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







Saturday, May 15, 2010

books....

As promised a few ideas for you as to what you can do with my little books of embroidery. I have enjoyed playing with this one over the past two days, could have gone on forever infact but I had to stop at some point so here goes and be warned, it's a long one!!
This page had the tiny piece of embroidery in the botton left corner and was otherwise empty. Here I have used watercolour paint to try and colour match with the colours in the embroidery and the colours in the printed page on the right. Starting with rows of simple circles
I then moved to a cluster, grouping the colours from both sources, (embroidery and printed page) to see how they worked together.


I then scoured old magazines, catalogues and leaflets, cutting small snippets that closely matched the colours I had used before. A very good thing to use for this is paint charts, freely available at DIY stores, I haven't actually got any at the moment but it's on my to do list!!

The next page was completely blank, no embroidery, no thread card, no trimmings. I don't know about you but I hoard for England, if it was an Olympic sport I would have a gold medal! From my stash I picked two things that really inspire me. One is a card from a cosmetic counter, the other a picture of paper patchwork cut from a magazine. These have been simply attached to the page with a paper clip and I looked at them first as individual pieces then I examined how they worked together.



I cut patchwork templates from a printed leaflet and then using thread, colour matched both images, lime green  and red from the business card, grey shades from the paper patchwork image. If you go back to the image showing the full page you can see how this simple wrapped thread card draws the whole page together.

This page isn't finished yet but here I have wrapped a card with a piece of vintage cloth. Working from that I have created a simple collage of different papers. ( just a word of advice. Any painting or excessive pasting such as collage is best done on the heavy, watercolour paper pages otherwise the page may wrinkle and become shabby) These aren't colour matched exactly but I feel the collage compliments the fabric and is a starting point for further work. Taking this forward I would create stripped patchwork perhaps embroider or print text onto it. Any text, it doesn't have to be an exact match, that's the beauty of being creative, you decide where you go, your personal feeling for a piece sends you in a direction that is right for you. That is how we all, unintentionally I think, develop a distinctive personal style.

In the middle pages of this book I put a piece of embroidery that has been lurking around here for what seems like forever. I used this piece in my damp stretching tutorial if you remember and always hoped it would be useful again!! The blue area you can see on the graph paper was meant to be a pattern derived from the embroidery. It went wrong, I made a mistake. Years ago I would have cried, not any more I just created something else from it, a little doodle.


I then cut up some decorated paper into petal shapes, (I made it a long time ago, see hoarding comes in useful again!)  these are just stuck to the edge of the graph paper with double sided tape but from that an idea for an edge? a motif? Take note of the fine blue line drawing on one of these petals, it's relevant to what comes next.

A strip of paper decorated the same way and extended over the page along with a closer examination of colourful ways to decorate a petal shape. There are ideas for stitch here, do you see them? Orange petal, couching? blue flowers, satin stitch? applique?


This piece of embroidery was found languishing in my basket. Remember my basket of things I am either too lazy to put away or cannnot bear to part with?? When I work dense areas of french knots I am almost always inspired by the structure and pattern of lace. For this page I collaged paper, heavy paper with finer  paper. dappled with subtle, pale colours on top. I then pricked certain areas with a pin to mimic lace. The pricked paper was then cut into circles, (lace pattern) and placed on top of fine pencil marks with colourful dots.


Our favourite techniques, our preferred methods of working and how we are influenced by those is obvious from this next picture, patchwork. Don't ask me why but I just had to see how this paper would look in patchwork form. Your inspiration may come from somewhere else, no , it will come from somewhere else. You may move in a beading direction, a cross stitch direction.......... see what one tiny piece of cloth embellished with french knots can inspire? Something else worth mentionming about this page, think about moving beyond the given page, fold paper and unfold paper. Attach it to the edge of the page so that a particular page unfiolds, grows. Place things under flaps, see how they look partly hidden by a completely different surface.
This page started off with a card wrapped in two bindings or trims. I closely examined the pattern of the trims and doodled with simialr shapes. Colour matching wasn't in my mind for this one, not close colour matching anyway. Tiny flowers created using french knots were the result of this 'doodling'. Another edge, a strip, a border a placement pattern.

So there you have it. how I would use my books, what I would do to enhance a sketchbook, how I would develop an idea. If time wasn't an issue and I mean if I had a butler, a cleaner, a cook, I swear I could do nothing but embellish books, develop designs, stitch tiny samples, try new ideas. We can dream can't we.

Now I promised to show you books I had made before. I consciously hid these at the bottom of this post as I think they look so dated. Some of these books date from 1992!!! But go on, have a look, judge me, comment on my hoarding abilities!! Comment on my apparent love of black?? What's that all about?? Actually, I shouldn't be suprised, I have a confession, you may not believe this but it's true......I got married in black so what's a few black sketchbooks.

Now for my news, probably doesn't matter a jot to you but it's a totally massive thing for me. I have given up my job, my 'proper' job. So this is me, my job, my work, my passion, the only way I have of making a living. I had to try it, I owed it to myself to see if I could make it work. I know it won't be easy but I have to try. Please wish me luck and have fun embellishing those books!!




7pm....working hard, crazy patchwork piece finished and listed here....http://karenruane.bigcartel.com/

33 comments:

Miss 376 said...

I am wishing you all the very best and every success, with everything I have! You deserve to do something that brings you so much joy and gives others so much pleasure. It was a delight to go through your little book with you

Kaye Turner said...

Good luck indeed in your new venture. What a marvellous post; so many glorious ideas and presented so beautifully, as always.
I got married in black too.
:-)

Rachel said...

Karen,
all the very best with your new venture - hope it goes well!

deanna7trees said...

Your old books are a treasure. I would put them in a glass case and display them. You sure did change your color scheme from the past.
It is important that we all follow our bliss and so glad you have decided to do that. I'm sure you will do well.

leilani said...

This IS big news! I am truly happy for you.

Gina said...

Karen... first of all... well done and good luck! You have so much talent you deserve to succeed. As for your books... your embellishment is as beautiful as the books themselves. I painted in mine this morning so will blog about it soon... when I feel brave enough!

Ansie said...

Wow! for the book embellishment,and
Wow! for the big news! Go get'em Tiger!

Judy Whaites said...

Karen, Great news, everyone needs to follow their dream. Thank you for sharing your ideas of embellishment it got the brain cells ticking...

Anonymous said...

Hello, These books are beautiful. There so wonderful to look at.
Thank you,
Linda

meri said...

All the best for your new project.
I'm sure you'll have great success!Surely.

helena said...

Great work!
Have a nice weekend!!!

Kate said...

Your work is so beautiful and I loved reading this post about the process of filling your book. Just gorgeous

Jacky said...

Good luck with your latest venture Karen....your work is so beautiful ( think exquisite is more the word I should use) and I truly think these little books are going to be a huge success for you. Stunning.
Are you going to see some that you have embellished yourself too?
Jacky xox

p.s. my computer has been out of action this past week or so and only intermittently hooks up to the internet...what a pain. Has been away to the computer doctor, but still not working well.

Doreen G said...

OMG Karen your work is awesome.
I have no doubt that you will succeed in whatever you set your mind and heart to and I wish you all the best for the future.
You are an inspiration to us all.

Elizabeth Braun said...

Hope it goes well for you, Karen! It would be great to see you succeed in the designer-maker world. I don't think I'd ever manage it as I'd get fed up far too quickly!!!=)

EMBELLISHER said...

That's a beautiful book and thanks for sharing the process. Good luck on your new adventure, its going to pay off in so many different positive ways. Go for it!

changelingthings said...

What a wonderful post! It's been so interesting to read about your process with these books here. I am wondering if there is such a job title as "Embroidery Engineer"... It's marvellous, what you come up with. I wish you all manner of success with your career.

Chrissie said...

How delightful, thanks for letting us have a peek! And all the best wishes in the world for your impending adventures!

Menopausal musing said...

How absolutely fascinating!! I have just come over from Gina's blog. I myself received a book that someone else had made and have posted about it. Such a beautiful book and yet I felt it should be used..........

I love your work, it is absolutely STUNNING.

hermionerose said...

I love your little books! So intricate and delicate and pretty. I often get mad with trying to fill up big ugly sketch books so this would be the perfect solution! I hand bind tiny books myself so I may well put them to good use now...keep up the fab work!

Amelia said...

simply stunning, gorgeous, beautiful, lovely and inspiring in so many ways . . .I adore your books . . .

Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog post too :)

Amelia.x

Tammie Lee said...

I wish you success with your embroidery art business! You are brave and I have faith in you. Your book is absolutely wonderful~

Linda said...

I love this book. Thank you for sharing it. The old ones look amazing, too. Good luck on your big step! You always inspire me.

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Karen, this is a WONDERFUL post and your book is truly, truly amazing. The other books are fab too. I must admit to having a bit of a thing about handmade books and am trying to pluck up the courage to make one using a range of mixed media techniques (papercrafting and fabric / stitch). Of course anything I produce won't be a patch on this! (No pun intended!)
So the big day finally arrived and you are free! Good luck, Karen. I have every faith in you and wish you the lucky break you need to have your work and your beautiful talents discovered!
Janice. xxx

Christine said...

My little book of colour arrived this morning. I had so much pleasure unwrapping it from its folds of tissue and ribbon. The book itself is exquisite - I am so pleased with it. You wrote me a lovely note saying that you would be interested in seeing what I do with it. Well, for now I just want it to hold in my hands, turn the pages and rediscover its hidden delights. I shall take my time before I decide whether to add to it or keep it just as it is. This blog is so inspirational - I might well be tempted. I will let you know if I am.

Victoria said...

Brilliant... I love this so much.

Leticia said...

Lovely blog (found through your SF blog) Wonderful inspiration -
A new fan, Cheers.

Sharon said...

This book is such a treasure. Thank you for sharing. Truly inspiring!

ArtL8dy in Houston

Q @ JAQS said...

I'm pretty new to your site and already a huge fan of your work.

Keep it up and I wish you all the best.

rasamalai said...

I'm so glad I came across one of your photos at the cuteable pool!
These books are SO lovely and inspiring, your passion for what you're doing really shines through :)

Carol Q said...

just gorgeous. your work is so beautiful and delicate. I am in envy of how you manage to keep everything so white and not a speck or blob of stray paint anywhere.

Lynette (NZ) said...

Visiting you from Jackie's post where she won your giveaway - your work is beautiful but i got really inpsired/excited when I saw this post. Am sharing it on my blog today :-)

Paula said...

Karen, Karen, Karen....I am drooling over your work-Gorgeous! You have totally inspired me to do more stitching. Can't wait to take your class.
Paula