Stitch

Yesterday I spent the day in the stitch workshop working on the embroidery for my products.

First I embroidered the tentacles onto the five anemone bodies, which took a lot longer than I was expecting.. a lot of the morning was also taken up by anticipation, adrenaline and relief following the dissertation grades being released!

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However I did manage to finish the decoration of one tea towel – the barnacle design. Although simple, I am really liking this one, and I think the very slight variation in sizing of the applique fabric made a difference.

 

Just quickly at the end of the day I had the idea of ‘signing’ each of my products with my name, which I have seen a lot of artists/designers doing throughout my research. However instead of the common label sewn on the bottom, I like the idea of my name being embroidered straight onto the fabric, in my own handwriting. So I had a little go and was more impressed with the result than I was expecting to be. I think I will follow through with this idea, in one of the bottom corners of the tea towels and on the back of the cushions.

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I’m taking a well needed day off from it all tomorrow as I feel it is so important for me not to overdo it and work myself into the ground, and I’ll get back to it tomorrow evening with some hand embroidery, which I have indeed made the decision to do on my seaweed cushion. After doing this on the sample, the cushion just looks unfinished!

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Cushion Embroidery

Today was mostly spent working on the embroidery for the ‘mussel’ cushion. The dense stitching is so time consuming but well worth it, and I’m really happy with the outcome. I am really looking forward to seeing this made into the cushion. I think this one will be paired with some coordinating buttons which are covered with the barnacles on linen, to match those on the front. The hem on the back will also be in a blue, to contrast to the neutral linen.

I also worked on the third cushion, which will feature the beadlet anemones. The bottoms are stitched and the dissolvable fabric tentacles have been soaked and are drying, ready to be hand stitched on in the morning.

I also spent some time cutting out a heap of white poly-cotton circles, ready to be turned into barnacles tomorrow. It always surprises me how long little jobs like this take!

The postcards arrived for the show today and I am so pleased with the result. We’re so grateful to have had these printed for us and I’m looking forwards to seeing them as part of my display.

I also sent off for my business cards today, a little later than I would have liked but I was going through a bit of a creative block with them! After trying out countless different ideas, compositions, fonts and imagery, I’ve decided to go really simple and clean. I have also used an image which will go nicely with my postcards.

I’ve also left a gap at the bottom for a simple line of bright stitching, which I think will be a nice addition of a ‘piece of me’, and hopefully make them stand out.

This evening I have been working on some digital additions to my consultancy work.

Tomorrow it is back into the stitch workshop to make some progress on the embroidery for the tea towels, now that the pieces for the cushions are complete. I think I will start with the barnacles as this is going to take the longest!


More Digital Bits

This evening I worked some more on the digital additions for the consultancy module.

I managed to finished off the instruction pages, and also the journal of growth.

The journal includes spaces for the child to write the date, the weather, and to describe their seeds’ growth. I am definitely going with the idea of printing these in black and white and using watercolours to add colour by hand, because I think this will be a really nice addition which is cohesive to the rest of my work. This card with the journal is definitely something that I myself would have loved to receive as a child at primary school.

I also made a start on the mood boards, however looking back at them now I am not happy with the font I used. I also need to add in some of my own images which I took at Borough Market, and then once printed there will be the addition of things like fabric swatches and samples of my hand made papers. Although digitising these have made them look significantly more professional and more suitable for my portfolio, I feel that I need to stay true to my more tactical, hand made style by adding things like this afterwards.

I’m happy with the progress I made this evening, I just need to finish the mood boards now and the digital side of things is finished!


Digital Bits

The main thing which I wanted to work on for this module was some digital additions. I am happy with what I produced for the formative deadline but looking back at it now, I can see lots of improvements that can be made. This evening I made a start on taking the work I did previously into photoshop and illustrator, starting with the instruction cards for the cards.

I would like to print these off and colour them with watercolour by hand, in order not to lose the hand made element which I was so proud of when creating this range. I think I would also like to redo the recipe cards which were to be put into the cards with the instructions.

I also made a start on the ‘journal of growth idea’ that came from my feedback, and I can see that this is going to be a really positive addition.

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The idea of this is that the child who receives the card can record their seed paper growing, by describing it and drawing pictures of the progress weekly. I was putting this job off for weeks but now that I’ve started, I’m looking forward to working on it further.

Other than these digital additions, I am also planning on digitising my mood boards, and recreating one or two of the cards, trying to get them looking a bit more contemporary. I would like to try to make the seed packets again, but this time out of fabric.


Finished Samples!

I’m over the moon this evening that I have finally finished all 15 of my croquis samples, which took me a little longer than expected due to deciding to redo 2 of them!

To begin my day today I sat with a needle and finished all of the threads of the big seaweed piece for one of my cushions. I am really pleased with this design and can’t wait to see the final product.

I then embroidered the tentacles onto the anemones. I’m really happy with how these came out – I took them out the water a bit early yesterday in order to keep them a bit stiffer. This has worked nicely and they are as 3D as I intended them to be. These look great now that they are finished and might actually be my new favourite.

I decided to completely redo my herring gull sample after trying and failing to just unpick and re-stitch the head. I am so happy I chose to do this though, because the new one is so much more effective (shown below next to first attempt).

I think I will add some colour to the beak and legs as I did with the oyster catchers, because this should make a big difference.

Using the sample I tried yesterday, I also re stitched my brittle stars onto silk. I chose a yellow thread with a hint of green for the middle of the legs and am happy with this decision, as it brings the sample more into the rest of the collection.

I’m really happy with this piece and the time it took to stitch it out was definitely worth it. I’m looking forward to seeing it hung with the rest of the collection.

I still have heaps to do but now that these 15 samples are finished I can concentrate on getting the mounting looking really professional, and also getting my products made to a high standard.


Making Progress

This morning I came into uni early and went down to the wood workshop to get my MDF cut up into squares. This has made me feel a lot better about where I am at and it has also been really useful to see the size and depth properly.

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Last night I had a go at making some tassels because it has been a while since the last time I tried, and found a new technique of tying them which has a much neater finish. Today I had a rummage through the wools and bits in the stitch workshop and made a couple more which are more suited to my colour scheme.

I think my favourite is the one on the far right because the thickness of this wool sat much nicer as a bundle, and is probably the best colour.
I’m thinking of maybe having tassels on the corners of one of my cushion, to bring a more upmarket feel, but am still undecided on this.

I spent a lot of my time today finally stitching out the tentacles to be stitched onto the beadlet anemones which I embroidered over Easter. These are really time consuming to create but I loved the sample I did previously, so they’ll hopefully be worth it! I have dissolved the fabric around them so by tomorrow they will be dry and ready to be hand stitched on to the bases.

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I have also made a final decision that the brittle stars on silk sample that I completed previously just isn’t up to the standard I want it to be because of the unravelled and warped stitching. I do still like the idea of the design though so I had a little think and tried the same idea but with the lengths of the legs filled in with a dense stitch, similar to that on the anemone tentacles.

I tried a plain black leg; the same with hairs and then one with a colour fill with a black outline. I definitely prefer the ones with hairs, which are much more defined and ‘starfish-like’. I was unsure whether I preferred the colour or black but asked around and everyone chose the colour. I think I will use this technique to redo the silk sample tomorrow, but with a better colour.

I also finished all of the machine embroidery on my first cushion. I’ve chosen to repeat the mustard yellow bladder wrack as this was one of my favourite samples. The ends just need to be pulled through and finished tomorrow. The croquis sample for this design has hand embroidered marks within the circles, and I do really like this effect, however I am really unsure whether this is necessary on the cushion, as it would take me so many hours to complete.

I am happy with the progress that I made today and hope that tomorrow I can get even further towards being finished.


Getting Organised

Today was the first day back in uni after the Easter break so I spent some time organising myself, writing to do lists and planning the next three weeks (eek!).

Looking at my finished samples over the break, I felt that the ‘slashed’ piece looked unfinished, so today I took it back to the sewing machine and worked into it a bit more with the straight foot and a variety of green embroidery threads. I am much happier now with the result and I also feel that it is more coherent with the other textured piece in the collection, where I used a similar technique.

 

I put my samples all out together in the stitch room and had a little discussion about things to improve, and I’m still set on improving the herring gull, it just doesn’t look quite right. We also agreed that it would be a good idea to redo the brittle stars on the silk organza, to try to get a nicer finish and also to get the pattern right up to the edges.
I’ve been thinking about how to display the two on the silk, at the moment they’ll probably be over-locked and hung with invisible thread, only just away from the wall and the rest of the display.

I took my wood over to be cut this afternoon but was told that it would be more accurate to get it done in another workshop, so I have booked myself in for tomorrow morning to get those done. This is a job that I am keen to be finished because I think I will feel a bit better afterwards. I am also looking forward to seeing what the fabric looks like around a piece of wood, which I think will put me at ease a bit more.

Other than that, tomorrow is also going to be for creating the tops for the anemone sample with dissolvable fabric, which I think is going to be a time consuming job!
Today I cut out the fronts of my cushions and the tea towels, so tomorrow I think I will also get those backed and start cutting out the applique fabrics. Getting these prepared for stitching will make me a lot happier about everything I still need to do!