All posts by Cherry Hirsch

Chapters 1-6: collecting colour and ‘foot on’ stitching

Colour Sample - Reds
Colour Samples - Purple
Colour Samples - Blue
Colour Samples - Green
Colour Samples - Yellow

This was an interesting exercise which at first I felt I wanted to do as a continuous spiral from one colour into another,  but I had too many pieces with too little space to really do this, so opted to do each colour seperately.

Collecting Colours - 1
collecting colour - 2
collecting colour - 3
collecting colour - 4
collecting colour - 5
collecting colour - 6
collecting colour - 7

I love colour and am very aware of it.  I notice that I am much more drawn to ‘broken’ colours – those that mix and meld and give subtle variations in colour and tone, especially the effect of light on colour.  No doubt this comes from having trained as a photographer.  I find primary colours somewhat stark and would always seek to alter them, so I imagine in stitch it would be a question of layering different tones of colour to break up the basic block,  Nature very rarely gives us pure unadulerated blocks of colour.  When I dye fabrics, I tend not to stir the solution too much so that I get some  interesting results.  I have a huge collection of pictures – photos, postcards etc in box files.  (I am a terrible hoader of things that ‘might one day be useful’!)  It was just a question of sorting through them to pick some out for my notebook.

I also have quite a collection of different fabrics including a lot I have dyed myself.  One of my issues has been not knowing how to use the raw materials, so I am sure this course will assist me along this road! I have a lot os threads too and bought  a load of rayon viscose threads in 1000m spools as I knew I would need a lot.  They are 40s, but I do have some 30s as well.

Straight Stitching -

I have already worked with transfer dyes so did not do further experiments with these except as pieces to stitch.

Straight Stitching - 2
Straight Stitching - 3

I really liked this last piece – there is a nice rippling texture to the background due to the interplay of satin fabric, the pattern of the dyes and the horizontal stitching, which draws the eye past the foreground vertical stitching.  These two pieces show the difference between being totally haphazard and having some kind of structure.

sample 3b with added dark line

I think the addition of the dark line helps to give added dimension to the piece.  I have left the two lines on the left as they were for comparison purposes.

Zigzag Stitching - 1

The black felt has a nappy liner backing.  The satin pieces have vilene.  The top one has claret, orange and yellow transfer paints brushed and sponged on.  The bottom one is claret, purple and blue with added yellow and orange from another sheet on the lower area.

Automatic Pattern Stitching -

I’ve never used automatic patterns before and really enjoyed the exercise.  I particularly liked the colours of the second piece.  The top one has yellow, orange and claret transfer paints, brushed and sponged.  The second has green and blue brushed, with blobs of claret.

further experiments - 1
sample of machine patterns

I decided to stitch a sample of all the patterns on my machine (of which this is a part)  so as to have a better idea of how they would look.

The first wheel uses the 3 primaries and 3 secondaries.  , the second wheel uses the 3 primaries.  I am aware that the colours I had are not perfect, but give me an idea of how stitched colours work together.

blue and yellow mixes
Stitched Shade, Hue ans Tint
Painted Colour Samples - 1

The next two images are exercises I did a while ago to show the difference between warm and cool colours.

Painted Colour Samples - 2a
Painted Colour Samples - 2b
Painted Colour Wheel - 1
Painted Colour Wheel - 2

I decided the above colours didn’t work very well as adding black made the reds, purples and blues to muddy, so I used a crimson in the second wheel which worked better.

Prairie points sample

The above is my first prairie point sample, with a sample of the reverse pattern on the far right.

Design for Prairie Points Resolved Sample

Trump Tower, New York (Tony Stone Images)

I found this image of shade and light on a building to use as my inspiration for my resolved prairie point sample.  I soon realised it would be difficult to get the precise diagonal lines of the image with vertical and horizontal stitching.  I was not satisfied with the first sample (and also felt that technically it was not good enough) but I altered the layering of the second sample and how I sewed it together. I feel it is better and demonstrates the original inspiration.  The fabrics I used were pieces of hand-dyed sheeting I had left over from a quilting project.

Prairie Points Resolved Sample - 1
Praire Points Resolved Sample - 2
stitching on transfer dyed satin

I used cut out paper shapes for the resists with lutradur as the top layer cut away to expose the under layer  and used machine and hand stitching with wadding and a backing fabric.

layers in the landscape tryptych

I did this at a summer school course in Oxford with Amanda Hislop.  It is made up of layers of muslin and dyed and wetted papers, sandwiching pieces of plant material, dried and then machine stitched, finally rubbed in places with Markel paintsticks.  The inspiration came from a photo of plane trees along the Canal du Midi I started working with,  plus a photo of the bark and lichen on one tree which I flipped to echo the feel of the first photo.

final work

This stitchery exercise is from a small detail of lichen on wall 1 where I endeavoured to show the way the colours blended into each other.  Every stitch was made using two threads in the needle to achieve a subtle blend of colour, but I feel the thinner threads did not work as well,  or maybe I should have used the smaller holed canvas.

I found the paper weaving worked well to develop an impression of wall 2 and the way the stones interacted with each other.

I then worked on my first resoved sample.  I wanted to develop my previous experiment, this time laying the lutradur onto canvas so that when I melted it away areas of the canvas would be exposed ready for hand stitching.  I used maching stitching on the top layer of lutradur, trying to echo all the little spots of colour on the old stones.

My second resolved sample is baed on a close-up of the lichen on wall one:

For this I used a piece of black felt on which is layed a piece of bondaweb painted blue to soften the black.  I used the embelishing machine to felt down pieces of scrim and wool fibre to give both colour and texture. Iused machine stitching for the dark edging in the lichen, finishing with hand stitching.

I am happy with this interpretation of the wall, especially as this is one of the ways in which I like to work.

Shape observations and first stitches

The first observation of wall 1 is taken from the different coloured textures as this is one large block of stone, but I thought the differences showed up as shapes in their own right.  I used some paper I had made ages ago which I thought nicely reflected the textures.

This is the second wall where each shape is a seperate stone.  This is using black cartridge paper.

This is my first attempt at stitching on canvas.  It is quite a large hole canvas which I happened to have – subsequent pieces are on 10 holes to the inch.  All the threads worked well enough except for the strip of cotton fabric which kept breaking.  Thin threads obviously give a more open structure and show the canvas squares underneath, while thicker ones give a more blocky effect.  Below is my second attempt and an attempt to think how I might translate the rubbing into stitch.  The fairly thick greyish wool I used first for the heavier marks doesn’t work at all and looks too messy.  The most successful piece is the one bttom left.  I realise it is really difficult to cover every hole of the canvas and feel quite daunted by it.

The rubbing below is a closeup of the piece I want to use.  It looks complex and I realised I couldn’t just go straight into trying to stitch the whole piece.  I needed a plan of action so to speak and I thought a tracing would  give a more linear idea of how I could work the stitches.

Then I thought I would do something totally different and more abstract as a change and to see how it turned out.  The base is vilene painted ochre/orange, covered with lutradur painted grey with patches of painted bondaweb and both machine and hand stitches, with the edges then melted.  I am not totally satisfies with it, particularly the machine stitching, so I’m sure I will have another attempt.

Initial studies in France

We spent a week in a gite in the Charente area of France.  This was part of an old farm complex where there was an abundance of beautiful old walls.

I loved the variation of colours in this piece of stone work – weather worn with different growths of lichens and mosses.

This close up shows the area I thought the most interesting.

In this first sketch I was perhaps trying for too much detail, whereas in the second one below I was attempting to reproduce just the shapes and colours.  I actually did the first sketch for each wall first before going back for a second attempt on both.

This rubbing with a black wax crayon is of the close-up section.

I was then attracted to the wall on the other side of the door.  This was equally weathered but much more subtle in colour and I think will be the piece I work on.

Now back home, I’m looking forward to working on the next part of the project.