Snowman Embroidery

Art, DIY

This winter, I set about making my first snowman-inspired embroidery, inspired by the idea of making my grandmother a homemade gift.

Growing up, like most children, I was quite the expert in homemade gifts, constantly gifting my family members with the crafts and artwork I labored over in school and during my free time.

I’m happy to say my craftsmanship has improved quite a bit over the last 15+ years or so, but my desire to give homemade gifts has remained the same. Knowing that my grandmother would appreciate a handmade gift the most, I set about creating this embroidery for her in late November.

 

The process started out much the same as my other pieces, beginning with some google research (imagery inspiration is so important) and moving on to a pen sketch on fabric. When designing this piece, I knew I didn’t want to go too big (I was working on a limited time frame) but I also knew that it had to be big enough to make for a substantial gift. Not to mention a larger piece allows for more intricate details.

Another design decision that had to be made was whether or not I wanted to embroider snow falling in the background. While French knot snowflakes would have furthered the piece’s sense of whimsy, I ultimately decided against them, not wanting to distract from the main element and focus (the snowman). With the design being so clean, I decided against the clutter of snowfall.

 

After filling in all of the colors and patterns, I framed the piece and tied a festive blue ribbon onto the fastening, allowing the artwork to be easily hung. Although the snowman in the drawing is wearing Christmas colors, I designed him with the intention of being left out all winter, knowing that my grandparents would want to enjoy him all season, as opposed to only one month during the year.

While I’m in no hurry to embroider another snowman any time soon, I’m happy to report that the gift went over extraordinarily well! Having been the person who first got me hooked on embroidery, I know my grandmother was able to appreciate the time and effort put into each and every one of the countless stitches.

Capturing Everyday Magic: Snowflake Embroidery

Art, Inspiration

Most of us can remember making snowflakes when we were children, frantically cutting geometric shapes out of pieces of paper and hanging them throughout our childhood homes.

Still entranced by snowflakes as an adult, I decided to bring snowflake art to the next level, completing this freestyle hand embroidery inspired by the movie Frozen.

 

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This piece, while differing greatly from my usual subject matter with its focus on pattern, was very relaxing to work on. After drawing the outline in pen, I then worked very methodically: filling in one piece at a time, following with the corresponding sections in the other five points.

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As of late, I’ve been using my embroidery pieces to capture the idea of every day magic. Objects or occurrences that occur in nature (or perhaps they’re believable enough that they just might) that possess a fantastical or magical quality.

I was inspired by the Frozen snowflake in particular, as it is used as a symbol of Elsa’s powers and magical abilities.  The snowflake’s design represents the power of strong colors and geometric shapes, and their ability to transform something created by nature into something otherworldly and beautiful.

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Greatly pleased with the outcome, I plan on framing this piece and hanging it with the rest of my holiday decor this Christmas season.

Getting Excited for “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Inspiration, Pop Culture

This past week, the internet has been losing its mind and weeping tears of joy over the recently-released, exclusive photographs of the upcoming live-action film Beauty and the Beast.

Released by Entertainment Weekly, the photographs capture the magic that the mass audience has hoped and dreamed would encapsulate this visual retelling of the much-loved, classic story.

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Needless to say, Disney lovers are much anticipating the March 17 release date, unable to contain their enthusiasm as they count down the days.

Unsurprising perhaps to most of my readers, I happen to be among this crowd and plan on seeing the film in theater.To showcase my excitement, I’m sharing my most recent hand embroidery, an original piece inspired by this upcoming film.

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Featuring the enchanted rose that is often used to symbolize the Beauty and the Beast story, the embroidery is constructed of running stitches, back stitches and french knots, and completed in a hand-drawn style, similar to some of the other hand-embroidered pieces that I have shared in the past.

Due to the style, the piece was relatively quick in the making, taking approximately two weeks from start to finish.

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So while we Disney fans still have another four months of waiting to overcome, there is a lot to be said of the inspiration that is created by anticipation.

In other words, expect to see another Beauty-inspired piece from me before the film hits theaters!

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Anchors (Stolen) Away

Art

As the summer comes to a close, I’m pleased to be ending my summer-inspired embroideries on a high note.

Looking to create unique and naturally whimsical pieces, I came across the idea of incorporating an anchor into one of my embroideries, a visual element that is timeless and as of late, quite popular. With mysterious tentacles closing in from both directions, I hoped for this piece to be colorful and fun.

 

After completing the initial sketch, I spent the next five weeks filling in the space with colors, enjoying the contrast between the anchor and its thieves. Aside from the stark color difference found between the blues and reds, there is also a strong contrast between the organic nature of the tentacles and the solid foundation of the piece, the anchor.

I’m a strong believer in contrast and find it worth experimenting with multiple contrasting elements in a single piece.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this piece and can well imagine it hanging next to my last embroidery, “Mushrooms.”

While the summer may be coming to a close, I know that my embroidery production is not. I look forward to fall inspiration and adding to this “Naturally Whimsical” series!

Mushroom Embroidery

Art

I’ve been working on this piece for an embarrassingly long time. But as I’ve mentioned before, hand embroidery tends to be slow going.

Having done a lot of pop-culture inspired art this past year, I was looking to create something more natural and organic.That being said, I still wanted to focus on imagery that would be fun and unique, able to hold my attention for the many weeks I knew it would take to complete. I’ve always enjoyed mushroom imagery but had yet to create an embroidery piece. This seemed like as good a time as any.

After doing a little bit of research, I was able to find images of mushrooms of all different shapes and colors, and arranged the composition so that the hues would be well-balanced across the hoop.

After completing the initial sketch, I made small notes to myself so I would remember which colors were to be filled into which designated areas. This can be a useful tactic, especially when working on a piece that you know will take you a significant amount of time. If you no longer are in possession of the reference images, you want to remember your initial color plan.

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Sketching a new #embroidery. #mushrooms #fiberart

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Once I had finished embroidering the mushrooms, it was time to focus on the surrounding area. I decided to add moss under the mushrooms, grounding them in the designated embroidery hoop space.

Similar to what I had done with the spots on the red mushroom, I used French knots to create texture that would mimic moss. Although time consuming and daunting to some, I absolutely adore French knots. They proved to be especially useful in this particular situation, providing the texture I desired.

Although time consuming, I am extraordinarily pleased with how this piece turned out. Bright, fun, organic and original, it was well worth the wait.

I See the (Embroidered) Light

Art, Pop Culture

You know that scene in Tangled when Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are on the boat during the festival of lanterns and Disney, yet again in true-Disney fashion, inspires you and makes you feel like a kid again? Of course you do. Or, at least you do if you’ve ever seen the movie.

If not, here’s a 3 second recap to catch you up to speed:

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Probably the best-loved scene in the movie.

Inspired by this scene I decided to approach the lantern imagery from a graphic stand point and reproduce it in a nontraditional medium. I wished to recreate a lantern in fiber, specifically embroidery.

This is what that process looked like:

  1. I began by creating a quick sketch with pen on white cotton.
  2. Then, I started filling in the colors with embroidery floss using hand embroidery.
  3. Next, I painted in the background with acrylic paint. This is what the piece looked like following one layer of paint, but thought this was too boring.

Rather then having a static background, I decided to add lanterns in the distance. This is how the piece ended up:


In the future I think it would be fun to sew my own lantern and use wire to make it three dimensional. I will have to keep you posted if and when I decide to try this out!

Narwhal, Narwhal

Art

Just because winter is technically over does not mean that you can not (and should not) keep creating in fiber.

One of the reasons I love embroidery is for its versatility. As fun as it is to sit stitching by the fire, light-weight fabric such as cotton also makes for a great spring and summer medium.

That being said, I started this embroidery project back in January…

But only just finished it a few weeks ago. As I’ve mentioned before, embroidery (while rewarding) is very time consuming. The lag time is also due to a hectic schedule and the medium’s ability to be put down and picked up at any point in time.


That being said, I always make a point of having an embroidery project going year round. Because picking up a project here or there will ultimately result in a well-made piece. Not to mention a pleasant surprise on the day it’s actually finished!

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Holiday

A holiday that is met with both excitement and hatred, St. Valentine’s day is a specimen all of its own. Although I am fortunate to be in a happy relationship, being single never stopped me from enjoying this holiday.

Reasons to embrace the day:

  1. Similar to Halloween, it revolves around candy. Except instead of cheap Smarties, the focus is on fine chocolate!
  2. By the time February rolls around, most of us are sick of winter and the lack of sunshine, so why not embrace a holiday? (Especially today when, at our house, it is 25 below zero)
  3. It is a holiday without stress. If you are buying gifts, at least it is only for one person, unlike the 30 you buy for at Christmas.

To celebrate, I am sharing with you a mixed media piece that I completed last month. A combination of commercial fabric, acrylic paint and embroidery floss (plus a lot of french knots!), I hope you enjoy this piece, even if you aren’t a fan of Valentine’s day!


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Fun with #frenchknots.

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Hippogriff in Paint and String

Art

Fibernation post #5! And probably the last of my fibernation posts for a little while. I have found myself partaking in other media this winter as well and I don’t want to neglect them!

I’m hoping, however, that this mini series ends with a bang, as this piece took me quite a while to complete. The imagery is, obviously, directly inspired by Harry Potter’s Buckbeak and is a mixed media piece, created with commercial fabric, acrylic paint and embroidery floss.

A little history:

When I was a senior at SUNY Cortland, I created, hung, advertised and hosted a senior exhibition. The show was called “Idle Curiosities” and this was one of the pieces displayed:

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Receiving overwhelmingly positive response to this piece, I thought to myself, why not make another? A follow up if you will. And so I went from dragon to hippogriff.

Fantastical Series:

As two pieces from the same puzzle, both creatures are approximately the same size and made from the same materials. While I bought the fabric at Walmart, the rest is purely handmade (although I did have a professor accuse me of hodgepodging my dragon).


The tricky part of making both of these was painting on the fabric, as thin cotton has a tendency to want to move around. Also, as the paint dries, it soaks into the material. Meaning, 3+ layers of paint are often needed to get an opaque aesthetic.

While the dragon is adorned with both hand and machine embroidery, the hippogriff was all done completely by hand, again, making it one of those pieces that took a little while to finish.


And so ends this mini-series. While I focused on embroidery this time, there is so much more to the world of fiber art. Hopefully I have opened up a few minds and eyes to this world and perhaps event inspired some of you to try it for yourselves!

How to Frame Embroidery

Art

Fibernation post#3! I am posting quite early this week as I will be in NYC Wednesday-Friday for the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication’s annual public relations benchmark trip.

In one of my recent posts I discussed embroidery as an art form. It is cheap and doesn’t require a studio. But suppose you are interested in displaying your work at home or in a gallery…

While making art is a ton of fun, making it hanging-ready is usually anything but. Thankfully, for you fiber artists out there, embroidery is one of the absolute EASIEST things to make exhibition ready. It is also one of the cheapest (which is always a plus)!

What you will need:

  1. Your embroidered piece
  2. Wooden embroidery hoop
  3. Hot glue gun and glue sticks for the gun
  4. Pen or pencil
  5. Felt
  6. Scissors

Once you have gathered your materials,

  1. Trace your embroidery hoop onto a piece of felt.   
  2. Cut just inside the line.
  3. Place your hoop (embroidery piece secured inside) face down.
  4. Cut your fabric close to your hoop, leaving just enough material to fold over the hoop.
  5. Begin folding the fabric and gluing it to the inside of the hoop, doing only a few inches as a time.    
  6. Once you have gone all the way around place the felt circle inside the hoop.
  7. Slowly, begin gluing the felt to the inside of the hoop.
  8. Once you have gone all the way around the hoop, allow the glue to dry.

VOILA! Your piece is now hanging ready.

I sincerely encourage all of you who have any interest in fiber to try embroidery . You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it, and nothing is more satisfying than seeing your work on display, even if it is only within the confines of your own home.