I have just spent a couple of days doing a proper embroidery – stitching flowers and spots onto a table-cloth for Hanne Rysgaard to display her ceramics. She is showing large selection of her current work in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre shop, from mid August to mid September. I offered do this the last time I was working in her studio, as she was just preparing to make all the stock for this exhibition. I thought that a stitched version of her pieces would make a good centre-piece for the collection.
While speaking to her over a cup of tea, I put a few ideas down in my work-book; this is real “back of the envelope” stuff, using a ball point pen – which is always good to draw with, but the sometimes the line it leaves is a bit sleazy – and as often happens the very first idea was the one I used. Hanne immediately liked the whole idea, actually I think she just liked me drawing it out for her. But I do feel that when you get the initial idea for a piece of work, the first drawings, even if just scribbles, contain an energy that subsequent studies don’t, and if referred back to they can often re-assure you through the inevitable time when you doubt your decision to make the work.
The next drawings were on the linen tea-cloth in water erasable pen, Hanne made the actual pieces for me to work from and I took them home to my studio and set them out to draw around.
The tiny flower arrangement was quite a challenge to stitch, it was a bunch of roses and auriculas with a few forget-me-nots, quite difficult to copy within a 2 cm. spot and this had to be repeated 13 times…..by comparison the spots were easy-peasy though they are all slightly wonky.
While the flowers and spots had to be stretched for the embroidery I always prefer to stitch without a hoop and the outlines of the ceramics are freely stitched, so much easier to handle. I feel that the hand stitching looks right for the hand-made quality of the ceramics.
Once the embroidery was finished, washed and pressed I delivered it and it was a relief when Hanne just whooped with delight when she saw it. It was immediately set out at the back of the gallery/shop at Blaze, where we both set about taking pictures.
Here is a close up of a section of the cloth complete with the embroidered cake fork, the real butter knife used as the reference, can just be seen in the background.
and here is a view of the whole set with the magnificent 4 tiered cake stand.