Nellie"s Needles

Monday, May 23, 2011

Smocking - "the end"

This is the last post about my smocking days ... the days when I applied that stitchery to art pieces ... the days when I was studious about color.
Purple & Orange Harmony - 15"x 12"

 Shadowed Hues - 14" x 13"

The one above was juried into The National Needlework Association show that traveled the United States for one year in the 1980's. Here's a close-up of the trellis stitch cross-over patterning.
Rows of the pure hues are laid on top of and off-set over rows of muted tones.  I used only DMC floss.  It was a challenge to blend within a color, let alone to blend into the next hue, even though DMC had lots and lots of colors from which to select.

This one hangs above the coat rack in our front entrance.
Point-Counter-Point - 19" x 9"

My color objective for this one was to combine yellow and violet, whereas, the one at the top was focused on orange and violet.  As I recall, both of these were made while I was taking a year-long correspondence color course through the Embroidery Guild of America.

I loved manipulating the smocked fabric into shapes.
Silk Fan - 20" x 14" (frame)

The thread, fan fabric, and background are all silk.  I just happened to have that mother-of-pearl button to finish the bottom. The gold leaf frame was built especially for this piece by a friend's husband.

As I recall, my color objective was to keep it monochromatic by shading from pink to coral. The rows of trellis stitches were worked in a diagonal pattern across the fabric ... more playing.

This is the last smocked art piece that I created.
Untitled - 16" x 9"

 I had covered a shadow box frame that was made for this piece with the same heavy gray linen that I used as the foundation fabric for the smocking.  However, I didn't like the joins at the corners so it never got mounted.  Here's a photo of it in process.
Then I had the idea twenty years ago to combine this smocked panel with quilted piecing.  I worked on that for most of a week long workshop with Nancy Halpern at Arrowmont Design & Craft School.  I had so much trouble with cutting the parallelogram shapes for the piecing that I decided I really needed to learn the craft of quilting ... that's when the current leg of my creative journey began.  Before it's over, I may get this piece finished  ... all the materials are wrapped up and stored away.

I thank all of you who have left comments in this series of posts.  I very much enjoyed my years of smocking.  During that time of stitching and teaching I learned so much about color and design. Without that experience I would not be where I am today in this amazing journey of making art.

PS: To see all the posts about smocking, click on the "smocking" label at the end of this one.


Leona Harden said...

The smocking is so pretty, almost makes me want to try.
thanks for showing all this!

Vicki W said...

I have enjoyed every single post in this series! Thank you for sharing your beautiful work. It's a great lesson for people who meet an artist and think that the person woke up one day as an exceptional artist. Not so. It's all a journey built on a variety of experiences!

Beverly said...

I have never seen smocking used outside of clothing- your pieces are lovely, and your use of color just sings. I don't think I could pick a favorite.

Heather said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous work Nellie - I particularly like the fan shaped piece.

Bunny said...

Your work is spectacular. Love it all. Wonderful thanks for sharing such beautiful pieces.

June Calender said...

These are beautiful examples of very meticulous needlework. I find it interesting that artists, and especially textile artists, often seem to start off their careers honing a very exacting skill and then move on to freer and freer forms of expression -- like your big landscapes or the wonderful yarn-hung creations of last winter.

verobirdie said...

You know I'm in love with those pieces. I've enjoyed those posts very much. Thank you.

Nellie's Needles said...

June, that's it ... "artists, and especially textile artists, often seem to start off their careers honing a very exacting skill and then move on to freer and freer forms of expression." Over the years I've been flummoxed by the change from my working only on a grid to the free-form way of creating that I do everything ... even with grid patterns. I used to make drawings and studies as well as deciding of ALL the materials to be used BEFORE beginning a project. Now I find the joy is in the process of making those decisions/discoveries while constructing the piece. I'm guessing it's because the theories and principles of color and design were thoroughly learned within the confines of the grid work. Also, gaining the proficiency of craftsmanship for needlework and sewing happened over those years, too. Now I realize why I feel so free and happy with the whole process. Thanks for pushing the right buttons in my head to make the connection.

Kay said...

Like Beverly, I never thought of smocking for anything but little girls dresses. This whole series has been an eye opener for me. The works are beautiful.

LindaSonia said...

What wonderful inspiration - truly a work of art!! Thanks for sharing!

Maxine said...

Absolutely stunning smocking pieces there. I didn't know it could be this beautiful.

Carol said...

Your work never fails to inspire me whether it is viewing it here or in the many smocking books I own. It is always a pleasure looking through the photos. I am looking forward to seeing your work at Lacis when the exhibit opens.