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

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Certificate Module 3 Chapter 9 A Resolved Sample - Initial Thoughts

For my resolved sample, I wanted to do something other than just a rectangle to hang on the wall.  I played around with a few fabric samples to interpret some of my paper ideas, but then life got in the way with more work to be done to settle my late aunt's estate, a trip to the far north to visit friends in Caithness and a most unpleasant tummy bug which laid me low for almost a fortnight.  To my surprise, I found the idea ready made inside my head - having worked on itself at the back of my mind in the midst of all the busy-ness!

I decided I would like my sample to take the form of a scroll, rolled up and fastened with a hand-made button or toggle and a made cord.  The outside would be fairly subtle, the fabric in a cool aqua colour, printed with ammonite shapes in a slightly different tone of the same colour and with minimum linear stitching.  I like Sian's phrase "fragility of line" which I would aim for here.

3.9.RS1 Initial idea

I looked online to do some more research on ammonites to see if there were any fresh ideas to help me.  I found that the nearest relative to the pre-historic ammonites is the chambered nautilus and I found a copyright free image of one.

3.9.RS2 Chambered Nautilus

I liked the look of the tentacles coming out of the end of the shell and thought a fringe on the bottom of the scroll would be an interesting idea, since once rolled up, it would form a tassel.  This fringe could be formed of machine wrapped cords or beaded.  I didn't want to make too many rigid design decisions at this stage, since I wanted to leave the freedom to take some design decisions during the making process.  To see what it might look like, I rolled up my beadwork sampler and photographed it.

3.9.RS3 possible treatment for fringe

On the inside of the scroll, I would like to make 7 large ammonite shapes, each one having a different treatment, for example beadwork, pure stitch, shadow applique, cut-away applique etc.  Again, the decision could be taken as the work is done.  (The number 7 was chosen simply because it is a number I like and I often find myself designing motifs in sevens.)

I did a few samples to try out various ideas for the inside ammonite shapes.

3.9.RS4 ammonite sample using French knots

3.9.RS5 ammonite sample using free machine embroidery

3.9.RS6 ammonite sample using shadow trapunto
3.9.RS7 ammonite sample using cut-away applique done by machine

3.9.RS8 another ammonite sample using shadow trapunto, this time cutting open bubbles in bubble wrap and stuffing each bubble with thread, fabric beads, paper etc.  I like the idea of replacing one element (air) with another.  It makes me think of how the ammonite could control its buoyancy by emptying or filling the chambers in its shell.

I initially thought of each separate ammonite as being applied as a slip as in historical crewel work embroidery, but then I came across an old, unfinished piece of embroidery I had done where I had cut out circles and moved them around.  This follows the idea of replacing one element with another and also re-visits a technique from Module 1, that of inlay applique.

3.9.RS9 inlay applique
I'm now feeling quite excited about this resolved sample.  I have included several techniques from this module (beadwork, cords, tassels and buttons) as well as re-visiting some from other modules (cut-away applique, inlaid applique) and have used some of the initial qualities of the ammonite which had interested me most (replacing one element with another, fairly plain on the outside, but rich and colourful inside, adapability).  I feel I have enough plans to know what to do next, while still leaving myself enough freedom to take some design decisions during the making of the sample.