Thursday, March 25, 2010
Embroidery FAQ Part 1
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.
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.
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!