Tree Rhythms – Mission Complete!

DPP_0204aWell I was up till 1 in the morning getting this finished and I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out. Instead of photographing it under the dingy lights in the house I thought I’d show the embroidery in a natural setting so I took these on a lunchtime walk using the proper camera instead of the one on my phone!

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Ideally I’d have liked to photograph it next to the tree carved with the names but that would have meant going down to the park before work (meaning a v early rise!) but I was really pleased with how my bark looked next to an actual tree.

I have loved working on this! Having seen the standard of stitching from other members of the Embroiderers Guild I’m not sure I’ll be a challenge winner but it was the first time I’ve made something to a brief and actually met a deadline (If I make anything for birthdays/anniversaries etc. I never allow myself enough time!) This was also a great opportunity to use some new techniques  and it’s given me more confidence in trying out new ideas and allowing myself just to have a play about with materials to see what happens!

Time to get working on the next idea now…

Thanks for reading! x

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Tree Rhythms – Part 3

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Was it forever?

Well after mulling over the Tree Rhythms piece I decided to ditch the heart and go with ‘Steve n Linda 1990-Forever, I like how the carver wrote ‘forever’ underneath the date, it’s as if they’ve left a space to insert the date of the end of the relationship!

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Here’s a pic of the first stitches, there’s 4 layers of fabric here including 2 of the bark printed fabrics. The top layer is a green polyester net fabric and a hint of the printed fabric can just be seen underneath.

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I’d got some green felting wool from good old Lidl a few months back and I’d crocheted up a sample rectangle one night just to see how it looked felted. It was lying about on my desk with no real purpose then I had a ‘wait a minute’ realisation that it would be great as a bottom layer for the embroidery.

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Pics show the lettering and one of the slashed sections revealing the felt underneath. I’ve got to say I was pushing my poor machine to the limit with all the layers I was forcing it to stitch! There was a fair few jarring moments going round the letters and I ended up using a leather needle as I broke a couple of the standard ones, but she did me proud and finished this part of the stitching.

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Here’s the selection of thread I used to create the bark detail, really enjoyed swapping colours and adding new dimensions to the piece

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For the next stage, inspiration came from these glossy ivy leaves and the vines working their way up the trunk – can’t beat a walk with the dog as a time to come up with ideas!

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I picked some leaves, scanned them into the computer, then printed them out onto a tshirt transfer sheet (thanks again Lidl!) I ironed the transfer on to a thick canvas then stitched the vein detail on each leaf.

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Now we’re on the home strait!

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Here’s all the pieces ready to be put together (This is the stage I was at 3 days before the closing date!)  I made the vines using a tight blanket stitch of cream tapestry wool to cover a thick cord.

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I loved how the buttonhole stitch curved around the cord creating a second vine, the stalks of the ivy I’m really proud of – I wrapped embroidery thread around a doubled up piece of craft wire then attached them to the backs of the leaves, glad I made the stalks quite long as well as I could coil them around the cord to secure them – 1 less stitching task to do!

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Here’s the main body of the embroidery, I pulled the edges of the fabric around the shape of the felt – the sides are by no means straight but I think the curves make the embroidery look more like a piece of bark.

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Detail of the bark stitching – I used a mix of straight and zigzag stitch – had to keep telling myself not to stitch over every inch of the fabric!
Well I’ll leave it there just now, once I get on the laptop I’ll post the photos of the finished piece taken on the ‘proper’ camera:)

Embroiderers Guild Members’ Challenge: Tree Rhythms – Part 1

I took a leap of faith this year and decided to enter the Embroiderers Guild Members’ Challenge, and my piece is currently on it’s way to the Guild HQ  – the closing date is this Friday so I was pretty close to the wire in finishing it but then I’ve always been a last minute push kind of person!

I’ve taken photos of the embroidery in progress – from the first ideas to the finished piece – so I’m publishing them in parts as it would be a bit overwhelming all in the one post!

First off is a gallery of the trees that got me thinking of how to interpret the theme ‘Tree Rhythms’:

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I have to credit my dog for helping me along with this idea as it’s through our walks that I came across these tree carvings. He was busy having a mooch in the bushes and doing some serious nose mapping so I was gazing about waiting for him to get a shift on when I saw the ‘Steve ‘n’ Linda 1990-Forever’ carving in a tree trunk. I started thinking about who Steve ‘n’ Linda were, was their love forever? Was she there when he carved it? Did he carve it as a surprise for her? I wonder if they remember it’s here?

I started looking at all the trees I passed then, thinking of the people that have carried on the tradition of carving their name in a tree, wanting to leave a lasting reminder that ‘I was here’.

Did a Google search on tree carvings a few days later and found a fascinating blog post on what are technically described as Arborglyphs (or the name that sends my Sociological side all a quiver – “culturally modified trees”)

http://gardenhistorygirl.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/arborglyphs.html

After I read this, the idea of making an embroidery based on a culturally modified tree (that is the last time I’ll use the phrase, promise) was cemented in my mind.

I love the early stages of planning a new piece - so many questions but plenty of opportunities to try new techniques in an attempt to interpret the finished item that's in my minds eye!

I love the early stages of planning a new piece – so many questions but plenty of opportunities to try new techniques in an attempt to interpret the finished item that’s in my minds eye!

The close reader will see that I originally had a swastika as a possible addition to the embroidery – my thinking behind this was that people leave marks signifying hate as well as those of love. The swastika is a symbol that is as familiar to us as the shape of a love heart, both having the power to stir strong emotions within us. I decided to ditch the idea (I might return to it at a later date!) and go with one large Arborglyph instead:

A rough sketched design and more questions to mull over before I get cracking.

A few days later – 11 Jan 2014 – A rough design and more questions to mull over before I get cracking.

So I’ll leave it there for tonight and tomorrow I’ll post the first stage of the embroidery – creating the base fabric. Off to check the progress of my parcel on the Royal Mail website now!

Thanks for reading!