For centuries women have used cloth as a tool of comfort and as an expression of beauty within their homes. Creating cloth for warmth, cloth for shelter, our female predecessors embellished these linens with hand stitch using laborious and time consuming techniques thereby enhancing the functional beauty of objects which enveloped and protected their families. Inspired by these women I hope my creations pay tribute to and recognise the devotion expressed in cloth by our female ancestors .







''the use of traditional often time consuming process alludes to the devotion of a mother''. c K. A. Ruane 2007







Friday, April 3, 2009

Silk

First off I will get the leg update out of the way! I have been taking it so easy I am in danger of becoming a fossil!! Now I am begining to wonder if I should start my rehab, start using it a bit, see how it bears up. Maybe the weekend, I could clean a few windows..what do you think? I definitely need to test it anyway.
I didn't have to wait long for my inspiration. It was a shortage of cotton fabric that did it. Being incapacitated I couldn't go out for new supplies so I had a look in my stash and found silk. I absolutely love to smock with silk as those of you who have been with me from the beginning will know. For those of you that don't know what I am talking about check this and this out. The first step to smocking, (the way I do it) is marking the dots on the back then threading a strong yarn through the marks. I find this so relaxing, when the piece is complete there is never a sign that all this time has gone into the work. O.K. you can see the dots marked on the back but there is no trace of all this threading as it will be removed after the smocking is complete.Once the threading is finished it is gathered up tightly and tied, the smocking can then begin. Traditional smocking is generally a very elaborate affair with lots of specific surface embroidery stitches. Creating smocking in that way gives that gorgeous, dense elasticated effect seen on infant clothing for example. When completed in that manner however the fabric is usually plain and undecorated without any need to see inside the folds or pockets.
That's why I tie my smocking instead. Previously I smocked fabric that was embellished with text and I wanted some of the text to be visible. For this piece I intend to decorate the fabric with hand embroidery, patterns taken from vintage tablecloth's with a little artistic licence thrown in. I have now undone this smocking, it was an exercise to decide where to place my embroidery.
And here is the surface so far, damp stretched yet unfinished.
The obligatory folded image!!! I am so predictable!!

Once I have finished this embroidery I will smock the whole piece. My brain is already working on the edges of this piece, so many ideas. As I have four more days of forced confinement I should be able to whiz through everything. There will be lots of time for blog visiting and blog posting. I am so spoilt, how hard is it going to be when I have to go back to work???

17 comments:

Ulla said...

I love the little amounts of colour in your newest pieces.
I hope the tablets are working and you will be well again for your trip. Have a lovely holiday!
My word verfication is suaves, it sounds like something nice.

Miss 376 said...

I knew something would come of being made to rest! Can't wait to see how this will look when it is smocked again

Jackie said...

The process of the actual gathering is the very worst bit and there you are doing and then undoing it and going to do it again! I see why but its admirable patience you possess.The embroidery is just lovely.
Your word verification is 'relested'
Hope your led is 'relested.'

Victoria said...

True fabric magic. Wonderful!
(My mom made our dresses when we were little, many of them hand smocked by her... I wish they had been saved, what treasures they would be to me.)

Joei Rhode Island said...

All I can say is

Holy GaMoley!! And you must know that silk is my very bestes fav...

Joei

Threadspider said...

Silk is my favourite too! The little flashes of colour are delicious-especially that last picture. Glad the leg is mending. My word verification is melis-an anagram of smile!

karen said...

I love how you are all telling me what your word verification is!! It is making me 'melis' SMILE!!

Mine is ratenti!! sounds hideous!!

Gina said...

You won't want to go back to work Karen. Beautiful embroidery as always.

méri said...

Clean windows!!!!???? Take care, Karen.

I'm looking forward what will be your lovely embroidered silk
My word verification means nothing, I believe, (weabl) but Ulla's word - suaves - is a Potuguese word that means soft :)

(I'm very well, thanks for your care)

Kayla coo said...

There are some advantages of having a bad leg!
Every cloud has a silver lining and yours is silk.x

jennyflower said...

I would recommend a spot of wandering into the kitchen to fetch a cup of tea to test your leg. Have you got any smocking dots? I wonder if you've ever used these as your peep-through transfer? I too am loving the colour very springy.

Mr Lee said...

Beautiful!Lucky you.

Kaija said...

I'm a lousy commenter, but I was inspired. My word verification is aking. Hopefully more like a king than aching, but aching came first to my non-English mind. Maybe because I've got a cold (again!) and I'm worried about your leg aching.

Get well soon!

Diane said...

I am just loving the pictures of the smocking. I grew quite interested in smocking awhile back and decided to make a piece. After sitting down and researching it though, I found the instructions so confusing and rigid I was sure I would hate iti if I ever tried it. After looking at this though...it makes me itch to give it a try again!

Diane said...

oops, I also wanted to say...good luck on your trial run with the leg. Just go slow! Did the doc say anything about not using epson salts? I know when things are aching with me I draw a nice hot bath with essential oils and epson salts and they just soak all the pain away. ~Take care!

urban craft said...

Beautiful work on the embroidery. It's lovely!

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.