Recently, I went to an hour long lecture by Nick DeFord on the campus of the University of Louisville. He spoke about his artwork and showed pictures of several of his pieces. Most of his work involves embroidery on paper of some sort--maps, board games, books, etc. He also collages "papers" with stitch. He spoke of his motivation, his inspiration, and his likes and dislikes. He definitely has an interesting point of view.
I also attended his three-hour "learn-to-stitch-on-paper" workshop. I was interested in the concept not only out of curiosity but to see if I could do something with the numerous postcards I have collected. (I have some fabulous postcards that need to see the light of day rather than live in a box in my basement.)
I discovered some interesting differences between stitching on fabric and stitching on paper. I guess I had never really thought about it before.
- Because of the nature of paper, one has to be very careful about the holes made in the paper--once in the paper, they can't be removed. I know that sounds silly to say; it is SO obvious. However, it sure brings the point home when you are actually stitching on paper!
- Holes can't be too close together, because the paper will "collapse" making an unintended hole.
- Doing embroidery onto a game board, requires the use of an awl. Holes have to be "punched" into the board through which the needle and thread can easily pass. Nick uses an awl for bookmaking because it has a thin point.
- To stitch on cloth I often test to see if I'm in the correct spot to begin stitching by pushing the needle up from the back and checking to see how close to the stitching spot I am. If I'm not in the right place, I adjust and move over a little bit and bring the needle up again. That can't be done on paper/cardboard. Again, that seem so obvious, but I kept forgetting I couldn't do that. To solve that issue, I ended up making holes in the paper with my needle where I intended to stitch.
Here, Nick DeFord is talking about what kind of thread he likes to use. (He likes DMC floss for embroidery, and he likes Gutterman quilting thread for beading.) He demonstrated different stitches, discussed the need for backing some paper with fusible interfacing, showed us stitching for collage, and beading on baseball cards. He also showed us some of the pieces he had done. I found the class VERY interesting.
He also says this is his favorite book for learning embroidery stitches. (It is an old one from Coats and Clark--not an easy one to find.)
Students from U of L attended the class alongside members of LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists).
We were asked to bring "papers" we might want to stitch onto, and lots of "papers" we're made available to us. I stitched on a piece of card stock I had brought from home. This is what I got done.
I really enjoyed this class. It is always fun learning something new, networking with other artists attending the workshop, and meeting new people. Now, we'll have to wait and see if I figure out how I might use this new-found knowledge to include my postcards into some new art pieces.