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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kantha design workshop

Another great Embroiderers' Guild Workshop on Sunday - the first of three by Barbara Mullan to design and execute a piece of Kantha.

I can only do the first workshop of the three as my knee replacement will interfere with the other two!

Sunday's workshop was on design.

We explored Barbara's many examples, considered design principles and the basics of Kantha then played with shapes, frameworks and motifs.

It was a hugely enjoyable day. We shared our ideas, consulted with Barbara, drew, rubbed out, cut out, pasted.

I had arrived, as requested with several ideas. I had a folder of drawings and photos I have collected with the intention of 'doing something with them' one day. These included some marine postcards I had bought on eBay years ago (while looking for Australian embroidery kits!) and a few children's drawings for which I have embroidery ideas.  I tried a few ideas and settled in the end for a design based around marine creatures.

One of Barbara's many helpful suggestions was to cut out our drawings and re-arrange them rather than keep drawing or tracing them. It saved me a great deal of time.

I have been a shell collector since I was about eight years old and my Uncle Sid gave me a shoebox full of shells (and their long-dead marine inhabitants) he had collected while serving in Papua New Guinea in WWII. One of my fellow students had brought along a book of shells. I was able to use the postcards, some examples from the book of shells and my memory of my own collection to sketch out a design.

We had discussed fabric with Barbara. I was keen to use some of the unused wool I had bought for the Gilaf workshop - or some of the wool left from my recent jacket project. I'm still keen to do that but decided the marine environment needed something a bit larger and more layered.  A piece of cotton fabric I had bought from the Embroiderers' Guild beckoned.The Guild over-dyes and sells thread. The thread is laid out to dry on pieces of cotton fabric that absorbs colour from the thread. The Guild then sells the coloured fabric. This is one of those pieces.

As you may be able to see, it has a stripe woven into the original white fabric. This is not what I would have chosen but the colours of this piece seem appropriate to the marine design so I'm going with it. I backed it with light interfacing and then a piece of the same fabric undyed - another purchase from a Guild trading table!

The fabric piece is 52 cm x 42 cm so I worked my design to fit it. This gives me plenty of space to use the background running stitch that is characteristic of Kantha - effectively quilting the three layers together.

I have taken the design to the border of the cloth and intend to add an external embroidered border. I'm hoping to make this into a large floor cushion.

I have a knitting project to finish before I can start on this - but will get the design on to the fabric in the next few days. This may prove to be my knee replacement hospitalisation project!

In the meantime, my fortunate fellow students will work up and execute their designs in two further workshops. At some time there will be an opportunity to see their work. If I get a chance I'll post some photos. It's been another great learning opportunity - what a Guild is all about.


margaret said...

how wonderful to have shells from so long ago and now they are the inspiration for this project it will work so well as a floor cushion.

Jillian said...

Thanks Margaret. So pleased you think it will work - I trust your judgement.

Monica said...

Best of luck with your knee surgery! I hope it will give you a lot of relief. You may want more than one project with you in the hospital, so you can tailor your activity to how you feel.

This kantha design is looking very promising indeed! The structured but organic nature of shells will be perfect for this technique. I know you will have fun with it!

Jillian said...

Thanks Monica. I could put up with my knee for much longer but it's exacerbating a couple of other problems and limits my movements. I'm hoping to work on realigning my walk. Yes, you're right about hospital projects - I might go for something relatively mindless!