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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Well todays post is about what this blog is supposed to be about if you get my drift. This is my newest piece, a little colour, not as much as last time, slightly more subtle. I have used a very old scrap of something here, the pink stuff. I don't know what it came from, it looks like a hem or the edge of something. It was in a pile of fabrics that Jude sent me some time ago. See it pays to hoard, some of us know that it pays to hoard! I have also used a scrap of vintage lace, like a double reveal, two pieces of fabric poking through instead of just one. I have masses, boxes and piles of stranded cottons. DMC and Anchor, some even older without a visible brand from charity shops and one of the best things about using colour is getting all of them out and trying to colour match, to choose which colours blend not only with the fabric but with each other.

I have more plans for this piece, possibly involving a pocket of sorts and maybe even buttons, not sure yet but I think my accidental pocket on the last piece has reignited a former addiction. We shall see. I was thinking about my last piece, the colour piece and I wondered, not everyone is as wierd as me and happy just to have something for no reason other than to drool over it. Lots of people like to put things in frames, I get it, I understand. I really have an aversion to frames for textiles. I am extremely tactile with a massive need to touch and apart from anything else I wouldn't be so bold as to choose a frame for someone else home. However I may have found a middle ground. I cut a window mount for this today and decided that I would make it available with or without. That way, you want it framed, you've just got to get the frame, you want to drool, you get it unmounted. If this turns out to be a good idea I will window mount my other stuff, the fragments etc. What do you think, you sellers out there especially, good idea?

There is quite a lot going on around here. I am making this new thing but I am more determined than ever to draw, design, explore colour and pattern. It seems I am not as scared of showing you my drawing as I used to be. Yesterday I posted more on facebook and flickr and I didn't even hide behind the sofa!


deanna7trees said...

I love the leaf shape and the 3D look of the lace. Beautiful as usual. I, personally, would not frame these pieces or, at least, not behind glass. I am not a seller so that's just my preference.

Amelia said...

I like the idea of pockets and of fragments too - maybe there's a way of combining. Beautiful work as always :)


leilani said...

Karen, this new piece is wonderful! Beyond wonderful really! Love the use of one of my favorite shapes -- paisley. I'm even loving the pink peeking out and I'm definitely not a "pink" person.

On framing: I live on a busy traffic street so I live with a continuous dust problem, consequently I had to frame your pieces if I wanted them out where I could see them every day. On quilts and wall hangings, I manage to keep them dust free by occasional tumbling in a cool dryer.

But - when I do have to frame a piece I prefer doing it my way and the mount would be wasted on me. How about giving the buyer the choice--avec or sans? A thought.

At the risk of being redundant, I must say again, your work is breathtaking!


beautiful. everything. I want to touch it all lovingly. It's so far above everything else I've seen, let alone experimented with. cyndi

Miss 376 said...

Very subtle and very pretty.
Think the option for the mount could be the way to go. Certainly shows your work in a whole different light. Try it and see

Rachel said...

Like you, I don't like framing embroidery under glass if it can be avoided (dusty/damp environments excepted). I've seen embroidered pieces stretched and mounted on artists' box canvases - there's no frame, but the item is still "presented". It's another idea, anyway..

Marion said...

Two things -
I really like the new piece with just the hint of colour. It blends so well with the hand stitchery.
And about the frame - I realise the sometimes necessary practicality, but I was never happy framing my pieces. It was a chore at the end of a loving journey.
And as you say, frames don't suit everyone's taste.
I think the mount option is the best compromise, although I personnally have been loving your tactile hands on approach.
But doesn't that mount just contain your work so much! I mean it somehow immediately looks two dimensional.
Let's hear it for unframed textiles.
Sorry for being so long winded.

Gina said...

I like the mat on the piece which helps you focus but I wouldn't want glass on it. Love the new piece too.

Elizabeth said...

Hej Karen,

What a lovely piece. Yes, I do love pink. Picture 4 reminded me of the shell I embroidered on Soul Food.

Chrissie said...

the 'pink' piece is so subtle and feminine and most certainly tactile Karen. I feel that the mount constrains it and cramps its style somewhat, but I'm certainly no expert!
(and, p.s. I did laugh at your comment on my blog about the 'word verification' you were asked to type!)

CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Hello Karen, Happy Easter!! Happy Spring!! I love your new fragment. I love the pale pink and the tear drop look. Very very lovely. Hugs Judy

Jello07 said...

Hello Karen,
I love the your new work with the soft colour.
The last picture on this blog the 'framed' work is really good. It gives you a good idea of how it will look once framed. I'll send it to my friend she loves your work (but is still saving up to buy something nice)
have a happy easter

jude said...

i love when you use my fabric. :-)
your pieces are really evolving. personally i like things unframed and touchable, but when framed i also like to see the natural edges of a piece without a mat. but that's me.

Tammie Lee said...

I love the new piece you are working on, the oval windows are lovely as are the colors you are using.
I have envisioned your embroidery hanging from a dowel. Maybe not wood, maybe glass or metal... or in a frame but open not matted and covered in glass, more like a viewing box that would protect it a bit from dust.

deanna7trees said...

I love your idea of hanging the embroidery on a glass rod, Tammie Lee. I have some glass rods that are used in making glass beads and they would be perfect for Karen's elegant pieces.

Tammie said...

yes, Deanna, I was thinking something elegant but not to distract from her beautiful art.