encrusted embroidery

Yup. It’s a thing. 

This weekend I was working on a bracelet (more about that later).  I was feeling the need to encrust something, to cover something in an over-the-top number of sequins.  As I often do when thinking about a word for my art I “binged” encrusted and when all I got were shoes and iPhones covered in diamonds, I added, embroidery to my search.

DSCF5792I came across this article which very nicely describes the technique of developing a piece with encrusted embroidery.  Consequently I found another article which included a project that wasn’t my cup of tea, but had some good diagrams of some of the stitches and techniques used in this type of embroidery.  Of course, since this is from the UK’s esteemed Embroiderer’s Guild, there are tons of samples of people trying their hand at the technique.

What I like about it is that it is based loosely on organic motifs.  What I don’t like is that everyone seems to feel the need to recreate them exactly using pure white muslin or silk and white threads.  I love working with white, and I love my white plush creatures (particularly of the albino ilk) but when I think rocks or barnacles or seed pods I think linens.  I think of this piece from a couple of weeks ago.

I was also reminded of a recent article in Quilting Arts magazine about quilter, Diane Savona. In her work she breaks every “rule” presented by the Embroiderer’s Guild in their instructions; using metal pieces, leaving spaces, dyeing the whole works, bright colors, and so on. At the same time her pieces are organic and certainly encrusted.  I love the raw edges, the mash-up of stitches. And her pieces are heavy, she talks about how to support the resulting fabric.  There are so many things about her work that I love.  It is giving me lots of ideas about combining needle lace, encrusted embroidery techniques and Diane Savona’s “domestic archeology of textiles”.  And sequins, of course.

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