right Hand Panel on Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

Snail and Cricket Details on Bottom Panel on Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

Cricket Detail from Bottom Panel on Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

Yellow Flower Detail on Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

Butterfly Detail from Left Hand Panel on Jane Nicholas Mirror stitched by Lorna Loveland

Red Berry Detail from Left Hand Panel on Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

Purple Flower Detail from Left Hand Panel on Jane Nicholas Mirror 1 stitched by Lorna Loveland

I showed this Mirror and the photos to my family and it was interesting to see how the first reaction was to gasp at the beauty of the object. Then as they looked more closely they all responded to different details of the Stumpwork – one of the men in the family was a bit disconcerted to find himself drooling over stitched pea pods!!

Finally a very heartfelt and special thanks to Stewart Bath – this Mirror wasn’t easy to photograph. It was custom made for Lorna and has a special construction which gives it an unusual depth that’s integral to the whole visual effect. So not only did Stewart have the challenge of photographing the Stumpwork through the glass casing but also capturing the detail of stitching set at a greater depth than normal.

Well done Stewart! You’re a legend!

Carmen

This and That


Hi everyone

We’re going to cover a bit of ground in this post.

Update of Members Gallery

Over the next 24 hours I’ll be updating the following galleries:

Bags & Purses

Contemporary Creative

Crewel and Surface Stitchery

Goldwork

Landscape & Scenes

Quilts & Wallhangings

To help you find the new work quickly I’ve reversed the order of the photographs so that the latest additions are at the top of each gallery.

 Game of Thrones

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? If the answer is ‘No’ and you haven’t watched this TV series then it’s a fantasy drama based on the novels of George R.R. Martin.

If you answered ‘Yes’ then you’ll know it has sumptuous costumes and some include quite extraordinary embroidery. This adds a decorative effect but is also closely integrated into the story and evolution of certain characters. The embroidery has been stitched by Michele Carragher – although the word ‘stitched’ seems woefully inadequate in the face of her artistry. On her website she explains how the embroidery reflects the narrative of a character’s life and showcases an extensive gallery of her work. It’s really worth a look!

Here’s an example from Cersei’s wedding dress:

12 - CERSEI WEDDING EMBROIDERY BY MICHELE CARRAGHER

This photo comes from Michele Carragher’s website and the copyright for it belongs to her.

A Couple of Wonderful Works from Pat Bootland 

Here’s some Goldwork and Or Nue eye candy from Pat. It’s her own design:

Goldwork and Or Nue Snowy Owl and Rabbit by Pat Bootland 2

(this photograph is by Andrew Sikorski – Art Atelier)

And a close-up of the gorgeous Snowy Owl:

Detail of Snowy Owl in Goldwork and Or Nue Work by Pat Bootland

(Detail from photograph by Andrew Sikorski – Art Atelier)

Not to mention this super cute rabbit:

Detail of Rabbit from Goldwork and Or Nue Snowy Owl and Rabbit by Pat Bootland

(Detail from photograph by Stewart Bath)

Another of her works is this elaborate 3D embroidery of Fountain Abbey:

Fountain Abbey by Pat Bootland 2

(this photograph by Andrew Sikorski – Art Atelier)

This piece has a lovely story as this Abbey is in Yorkshire close to where Pat’s Mum lived.

A Vintage Gem

For something very different here’s a vintage tea cosy from the collection of Jillian Bath. It’s a family heirloom. Aren’t the saturated colours fantastic? And the butterfly has a real pop!

Vintage Tea Cosy from the Collection of Jillian Bath

Detail 1 of Vintage Tea Cosy in the Collection of Jillian Bath

Detail 2 from Vintage Tea Cosy in the Collection of Jillian Bath

Detail 3 from Vintage Tea Cosy in the Collection of Jillian Bath

Detail 4 from Vintage Tea Cosy from the Collecton of Jillian Bath

Heartfelt  Quote

A favourite blog is Susan Elliott’s Plays with Needles. She’s a member of the Costellation Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America in Maryland. If you’re not familiar with Susan’s work she does awesome stumpwork and exquisite crazy quilts. Her best known work is probably a marvellous piece called Breakfast at Tiffany’s with a stumpwork Audrey Hepburn as the Holly Golightly character.

She recently wrote a very expressive post about the experience of participating in a Challenge at her Guild:

Beauty not only in the stitched pieces but the women themselves. It’s a real blessing to have such a great group who share the same passion.

We gather. We teach one another. We encourage one another. And together, we are all the better for it……

Her words really resonated as she could have been speaking about our Guild and the way it enriches our lives.

A quick thought – you might like Susan’s story about the first time she met our Sharon B –  it’s told here

Enjoy!

Narnia

Hi everyone

There are lots of reasons to feature the piece of embroidery in this blog – looking at it makes you feel cool in the sweltering heat of December, it’s charming and the technique is intriguing. For those of you in the northern hemisphere I hope it feels Christmassy….

There’s also Pat Bootland’s joie de vivre in experimenting with various techniques to create an effect. Her love of embroidery is infectious! She’s also a great fan of the Narnia books and in this piece she wanted to create in stitch the scene at the beginning of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe….

Pat Bootland - Narnia 1

Looking at this piece up close I couldn’t work out how she’d put it all together so I called her in Canberra and she took me through it step by step.

First of all she took the inside ring of an embroidery hoop and wound white fabric around it to create a frame:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can see this frame under the top layer of organza.

To create the background she decided to use the same technique as that to make a dorset button but on a larger scale. So she used needleweaving to create the two large pine trees in the background and to attach them to the frame:

Pat Bootland - Narnia 3

Next she embroidered the small pine trees on to some white fabric and attached them to the back of the frame behind the large trees. This gives depth and perspective to the scene.

To evoke the atmosphere of the street lamp on a snowy night she embroidered the lamp post onto a piece of organza and added tiny dot and linear stitches to give the sense of snow flakes drifting in the cold air:

Pat Bootland - Narnia 4

If you look closely at this photo and the previous ones you can see that the layer of embroidered organza also creates a shadow which just adds more perspective and authenticity to the scene.

Then Pat came up with a very cool (no pun intended!) trick for a more complex and subtle spatial dimension – she added some textured threads to suggest a foreground with snow on the ground:

Pat Bootland - Narnia 6

The final step was to attach the organza to the front of the frame and add cord around the outside of the frame to finish the piece neatly.

Magic just magic!!!! What do you think?…… and have you found the explanation of Pat’s technique helpful?

Take care if you’re travelling over the Christmas period.

Pat’s Stumpwork Box – Flowers, Funghi and Insects

Are you ready for another of Pat B’s amazing ornamental boxes?

Well here’s an octagonal box which has multiple themes – Pat says her inspiration was exploring the stumpwork and embroidery techniques in the Jane Nicholas book Stumpwork Embroidery: A Collection of Fruits, Flowers and Insects 1995

This post is mainly eye candy with some notes on the stitches and techniques used. If you want a closer look at any photo then just click on it to enlarge.

Box Lid

Here’s the box lid where the main picture is an evocative view of trees and sea:

Hexagonal Box with Trees and sea by Pat Bootland

Around the main embroidery there is a theme of flowers, fruit and insects – some embroidered, some beaded and some stumpwork. Here’s a closer look at them:

Blue Flower and Insect

Blue Flower from Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

The petals of the flower are done in needleweaving – each one has been stitched and then twisted into a shape. The wings of the insect are made from loops of buttonhole stitch.

Soldier Fly

Gold Beetle from Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

This little fellow is mainly satin stitch and straight stitch with beads for the eyes. Pat tells me that each wing was made by vliesofixing two pieces of transparent ribbon together and then stitching around the edges and on the wings to create a pattern.

Foxgloves

Three Pink Bell Flowers on Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

These are created with satin stitch with a wired edge and seed beads.

Bee

Bee on Hexagonal Box by Pat BootlandThe body of the bee is turkey stitch (also called Turkey rug knot or Ghiordes knot – see Stitch Dictionary) while each wing is two layers of sheer ribbon vliesofixed together.

Fig

Pomegrate on Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

These luscious fruits are in padded satin stitch.

Snail

Snail by Pat Bootland

The shell is twisted and whipped fabric while the body is padded satin stitch.

Flower

Cream Flower on Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

Pat has again used button hole loops – this time to create the flower petals.

Ant & Clover

Three Clover Flowers by Pat Bootland

Ant on Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

Pink Flower

Dusty Pink Flower on Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

I was curious about the stitch used for the petals and Pat explained that it’s Whipped spider web stitch used straight rather than in a wheel. She likes the ridges it creates to give form not only to flowers but also to fish fins, shells etc.

Dragonfly

Blue Dragonfly on Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

Berries

Berries and Leaf on Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

It turns out that these berries are beads that have been stitched over to create a sense of full ripeness.

Teeny Weeny Spider

Spider and Web on Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland

Close Up Black Bead Spider by Pat Bootland

The web and spider are really minute – no bigger than a centimeter (just under half an inch) – it’s a great example of using simple materials to great effect. The spider is just 2 tiny seed beads with some wool thread.

Thistle

Purple Flower on Hexagonal Box by Pat Bootland This is another example of how you can use Turkey stitch very effectively – here to create the thick fluffiness of the thistle flower.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at Pat’s work in this post. If you have any questions about the stitches or techniques used then just leave a comment and we’ll try to answer them.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the stumpwork on the vertical sides of the box.

Bye!