For a while now I’ve been thinking about needlepoint. I must say this has taken me by surprise, I’ve never been too keen on woolliness. I do, however, like a great deal of tapestry, both contemporary and historical, and of course tapestry is woven, not stitched: but the surface of needlepoint or canvas work, call it what you will is something I find equally attractive. I have decided to blame this new interest on Tina Francis, and my friends in Quatrefoil, an artists group I am a member of, who didn’t laugh when I suggested my new interest, but instead were very enthusiastic. Then of course there’s Kaffe Fassett, and one or two there contemporary makers.
It is a technique, like many textile techniques, that is open to many interpretations. To put it simply, there is something for everyone. But, there is some exciting contemporary work going on, and that is what interests me. I like to see an established and somewhat sedate technique put to new use; for several decades now a similar thing has been happening with quilt art and embroidery. There is, however, a lot further to go in terms of routinely getting textile technique based art into the main art world, where the money and the recognition is.
I’m still enjoying my mixed media work, this is just another bit of media to add to the mix. I’m taking some print courses soon too, so that will be something else new and exciting to either incorporate or be inspired by.
I’ve based my work upon a piece fro my series From the Bright Sky: the image of this is bottom left. I redesigned it in a square format, and drew the cartoon in black pen, which was easy to see when I transferred it to the canvas, which is 10 count. I’ve gone too close to the edge, but there again I always do.
Those are the wools I am using, and I’m just waiting for some black and two whites to be delivered; I may buy a couple more colours too. The chart at top right is from a free programme which converts your image into a pattern, but it’s not quite accurate enough for me, probably because the initial image is too complicated.
The original image.
The cartoon, 49 x 49 cm.
The design drawn out onto the canvas.
Just getting going. I’m basically making it up as I go along.
The chart, don’t try to get it into focus, you will go mad. Useful colour references though, but I must admit I did that by eye.
And here they are, golden needles! Better for needlepoint apparently, and rather gorgeous too. And so easy to thread. I reckon it’s all worth it just to build up a collection of gold plated needles.