Friday, February 24, 2012

From Drawing to Stitch: A Close-up Element of a Still Life

Leslie here.  Drawing selected elements from nearby objects is something I like to do.  Recently, I've had a number of exchanges on Facebook and in small groups about how difficult it is to overcome the fear of taking the first step, and, more importantly perhaps, how important it is to just "do the work".  Part of the "work" is taking time to really look at things.  When I'm in the zone, I'm often trying to see the object as a set of colors or shapes rather than the actual entity.  It is fun to play around with a drawing in a few different ways.

I took a photograph of the source of my drawing, an aging flower arrangement left over from Valentine's Day.  Instead of drawing the entire arrangement I focused on a stem of greenery in the foreground:

My first drawing is a selection of leaves from this stem.
I'm focusing on the shadows and highlights.
I apologize for the quality (or lack) of the images (I'm using my phone camera in iffy lighting!)

To get a better understanding of the drawing, I trace it onto tissue paper
and play with the shapes and contours a bit before I do a basic tracing on cloth with the aid of a lightbox.
I don't need a lot of detail in the drawing on the cloth because I have the paper drawing as my reference.

 I think of my sewing machine as a stationary paintbrush.
Rather than moving the brush across the cloth, I move the cloth under the "brush".
My lovely thread is the "paint".

Even though it is less portable,
I hope you consider the idea that the sewing machine is a drawing tool!


  1. This is gorgeous and how clever to turn a sketch into stitching. Love it.

  2. Very nice ! I do EXACTLY the same thing. I have tried to convince students to think of machine and thread in the same way but only a few ever really telax enough to see that andmto use them in that way.

  3. This is so pretty Leslie, I wish I could try it. Alas, I have no such equipment. It is gorgeous, and I love seeing the process.

  4. I love the simplicity of this! Great directions and inspiration too.

  5. LOVE this. Just need to find an attachement for my machine to do free stitching, and I´ll give it a bash.


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