So, I've been working hard on that project I promised to make back in this post, and here's the finished piece! I'm so happy with how it came out. It was definitely a labor of love (and will always remind me of The Wire since that is what I've been re-watching while working - thank you Amazon instant!) I had to kick it into high gear for a deadline so I worked faster than I normally work. Deadlines are always great for following through with projects you might let sit too long otherwise.
I have to say, my artist-self has been in heaven combining such mediums as ink/watercolor and embroidery. I am absolutely hooked. I think I've been trying to "find" myself creatively for a very long time and these works have helped me find that happy place. I think I've had the mindset for the past few years when I'm considering what I want to make/design next, that it has to be some sort of product that I can sell (either at Kitschy Digitals or DIY's I provide on my blog).
But I've realized that doesn't make me happy, and a lot of times it's a lot of work for not much in return. Not that I don't mind sharing DIYs here and there on my blog, because I do! But that can't be my driving force. Goodness knows your Pinterest boards are full enough without me adding to them. ;)
I think also, when you are creating products that you really want to sell, they have to be on point design-wise... they have to follow trends. That in itself can really suck the creative life out of you. I've never, ever loved that. I love people that find their own, unique, original voice. Granted, we're all inspired by something (these pieces are heavily inspired by vintage Japanese illustrations) but it's your unique take on something that makes it exciting.
I think I've also missed making art, for art's sake. I'm so excited to keep adding more pieces to this collection. As I transition into focusing more on my photography and graphic design business, I can use my spare time to make art. That is exciting to me.
Embroidery or cross-stitch in itself is so much fun, but adding the Inktense pencils with gel medium to shade certain areas is bringing back my inner-childhood-college-student-artist! I'd like to think my art teachers would be proud of my Chiaroscuro. I noticed that the color bled less on the linen fabric I used this time, as opposed to the cotton I used on the previous piece, which was nice. I could still get the watercolor-y effects, but have a bit more control over it. To use the Inktense pencils, I first brushed Martha Stewart fabric medium in the areas I wanted to color, and then laid down the color with the pencils on top of that. You can mix the colors as well by just layering strokes on top of each other on the fabric, and then mixing them together with your brush directly on the fabric. I usually have a bit of fabric medium on my brush as well, and sometimes I'll add a tiny bit of water if things aren't mixing well.
This piece is based on this illustration by Eico Hanamura. It's interesting because I used the one on the right to transfer onto my fabric, but I also found the one on the left which is ever so slightly different. I like how my piece sort of took on it's own personality due to the thickness of the wool thread I used for embroidery. My girl ended up looking a bit more sultry and less innocent and delicate as the original. I like to think of my piece as a celebration of Eico in my own personal way.
My finished piece is 18"x18". I stretched the fabric around a premade artist canvas that I purchased at Binders Art here in Atlanta (best art supply store ever, highly recommended and the prices are great considering they are art supplies which are always expensive!) I also added some cross-stitch on her shoulder (which you can see better a few images above) using a piece of rug canvas that I had on hand. I used it as "waste-canvas". Here's a tutorial on how to use waste canvas. I liked the rug canvas because the count was much larger than typical waste canvas. I wanted big stitches.
Here's another piece inspired by vintage Japan manga/illustrations that I made on Mother's Day. I shared it on Instagram, but not here. I really want to make more of these! Working with polymer clay is a bit more stress-y for me as you're constantly trying to keep little bits of dust and lint out of it which is VERY hard. So I have to really psyche myself up for it. ; ) I think I'll make her into a brooch.
My preferred method for transferring line art to fabric for embroidery is taping up the drawing onto the window and hanging the fabric in front, and using the window as a sort of lightbox. I also just used a black ink pen instead of water-soluble pen/pencil or disappearing ink. It's just easier to me, as long as the line isn't too thick. I decided to leave some of the sketch in the final piece. I've always loved art that leaves some of the base sketch exposed - it gives it a sense of history and process which I like! I also made good use of my embroidery book by Erica Wilson on some of these stitches. The main stitch I used is the stem stitch. Love it so much more than backstich.
I'm so excited because I contacted Eico's manager to see if she will have any pieces on exhibition while we're in Tokyo this October, and while she won't, we've ended up chatting each other up via email which has been fun! She is equally as enthusiastic about Eico's work (naturally) and even invited me to visit her office to see some of Eico's work and goods up close (!!!) and there's even a chance I might get to meet the artist (!!!!!!) I don't want to jinx it, but even if I just get to see some of her work up close, I would be so, so honored. Just goes to show you, sometimes if you just put yourself out there, you never know what cool opportunities might come your way. All it takes is an email. ; ) Either way, I want to make an Eico-inspired embroidery just for her that I can bring with me to Tokyo to thank her for being such an inspiration.
I'm open to taking on commissions for projects along the same lines as these, whether it be original artwork or even business branding, I think it would be fun to experiment with embroidery + painting in other applications. If you have something in mind, let me know! I'm also looking into a way to incorporate my photography portraits into something I can add embroidery to as well. If you have an idea, feel free to email me at thousandclowns AT gmail : )