I still recall the olfactory delight of a new box of Crayola crayons and the visual perfection of all 64 perfectly pointed tips. Then there were the color names – cerulean, wisteria, goldenrod. For some reason burnt sienna used to fascinate me. Wasn’t sienna the name of a town and why was it burned?
My childhood memories were awakened by a recent guild program on crayoning on fabric. We got to practice on a pumpkin outline using a box of just 24 crayons. Since I don’t hang out in hand embroidery circles I was unaware of the number of kits that combine crayons and stitching. It’s just like coloring books; you even outline the edges. If you’re interested, I suggest you look over this guide from Crabapple Hill Studio.
Here’s what I’m doing with my pumpkin. One panel is fine, but I’m unlikely to do more in this vein. It’s way too pastel and cute.
I found this method of melting crayons and then rubbing the melted bit onto fabric. It seems a bit tedious.
However, I may try Jane Davies’ approach. Who cares about staying within the lines. Let’s make some lines. You can read about her use of crayons here and here. While she may use Crayolas on occasion, the oil pastels and artists’ crayons she recommends start at about $15 for 10 colors. They may be good items for my gift wish list.
Thanks to the Art Threads blog I recently discovered the unique hand stitching work of Hillary Fayle. Lots of hand stitching creations are unique; not that many are beautiful. Fayle’s are.
Her artistic statement:
“I use found botanical material such as leaves, seedpods, and branches to explore human connection to the physical world. By combining these organic objects with the rich traditions of needlecraft, I bind nature and the human touch. Both tender and ruthless, this intricate stitch work communicates the idea that our relationship with the natural world is both tenuously fragile and infinitely complex.”
Tender and ruthless – wow.
The Bored Panda blog says she “starts by coating each leaf in a non-toxic preservative that stiffens them up and protects them. Then, she cuts them into various forms and embroiders them or simply embroiders onto their uncut surfaces.” She occasionally posts her work on her blog, though I can find no description of her cutting and stitching processes. Some of her work features just cutting.
On her blog Fayle says, “I began stitching on unconventional materials when I was studying embroidery at the Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England.” According to the blog This Is Colossal, in 2014 Fayle was working on a MFA in Craft/Material studies at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Yet another website reports she studied and as of 2013 lived in New York state.
And came up with an idea for a quilt – the streaks of color you see when you rub your eyes hard. The internet tells me they are called phosphenes. If you meditate a lot, you might know them as nimitta. I had thought of calling this one Scintillations, but maybe I should go with Phosphene Forest.
I pulled out small leftover strips (more scraps,) sewed them together, and set them into a navy ombre fabric. I just love ombres as they give luminosity to a quilt, and color gradations without the bother of sewing a bunch of pieces together.
After trying and rejecting various yarns and ribbons to stitch on top of the blocks, I decided to do scattered hand stab stitching in undulating columns. I’ve ironed fusible fleece to the back in columns to give stability to my stitches and a bit of dimension.
The hand stitching is done. I used variegated Valdani perle cotton We’ll see how well the fleece works out once I add batting to the whole piece. I’m now puzzling over how to quilt this.
My husband, the scientist, says the design is too geometric to represent phosphenes. He really doesn’t grasp the concept of artistic license.
Until about a year ago I would have doubted your sanity if you suggested I do hand embroidery. You see, I was traumatized as a young girl by an embroidery needle, a toaster cover from W. T. Grant stamped with a blue pattern, and a determined mother who insisted I hand embroider Christmas gifts for my aunt. It was NOT a pleasant experience. And I was forced to work on a mixer cover, too! I recall the pattern featured a cuckoo clock with a demented looking bird popping out of it. The toaster cover sported a rooster. Here’s one similar to my childhood nightmare. (And someone’s asking $19 for it. Maybe I should tell my aunt.)
Then, I signed up for a Craftsy course called “Stupendous Stitching” which called for some extemporaneous hand embroidery, using big stitches and perle cotton. Well, once I didn’t have to deal with floss that refused to separate (and why on earth is it made that way?) and those trite blue stamped patterns I kind of got into it. Lazy daisies, French knots, stab stitches, fern stitch – bring them on. And I got to decide where to put my stitches.
Here’s a pillow I made using that class’ techniques – couching, machine decorative stitching, hand embroidery, and quilting.
Lest you think I hate fine embroidery, I don’t. I know one woman whose work is exquisite. She wins blue ribbons. It’s just not my thing.