Tuesday, 16 March 2010

First post

The purpose of this blog is to record my journey through the C&G Embroidery Diploma course that I'm taking with Sian Martin who's on line textile school is Distant Stitch.

The first task for this course was to select a personal theme that would be creatively inspiring for the duration of the course, up to 3 years. It took some soul searching to pick the right theme, but then I woke up one morning and knew it had to be the 'Seaside'. I've always had a strong bond with the sea, looking at it and admiring it, that is, as I'm a dreadful sailor.

I started by collating all my photos, post cards, found items etc. and made a large A2 plus montage.


From this start I have started to compile a sketchbook using some of these images and objects as a starting point to give myself a base from which to work, with a more structured feeling for how I might use these ideas in relation to textiles. This is something I don't normally do as I've found it very difficult in the past. I tend to fill my sketchbook organically and then try and find a textile link somewhere along the way.

The first pages are the usual mind map investigations, and this time I found an article about Barbara Lee Smith who really inspired me when I saw her work at the K&S in 2006.


While away in Kent the other w/e I found this amazing flattened copper pot on the beach. It's a wonderful Chartreuse green and I actually managed to scrape out some of the heavy coating of verdigris and make a paste so I could coat the SB page.
I also tried to do a rubbing of the pattern but the page was a bit too thick.


On my next expedition to the seaside I found this perfect piece of string to go with the pot rubbing, this time on tissue paper.
I thoroughly enjoyed working different media to see which would give me the best interpretation of the tin's patina and colour.


I now turned my attention to a lovely pebble I'd found a couple of years ago that has great scratchy concentric lines all over it, very stitchery, I thought. I used wc inks on this page and bleached back into them, a favourite technique of mine.


Next up is a magazine torn paper collage which has then been painted over with thick gouache, it should be emulsion but for the first time ever there wasn't any in the shed?? It makes a very unusual surface to draw on, but I like it, especially with the Pitt Pastel. The RHS page has been rubbed over a ridged shell, which has given the little pin pricks, then pencilled over with a 3B WS pencil and then washed with water. I will work into the shell outlines when I get an idea


The next two pages were very experimental for me, using scrim, wc inks and oil pastels and seaweed as a mark making tool with bleach on the LHS page. I quite like the rhythm of this one but the RHS is a bit of a mess at the moment, I might try stitching into it to give it a focal point.


The last 2 pages of this post were a pleasant surprise, I've never used thick paper (RHS) to collage before, neither have I used cut and torn paper in this way and it really does make a good contrast. The colour was added by painting the wallpaper with ink and gently printing the whole thing. The image in the middle is not my work, but I'm afraid I've forgotten who's it is so can't give credit, sorry.
The LHS is just thin paper collaged and painted with gouache and then rubbed with a charcoal crayon, I think it's very effective.


More pages to follow next time.


  1. I would have chosen the seaside too Sharon, so much potential. I am very envious of the copper you found on the beach ;o) You've made a really good start with all this sketchbook work. Good luck with the course and I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Looking forward to following your journey Sharon, good luck with it.

  3. These sketchbook pages are fantastic Sharon and I love your use of found objects. It will be stuffed with inspirational images for you to work from. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

  4. Hi
    Jealous of the verdigris pot.
    Good luck with the course.

  5. A very creative and productive start, good to pick a theme that you have lots of material on too.

  6. What a great theme! Love it.
    Your sketchbook looks already very promising. I'm looking forward to following your C&G work.

  7. What a lovely subject to pick to take you on your journey and being able to concentrate on one topic should build you a wondeful body of work. Good luck and I'll be following with interest.

  8. Hi Sharon
    Good to have another distant stitch diploma student on line! It looks as if you are off to a flying start, or should it be swimming? Good choice for your theme, it can be as wide or as narow as you want. I chose maps and can sometimes feel a little restricted by it.

  9. Hi sharon, Good to have another distant stitch diploma stitcher on line! It looks as if you have got off to a flying start, or should that be swimming? Excellent choice for your design theme, it can be as wide or as narrow as you want. I chose maps and sometimes feel a bit restricted by it.