Thursday, March 25, 2010

Embroidery FAQ Part 1

The plate
The most asked question I get is, "How do you get the drawing on the bowl?"  So I decided to document the making of piece from start to finish.  This is a current commission I'm working on for Kathie.  The square bowl belonged to her grandmother, who received it from her mother. 

sketch for Kathy
I usually start by sketching on a sheet of drafting velum.  When I'm happy with the sketch I overlap it with the dishware and move it around to select my composition.  Then I mark the boundary of the porcelain by rubbing a crayon along the edge.  This mark tells me where to embroider.

A piece of silk is pinned to the velum and I embroider on silk.  I like to slip white paper under the velum to help me see what I'm doing.  I don't use a hoop or stretcher, they tug at the fabric too much.  It took a lot of practice stitching to get the right tension so I don't warp the fabric too much.  Although there will always be some amount of wave and puckering, it's all a part of the artwork.  The fabric also tends to "breath", changing as the humidity and temperature changes.  Sometimes there's more slack and other times it's tight as a drum skin.  But most of the time these changes aren't noticeable. 

Stitch work
A close up shot of the stitching.  Most of the linework is done with a simple running stitch.  Because the fabric is so sheer there's no need to double back to create a solid line.  *Doing a running stitch on a solid fabric would look like a dotted line.*  This method of working reminds me a lot of contour line drawing exercises back at school.

Click here for Part 2!


ArtfulArtsyAmy said...

Thank you so much for posting a work of you in-progress. It is so beautiful to witness!! Your work is breathtaking and I really enjoy your work (and your blog)!

Mariel said...

thank you for sharing, I allways admire your pieces.
truly art!
Mariel, in Argentina

Diem Chau said...

Thanks Mariel :)

Nancy said...

I was at the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Art Museum today and saw your white porcelain pieces. I checked out your site as soon as I got home. The works are wonderful. They are so detailed and contain such superb stitching! I wished I could afford one or more. I will just have to get my fix by looking at them online. Thanks you so much for posting them. Congratualtions on being so good at your work - and sharing with the rest of us!

Diem Chau said...

Thanks Nanmaas!
Milwaukee has been so amazing to me, I must come for a visit one of these days!

karumina said...

You are an artist! Great!!!