Archive for December, 2007

Finding your embroidery style.

Friday, December 21st, 2007

    The basics of embroidery are fairly simple.  As soon as you learn to adjust your thread tension and master a few stitches you’re off and running.  There are tons of vintage style patterns and more and more people are putting together modern designs.  But, most people don’t think much about their approach to an embroidered project except to outline the image and throw in a few french knots, or lazy daisy stitches to finish their project.

  But let’s consider line quality, texture and shading.  The smaller the design the fewer threads you should use to outline an object.  If the design’s outline in intricate and detailed, play around with single and double thread stitches which will help you retain the detail.  I love to use the Stem stitch since it adjusts well to heavy or thin lines.  If I want a heavy stitch the chain stitch works very well.  So, if you have ever finished a piece and thought that it looked too “clunky”, remember that maybe a thinner line would have worked better.

    Texture and shading kind of go hand and hand for me.  I often use a seed or seed like stitch to shade an image.  This automatically gives me texture.  Shading should be done with a light hand.  I stay away from using large stitches or extremely dark colors unless it the art really calls for it. 

   Take a look at how I have handled my line quality and shading in the pictures below.  On the first piece (Red Bird) I used the seed stitch  on the bird to suggest form and continuation of color on the bird body, versus filling the whole body with stitching. I used a simular technique of the branch. On the bird’s eye, since I didn’t want to fill the eye in black or make it completely white I used the seed stitch to get a happy medium.  The background stitches give movement and texture to the background

Red Bird

  This next piece has a lot of shading, both on the bird and the banner.  On the body of the bird the shading is done in broken lines that are the same color as the outline of the bird. Yet, on the banner the shading worked better being a different color from the outline.

Singing Through the Pain

This is what I do, but you should experiment to come up with your own vision of how your art should look.



Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Here is another piece for my upcoming show in Marfa, Texas at Galleri Urbane.  This piece is a portrait of a little girl at my best friends daycare.  I just love this little girl.  Her name is Sophie.  She is always a bit shy when I first arrive at the daycare, so she won’t say “hi”, but will bring me articles of clothing.  She also likes to make little marks on the patio with chaulk, then she does a couple little jumps.  This is her version of hopscotch, which she sees the older girls doing.


Nichobella, Fiber Artist

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Hey,  I have found a great fiber/textile artist.   She quilts, beads, felts and much more.  I love her color sense and her ability to add tons of detail to her art without being overwelming.  Her art is very expressive and full of life.

nichobella 1


My Favorite Quilts: The Art of Harriet Powers

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Have you ever seen the work of a artist that sums up everything you think about art.  For many years I have had favorite artists that have inspired me  and actually help keep my head clear as to my own personal vision.  When I was younger I looked to Degas,  and Lautrec.  As I got older it was SchieleFreud that spoke to me.    Now that I am a mature artist (45 yrs old and very cranky),  I have found a new personal hero, who’s art rocks my world.

Harriet Powers was  born a slave in 1837 in the state of Georgia.  She created story quilts based on important events and bible stories.  There are only two quilts by her that I know of.  I believe both quilts are at the Smithsonian.  After looking at the quilt images please take the time to look her up on the net and learn more about her.  Here is one site that has some info: Harriet Powers.

Harriet Powers     Harriet Powers Bible Quilt  

   Harriet Powers Quilt I

The Chicken Chapel

Friday, December 14th, 2007

My best friend, Jean Benelli, has a very busy house.  She has a daycare, 4 dogs, 5 cats, and chickens.  If you drive by her house you’ll see all the kids and animals running around her large front yard, but what will really capture your attention is Jean’s chicken coop. 

Her coop has a name, The Chicken Chapel.  It is a coop with stain glass windows, chandalier, frescos, tin stars on the ceiling and a stain glass steeple that lights up.  The stain glass windows tell the birth story of Christ with the symbolic use of chickens as Christ and the wisemen.  Using the rooster as the symbol of Christ is historically based.  Inside the ceiling is painted blue, and covered with tin stars.  The iron chandalier has ceramic chickens as subsitute for the lights. 

It is probably better if you just see it for yourself……

 The Chicken Chapel  The Chicken Chaple

The Chicken Chaple   The Chicken Chaple

The Chicken Chaple   The Chicken Chaple

The Chicken Chaple   The Chicken Chaple

The Chicken Chaple   The Chicken Chaple

For the Love of Aprons…. The Art of Calamity Kim

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Like a lot of people I love aprons.  I particularly like aprons with personality.  I would like to introduce to you the artist/craft goddess Calamity Kim.  Her aprons kind of BURST with personality.  You might say they are like fabric collages.  The aprons are often themed, bright colored, and full of movement.  Make Sure to check out her blog and her Flickr site.

Calamity Kim Apron     Calamity Kim Apron 2     Calamity Kim Apron 4

        Calamity Kim Apron 3        Calamity Jane Apron 3 Detail        

New Quilt, Skull and Heart

Monday, December 10th, 2007

I love my new quilt!  I had so much fun making it.  I was able to do certain things on this piece that I had been wanting to do for a while.  First, work with more patterned fabrics.  Second, use a number of subjects in one piece, instead of one central figure.  My influences for this piece are Dia De Los Muertos and Pennsylvania German’s Fraktur artwork.  It is a small quilt measuring only 33″ x 30″.   It is basically constructed with applique onto a large print fabric.  Then the applique is embroidered. 

Skull and Heart Quilt

Skull and Heart Quilt    Skull and Heart Quilt      Skull and Heart Quilt

Doodle Stitching

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Artist, craftperson and illustrator Aimee Ray has a wonderful new book out called Doodle Stitching.  Since I became aware of Aimee, aka Merwing,  I have been impressed with her unique artistic style that she has been able to translate into fantastic embroidery art.  Embroidery is such a versatile  medium, yet so many craftsters stick to images that are steroetypical to the craft of embroidery.  Aimee presents her unique embroidered images but also  demonstraits and encourages  artist to  create their own embroidered visions.

Check out Aimee’s book and other items at:

Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray