Posts Tagged ‘straight stitch’

Mark Making And Mending

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

On textile artist Maeve Coulter’s textile art page is a brief paragraph on her techniques, another on the themes and ideas in her art, plus this single line: “I was raised in a household where fabric was revered, rescued and reused.”  This comment is a common thread running through statements by many textile artists, fabric artists, art quilters, whatever each of us calls ourselves.  The presence of fabric or cloth in our lives is acknowledged, and we tend to revere it at some level for its importance from cradle to grave. It’s frequently expressed in terms of saving, rescuing, repurposing, upcycling, reusing and recycling garments and other cloth items.  The western world has lost a lot of the ‘make do and mend’ concept, and our garbage tips and landfills bulge as  huge environmental problem grows daily.

I’m a classic Baby Boomer, and all the mothers of other kids I knew used fabrics carefully, sewing garments with generous seam and hem allowances that allowed them to be handed down and along to other families where they could be taken up, let out, lengthened or shortened.   For a garment to successfully endure all these phases, the fabric needed to be the best quality  possible, and in home sewing for kids especially it has always been false economy to go for cheap fabric.  Our mothers were stay at home mums, as even though they might have worked during the men’s absence fighting WWII, most of those jobs were handed back to men as they returned home.  Clothes rationing lasted in Australia until the early 50s, so our mothers had the motivation and the time to invest in the whole process of sewing, mending and repurposing fabric things.  Plus they mended things to make them last longer.

Straight stitches commonly feature in mending – for example a 3-corner tear

I’ve noticed artists who can claim their work uses all recycled materials enjoy a subtle extra merit, eco brownie points, making the work somehow more worthy because only recycled materials were used.  Google “recycled clothes” for example, you’ll find many pics of inspiring projects from recycled materials, it’s big business.  I guess I might be part way there, as I don’t cut into new fabric if I have suitable coloured/printed/textured scraps or offcuts I can use in my improvisational constructions.  Occasionally I cut up an old garment, but I tend to give away intact clothes I’ve worn a lot or outgrown that still have some use in them.  To go all the way would be to scour op shops and markets, but, to be honest, I have no inclination to regularly do those rounds or hoard bundles of fabrics from used clothes.  I have a close friend who acquires mended fabric whatevers by various means – clothes, sheets, blankets, you name it, she has it somewhere.  The interior of her house has all this wonderful fabric stuff, much of it backed by interesting stories, but you can barely find a place to sit down.  I just do not want to get on that bandwagon  🙂

 

The Glorious Straight Stitch 3

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Last year, fibre artist  Kathy Loomis  blogged daily on a hand stitched square, which I failed to register while the project was going, but today I lobbed in to her blog, and found lots of little pictures featuring chain and coral stitches, French knots, fly stitches, and several others used regularly through her samples.  I commented on how my fav. is the Straight Stitch plus any stitch variation which you can do with a ‘stem’ – so stemmed French knots, stemmed fly-stitch,  etc, which in turn reminded her of these very expressive variations, plus another I’d forgotten about till just now – the Cretan stitch, seen in this detail of “Out Back of Bourke” 1987, full pic in pre-1988 gallery on this website.   For all those stitches, and probably more I’ve forgotten, you can make those legs reeeeally long.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Back in 1977 I had a fabulously inspiring creative embroidery class in Darwin, NT Australia, with a woman I can’t find anywhere on the web, Laurel Fraser Allen.  She opened my eyes so wide I couldn’t sleep the night after my first class.  Through her I realized the potential of hand stitchery,  which was so much wider than my own mother’s smocking and counted thread works on linen.  I found Jacqueline Enthoven’s “The Stitches of Creative Embroidery” and studied it but, looking back it wasn’t very ‘creative’, more a stitch dictionary and paper precursor to the diagrammed stuff you see on the internet today by people who style themselves ’embroidery artists’, but really aren’t.  It was very stimulating, though.  In the next few years I bought several books that have stayed with me even if they aren’t  actually here in Montevideo but languish on my bookshelves back in Perth , Australia.  One is Nik Krevitsky’s  “Stitchery, Art and Craft”

Nik Krevistsky  Art and Craft  about which I can find nothing much where you would expect to find info, but let me tell you, it is a fabulously inspiring book that I treasure – lots of straight stich embroideries and woven textures, and I’ll have a read next time I go back.  Between 1977- c.1985  I attended several summer school type courses with prominent Australian embroiderers who taught the English ways of ‘design it yourself’ embroidery on subjects that mean something to you personally – so, I haven’t embroidered anything from a kit and very little from any patterns, instructions, samplers since I was a kid learning how to embroidery a traced linen table doily… which I still have, the crudely crocheted edge and all.  I’ll blog it sometime.    These days I let my needle wander, or ‘draw’ for me.

Looking around for  “contemporary embroidery artists”, I struck gold, there’s a lot there, and I came across two names new to me, whose websites really caught my attention: Kathy Halper whose embroidered drawings in mostly straight stitches explore the world of teens and the social media in which they operate and communicate – quite marvelous, and plenty more images when you search her name.  Then I found Melissa Zexter who embroiders over photographs of portraits and landscapes with various stitches mostly straight, some arranged into meshes and motifs that seem like an interpretive curtain over at least part of the image if not all – heaps more of wonderful images if you search her name.

 

 

 

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