Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Back and front stitched sketch

I have been experimenting with stitch since Christmas. Several ideas are running around in my head, all seeming still to involve black and white at the moment, with just occasional splashes of colour from time to time.

Here, I'm posting a small piece, about 30 cm square, sewn on two layers of white cotton. I have experimented with stitching on a completely blank white surface, taking my needle for a walk over the cloth with black and white thread, to sketch out the suggestions of a winter landscape with no drawing or printing before I started sewing.

Side 1

I have also been playing with the idea that the reverse side of a piece can sometimes be just as interesting as the front. This piece therefore has no back or front since I stitched alternately from each side.

Side 2

The stitching from both sides varied the length and intensity of the stitch and also gave small 'tails' of thread to disrupt the surface. It also meant that I didn't have total control over the effect of my stitching on the 'reverse' side each time since I didn't allow myself to look at the reverse till I turned the piece over to stitch the next row and there was to be no unpicking. This 'accidental' element is something else I want to experiment with ... perhaps a project in the near future.

I'm not sure how successful these ideas have been in this case - I have a tendency to overstitch and don't always know when to stop! Still, there is more to explore and I will add the piece to the growing pile of small pieces that I'm making at the moment.


8 comments:

  1. This is lovely and quite a challenge....thought provoking....it makes one think about one's method of working. I like the way you set yourself the challenge of not looking at one side until you had completed the other. Allows for some serendipity and at the same time a lot of learning. It makes one think about the whole layering process...opaques and sheers...and about the personality of the stitch itself. Very interesting.....tks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much indeed for your comments. It's been a very interesting experiment and now I'm going to try and take it a step further, this time with an image on both sides of the piece, but probably not the same one, maybe offset, maybe a different scale, maybe different but allied - not sure yet - but definitely stitching from both sides. I will post when the images are a bit clearer ...

      Delete
  2. Oh I think it is incredibly successful and thought provoking. I love the idea of letting go of control over your work in this way. I always like the reverse of a piece more than the front and have often toyed with the idea of reversing when ever image I want to stitch and then stitch it on to the wrong side of the fabric and see what happens. A bit like drawing with your left hand I imagine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Letting go is surprisingly difficult in stitching. I frequently attempt it on paper - blind drawing is a great favourite of mine - and this seemed a possible way of doing so on fabric. Your idea of stitching on the wrong side entirely with the image on the other is another very interesting thought ... As I've said above, I have another variation on the theme that I'm just about to try ... maybe I will try your suggestion next ... Very many thanks indeed.

      Delete
  3. Very interested to see how you're going about experimentation and freeing up your boundaries. I've been thinking about this lately too. At the moment I'm thinking to myself that my favourite work is that which is driven by process, and the more I plan, the less I like the results, but to be fair, I feel as if I'm in a period of transition and all this may change. So good to see and hear how others are approaching their work - keep it coming!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My favourite work is also driven mainly by process. I love being able to respond to the cloth as I stitch and the freedom of not having a precise outcome in mind at the start. There is also the serendipity of knowing that my response and the outcome will vary day by day. I have long had the awareness that emotion and the events in my day undoubtedly affect outcome. If I have a day away from stitching, my response will be unconsciously different from what it would have been without the day off ... not sure how I can play with or exploit that feeling ... will need to think about that one!

      Delete
  4. Hi Margaret !
    Been a little busy lately but popping by to say that I, too, love the back side of my work ... I usually use black in the bobbin and love the silhouette ...but have bee taught to never inspect the back of someone's work, so I usually put a backing over it before I stretch the piece over a frame :( !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The reverse of work is fascinating - the record of the journey. I too generally cover it before I exhibit though I'm not sure why I feel the need to do this. Maybe it's because I've had less control over what was happening and feel it may not be 'up to standard' and therefore not worthy of being seen. These little experiments are a way for me to explore that lack of control deliberately.

      Delete

Hello and thank you very much for taking the time to leave a message on my blog. Every comment is welcome and I will try to answer you as soon I can.