Last month my friend Lorene Salt & her husband were visiting Napa Valley. We met for lunch and Lorene brought me pictures of her wonderful stitching. I was blown away thinking about the piece pictured above.
In fact I kept thinking about it. It was one of Lorene’s pieces for her Master Craftsman from the Embroiderers Association of Canada. It’s an adaptation anyone can do and so I asked her to share it with you.
This is what she says about the piece:
For this project I was told to cut a piece of black construction paper into various shapes. I was then supposed to glue it onto white paper as if it were an exploding diagram.
Once I had a design that I was happy with, I glued the black pieces on to the white paper. I then traced the design onto canvas. I then picked a colour scheme that I liked, in this case oranges and turquoises. I then started filling in the different areas with different stitches and threads.
From the picture you can see that the black paper pieces I stitched in the oranges and the thin turquoise parts are where the white paper showed through.
When finished, I stitched around the entire piece in black so that is framed the work inside.
She calls the piece Santa Fe, after the color scheme.
There are so many things I like about this piece. I love the color scheme (it’s one of my favorites) and I think she’s done a great job of using overdyed threads in a way that looks natural and not over the top.
I also love that her choice of stitches reinforces the shape of the areas. The ones which are sharply pointed have stitches which emphasize that fact. For example, the Random Rhodes which run diagonally all across the piece look like a river of stars to me. And the rhythmic Bargello really shows off that space.
When it comes to the turquoise area, the negative space of the design, they are packed with texture too. It would have been so easy to just pick a single stitch and use it everywhere, but the design would have been diminished that was. This additional texture makes you want to look at it and explore.
One last point, I’ve talked about Mary Shipp’s rule of 1-3-5 when doing needlepoint so that it looks balanced. One element, in this case the stitches, should predominate. A second element, in this case the colors, should have a middle amount. There are only two colors, but it looks like 20 stitches (by my count). The final element, in this case texture, should be severely limited. I think Lorene used only one or two kinds of thread. The coral is silk and the turquoise is either silk or cotton floss.
The cut paper technique is one often found in art books, and I have often wondered about it. Here you can see how something anyone can do can be taken to make wonderful needlepoint.
Thanks Lorene, for sharing!