Friday, 6 September 2019

Lightning Strikes Stitchscape

I really love watching lightning and seeing the different types, waiting for that deep spine tingling rumble of thunder that follows and counting the elephants to try and work out how far away the storm is. My favourite is the forked lightning that flitters across the sky and turns the edges of clouds bright silver. Of course, when I came across this fantastic lightning print fabric at the beginning of the year I knew that I had to make a Stitchscape out of it! (It's taken a little while but I've finally got there.)

It's a bit of a different colour palette for me, blue and moody, but the colours went so well together and really reminded me of the last good storm we had back in May time of this year.
The little house print is so sweet and I think adding in the yellow windows has really made a difference to it, adding character and quirkiness. It's no longer just a bunch of houses being besieged by lightning forks, it's a proper village battening down the hatches and waiting it out.

I am super pleased with how the lightning turned out- it really leaps off the surface of the fabric with the chunky stem stitch that I've used (three strands for the larger forks, a single strand each time for the lesser forks). I've also used DMC Silky thread for this so as you look at the piece the lightning glistens and glows which is rather lovely.

I kept the stitching for the houses really simple. I could have gone over every single printed line but I think that would have then started to blur the edges and be too much with the delicate lines of print so I've kept it to the edges of every house and then around the windows that have been picked out in yellow.  Actually you can see in the above photo how the silky thread changes colour when you look at it at different angles, sometimes it appears more blue, then white, then pink.

I wanted to spread the colour down the piece. In my workshops I often talk about colour balancing which helps to make a composition work together. If you have blue at the top of the piece, for example, but no where else it can look a bit odd so, where you can, bring specks of blue down to the bottom and you will automatically balance the piece and make it pleasing on the eye.
In this case, I was balancing the lightning strikes by using a very pale grey for the bullion knot flowers and also using a single strand of the same DMC silky thread to work a whip stitch over the seed stitch texture. Not only does this give a little bit of lustre to the bottom of the piece, and give the layer some grounding for the flowers to stand on, but it helps to balance and bring everything together so it looks more cohesive.
There is also a tiny bit of this in the yellow which you might not immediately notice. As well as using yellow in the windows, there are also tiny french knots peeking out in the stems of the bullion flowers.

Once I had added in the cord (made by twisting various colours of embroidery thread together) at the top of the house layer, I went back over with more of the lightning as it looked odd for it to just finish underneath the cording. It looks tons better this way - although I think if I were to do it again I would try and vary more the length of the lightning and bring some forks down further to make the houses look more dimensional. Something to ponder on should I try it another way!

(Filming a time lapse on how to mount Stitchscapes over mount board - see this film on my Instagram)

I haven't framed any pieces for a while as I have run out of space for the frames, but this one is reserved so it has the honour of being fully framed and it looks really amazing in a black wooden box frame!! It's almost like looking out of a window to the houses in the valley below.

The stitch run down for this piece is as follows: split stitch, stem stitch, french knots, bullion knots, back stitch, satin stitch, straight stitch, seed stitch, whip stitch and couching. Nice and simple. But so effective.

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