Thursday, 29 December 2016

Feathers and Stitches

I remember when I was in my early teens my mother sent me to a church embroidery class on a saturday morning. There'd be tea, coffee, cake, and biscuits, and we were taught the basics of hand stitching. From then I stopped for a number of years, I believe high school happened soon after that, and I didn't pick it up again until I was in my twenties. In my drawer there are a couple of satin swatches that have been hand embroidered with the same dragonflies and swirling vines. It's just one of those things I find deeply soothing! So yesterday afternoon after my friend and I had eaten half a tub of peanut butter Ben and Jerry's together we went to Spotlight and that's where I decided I was going to buy some linen, a new needle, some lovely coloured thread, and a sewing hoop. Then last night I sat on my couch for a few blissful hours and I worked. Now today I have something that when I look at I can hardly believe it came from my own hands. My end-game would be to sew myself a medieval style gown and hand embroider the living daylights out of it.
Something that my eldest son and I do while we're out walking is collect feathers, the boy has quite an eye for it! He picks them up, hands them to me, and I put them in the front right pocket of my bag to take home. Last week I emptied the collection onto my desk and golly gosh there were a few! Feathers are fascinating things, so many different shapes, sizes, colours, tones, patterns, formations, so they really do lend themselves to being sketched. Given I have nothing but time on my hands right now I've been doing some sketching and practicing with colour using the feathers.

I feel as though my skills with watercolour are improving. I've been trying to focus on 'less is more' and not to touch the brush to the paper more than necessary. A simple wash with water and a drop of paint, a light touch, and that's all that is needed. On my painting adventures I've discovered that I love the effect that pre-sketching in felt tip gives when you add the colour and moisture.

I write to you now between parts 1 and 2 of Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet street. I thought a wee break to update the blog would be just perfect, and now, my dearies, I must return to the delicious cut throat gore and singing.

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