Friday, 19 April 2013

Stitches for twitchers.(Sketching in hand stitch.)

A quick story to explain how this came about.
 There has been a big decline in Sparrow numbers over the past few decades and the R.S.P.B.have been trying to raise awareness. A contact of mine, Anne Kelly Textiles, intends putting 'Sparrow Art' in her exhibitions this year to raise funds for the R.S.P.B.and was asking for us to send her any artwork we might have of sparrows. This was the stimulus for me to begin a new adventure.....could I sketch in hand stitch?
 When 'The Wednesday Group' were at South Worcester College, we did some sketching on the sewing machine...in fact if ever you see sheep sketches in local exhibitions it's almost certain the stitchers trained at S.W.C.
We had before us copies of sheep sketches by Henry Moore and off we whirred!


The results were amazing...the whole flock....not mine in particular....but it's the only photo I have!
I was spurred on to find a sketch by another artist, Pisarro, of a peasant woman and repeat the activity.


Well, let's get back to sparrows. When you use a sewing machine, your sketches appear fairly fast and you certainly don't agonize over every line! So I got to wondering if I could the same with hand sewing!

Some people are able to do naive stitching on their art work and it looks good....but my stitches come out neat and even...it's my age and the long trail of stitches behind me! So my quest was to find me a new style and produce some sparrow sketches.

I started off with some pencil sketches.I noticed our two sparrows that dine chez nous, think they are blue tits and dive into the feeders and out again in the blink of an eye so I had to resort to bird books. Actually sparrows have quite pretty markings when you start to look.
My first attempt was still a bit neat although I was making some progress...you can't override habits of a life time that easily.


I tried again and this time put on touches of colour with water colour pencils.


Then I decided to try other ways. Sparrows disappear into the hedge so quickly and become invisible.  I tried working round the void of a sparrow shape in the undergrowth.


Perhaps the undergrowth did it's job too well and hid the bird. The hedge was created by ironing a printed paper bag onto poly-cotton. (Transfer print.) Next time  I used calico so the print was fainter.
By this time,I  was telling myself to work quickly and pretend the needle was sketching.


Well it was a very windy day ,,,think the tail got blown about! (All the colour was created by stitch and thread ....and I was sewing faster.)
I remembered when we were  machine sketching, we had  the picture in front of us. So, for the next one I had new rules.( Speedy, no going back, only pause for re threading, keep eye on the picture.)


It took me just over an hour to do this and I stuck to my rules. I think it has the look of a sparrow! I might try fewer,bigger stitches next time and see where that takes me. The new adventure continues........