Thursday, June 8, 2017

More extreme embroidery

I wrote several weeks ago about a workshop I took with Beth Schnellenberger on "extreme embroidery" -- her name for small, densely stitched pieces.  The one I started in her workshop got sold the first week it was on display at Pyro Gallery.

Desert Eye

I liked the eye motif and decided to start a new piece to continue the series.  Last week I took it to Pyro and it's now in the members' gallery.  It's mounted the same was as Desert Eye, on a 1 1/2-inch canvas that I painted black.

I learned some things between #1 and #2.  Most important, that I wanted a black background instead of a white-background-colored-black-with-a-marker.  I hadn't been happy with the edges of the original piece -- kind of wimpy purplish black -- and had to do remedial work with black paint, so I stitched onto black fabric this time instead of white.

I also realized while working on #1 that if you have high value contrast between background and thread, you have to do a whole lot more stitching to keep the fabric from peeking through!  So for #2 I used dark colors for my background stitching, and the occasional spaces between stitches didn't look bad at all.

Instead of overcasting the edges of the fabric as I did in the first piece, I left an unstitched border by turning the edges over the felt backing and basting them in place before I started stitching.  The basting stitches got covered by the heavy hand stitching


I've already sketched out two more pieces in this series and have started stitching on one of them.  They make a nice tiny bundle, small enough to take along on a trip.  I'll let you know how they progress.


  1. You can buy black canvases at Michael's and I'm sure other places, too. I like your new piece!

    1. Norma -- I did start with a black canvas, but it had some imperfect places, scuffs and abrasions. Would have been fine for people to paint over, but not nice enough to stand there naked. I just put one coat of black on to give a uniform surface.

  2. Beautiful that you are embroidering.
    You astound me - the variety in your media.

  3. Oh, this makes me long for a portable embroidery project! Very nice, Kathy.