Work done for City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Embroidery with Distant Stitch.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Module 1 Chapter 11: Resolved Sample

9th April 2011

Growth and Disintegration

This is my completed resolved sample for the City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate, Module 1 Chapter 11. The large bird is of fabric painted Pelmet Vilene on a yellow/green background of calico dyed with Procion dyes. The whole thing is mounted on cotton fabric dyed with Procion dyes stretched over mounting board. The yellow/green fabric is deliberately frayed slightly to enhance the theme of disintegration. I wanted to have a smooth edge for the backing violet fabric as a contrast to the frayed yellow/green.

Details of individual elements:

Big bird 1: Pelmet Vilene, coloured with fabric paints and cut out with a fine pointed soldering iron. Machine stitched close to edge onto yell0w/green background.

Bird 2: (Section outside big bird) coloured Pelmet Vilene. (Section inside big bird) shape cut away from big bird with fine pointed soldering iron to reveal 4 layers of coloured polyester organza distressed with a fine pointed soldering iron to reveal different colours. Fly Stitch worked by hand at random with fine metallic gold machine embroidery thread.

Bird 3: Shape cut away from big bird using fine pointed soldering iron and needlelace worked in hot pink stranded cotton.

Bird 4: Shape cut away from big bird using fine pointed soldering iron. Layers of coloured cotton applied behind. Stitched around a few millimetres inside outline and cut back to next layer. This repeated for next layer. Cut edges allowed to fray slightly.

Bird 5: Shape cut away from big bird using fine pointed soldering iron. Two layers of contrasting cotton applied behind. Slashed through all three layers (yellow/green background and both coloured cottons) and frayed.

The outside birds were deliberately made subtle so as to contrast with the inside birds and so as to avoid making the whole composition too "busy". All were worked in the same fabric as the yellow/green background.

Bird 6: Three small bird shapes, diminishing in size, stitched just inside outline and frayed then applied on top of each other.

Birds 7, 11 and 12: Small bird shape stitched just inside the outline and frayed.

Bird 8: Cut away applique using traditional Mola technique.

Bird 9: Small bird shape drawn on back of yellow/green background and tacked around outline. On right side, shape filled with fly stitch worked in yellow/green variegated machine sewing cotton and then tacking stitches removed.

Bird 10: Two layers of green polyester organza sandwiched with painted Bondaweb and small bird shape cut out. Stitched onto background and then distressed with soldering iron.


Materials cost approximately £50.


Design work was started in July 2010 and completed March 2011(a break of 6 months from September 2010 until February 2011 because of domestic circumstances).

Dyeing, construction and embroidery was started on 5 March 2011 and completed 30 March 2011.

In total 25 hours were spent on design and 18 hours on embroidery.

Evaluation of completed work

I am pleased with the resulting conclusion. I think the colours work well and the finished sample shows both growth and disintegration. I am pleased at how the large (parent) bird seems to be disintegrating in order that the smaller (offspring) birds can grow. I am pleased with the general movement of the piece, in a curve from bottom left to top right, showing the birds apparently taking flight. It makes me think of my old school motto: "Ad Altiora Tendo" (I reach out toward higher things.) and that pleases me, because it has been my motto throughout life and sums up my attitude to the City and Guilds course.

I think it is fit for its purpose, since it shows both growth and disintegration. It shows growth through the sizes and numbers of the smaller birds and the embellishment throughout the piece. It shows disintegration in a number of different ways: the cutting away of layers by scissors and soldering iron, the distressing of several small birds, the breaking up of the outline of the parent bird and the fraying of edges. The whole piece uses a wide variety of the techniques which have been studied in this module.

I would not make any radical changes to the way it was designed or made. Perhaps I could have experimented with more fabrics for the large parent bird, since the Pelmet Vilene has a rather flat, dead look. On the other hand it does make the colourful sections stand out. A few more samples done beforehand might have made it more interesting. One advantage of the unavoidably long time scale of the work is that it allowed time for ideas to sit and develop in the back of my mind so that I was able to progress gradually through rather tight, regular designs to one which I think is freer and more successful and so I am satisfied with the design process.

I have now got the layout of this post reasonably close to how I want it, so I don't dare disturb it by inserting any more pictures. However, I'll post some detailed close-ups in a separate post.

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