We've been concentrating on shape; doing design exercises where we take shapes and "explode" them by cutting them up and arranging the pieces to see how this distorts things. Playing with circles and squares, flipping, rotating, cutting in different patterns, or drawing patterns on the black paper with a silver pen, then cutting the paper and rearranging. I took one if the negative shapes left from cutting out a circle and pasted some uneven strips behind it. It reminds me of the moon seen through grass stems.
From shape, you get to shadow work; using sheer fabrics and strong coloured threads to outline a shape and have a softer colour in the center. You achieve this by stitching herringbone on the back of the design - the little back stitches that are created outline the shape, while the herringbone shows through to the front of the fabric because it is sheer. My first attempt was pretty shabby, so I shan't show you! I then thought I'd see what happened if I used a darker fabric with lighter threads to stitch with. Found a little design I did years ago based on Mackintosh's roses, and off I went.
I'm rather pleased with the result. I've backed it with gold cloth - you can see it shining through here, and will work two lines of close satin stitch with the machine, then cut back to the gold in between to create a frame. That will have to wait until the work has been assessed though, as we have to make the back available for inspection!
Wendy Dolan's class. I'll be using this as one example, but I also did a little picture combining layering organza and machine embroidery. This came from my watching the fields go by on my recent trips up to London. There was a lovely haze in the air on both days, and the landscape layered away into the distance with trees silhouetted in the moist, chill air. You'll notice a similarity of colour between this and the Ninth Wave piece - I only have so many bits of blue organza to choose from. I used Mistyfuse to attach the organza to the base fabric to stop it fraying at the edges; it does make the fabric a bit stiff to handle, which is fine for machine embroidery, but which might be annoying if you were hand stitching. I'll have to experiment! I'm not sure the colours of the stitching work quite the way I intended, but it was an trial and I'm pleased with the way it turned out. You can't see the shimmer of the organza in this picture, but as the light catches it at different angles it shimmers.
I also did another piece of machine stitching, using the nine patch again as a the basis for the design. I like the way it is both regular and uneven, working with the number three, which is symbolic in many human cultures. It also allows one to work variations on a theme, this time using rows of straight stitching and vermicelli stitch for the outer squares and granite stitch in the center. I combined single and multi-coloured threads to see what the effect is of using each. Again, I'm pleased with the results, though they are still very amateur; I found the most important thing to remember was to breathe! You also find that as you tense up when trying to control your wayward hands, the patterns tend to stray and the machine gets faster and faster as your foot presses down on the foot pedal! I used a neutral variegated thread to outline the squares and give definition to the image.