The First Flowers of Summer.

The final artwork – Summer Flowers

The Spring is ending, the bulbs have finished their glorious display and I am looking forward to what the Summer brings. My group show (with 11 other very talented artist/makers) which is based on the theme of Inside/Outside at The Eye is going well, and a number of people have been interested in this piece from the show, especially when they realise it is created using free-motion machine embroidery techniques.

So I thought I would share the history and journey this piece took during it’s creation……..

Initially this was going to be something completely different, and started life as a screen print experiment for  my Masters. It was my first attempt at screen-printing in quite a few years, and because I was working at home, I opted for paper stencils and the monotype of screen-printing, using the stencils to block out the areas of paper that I didn’t want the ink to transfer onto. I was excited and nervous at the same time – it could either be a stunning success or an inky mess.

laying on the paint
Layering on the paint

More layers

Final Print
The Final Print

Screenprints mocked up into fabric design

Much to my relief (and surprise) it wasn’t the inky mess I was anticipating. And although the effect was ok and rather graphic, I felt there was something missing for me and so set about creating a repeat border to use on fabric as a decorative edge for a dress perhaps.

Although it worked as a design, and I was rather taken with it (I may yet get some made and create my own summer flowers dress) it didn’t fit with my personal aesthetic. And so, I I took the least successful of the prints, added colour, more colour, and some fun flicked texture. And then some embroidery. And more embroidery, with a tad more embroidery. I was finally started to get the richness I was yearning.

The process of giving depth and texture to the work

It was hard to know when to stop with this image regarding the embroidery – but asI wanted to convey the feeling that one would feel in a Cottage Garden, with borders spilling over with flowers I kept on sewing until the paper was at near destruction. Even then I added a few more flowers, collaged and embroidered them, and even used masking tape on the back of the work to hold the tearing paper together whilst I added yet more stitches. But eventually I felt I had achieved my desired richness and it was time to stop. (which was good as the poor paper could take no more stitches, and the needle jammed in the paper every other stitch).

So there is the tale of how this piece was created. I often love seeing how one piece starts as one idea and over time transforms into something completely different, and I hope you, dear reader have enjoyed the journey of this Summer Garden.

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