Australia Challenge

I have been busy trying to get all my stitch homework done but was able to combine stitch homework with this quarter’s challenge. We are working on machine embroidery and are looking at others work who do machine embroidery. Then we are supposed to try to work in their style. I have always admired Annemeike Mein’s sculptural textiles and since she’s from Australia, I thought it would be a good match. I haven’t been able to find a website for her but there is information here about her work. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there are several links that show photos of her work. Or just google images under her name.

I decided that I would try developing a three-dimensional stitched bottle brush. So I found some photos online and looked at the various parts of the flower.

I did a bit of sketching and wished that I had a live plant to look at. It’s much harder to really see what something looks like and how the structure is formed from a photo. But since we don’t have bottle brush in Montana, I had to go with what I had.

I then started thinking about how I could stitch the various parts, what color fabrics and threads I would need and how it would all be put together. So in the bottom right of this page are a couple of stitched samples. There are two little buds and then a flower stem. It didn’t turn out very three-dimensional and would need some additional parts to work. I was happy with the buds though.

Next came thinking about how to do the leaves. I started with a heavy cotton and then spent a long, frustrating ten minutes trying to turn the leaf right side out. I failed. So then I tried a piece of felt. It worked fine but looked artificial and didn’t give the flexibility that I was trying to achieve. So then I tried lighter weight fabrics. Those worked much better and I ended up liking the “turban cloth” cotton the best.

Next, it was time to think about a stem. I could do a long tube of fabric, turn it right side out and then stuff it. But after the leaf experience, I wanted to see if there was a different way. I have made a lot of machined cords and thought that might work. What if I used a pipe cleaner and stitched over it like a cord? I didn’t have any green pipe cleaners so I used a red one. It did work to stitch over it and the stem would be flexible, positionable and sturdy. However, it is really hard. I’m not sure I would be able to hand sew on all the little buds and flowers. So the next step will be to try the long tube of fabric and see how that will work as the stem.

Believe it or not, this process has already taken me about four hours of work. Having not done much three-dimensional stitching, I have to figure out what works and want doesn’t. I have learned a lot already and I’m going to keep plugging along with the process.

Have you made anything for our Australia challenge? We’d love to see it if you have.

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13 Responses to Australia Challenge

  1. Lyn says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing the finished bottle brush and it was interesting to read your notes and see how you worked things out.

  2. ruthlane says:

    Hopefully I will get one completed. It was a learning experience for sure.

  3. jane dolan says:

    Looks great, love all the trails and experimenting, what a lot you will of learnt, thanks for sharing so we all get to see the process too.

  4. May I suggest a knit, stretch fabric. However, there is a tool that I use to turn fabric tubes. You probably know what that is. It grabs the end and you pull it back on itself. This kind of project is no longer possible for me after 2 hand surgeries. Yours looks good, so far.

  5. Karen says:

    This looks fantastic Ruth, a huge learning curve i would imagine, theres a stitch you can do that will raise the leaves up, i’ve packed everything away so i cant just put my hand on it but i tried it on my tree embroidery , the picot stitch, its attached at the start of the work and then its free to stand up so you can do different lenths and widths ? just a thought and Annemeike Mein’s work is incredible isnt it , she only lives a few hours from me lol

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Karen. It has been interesting. I haven’t tried picot stitch I will have to look it up. Do you know if Annemeike Mein is still working? I couldn’t find any recent work of hers online. I would love to visit her studio.

  6. Very interesting Ruth. I am glad to see I am not the only one who starts with what I think will be a 5 min job and ends up 4 hours later and not done. the finished bottle brush should be great looking.

  7. Karen says:

    Ruth i looked her up to and i cant find anything either, she obviously doesnt have her own website so its hard to find out any info, i’ll keep looking and see what i can find 🙂

  8. zedster66 says:

    You really have put a lot of thought into this, Ruth 🙂
    I agree with the time thing!
    Would a piece of felt work for the stem, Ruth? You could leave it flat while you attached the flowers and buds, then roll into a tube with stuffing in the middle, and needle felt it closed. You could even put the pipe cleaner in so it’s positionable.

  9. ruthlane says:

    A piece of felt would probably work fine. I haven’t had time to work on this any more and I doubt that I will at this point. Too much stitch homework taking priority.

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