Friday, September 4, 2009

A Rather Ambitious Embroidery Project

Awhile back I posted about a workshop I was taking -- Artistic Embroidery -- and the project I had chosen for the class. The idea behind the class was to experiment with three different methods of printing and/or transferring an image to fabric and then using that as your pattern for embroidery.

One method of transfer we worked with involved acetone and carbon based black and white copies. I made several attempts, but was never able to get results I liked with this method. I'm pretty sure that it's the advanced technology of photocopiers to blame, but can't elaborate with any certainty on the science, so enough said.

The other two methods both involved ink-jet printing -- printing on an iron-on transfer material, and printing on fabric, either silk or cotton. These methods gave me results I loved and was enthusiastic about. The materials are relatively inexpensive and readily available, and it puts my archival ink-jet printer to good use.

I had decided to create a set of pillows with New Mexico as the theme. No real reason other than New Mexico has been on my mind a lot lately -- it was one of my most favorite vacations, and Taos Wool Festival is coming up the first weekend in October and once again I won't be attending but am wishing I was.

I used this photo for the iron-on transfer, cutting out just the niche, and applying it to a piece of linen. I have a healthy collection of vintage maps in my stash and as luck would have it I found a lovely old map of New Mexico which I printed onto the silk and attached it to another piece of linen with Wonder Under. My plan is to approach both of these pieces with a minimal amount of stitching-- maybe a stitched boarder around the niche and highlight a few details on the map with stitching.

The third piece features this photograph of the Santuario de Chimayo. I printed it on cotton and started stitching. My plan was to stitch over the image pretty extensively working to interpret the colors and textures of the image without being too literal.

I've been stitching, and stitching, and stitching. I've put a huge amount of time into the embroidery. But I don't love the results. I love the image, and the idea, and even my embroidery. But I don't love the cotton, and I wasn't sure how to approach the 8"x10" rectangle.

The other day I officially declared a do-over. Despite all the hours I have invested. The silk is just so much nicer, and Wonder Under is my new best friend. I've re-printed the image onto the silk and attached it to the linen with the Wonder Under. All that remains now is the embroidery.

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