Archive for the ‘Embroidery’ Category

DR: 01-01-11

January 3, 2011

The first of January marked more of an occasion for me this year than normal. I wasn’t excited by champagne corks flying or New Years resolutions, instead I was excited by a new feeling: optimism about politics. Not Britain, of course, but the wider world.

The first of Janury 2011 was the day that Dilma Rousseff became the most powerful woman in the world. Rousseff is now the president of Brazil. The first was her inauguration day, I’ve been awaiting this day for some months now. She’s not just any old politician. I’m not simply excited on account of her being a woman: it’s because of her history.

When Dilma was much younger, in the 60s, she was a guerilla fighter. She fought against the military dictatorship. She was captured, declared the ‘Joan of Arc of The Guerilla Movement’, tortured, and held in a cell for three years. And now, fifty years later, she is the president of that very country that she fought to save. If any proof is needed that standing up for what you believe in is the right thing to do, Dilma is it.

And so to celebrate, I made a rosette:

dilma1

We’ve been doing whitework at school recently so I thought I’d take the opportunity to do my school work and honour a great woman.

dilma2

The centre image is a venetian cutwork portrait of her doing her peace signs which she loves to do so much. I’d definitely vote for a politician who frequently gave a peace sign at press conferences. The middle ring uses broderie anglaise and pulled thread work.

dilma3

The outer ring is a scalloped edge of buttonhole stitching so as to be able to cut it away and have no frayed edges. Sort of. Kind of worked?

dilma4

The ribbons were made with a thin muslin which I double back stitched on, in the font Corbusier Stencil, the words “Fight The Good Fight”.

I am going to wear her with pride, and a little bit of fear of getting her dirty. Wahhh, white šŸ˜¦

*the background image of these photos has no political meaning: I was taking photographs on the bus home and all I had in the way of a background was a painting of an American boy my boyfriend bought me for Christmas

I’m a free bitch, baby.

November 28, 2010

I uh, decided to embroider a stumpwork portrait of Lady Gaga.

I found an unfinished mirror frame in the V&A, it was started by Martha Eldin in the mid to late 17th Century, she did a lot of it but she hadn’t quite finished it. On the frame, was a drawing that was yet to be filled in of Hagar. I can’t find a photograph of her to show you, I’ll sort it out soon. She was standing all strong and proud, so I decided to base my Lady Gaga around her.

gaga1

Obviously, she had to have exploding tits.

gaga2

gaga3

Her weird monster shoes, and her bodice too (although that’s now mostly covered with the flag) are needlewoven. The shoes were hell, tiny weeny stitches with a tiny weeny thread.

gaga4

I made her a little microphone out of fimo and a thread wrapped wire hand to hold it in.

gaga5

That is my hair there – I cut it off in a hungover state about a year ago and kept it all this time, waiting for it to become useful. And now it has! I covered it in glue and wrapped it around thick needles to get the curls, then I couched it down.

I am way too tired to explain anymore. Le sigh! Royal School of Needlework, you wear me out.

Filigree Work

November 15, 2010

We’re being taught Whitework at the moment, last lesson on wednesday, sob sob sob. Jenny Adin-Christie is teaching us Whitework and she’s amazing. Super good teacher, lovely person too.

One of the lessons covered filigree work, embroidery on a surface so transparent that the thread that creates the aesthetic is the thread on the back of the work.

whitework1

You can also apply fabrics and pictures to the fabric from beneath-

whitework2

The text on the brown paper (stitched on with feather and thorn stitch) reads “Now you have touched the woman, you have struck a rock; you have dismantled a boulder; you will be crushed.”

This year is proving tricky.

St Vince

September 30, 2010

You know that awkward situation when you start a relationship with someone and then like a month later it’s their birthday? And you don’t know what to get them, do you get them something big- would that look OTT? Would something too small look like you didn’t actually like them? And what if it doesn’t last long enough for them to get you something for your birthday? Everyone knows birthday presents are a two way street. Well I get this quandary worse than normal people, I’m sure. Cos I like makin’ shit. I can’t give presents what I bought because it doesn’t seem right.

And so, when I found myself in this very situation in July, what’s a girl gonna do? I could make him something quick but a bit rubbish? He wouldn’t really know. But you know me. Once I get an idea in my head that aint gonna shift.

And so I give you, St Vince:

vincey

For those of you wondering “Who the fuck is that?” it is Vince Cable. And for those of you still wondering “Who the fuck is that?”, Vince is a good Liberal Democrat. Remember them?

Boyfriend loves Vince. Boyfriend loves Vince so much Boyfriend has a mug with Vince’s face on. Boyfriend loves Vince and loved his Lib Dem gang so much he ran for Lib Dem Councillor in his local area in May. He didn’t succeed, but that’s because he lives in an extreme conservative area and not because he’s shit. Because he’s not shit. He’s awesome.

And so it came to me: Make him a goldwork portrait of Vince Cable as a saint. And it wouldn’t go away. And so I went into school in the summer time and set up myself a little Vince making workshop.

Turns out it was all worth it anyway because overtime I fell for him in a big way. Both Vince and Boyfriend.

————–
This post can also read as: “Oh hey I’m back! I broke my camera and then my replacement broke on its own but I lost the receipt and then I had to earn money to buy a third but now I’ve got a new camera so should be able to blog more now.”

PS I linked to Boyfriend’s tumblr in here somewhere. If you click on the link you can see: His bikes, his special bike sandals and shoes (I wish I was joking) Vince next to one of his bikes, his home brewed beer AND the best bit of his WHOLE tumblr, an original poem from me. BELIEVE IT.

Miss me much?

July 28, 2010

Ok, so I’ve been away. I’ve been busy! I’ve been having fun. I’ve been hanging out. I’ve been a bad blogger.

But hey, I’m back now. And you know what you get to ease the pain in your heart? You get a free cross stitch pattern. Why? Because I missed you too.

I made this to enter it into a competition to be an Elizabeth Bradley pattern. It was too gosh darn rock n roll for them so I was denied. So instead, I’m throwing it into your open arms. G’wan, stitch it, love it, give it a home.

bullfloral

It’s a little angry bull decorated with flowers because women are full of strength and anger inside, but we cover ourselves with fripperies and fineries to make us more accessible. Or something. Visual metaphors in cross stitch ftw.

As my mum once said, women are wonderful. Whatever sex you are, you should celebrate this.

Be back soon, promise.

Scarlet Work

June 3, 2010

Thankyou to everyone for your stories! I was inundated but that was absolutely wonderful- every single one of them added to the strength of my sketchbook, and every single one was a joy to read and a fascinating insight. I recommend reading them all, and furthermore- asking your friends for their own stories. It gives way to a brilliant conversation, that whilst at the beginning some may be reserved about- after a few minutes people are fighting to have their voices heard. Everyone loves it.

So on Rabia’s story, I hinted at the stitch outcome. However I didn’t say that the point of dissolving it was to dissolve it onto my thigh, like a huge trickling blood spill that supported all the stories of the women whose histories I gathered. I videoed this process, so it was a multimedia Embroidery project- which I am going to claim as being the first one ever at The Royal School of Needlework. Record breaking embroidery.

I don’t think i can show you the video- there’s probably too much nudity for youtube and my knowledge of uploading videos to the internet is essentially nonexistent. Photographs however- doable.

period1

period2

It means you’re normal

period3

Don’t tell Dad

period4

Trickling down my leg

And with that- I have finished my first year at Embroidery School.

Take Back Parliament

May 14, 2010

So, we’ve had an election recently in the UK. And I got involved. Big style. The run up to the election consumed me- all the time. All my chat was about it, for weeks. Some moaned, some just sat and listened knewing I was unstoppable, and some got involved and went with me on it.

I was championing the Liberal Democrats. I loved them so much I went to a ‘flash mob’ in central London where we all stood around wearing the party colour (yellow) and chanted “I agree with Nick!” (the party leader)

lilyandme

Here’s a photo, taken by my Brother in Law of my sis and I there. Guess which one I am lololololol

One of the Liberal Democrat’s policies was electoral reform- challenging Britain’s First Past The Post system and asking instead for Proportional Representation- making every vote count so that some parties (the Lib Dems being one of them) had an actual chance of getting power- rather than the two main parties being the only seemingly viable options.

I didn’t realise how important a policy it was until the voting results came in. Conservative got 37% of the vote. Labour got 30% and Lib Dem got 24%. Did this translate into seats into Parliament? No. No it didn’t. Conservatives got 305 seats, Labour got 258 and Lib Dem? 57. How on earth does that work? I don’t understand it- but I know it’s not right.

This gave way to a new movement in the UK. People demanding fair votes, people demanding Proportional Representation- regardless of their political views, people want their votes to count. A group called Take Back Parliament have started a petition and have organised demonstrations and ‘flash mobs’ (which now appears to be less dancing in public and more a hastily organised get together of 100+ people in public.) and encouraged people to wear purple, the colour of suffrage, all week.

Tomorrow is the main event. On Monday there was a flashmob- and I went, head to toe in purple, with a little something extra… An armband embroidered with ‘Proportional Representation no more broken elections’ emblazoned onto the side. I had spent my day doing it and had even printed off patterns to take incase anybody there was into the stitch. I gave out a few but as we all know, political protesters that enjoy cross stitch are few and far between.

no~
Larger size, here!


Larger size, here!

Today I finally got around to photographing the finished article-

I do quite like this armband fandango.

Strange little world

April 30, 2010

So, some months back I did a little embroidery for a special project that I shall keep secret for now. But you can see the embroidery I did for it!

silkbulls

Two little cotton bulls on red silk. They are done with long and short stitch, which took forever but were received ever so well and I’m rather proud of them. I shalln’t lie. The person who I stitched them for, when she saw the first one said “I can’t believe this is by hand!” To which my tutor replied “They weren’t, it was a machine” HO HO HO JOKES! Unfortunately the woman in receipt simply assumed this was the truth, and was then excited by the fact they made machines that did embroidery like that. I gather that over lunch with him, she asked him what machine it was I’d used – at which point he had to admit his joke had failed and in fact it was a labour of love, with my hands.

Boasting over. Detail shot.

longandshort

All this took place in January, I think. It was certainly over by March, anyhow.

A couple of days back, and we’re now at the end of April, I went down to the RSN studios to find some tapestry wool, for a canvas design I’ve been working on, in the shape of a bulls head. The head of the studios saw this, and excitedly told me she’d found something in a box recently that I’d like. “Because I know you like bulls an’ that.”

Holy fuck. Spot the difference, anyone? Apparently this was done in the 80s, or something.

So, obvious things first:
It’s a bull.
It’s (mostly) in black.
It’s on red.
It’s stance is extremely similar.

Less obvious things:
The stitch is exactly the same one I used.
The amount of strands in the needle, the same.
The direction of the stitches are the same.
The length of the stitches are the same.

My tutor was in stitches when I showed her, we sat giggling at it for a good few minutes not quite sure what to say. Why on earth had I chosen to do the exact same thing all these years later? It must be something in the water in these parts.

It was pretty good for me to find- it totally confirmed to me that this obsession with bulls I’ve developed recently has been a good one to get. I started stitching the bulls when I realised my history was peppered with them. Reappearing and reappearing time and time again. And now it seems my future will be that way too.

Why? What’s your problem?

April 23, 2010

Ok, so I’ve been going cross stitch pattern mad recently. There’s an explanation for that! It’s school work, innit. I explained the unit a bit here and here, but yesterday we handed in our work and I can say I’m finished! Well, sort of. I’ve still got to actually get the pattern in a position for selling it (and I will be! zomg! you can buy something I made!) BUT, here is what you can make:

jacketstitch

The kit will be for a sampler only, but will have instructions on how to apply it to things like jackets/tea towels/pillowcases… you get the picture.

A close up!

The quote is by Dale Spender, from her book ‘For the Record: The Making & Meaning of Feminist Knowledge
It ends with:

“If someone says ‘Oh, I’m not a Feminist.’ I ask ‘Why? What’s your problem?’

I was very excited to make my first ever sampler (ish thingy) and I hope you like it too. Did I do good? Did I? Did I?

Edit, just found this:

Every Heart

April 9, 2010

Rayna over at Radical Cross Stitch asked me to stitch up one of her (then unreleased) patterns to check how it went. I of course said yes immediately! A privilege!

everyheart

It took me quite a while, I kept running out of red thread (and believe it or not, it’s hard to find any embroidery thread in my area of the world. Yes, I know, I go to embroidery school… Still. Tricky!) and I ended up finishing it at a Patti Smith book shop whilst she played Because The Night. That’s about as cool as I get.

You can now buy the pattern at Radical Rags etsy! And believe me, you wanna buy it. Sure you do.