Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Surface Stitchery/Embroidery #1

AddThis Social Bookmark ButtonHello, This is Joanne Bast, back as blogger for the month of April. I see that the vast variety of fiber techniques to be found in the Fiberart Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA discussed so for have spanned the gamut from weaving and spinning to quilting to silk painting to beadwork to fabric collage. I would like to continue on with an explanation of surface stitchery otherwise known as embroidery. My old college dictionary defines to embroider as to ornament, to embellish, to add fanciful details to. Stitchery has long been used to beautify items from the common every day functional to the strictly ornamental.

Embroidery is usually considered as work done with a threaded needle. In the embellishment of items, one way that embroidery can be used is to add or emphasize line. Embroidery may be done by hand or with the needle of a sewing machine.

Julie Booth hand stitches fabric pieces onto one of her totem figures with decorative thread in such a way that visible stitching outlines each piece.
Two of Julie's Totem Figures.
Lines can follow and enhance the patterns of the base fabric. Using a sewing machine, Eileen Doughty outlines the motifs that she has printed onto her fabric journal covers, purse and fabric boxes.
Floris Flam stitches rows of parallel lines to emphasize the landscape effect of her wall quilt "Blue Hills".
In Betty Ford's "Red and Yellow Grasses", stitched lines follow the growth of the fabric strips to give a linear and waving feeling.
Ruth Blau uses lines of machine embroidery in contrast to the edges of fabric patches to embellish her hand woven tote bag.
The elements of a felted necklace by Ann Liddle are stitched using different line configurations.
Dorothy Miller uses a wide machined zig zag satin stitch to give a stained glass effect to her pieced evening bag.
Hand and machine stitching need not be mutually exclusive. In the pink bag below, Dorothy uses machine satin stitch to outline the large fabric color blocks and a running hand stitch to emphasize the small circles.
Sewing machines also often have built in pattern stitches that can also be used to separate and outline areas of design.
Floris Flam has satin stitch outlined the edges of petals as well as used finer stitched lines to develop internal structure in her fabric bowls.
Couching is a method of embroidery where one thread (usually either too thick to pass through the fabric or too dear to waste any on the back side) is held in place by overstitching with a thinner thread. Merle Thompson has used couching to add linear interest to a satin purse.
There are many ways in which embroidery may be used to add linear decorations to fiber work. In future posts this month, I will continue to explore embroidery as a fiber embellishment technique. Monday April 11 is also our next jury day. By the end of business on Monday, the gallery will be filled with all new goodies. Stop in and enjoy. Joanne

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