Saturday, 1 September 2012

New embroidery: Moon deer

I was so engrossed in stitching up this crazy creature that I completely failed to take a single 'in progress' shot. From the moment I used my light box to transfer this image from my sketchbook onto some calico I barely seemed to stop stitching. Even the poor old wolfman took a backseat as I was again waiting for some more thread to finish him. Sometimes, it seems that embroidery can be quite demanding!
I've just been letting creatures appear in my sketchbook lately, letting my pencil just go where it wants to, and that's how the' moon deer' above appeared. Here's some of the sketches that I've been working on lately.
Moon Deer original sketch - you can see I was thinking of a more realistic background at the time
This chap had a 'magicy' feel when I drew him. Needs more work though!
Cute family pic of forest beasts
There's definitely a theme running through the latest batch, a slightly creepy otherworldliness that I quite like. I had originally intended to get back into some serious drawing, and actually work some of these up as full ink drawings, but the first one somehow demanded to be transferred onto fabric and be stitched. I had no plans as to how I was going to stitch this up, and I didn't really stop to think about colours, stitches, effects or anything before I started. Now normally, this isn't an approach I'd recommend. It's probably not very wise to invest a lot of time fill-stitching a large-ish embroidery that may all turn out not as expected, but I'm a believer that no embroidery can ever turn out truly wrong. There is always something to learn from every piece. I very happy with the way this one turned out though. Once I'd started I decided to stick to a very limited pale palette, and the bulk of the deer creature itself is done using split stitch which creatures a nice, flat fur look. 
Split stitch gives a nice, unbroken look to lines and fur, but still provides texture
The grey threads also give the creature a  bit of a sheen which you probably can't see in my pics, but it's quite a nice effect. About halfway through stitching the deer I had a bit of a crisis of confidence, and wondered whether I should have started this piece on a dark fabric so it would stand out. However, I'm now very glad with the choice I made. The limited palette adds to the feel of the piece, and means you have to get up nice and close to have a good look! Obviously I added quite a few french knots, but I haven't yet added them up to add them to the french knot counter! Now this piece is finished, I plan to try and mount it on an A4 canvas which I haven't tried before. I want to find different ways of finishing pieces other than using hoops. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
I posted the finished pictures of this piece onto the &Stitches Flickr pool as I usually do when I finished it last week, and was thrilled on Thursday night when I saw they'd featured me on their site and Facebook page! Thanks so much &Stitches! If you haven't already come across this site, I'd recommend a look - they publish a wonderful e-zine periodically which is full of excellent articles and patterns.