A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stitches as Structural Elements

As Beth #3, I’m a new member on the Fire Blog and i’ll try to share my thoughts and some samples I have done in connection with Beth’s excellent embellishment tutorials.

I regard stitches as surface design elements. They can be  primary ones, entirely responsible for the visual impact or they can be used as secondary structures, to emphasize and underline the primary design which is in the art quilts the top, made by pieceing or by various surface design techniques.
I usually use them as secondary elements, so this month turned out as a challenge for me.
Last year I made a lampshade out of layered, handmade paper. Nothing pretentious, just playing around a bit, as an example for my pupils. I attached the two layers of paper together, with big, bold stitches. It’s O.K, though I think I could have performed the  stitches with more care ...

I have combined graphical and structural stitches  on this quilt, African Beauty. I „drew“ the main lines of the face with thick embroidery thread and used thinner quilting thread for the shadowed places as a simple structural element.


On this little  piece I used embroidery to give more details of the cityscape and again as a structure fort he sky. This is still in progress, but you can get a first impression already.

This piece of cityscape I started in Dorothy Caldwell’s Human Marks class, last November, along wit the idea of using small books for different mark-types. Here is my STITCHED one, made out of cotton-rag paper, which permits you dense embroidery without falling apart. And a few pages out of the book - just playing around, trying out combinations:

Beading is something, which i hardly ever do, so it took time to decide how to use the instructions Beth made. It took me quite long to finish even this small sample. If beading, i think i like the effect of using them compact – i just run out of the black beads before I could finish it.

 The fine lines at the back, led me to an another try - I loved the fragile, graphical quality of this experiment:

And because we wouldn’t want to forget the fire – here is burned organza, which reminds me of a landmap and this work is also still in progress. I would like to emphasize  the burned out signs by outlining them, and also the edges with rather dense stitches. The red dots are French knots.

Thank you for reading, and i’m happy to hear your opinions.


  1. Fabulous work. I am also just starting on a mark making workbook of stitches as well as one using marking implements to design before stitch. I love all that you have presented. The lamp shade is wonderful, as well as the mask and cityscape. Thanks for your contributions

  2. I love what you are doing with the cityscape! It reminds me of a scene I hope to do this year of an ancient pueblo I visited in 2011... and your lamp shade is a very interesting use of stitches!

  3. Your lamp is gorgeous! And I especially like the backside of the beading sample.

  4. More and more beautiful work to think about and process. Wonderful!! I love it when the back of something is as interesting as the intended front piece! Like hidden treasure - and an idea for future work on its own. You can't beat that!

  5. Great stuff. Luved the cityscapes!

  6. Oh--yes. The graphical lines. And I like the Boro-type stitching very much. And your last piece. I've been thinking a lot lately about what lies beneath in the layering of cloth. Thank you, Beata.

  7. Wow! Just love he graphic-ness of the pages. I am a member of a fiber exploration group here, and am just beginning to let go and create!


  8. Your stitching is luscious. I love what it adds to your pieces. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Hey Beth #3 Marcella from FMOVL. I'm a paper person.
    We need to talk about paper, lamps and ideas. Really like your luminaries.

  10. Hi Marcella - this not Beth #3 but Beata - anyway, if you do have any questions about paper, feel free to contact me.


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