Project 2 – Drawing with stitch

Exercise 2.3 Drawing with stitch on paper

I have selected these six from my drawings because I hope that they will give me a good variety for working with alongside my manipulated papers.  They have a wide range of differing marks which I hope will inspire me.



Sample 1 – Elderberry brush/ink – Cotton bust bodice

I have made a tentative start on this exercise by selecting this section from the drawing. The marks were made with black ink and a cluster of elderberries made into a brush.  You can see where the berries have hit the paper and dragged the ink across the page.

Section of drawings for bustier

I have sketched out the section that I will use and I have chosen the simple creased copy paper which shows the folds and drape of the garment.  I thought about the stitches that I could use and made notes alongside my enlarged drawing whilst considering the strength of the drawn lines.  From my collection of threads I selected a braid type yarn which I started to couch down to the paper.  I used the folds and creases in the paper to show the flow of the marks also interpreted in the stitching direction. Working on paper is very difficult as it tears easily especially after it has been manipulated and the fibres become  soft.  I have knotted the ends of the braid to represent the circular marks where the berries have hit the paper first and I tried different methods of couching to give slightly different effects.  I have not made a representation of every mark and if I did this again I would not try to do so much as the paper gets too soft.  I ended up just sewing the braid through the paper rather than couching on top of the paper because it was easier.  I have used straight stitches, running stitch, back stitch and an over stitch to couch the braid down.




Sample 2 – Plastic scourer/ink – Brassiere 

I have selected a simple area of this drawing and decided to use the tracing paper that I rubbed with a stone onto a rough concrete floor as this showed the swirling pattern of the original drawing.  I like the differing depth of the marks that make up this section and think that they will be interesting to interpret into stitching.



The tracing paper is a bit more forgiving than the copy paper although it can tear between the holes made by the stitches.  It has a nice body and I like the translucent quality.  I have used back stitch, couching, chain stitch and a diagonal straight stitch.  I have used a variety of different weights of thread, wool tapestry yarn, narrow silver ribbon, round elastic couched with black cotton perle, danish flower thread and stranded cotton. Sometimes the holes previously created in the paper were in an unconvenient place for my stitching which was interesting.

Sample 3 – Black pen – Brassiere


This area of the drawing details the construction of the fabric for the brassiere, I have chosen folded, punched and burnt copy paper which was also an interpretation of the construction of the garment.  The area selected reminds me of the Honesty seed heads that I have studied before, there is a plant/fruit like quality to this drawing and the stitching that it has produced.  I have used simple black cord and couched it down with black cotton perle which has also been used for the straight stitching.



Sample 4 – plastic scourer, lolly stick/acrylic paint – damask stays

I have selected a small area of the original drawing which has a variety of marks to interpret and I have chosen the corrugated card to stitch into because of its similar qualities to the stays – stiff and supporting.



Whilst it is difficult to interpret every line and mark of the original drawing, I really enjoyed trying to get the main characteristics and show them as stitching.  I had to plan where I wanted to stitch as the holes had to be made with a much larger needle before the stitching began because of the thickness and stiffness of the card.  I have used  cross stitch in two different threads, tapestry wool and a space dyed grey cotton perle for the lighter vertical lines and back stitch in black cotton perle for the darker heavier vertical lines. One of the draw backs in stitching on this card is if you change your mind then you are left with vacant holes.

Sample 5 – Elderberry brush/ink – Cotton bust bodice


This section of my original drawing is again simple but selected because I like that each line has a different value and can be depicted with a different type of stitch and thread.  I have used the copy paper sample which was slashed and burned with a pyrography tool replecating the marks made by the elderberry brush and ink. The stitches I have used are running stitch, chain stitch, couching and french knots. Stitching on paper that has areas missing can be interesting if not a little difficult!


Sample 6 – black pen – brassiere

The brassiere is constructed using bobbin lace and crochet, this area is a close up of the mesh or net that makes up the garment.  I have used my copy paper sample which I have folded and cut to represent this mesh.  I didn’t want to stitch parallel to the cuts in the paper so the stitching is on the diagonal which means that the mesh falls across the holes.



Sample 7 – plastic scourer/acrylic paint – Borage plant study










I have selected this section because of the flow of the marks similar to falling leaves or running water.  I have use the manila paper which I had cut in flowing marks with a knife.  The paper had to be prepared before stitching with a sharp needle because it has no strength and tears easily.  I considered using machine embroidery but decided the paper would pull apart and tear so I have used straight stitch and chain stitch.  I have used similar colours as the sample selection.



Sample 8 – 2 pencils – brassiere


I have used my tissue paper sample which was burnt with a soldering iron along with some tracing paper rubbed with a stone onto a rough concrete floor.  I have used both papers because the tissue paper would not be strong enough to stitch into and needs a base for stability.  I have machine embroidered with two colours of thread, salmon pink and beige which are the colours of the original garment.  The stitching has produced a quilt like quality to the tissue paper and it would look good with a coloured paper underneath to show through the holes.



Sample 9 – 2 pencils – brassiere

I have not selected a particular area of my drawing but have used this paper as a reference to the feel of the drawing as a whole.  I have used buttonhole stitch on a bar of thread between the cut discs of paper on both sides which pulls the paper into a 3d piece.  It reminds me of 1970’s lampshades but I really like it.



Sample 10 – plastic scourer, lolly stick/acrylic paint – damask stays


For this sample I have used the folded and burnt thin card which represented the stitching on the red silk stays.  I have machine embroidered in the folds of the card with dark grey and red straight stiching and threaded black ribbon through the holes created by burning the card with a soldering iron.  The black ribbon has all been recycled clothing that all seem to have these sewn into them. I used red stitching as a reference from the colour of the silk used on the original garment.


Whilst I have enjoyed this exercise I have found stitiching difficult on papers that had been heavily manipulated as the fibres had become soft and they tore more easily.  Those papers with made holes also were a bit of a problem unless the holes were in the right place.



Written reflection

Researching my chosen archive was difficult because I was unaware of the restrictions in the V&A and with hindsight I would have chosen something more accessible. Not having the items to hand during this process was a hindrance,  I had considered purchasing some vintage garments but the cost was prohibitive and items difficult to find.  I tried to choose textile items that I found interesting and were different from each other in design, manufacturing processes and worn by women at different times in history.  I enjoyed the research into my chosen textiles and it has certainly made me aware of all the things that I need to consider when using an archive to research from in the future.

I enjoyed the mark making process as I had not done anything like it before and I had to spend some time experimenting with different items and the marks they made so that I had a reference to use when considering my textile items. However I found it difficult to translate this to my textile archive and really struggled with this exercise.

My first attempts at collage have been painful to say the least, this is not something that I have found very easy and I spent too long worrying about what I was doing and getting very frustrated with myself.  I hope that I can develop this technique as it is a popular way to develop ideas and designs.

I have enjoyed the research into other artists and designers, it makes me realise what a big world of art there is to discover and I am just scratching the surface!

I have really enjoyed Project 3, I felt more confident and I feel that I have consolidated my learning throughout Part 1 to produce a good folio of work to progress onto Part 2.



Research point 3

David Hockney

David Hockney was part of the pop art movement of the 1960’s.  His work ranges from large pictures made up from multiple canvases depicting the Yorkshire countryside to images of swimming pools and houses in California and portraiture.  His paintings have a clean, clear easy way about them, they are not fussy or overly detailed.  His use of perspective is wonderful, his landscapes are huge from open countryside scenes to industrial landscapes.

His brush strokes are bold and the colours he uses are bright some are slightly psychedelic looking and remind me of a set of collecting cards I had as a child with images from the Yellow Submarine album by the Beatles, which I now understand were from an animated film, the artwork was designed by Heinz Edelman.

I find it amazing that David Hockney now uses his ipad to create his pictures, still experimenting with his art and happy to explore a new generation of media alongside printmaking.

web sites visited:


Project 2 – Picking and portraying

What do I believe ‘drawing’ to be?

I think that drawing is creating an image whether physical or imagined.  Producing a physical drawing is done using medium like a pencil, paints, photographs and even light and shadow. You can also draw an image in your mind usually from reading a book or listening to music or the radio, when words or feelings can create a picture.  In our introductory assignment we looked at the work of  Alison Carlier who uses sound to create an image and when I visited the Turner Contemporary at Margate in Kent in February 2016, there was and exhibition by Joachim Koester – The Other Side of the Sky – where he was using flickering film projected on to a screen as a visual picture.  I guess it is open to interpretation, if it works for you then it’s good.

Exploring media

I would like to explore electronic drawing on my tablet.  I don’t have an ipad but I have found a drawing app which I have started to play around with.

Collage – I really struggled with collage in Project 2 so I would like to tackle this as it doesn’t seem to come naturally to me, I don’t know where to start and what I do looks complete rubbish.

I would also like to use some of the mark making experience that I have recently experimented with too.

Sources and media

It is now October and there are not many wild flowers and plants about, there are lots of leaves and fruits available in the hedgerows but I would like to use a flower.  I can buy a flowering plant from a supermarket or florists but I like to get inspiration from the nature around me which I see when I am out dog walking or that I grow in my garden or allotment.

I have carefully considered what is available, there are still a few wild flowers about for example Bindweed, Wild Carrot, Yarrow, White Campion and Mallow.  In my garden there is even less!  I have an Abutilon still in flower, a few Dahlias and the herb Borage.  On my allotment there are Dahlias and a few small Sunflowers.

I have chosen Borage or Starflower as it is sometimes known.  I grow this herb because the bees love it.  You can eat the leaves and flowers but I haven’t yet. The flowers are a beautiful blue colour, star shaped with protruding pointed black anthers but the plants are very prickly covered with small sharp hairs.

My first drawings I use to ‘get to know’ what I am drawing, so that I can see how it is formed and try to get the proportions and colours as correct as I can.


This is always going to be my starting point until I gain some confidence in drawing and finding my way forward.

Oil pastels
Inktense pencils
Print from sketching app

I have tried out media that I haven’t used before, oil pastels, Inktense pencils and the sketching app on my tablet.  Each produces a different result.  The drawing app is fun but not easy to control, I found myself blobbing colour where I didn’t want it but I can see that I will use it to give me that slightly random, haphazard image in the future.


From my original life sketches I went on to consider how the plant is constructed to see if I could simplify the image to create a motif.  This is where I am comfortable as it is how I process a drawing for my stained glass work.  In the first image I cut separate elements of the flower and stuck them onto a piece of clear plastic, the pieces are just glued at the centre so they drape if you hang it up.  The second picture is a result of closer observation of the flower which led to the last motif, cut from two pieces of paper and a circular center of card which is where it is glued together.


Mark making with plastic scourer and acrylic paint

Here I have gone back to mark making on a neutral wash then using a plastic scourer and acrylic paint I have created a loose image of the flowers. The images have to be quite large otherwise they are just a blob of colour.

A wet windy day – paper collage

I have finally had the courage to tackle collage – I find this really difficult and I don’t know if I have been successful yet!  I like the colours that I have used,  the background is crumpled up thin paper glued to a backing paper then coloured with a blue acrylic paint wash.  The motif pieces have been cut from newspaper photos using the same colour range with just a few brighter colours.

Collage of mixed papers, acrylic paint and fine black pen

Going further than the last collage, I quite enjoyed constructing this one but I can’t do these quickly as I feel right out of my comfort zone, I spend too much time worrying about what I’m doing and whether it’s good enough or not!  I hope I have developed in the right direction during this exercise.

Research point 1

The brief is to consider and research the Japanese concept of ‘wabi-sabi‘.

I have heard the phrase wabi-sabi but did not understand its meaning or concept.

Wabi-sabi represents Japanese aesthetics and a Japanese world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.¹

In modern Japan it is understood as wisdom in natural beauty.

Wabi – rustic simplicity, freshness, quietness, understated elegance

Sabi – beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are shown in its patina, wear or visible repairs.

There are many different interpretations on the meaning depending on your discipline.

I like the example that the pottery used in the Japanese tea ceremony called Hagi-yaki is rustic and simple, not quite symetrical, the colours and textures emphasise its unrefined or simple style. The glaze will change colour with use (sabi) and the tea bowls are deliberately chipped or nicked at the bottom (wabi) when they are made.

The origins of wabi-sabi are from Buddhist teachings and are interpreted as desolation, solitude and the liberation from the material world towards a simpler life.

I understand wabi-sabi to be an appreciation of the natural world, to take the time to experience the wonders of the world away from the pressures that our man-made world imposes upon us.  To accept the perfect and the imperfect things in life, a fabulous sunset or the rain that stops you doing what you planned outside.  To learn from our life experiences and from those around us who contribute to our journey, to take the rough with the smooth.


Other websites visited:

Research point 2

In this section the brief was to carry out some research into the practice of a selection of artists, designers an companies that use floral and leaf motifs in their work.  Find examples of their work and determine why these motifs are important, dominant or recurring in their work.  I have chosen the following because I don’t know anything about them and I like their work.

Jane Askey

Jane is a contemporary, mixed media still life painter. Her work is bright, colourful and easy.  She mainly depicts plants and flowers, sometimes with a landscape view other times with ceramics, pieces of paper and fabric or other items that complete the image. Mainly they are a collage of different items that fit together producing a happy, cheerful image.  The flowers and plants she captures are varied, cultivated or wild and are nearly always standing a vessel of some kind, a vase, mugs, jugs and flower pots.  The plants she paints are not detailed but they portray the spirit, quality  and mood.  Some of the ceramics she uses are easily recognisable  and the landscapes are those she clearly loves.  She captures a snapshot of a moment in time, a place and a feeling that I recognise and can relate to.

Jane Askey – Pink campion and turquoise seas

Images taken from

Websites visited –

Jane Askey – Two pears greek island

Tord Boontje

Tord is a Dutch born designer who has his studio in Shoreditch London.  His designs are fun and lighthearted and are found on many different types of products for the home from ceramics to furniture.  I would describe them as a very sophisticated and modern take on paper cutting or die cutting.  Paper cutting of this style has become very popular at the moment.  I wondered if his influence came from Dutch lace making or crocheted doilies or maybe cutting folded paper to produce intricate patterns as a child.   He uses simple flower and leaf shapes along with animals to produce a bold lace like design incorporating the negative space as an important part of the design.  The designs when used on items that hang such as curtains or lampshades cast a shadow which is part of his intent.

Tord Boontje – Midsummer light

The flowers in his designs are not specific flowers as with other artists but they have a mythical, fairy tale quality.  He uses ideas from nature to create his wonderful designs and in his biography on his website ( he says that;

I’m interested in creating elements for everyday life that are exciting and uplifting to live with


Website visited –   Images taken from same site



Consuelo Castiglioni is not a formally trained designer but started designing for her husbands family fur business which still only used traditional methods, she helped update the processes to create modern wearable designs.  This experience led her to set up Marni in 1994 which is named after her sister and is based in Milan.

Her designs are bold, clean and modern, but it is not just about the print but the construction and shape of the garment.


Marni – Fall 2016 – Ready to wear

The use of flowers in her designs whilst being bold are not flowery or ditsy.  I love her use of greatly enlarged parts of the flower to get a big bold image. The designs are as varied as the style of her clothing, some are small and mono-chromatic in total contrast to others in her collections.  She used a wide range of techniques throughout her garments.

Images taken from

Sites visited –, and


Recording and capturing continued

1.4 Lines and edges

Silk damask stays


In this drawing exercise I have tried to simplify my drawing to show the structure and feel of the garments without too much detail.  As I haven’t been able to touch or see the garments out of the exhibition, I have had to use a little imagination.

A quick line interpretation of the back view of the stays

Bust bodice

Here I have looked at the Dorset button and tried to simplify my drawing. I have used charcoal so I can soften the image by smudging the lines.



An experiment with two pencils taped together as this garment is made up of parallel lines of bobbin lace and crochet.

1.6 Detail and definition



I have looked closely at the bobbin lace and the buttonhole work on the brassiere, the bobbin lace forms a framework or mesh which gives the garment flexibility. Both of these give interesting patterns which I have enlarged in my drawings.


The edges of the stays are bound with tape, during wear the tape has worn and frayed and produced this interesting feature.  On the garment the red silk is showing between the frayed edges of the cream tape.

drawing taken from the pattern on the silk damask stays

There is a floral pattern on the damask silk of the stays but it is very difficult to see.  I have made a sketch with the aid of a magnifying glass in my sketch book then I have redrawn and enlarged it.  Here I have crosshatched with a fine ink pen.