Art nouveau style - then and now
Some of my happiest hours have been spent leafing through the works of artists of past generations and trying to analyse past styles of painting. Of course, very few artists have ever designed for embroidery (and even fewer for computerised embroidery!) but that makes it all the more interesting to try and work out how styles from the past can be adapted to modern techniques. One of my favourite styles is Art Nouveau - to my mind it manages to be spontaneous, elegant and emotional all at the same time
I've recently discovered the work of the artist Arthur Mackmurdo, and here's one of his best-known works, the cover of a book on London churches
The work of Arthur Mackmurdo
Who could resist those wonderful sinuous lines! I certainly couldn't, so here's an interpretation in embroidery of his leaves and flowers.
A modern version
I would never put myself at his level - I still have too much to learn before I get that far! But I hope that he would at least be flattered at proving such an inspiration to future generations
Three Celtic freebies
Recently, when I asked for ideas of designs that I might post as future freebies, someone suggested Celtic knots. This really rang a bell with me, because a long time ago, in Another Life, I did a big series of Celtic knots, and I'd be only too happy to pass some of them on now.
I'm not doing worksheets for these, because there doesn't seem to be much need for them. Both designs are for the 4x4 (100mm x 100mm) hoop
Celtic knot 1
Celtic knot 2
Celtic knot 3
Now - WARNNG!! There are jump stitches in all of them, and numbers 1 and 3 have a HUGE number of jumps in the final colours. I've been puzzling for a long time over how to get rid of these, but I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that the only way to do away with jumps involves the sacrifice of stitchout quality. So I'm afraid there's not a lot I can do about them - just think of them as part of the Celtic style
Here is number 1, here is number 2, and here is number 3. All are in .pes v.6
Birds, birds, and yet more birds...
This design has been hanging around my files for a long time now and I thought it was probably about time for me to post it. I did it some months ago, probably as something to cheer myself up during this long depressing year. It's maybe a bit silly and cartoony but all the same I like the bright colours. The five birds were designed to fit together into a panel, but of course they could be stitched separately. But I'm not sure how I could use them. On a bag, perhaps? They're not really suitable for soft furnishings or napkins or garments. Oh well, they were done for fun, and there's nothing wrong with that. As it's currently snowing here in the Cairngorms we could use some cheer at the moment!
A flock of cheerful birds
The Famous Zebrafish Artist???
Long-time blog readers may remember that a few years ago I exhibited some biological designs at a scientific conference. These works included an image of some zebrafish, which are small, delicate fish that are widely used in studies of genetics and development. The zebrafish design sold at the exhibition, and it was the prelude to several commissions for zebrafish designs, which were intended as gifts for zebrafish scientists. Indeed, since then a lot of these designs seem to figure prominently on Pinterest pages of zebrafish material.
Well, a while back I was asked to do yet another commission of zebrafish, which resulted in these two designs. The first one is a fairly conventional image. showing a school of little glittery fish. They were done with an applique of Mylar, which was then overstitched with a thin embroidery layer. Unfortunately, the scan just doesn't show up the shininess of the Mylar, so you'll just have to take my word for the glitter
Honestly, they really are very glittery...
The second image was taken directly from a scientific paper describing some aspects of the molecular genetics of the zebrafish, so this isn't really a portrait of the animal, but rather an expression of some of the science which the zoologist is using to describe the genetics of the fish
The Genetic Zebrafish
Both images were fun to do, and I hope will interest their recipients. But it does seem likely that I will now forever be known as a Zebrafish Artist
The first three out of twelve
Last week I mentioned that I'm currently working on some large projects. One of these is a series of birds in birdcages - they're separate designs, not one big panel, but all the same they all did take a while to finish. They're more arty than realistic and I think they might go well on a project such as a cushion cover or something like that. As I said, there are 12 of them, of all different kinds of birds, and here are three of them
Now - before anyone calls up the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals about me, I do know that these cages would really be way too small for the birds they have in them. But if I made them a realistic size, there would be way too much cage and not enough bird. So just think of these as show cages where the birds stay for a short time before going back to their nice roomy aviaries!