I seem to like setting myself massive art projects, until I am half way through them and then think ‘what the fuck am I doing?’
This is what happened with this 12 inch embroidery hoop project! I loved the pin up/ pop art women I had been sewing and thought it would be cool to carry on this theme. But this time she would be wearing sunglasses with a reflection, suck a lollipop and have beading in her earrings. Straightforward, right?!
I decided on this cute ice cream fabric as it was quite muted compared to the colours I wanted to use in my piece. I knew I wanted her to gave aqua hair and red lips and I normally do a few sketches in my notebook before I draw on the fabric.
I stitched the general outline before I started the beading in her earring and hair piece. I used an invisible plastic thread, which is kind of tricky but looks really good when finished.
I started this huge project in February, and had quite a few breaks in-between, including going to Berlin. Sometimes, to keep my sanity, I would work on smaller hoops and did a vintage style lipstick for my sister, a little pink alpaca and a super small cartoon bomb.
I’ve also been working on some cute tote bags and purses with my sewing machine as well as preparing my entry into the Hand and Lock Embroidery competition. I have my ideas really, I just need to get stitching and stop procrastinating!
Because I like to give myself art projects and challenges, I decided my next big embroidery piece would be a skull, surrounded with flowers. And I must have been crazy, because this piece took me ages! There was a lot of frustration, swearing and accidental stabbing of fingers, and wondering why I thought this was a good idea!
I love using black fabric for embroidery, it makes all the colours pop. As this hoop was pretty big I used two pieces of stabiliser fabric in the back to support my work. I used a white gel pen to sketch out an idea, looking at a few references for the skull and butterfly. With the flowers and foliage, I went with my instincts as I wanted it to be semi stylistic. I have loads of embroidery thread I bought online, so you will see quite a mixture in this piece. I think of it as painting with a needle, so there isn’t a lot of variation with the stitches, it is mostly satin stitch, back stitch and stem stitch.
I actually started this in June and had a few stumbling blocks as I tried to motivate myself to continue. So I set myself a mini task of doing 10 minutes a day free hand embroidery as a way to change my perspective on being so rigid with my work. This really helped as I had to think of something and start stitching without lots of planning and analysing.
While this was my larger ongoing project, I also did a few mini embroidery hoops and put together a travel pack when I went away to Paris and also for my lunch breaks at work.