Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Flint Brocade

Here I am at home trying to make something of the samples I started and tried not to finish while I was away, wanting to work on them in a more considered way and becoming even more emotionally engaged with some of the pieces.

I'll start then with the solufleece challenge and try to work out what I've learned through the process.

Flint Design Stage 1

So here is the piece when I finished Summer School.  I've used the threads in the colours and textures I had available, quite proud of myself for getting on with the job rather than prevaricating too much.  When packing my threads I recalled the restrained palette of those travelling from abroad and tried to emulate it -- just bringing the colours that would match my images with an eye to their texture too.  As you can see I changed my mind when I got home.

Flint Design Stage 2

When I used the grey-brown Herdwick wool Jean had said, "You've nearly got away with it."  She was right, I hadn't, and in spite of the lovely couching and wrapping the first thing I did was to rip it out and replace it with a taupe colour.  It's tonally more in keeping, though texturally perhaps not so good.  If I were doing this piece again I would go still more shades paler.  And here's the thing, I used flint walls as the jumping off point for my Foundation Module and had a range of threads and colour sampling there at my finger tips in the lovely little book I made.  Another lesson learnt: don't forget to refer to your archive you probably have been through these thought processes before.

Flint Design Stage 3

So here we are very, very many layers of sorbello stitch on -- what a wonderful addition to my stitch repertoire.  I've used a huge range of muted threads to create a connective web between the rows of flints.

Flint Stage Stage 4: Flint Brocade (4"x 3")

 The final image shows the piece after washing and drying.  It's hard to put into words quite what I think.  The fact that I'm not enthusing tells me there's a mismatch between the expectation of Stage 3 and the reality of Stage 4.  Being new to this technique I find myself wondering whether the choice of visual reference was appropriate or is it the way I carried out the task?

Could the way the piece looks be the result of how it was washed out?  The water was only luke warm when I washed the piece, but the fibres do seem to have shrunk tightening the lovely lacy sorbello bands and flattening the piece's depth and the threads with sheen have become matte.  Maybe it's a case of less is more and next time the stitches should be less dense.

For the most part I'm pleased with the thread colours, though the blue-grey variegated thread seems more prominent than I would like them to be.

Next steps: perhaps a little more sorbello stitch in fine threads to recreate some of that cobwebby effect I so like.  And perhaps another go.  I saw this wonderful concrete wall yesterday . . . complete with ribs of rough-cut stone mixed into the mortar -- Concrete Brocade, now there's a thought!


  1. Bravo, looks like we can sometimes try too hard ...simplicity certainly hits my box but it can be so difficult to achieve..someone said, 'simplicity is no hindrance to subtlety' well have chopped it a bit but was written in my year book in 1966!!! cheers

  2. It's good that you completed this,even though you aren't entirely pleased.I have done mine but also find it isn't quite as I expected.It needs another wash as it's much too stiff still.A learning curve!