We all know what ‘a fish’ is. Fishing is an important food-producing activity the world over, from deep sea trawling, freshwater fish farming to individuals who daily go to the sea or river to catch fish for their families. And and it’s popular, too, for relaxation in wealthier countries. Check out some of the prices for fishing gear!
When you google ‘fish designs for embroidery’ there are masses of depressingly cutesy images interspersed with a few interesting ones. You will find too, many images of fish on clothing, especially antique haute couture from the 30’s, with fish writhing all over them – some fascinating.
We all recognise a ‘fish skeleton’ for which there are also many images, some interesting, but it’s easy to draw one, so I did. If I were to use it as a motif for hand stitchery I’d consider fly stitch – for which there are heaps of instructions and demos online; or I might applique or fuse (heat fix with bonding web) some basic fish shapes and embroider over those. Fish scales – these images are marvellous – clearly scales provide popular motifs for embroidery, patchwork and quilting. There’s a patchwork design called clamshell patchwork also known in some places as ‘fishscale patchwork’, and when you google that term different images come up, but fewer of them. Finally, I googled ‘patchwork fish’…. and found this unusual little video, with the quilting pattern a perfect example of inspiration by fish scale. I found the quilter, Rose Smith, here Using curved lines in the patchwork itself would have given a more organic feel to the fish shape, (I recently posted the basics here) but I think her choice to work in squares was deliberate, perhaps ‘automatic’, since all the patterns she generously shares on her website are strictly geometric shapes – triangles, squares and some rectangles, the building blocks of traditional patchwork. Watching the video I was led to expect some insights into the tricky manoeuvring required to bind the inside corners I’ve always avoided, but the video ended before she got to that bit.