Coming back after weeks of various injuries and ailments, too tedious and frustrating to revisit, to one of my favourite blocks from the cloth-to-cloth course. I loved the contrast between the vibrant exuberance of the silk and the sober solidity of the dark wool suiting fabric, and the feel of the two together was somehow quite luxurious.
I have a little penchant for oriental textiles, so one of my favourite places to visit is Dancing on Temple Tops … blogging about the ongoing adventures of a seamstress in Tokyo. A recent post on the Ikeda Collection caught my eye, in particular the glorious clutch purses, and I thought that this piece, with quilting and embroidery, might be an ideal starting point for a little experiment in that direction.
Inspiration comes from the strangest of places.
A glorious page of scribble from Bella (age 3) done specially for me, could so easily have gone the way of so many other artworks (sadly … how is it possible to keep it all?) if it weren’t for the central red squiggle, looping around itself.
Hmmm. What if?
What if I traced over it?
oh yes, I like that, and with a bit of batting and some red silk fabric, ex-skirt-lining, for backing, it was time to start working those embroidery threads.
I still like it, but on its own it’s not enough … and the detail is dissolving. I needed to do more, both to clarify the floral element, and to properly fix the woven cloth into a coherent whole.
So. Whipped the stab-stitched lines to define individual petals and leaves, and stitched down within them to suggest the structure of the petals, and I brought in a couple of additional colours to further delineate the different areas.
And the more I worked on it, the more it seemed to become a pair of waterlilies resting on a pond at sunset … and the more I knew I needed to fill the spaces between somehow … without overcomplicating the design or distracting too much from the flowers. Waves? A suggestion of current & waterweed? Ripples? Ripples, yes, from raindrops, expanding and interrupting each other, each one a little off-centre from the next, but fulfilling its purpose to join both the design and the fabric into a single whole.
So pleased with the result. The finished piece is supple, but with reassuring weight and structural stiffness, and the feel of it under hand is just wonderful, and the shimmer of the silk and the texture given by the stitching over the batting distracts the eye from the almost-regular checkerboard pattern of the underlying weaving.
A little border, a little folding, a little finishing:
I love this bag.