found in a Fron Isaf Experimental Pack
photos by Ian Cole
Finished size: 31 x 17 cm.
Most embroiderers are tempted by the mouth-watering 'experimental packs' that are available. But once you get the pack home, what do you do with it? To find out what can be done, we sent packs to several embroiderers and asked them to share their ideas and inspirations with us...
An Experimental Pack from Fron Isaf - the pack contains:
The colours and textures found in this pack are very soft and natural and the photograph accompanying the pack provided all of the inspiration I needed. The photograph, of a rock pool on the Pembrokeshire coast, revealed amazing colour, texture and line, and my first step was to isolate a detailed area that I felt could be interpreted to give me the essence of the subject matter. Once I had defined the area I was looking at, I had to decide how I was going to translate it in an abstract manner using the contents of the pack.
Initially, I thought of words: layers; scrunchy; fluid; line (hard and soft); movement; overlap/beneath; entwined; twisting; gentle/rugged; encrusted; silky; rhythm; continuous; broken bands.
Looking at the materials and threads, the same words came to mind: the mix of silk in various forms, from the smoothest, silkiest tops through to the textural, sculptural rods, was echoed in the threads, which ranged from a single piece of stranded cotton to thick silk rope. The inclusion of semiprecious chip beads added yet another dimension.
I find that having the subject matter broken down like this is very helpful, and indicates the best way to approach the design
If you would like to create a similar piece, use the enlarged design source photo (above) as your guide for colour and texture, and refer to the photos of my finished piece.
The Experimental Pack
These instructions are guidelines to help you create a piece of work that is uniquely yours.
Stranded cotton: Use 1 strand throughout. Work running stitch and free cross stitch freely over the whole piece. Use also to couch silk form in place. Varying the size and direction of the stitches, work free cross stitch in areas where Sinamay shows. Work gentle fluid lines of running stitch in the top half of the piece.
Fine silk (peach/pink): Stitch natural-coloured silk rods in place with rows of running stitch, taking care to allow the curling edges of the rod to remain free. In the top half of the design, intermingle rows of running stitch with the previously worked lines of stranded cotton.
Single thread soft spun silk: Work french knots in the small textured area at the top. Add free cross stitch in the textured areas in the middle of the design.
Luxury thick silk thread: Work large, scrunchy French knots in the lower textured areas and also in the central area, following the lines of the silk rods. The knots should be worked closely together to create dense stitching.
Stretch and lace the finished embroidery onto a piece of firm card (see Back to Basics) and frame as desired.
At the time of writing the Fron Isaf Experimental Pack used here
was available from:
Art Van Go, The Studios
1 Stevenage Road, Knebworth
Herts SG3 6AN