Friday, January 11, 2019

a journey...

when it comes to making, well, for that matter, when it comes to me and making, i'm usually flitting from this to that, caught by passing fancies... always eager to try something new, figuring it out, moving on...

for more than a year though, i've been  somewhere between obsessed and absorbed when it comes to working with scraps of cloth and thread

it actually began a few years ago when i first heard of "slow stitching" and decided i wanted to make a patched and stitched cloth from all sorts of scraps of fabric; some leftover from quilting projects and others, off-cuts and lace edges from old table linens that had been cut up and used in other work

at first the plan was simple - piece the cloth with raw edges visible (no turned under seams), and then kantha stitching to add texture and strength

it went along well for a while but the repetitive nature of the stitching, though pleasant enough, was not exciting and the cloth became a thing i picked up and put down but never really made much progress

then I bought the book "the geometry of hand sewing" by natalie chanin and saw linear stitch patterns used for filling 

that was the day the cloth changed and I started filling in sections with feather stitch, herringbone and chain stitches

so delightful

from there I discovered boro stitching and along with the straight lines of kantha, i began to add the little upright cross stitches that add such higgledy piggledy charm 

boro also introduced me to mending and patching and I enjoyed having some of the ground cloth showing, working with fabrics of an irregular shape
(off-cuts from other projects)

an introduction to block-printed Indian cotton added a new element to the work, along with stitching on the background fabric itself, now not limited to stitching on the patches only

from there i got the idea to make coasters, useful things that didn't take long, using bits of fabric and thread that were often so small they would normally be thrown away

learning about "mottainai"
a japanese term that conveys a sense of regret for waste, a respect for the resources that surround us, and an awareness of just how precious they are 

i've made almost forty of these so far and have ideas for at least many more

next up is to go back to leaving some of the ground cloth showing, stitch into it, and use some of the beautiful indian prints

experiment with variegated threads

use some of my own thread dyed with dandelion flowers 

and when that's been done enough, i have plans to weave coasters with my homemade leaf-cord, adding embroidery, again with my plant-dyed threads

it's interesting to look back on the progression but more than anything, it makes me wonder what's still waiting out in front of me... just around the bend...


Christine B said...

A lovely description of a journey in cloth and stitch. Our past experiences shape our character, emotions and outlook on life and the same is true for the development of our creative pursuits. I love how you have demonstrated this by identifying some of the trigger points in your own creative development. There will of course be so many more subtle triggers hidden away inside you which will also have contributed. I sometimes wonder at the diversity of the work I have done over the years and think it is all an incoherent mishmash of techniques and themes.... and yet, thinking deeper about it, I have comforting flashes of an idea that all of it is connected by my own experiences and influences and I can see a thread running through it all. The thread is of course myself. Thank you for another lovely thought provoking post.

Shortbread and Ginger said...

I love the look of these and also a great way of using up little bits and pieces of fabric.

Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful cloth journey you made sofar, Jillayne. Thank you for mentioning the book of Natalie Chanin ... couldn't resist and so I ordered it from the library ... love your coasters ... :-)

Rachel said...

It's fascinating to see the ideas of your cloth evolve!

Fran said...

So lovely and creative! And such a nice journey

Marj Talbot said...

There is no end to stitching - something different and more intriguing - so much more. I wonder how these stitches would look done diagonally??? Love the coasters - can never have too many of those. Such patience to work with tiny bits of fabric many of which I've thrown away over the years.
Thanks so much for sharing such an interesting post and samples of your work. Can never tire of reading them.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Reading - and re-reading - this post reminds me once again of just why I save your posts for when I have time to savour them. So much to absorb and ponder and most definitely admire. Your use of wee scraps that most of us would simply throw away (as I cast my eyes at my waste can that has a bunch of scraps inside!!) is an inspiration. And I still love your coasters!! I can see you carrying one in progress everywhere you go and stealing a few moments here and there to stitch.