Saturday, October 02, 2010

Evolutions in Stitching: Choosing a Painted Canvas

I'm still thinking about "beginners" in stitching on the painted canvas, and only recently am understanding why it's scary. People have been made to feel that they have to cover every tiny little space with decorative stitches - which isn't true, and usually only creates a lot of unsightly "goop."

There has been an evolution of my own thinking and stitching since the beginning of my designing and marketing the painted canvas so long ago (1969).

In the beginning, the challenge for a designer was to provide a beautifully drawn and painted canvas that was easy to stitch - and for the stitcher, it was to manage to work a lovely, smooth surface with no bumps or unseemly ridges.

Different people enjoyed different activities, so chose their canvases accordingly. Also, we tried to create a good balance between pattern and background, so one could switch back and forth to make it more relaxing and interesting.

I remember that my sister detested areas of basketweave background and enjoyed the tedious outlining. I didn't like outlining (still don't) so we switched and helped each other.

I'm showing this dodo bird again (still don't have a picture of the finished pillow with the tail feathers) that I did at my son's request about 14 years ago - adapted from a card from the Museum of Natural History). I did not enjoy that huge expanse of basketweave background, but would never have used texture there, as it would compete with the elements of the pattern. My challenge in painting and then stitching this one was the small things - like the shadows under it's feet, and the wing feathers. Also the gorgeous tail feathers!!

Anyway, after all of those years of stitching, I still feel that I'm a bit of a newcomer to stitching and enhancing the painted canvas as it's done these days. I think the beautiful and fun novelty threads have helped this along, as we didn't have them in the 70's and ;80's.

When I came back to needlepoint after a break of about 15 years, this was going on, so I decided I needed to experiment and learn some decorative stitches - which was fun.

I bought two or three books, and set out to explore to see what stitches actually looked like, and what effect different kinds of threads had..

However, my canvas style is just not for these stitches, so I started doing the crazy quilt format so as not to waste time, effort, and material - and also it was a lot of fun learning the embellishment of embroidery on top.

I have now decided that I am a beginner at actually doing this on a painted canvas, and need to start. Since I already have a formidable collection of favorite stitches, all I lack is a suitable canvas.

I could find absolutely nothing for starting out, as the ones I looked at were too busy already to accomodate much more texture, and I'm weary of looking at the same old same old stuff that is beginning to all look just alike - so I went cruising the internet and ebay.

To my astonishment, there are some really really fine painted canvas designers there that we never see just shopping at the LNS.

This first one is from Blue Dogwood Designs, (not on ebay) and I discovered it from an ad in Needlepoint Now. The designer has done beginner pieces, among many others, and taught classes at Needlepointer in Everett, Wa.

I love this tree, and the layered tissue paper effect it has - where the colors change at the overlaps. It's very simple, but I see a lot of possibility in the thread choices and stitches! I'll probably have to order this one and stitch it!

The next one is from her "travel" section on the web page - do go take a look! Beautifully drawn and painted, and they move me to want to try my hand at some decorative stitches to enhance.

The next one I found on ebay, and am enchanted with her work, as it's quite different from the "norm" and perfectly charming. They are from Needlepoint Art by Cheryl, and are also stitch painted and lovely. I'm not inspired so much to use decorative stitches as to enhance with different kinds of threads!!

The first picture is a "Dala Horse" - which I had never heard of, so had to go on a "Google" hunt. It's a Swedish thing - a national treasure of hand carved, painted horses, and I strongly encourage you to learn the history and otherwise investigate. I love leaning new things, myself.

The cottage is so appealing that I have already looked into my stash to see what I would use to make it sparkle! These are not really for decorative, textured stitches, but a joy for the colors and the different fun threads one could use.
The little bird is one of several, and is another "must have" for me, I think. It's hard not to show more, but this is enough, and you can click on the links to go browse!

Last is an amazing artist/designer I found on ebay - Nenah, who has a web page, Nenah's Needle. This lady is an animal lover with a great, whimsical side in her canvases - utterly delightful and well done work. I kept going back to look, which means I would most likely really enjoy stitching her things.

!You can see the versatility, as well as the whimsy.

That's enough for now - I'm tired. Hopefully, after this next move I have to make, I can purchase some of these for myself and blog stitch one. I did get permission from each of these ladies to show their work, as per good blog etiquette.

ADDENDUM: Nenah is an animal lover, (obviously) and contributes a percentage of her sales to a wonderful shelter. Also, her Halloween things are superb - full of imagination and personality (not necessarily for beginners).


Rachel said...

I certainly can't imagine finding any of these at my LNS. I shall be bookmarking the links for the next time I want to experiment . . .

LIZ said...

Thank you so much for these links! I'm completely enchanted with Nenah's cats! I don't usually do painted canvas, but I might have to get one of these! And the peacocks!