THREADPAINTING; A WALK THROUGH THE PROCESS

My work has been focused on portraits lately. Part of the process I use in my portrait making is threadpainting which is basically blending threads together in a subtle and gradual way to create a ‘painterly’ look. I thought it might be fun to zero in on threadpainting and take a step-by-step journey through the thought process.

I chose a subject that was a little simpler than a portrait , a flower from my garden.

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I tried to choose flowers that had some color gradations and decided on the pink Cosmo on the right. The middle has a darker color which fades to a lighter lavender color. I thought that might lend itself nicely to threadpainting experimentation.

I started by getting a simple wooden embroidery hoop and two pieces of unbleached muslin. I cut two identical sized pieces to overlap the hoop by about an inch. The reason I like to use two pieces of fabric is for stability since cotton muslin can be thin and transparent.

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The next step is to transfer the design onto the fabric. I used a mechanical pencil to sketch the outline of the design onto the fabric.

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You don’t have to be an artist to sketch your design. An easy way to transfer your design is to place the reference photo on a bright window or light box and put your fabric on top of that to trace it.

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Once the design has been transferred onto the fabric, I placed it (and the second piece of fabric beneath it) in my wooden hoop.

I made sure the flower was centered in the hoop and that the fabric was nice and tight for stitching.

I made sure the flower was centered in the hoop and that the fabric was nice and tight for stitching.

I took some time to observe my reference photo and pick some thread colors to get me started. Often I add more as I go and am always surprised at the end with the handful of colors I never knew were there at the beginning. For thread painting I like to use a single strand of the six stranded cotton embroidery thread. The single thread is more time consuming but the results are so much more detailed.

I took some time to observe my reference photo and pick some thread colors to get me started. Often I add more as I go and am always surprised at the end with the handful of colors I never knew were there at the beginning. For thread painting I like to use a single strand of the six stranded cotton embroidery thread. The single thread is more time consuming but the results are so much more detailed.

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Next I added the pink color using the same technique of varying the stitch length and following the “v” shape. Next came the lavender color. I noticed once I laid down all the colors that I needed an in-between shade of pink for a more subtle gradation.

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I like to keep my reference photo in front of me and refer back to it constantly.

I like to keep my reference photo in front of me and refer back to it constantly.

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French knot close up.

French knot close up.

Once I laid down all the basic colors I took a step back and really observed my reference photo to add some of the finer details.

Once I laid down all the basic colors I took a step back and really observed my reference photo to add some of the finer details.

I often wonder where the proper stopping point is and have a tendency to over-do it.

I often wonder where the proper stopping point is and have a tendency to over-do it.

I added lots of layers of subtle color.

I added lots of layers of subtle color.

Here is the final result.

Here is the final result.

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Well I truly hope you enjoyed taking the journey through my thought process as I paint in thread. It really is a whole bunch of tiny decisions as I work my way through a piece. I wish I could give you an order or logic (such as dark over light or outside to inside) but I jump where ever my heart and mind take me. I learn so much each time I tackle a project (big or small). I love this medium for it’s slow contemplation and forgiveness! You can stitch over colors and remove stitches so there really are no mistakes.

I thought I would include a PDF file of the flowers in case you would like to give this a try yourself.

Click HERE for a printable PDF version of the flowers.

Thanks for stopping by and following along!!

Warmly,

Pam