Free, as in no lines to follow! I have been experimenting a little with this concept. Sometimes, it feels like too much to force myself to stick with the lines on the fabric. I’m not saying they are all bad (they are often very good!), but I am finding I need at least some freedom to see what comes out. In this little embroidery, it is done entirely free. I think it’s my first attempt being totally free of any lines. It’s a little abstract.
I did start with an idea. It didn’t quite look as I thought it would, not that I am sure what it should have looked like. I wanted to couch down thick threads and hoped they might look like barnacles. Maybe they could, but I wasn’t satisfied, so I put the embroidery aside and moved on to something else. But then I picked this up again and just started stitching more.
I made another circle, and then started filling in between them. I thought my project had some meaning, so I thought what the lines and shapes really reminded me of. I decide the white french knots represented the dead frog eggs, and the dark areas the live ones. (I’ve spent some time looking at these guys lately!!)
The straight stitches are the water. I added clear, glass beads for the sparkle although the top photo barely shows them.
I’m new to this style of working, but that doesn’t stop me from having something to say about it!! 😉
I have seen other stitchers try and fail. I can tell you why they do. First, like a blank page, a blank fabric can be intimidating, how to fill it. You have to start with a spark, I like to call it. A feeling, and idea, a thought, something to begin with to drive you forward. It doesn’t matter as in this case that the project leads you to another point, you just need the spark to get yourself going.
Second, you must make your left brain quiet down and let the other side have a chance. You shouldn’t use words, you should be very careful trying to make recognizable objects. You don’t want to make the form of a tree necessarily, for example. You want to make the feeling, the impression of the tree, whatever that means to you. Maybe in the end it will be recognizable and maybe not. It all depends on what comes out.
Third is most important in a way. Shut off the inner critic! It will stop you in your tracks every single time if you let it. Even this project I have shown, what did I tell myself? Oh those barnacles don’t look the way they “should”. Put the project down right now and do something that makes sense and is easy to understand. I decided to pick it up again, just for the heck of it, and now I am glad I did. It doesn’t matter to me if you like or understand the project. It means something to me, and I feel on some level it was a success, plus I can tell you that I didn’t want to put it down, and I really looked forward to picking it up again. That feeling I don’t often get. Yes, even me who loves to stitch isn’t always looking forward to the next opportunity to pick up the needle.
Now one more final comment. You may say, well, I don’t really like this type of stitching, I prefer to make projects with pictures of recognizable forms, and I really don’t want to risk making a mess of a project by being free because it takes too much time to embroider, better to stick with a project with a known result.
First, these projects don’t have to take that much time. This one is quite small. It was really a matter of a few hours.
Second, so what if it is a “failure”? Use it as an opportunity to learn instead. Keep it as a record of progress.
And finally the last thing are those that say they don’t like the abstractness of it all. I will tell you that nearly all artists employ some kind of abstractness in their work, they can’t help it. It’s how you help create the feelings that you want your work to convey. Dealing with only the abstract for awhile will help you learn to use it, so when you go back to your regular type of projects, it will be another tool to use to create something with more feeling and meaning.
For those of you who made it this far! (This ended up a little longer than I thought!) This new way of working and thinking may be uncomfortable, but when we take a risk and step outside our comfort zones, we often get the biggest rewards.’