Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stitching Shakespeare (Part 2)

I finally finished the stitching on my special Shakespeare project.

This was my first time working on a completely original design, and it was a really valuable experience.  Before working on each section, I would hold up the cloth and examine it, trying to consider what colors and stitches would look best in that section.  At the same time, I also learned that it is fine when a particular choice doesn't work out, because I can always take out the stitches and start over.  Like knitters, stitchers refer to undoing work as "frogging" because you have to "rip it, rip it, rip it."  (Someone on the Frosted Pumpkin forum referred to it as "the frog visited," which sounds like a euphemism for something else . . .)

Adding the embellishments to the peacock was especially fun.  This is a newer trend among embroiders.  You take a piece of fabric with a bolder design on it, then stitch on top of it in a way that either brings greater detail to the design or adds a picture on top of the fabric.  One fiber artist takes traditional French fabric with a pastoral design on it in blue and white, then adds subversive changes--like giving a dairy maid a mohawk and fishnet stockings.  In my case, I added the details to both punch up the colors and give the peacock a more textured effect.  The result has a lot more depth than the fabric design alone.  The embellishments also emphasize the theme of the quote.  As one of my Home Ec friends said, "The quote is about how it is hard to hide your nature, who you really are, and the peacock is flaunting what makes him special."
Outline:  blanket stitch
Head feathers:  french knots
Top wing:  backstitch outline, seed stitch filling
Wing feather:  fern stitch
Tail feathers:  blanket stitch outline, french knot center
Flower:  Algerian stitch
It was surprising to me how liberated I felt stitching my handwriting.  I have never had very attractive cursive or printing.  I used to write in cursive on tests because it was quicker, but I gradually switched to printing because I was worried that professors wouldn't be able to read my cursive.  I got used to the idea that my cursive handwriting was rushed and illegible.  When I wrote the quote for my project, I didn't deliberately change my handwriting, but it looked inherently different because I took my time and was not writing under the pressure of an exam.  I was able to take a part of me that I was always ashamed of and turned it into a beautiful work of art, with its own character and style.

I had to share this because I was so happy to get the stitching done, but the project isn't complete yet! Next time, I will describe my first venture into framing--a step that bring anxiety to many beginning stitchers.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely work, Jorie. Nice quote as well. I like that you used variegated floss for the quote.