Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stealing Like An Artist

First off I want to thank Austin Kleon for giving me and all Artists permission to Steal Like an Artist. If you haven't read his manifesto please do, and then come right back.

I am fortunate to have the charming, talented and prolific Mary Elizabeth Kinch (ME) in my small quilt group, affectionately known as the Squeegees.

Every time I see her I am inspired to try whatever handwork she has brought with her. On our most recent visit she promised to schedule a workshop to teach us how to make her felted work basket. She always has great pointers about needles, thimbles and anything else you could possibly want to know about handwork.

ME told us about a Sue Spargo hand embroidery workshop she had just taken. ME says "I am so indebted to her for what I have worked on that piece.  I never would have produced it without her talent and inspiration.  It was her kit for the workshop that I started with.  Below is her blog link for lots of other "droolingly" wonderful examples of stitching delight!  

The link to her webpage is:

The link to her yummy blog is:"

ME was having so much fun playing with layering fabrics and embroidery stitches as we sat chatting around my kitchen table that I immediately started fantasizing about working on my own project.

Photo by ME Kinch all rights reserved
ME was kind enough to send me a picture of her WIP. Isn't it gorgeous?

When I went to my workroom to start pulling fabrics I got sidetracked by an idea for a wallhanging for Eyal's birthday. It ended up incorporating some elements from ME's project: repetition, grid, layering, embellishment.

When I was ready to get back to ME's project I thought of the Jacobean inspired shapes, the layering of fabrics and colours, the touches of robin's egg blue, teal and turquoise. I returned to the stash of interior design fabrics Kate Zeidler gave me and started pulling fabrics, floss and beads.

Where ME hand turn appliqu├ęd each piece of fabric I have attached them with a raw edge machine zigzag. I am teaching myself embroidery as I go along. Turning to Judith Baker Montano's Elegant Stitches for guidance. I'm having fun embellishing each design, choosing which pattern or colour to layer on top, deciding how I feel about each imperfection in execution. Sometimes I love the frayed edges and pull them out a little bit to enhance the look. In other places I snip off the extra bits, preferring a clean edge.

Eyal gave me the ultimate compliment when he saw me working on it for the first time "I hope that's for us. Please don't give it away". He also wants me to use the same idea and colour scheme for a large scale wallhanging.

ME warns me there's no 12 step program for recovering from this but I still thank her for introducing me to this new addiction!


rajns (carolyn) said...

The hand embroidery gives it such an artist touch that is wonderful! Glad to see he can appreciate beauty!!!

rajns (carolyn) said...

I went and checked out that steal like an artist thing - it is great! Thank you so much for sharing!