The best of Mr X Stitch: 5 cutting edge blog posts
We’ve been longtime admirers of Mr X Stitch here at TextileArtist.org. Jamie Chalmers (AKA Mr X Stitch himself), has built a site that’s at the cutting edge of contemporary embroidery, and whilst there are some differences between his audience and ours, we all have one significant thing in common – a passion for innovation in the world of textiles.
So, when Jamie approached us about a collaboration, we leapt at the chance. In the first of a series of articles exploring the best articles and posts that Mr X Stitch has to offer, we highlight 5 of the artists recently featured on his site.
As part of the iconic department store Liberty’s 140th anniversary celebrations, contemporary artist Lou Gardiner has been commissioned to create a huge quilt (titled The Liberty Lighthouse of Love), which will be painted and embroidered and displayed in the store for 11 months.
In recognition of the fact that Liberty was built using timbers from two naval ships (HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan), Lou Gardiner has taken Victorian maritime tattoos as her inspiration in creating the quilt.
Mr X Stitch describes the quilt as depicting “a stylised red and white lighthouse beaming out over stormy seas set within a rope frame. Beneath is a ship’s wheel surrounded by old English roses and steered by two busty babes reminiscent of the female figures sailors had tattooed on their arms. Above is a decorative scroll worked with the name Liberty and supported by two glamorous pouting mermaids, while other motifs include swallows, stars and union jacks”.
Mr X Stitch takes a light-hearted look at the “dangers” of stitching, whilst offering solid advice on how to avoid back-ache, small cuts and inhalation of potentially damaging fibres whilst making.
But the real appeal of this post is the work featured. Artists featured include:
- Sausage Dog, who produces handmade soft toys, art dolls, puppets and pocket friends, made from recycled clothes and remnant fabrics, all inspired by the artist’s own drawings. The outcome is both humorous and delightfully odd.
- Dutch artist Patricia Waller whose designs often push the boundaries of our comfort zone, taking icons of innocence and twisting them with a darker edge.
- And Spooky Daddy, whose work you can see in the image above.
Here Mr X Stitch features the exquisite work of Polish artist NeSpoon, whose work falls somewhere between street art, pottery, painting and sculpture.
Of her work the artist says, “Most of my work consist of prints of traditional laces, made in clay or painted on the walls. They are hand made, by the folk artists”.
Jamie is clearly a big fan; “Lace, like many crafts, is under-appreciated and the subtle but powerful connection is unknown to most people. NeSpoon provides a visible reminder of lace’s power by evoking warm patriotism in us, reminding us that we’re connected to our place in deeper ways that we realise”.
The work of NeSpoon feels traditional and highly contemporary all at once. Her unique ability is to truly inhabit whatever space she is working in, making the location itself inherent to and utterly enhanced by the piece of art she has created.
Ghost in the Embroidery Machine-digitizing for Non-Digitizers – 4 Basic Editing Skills to Save Designs
In the series ‘Ghost in the Embroidery Machine’ Mr X Stitch contributor Erich Campbell shares his skill with readers interested in developing their own practice.
Erich is an award-winning machine embroidery digitizer and designer and a decorated apparel industry expert, frequently contributing articles and interviews to embroidery industry magazines such as Stitches and Printwear as well as a host of blogs, social media groups, and other industry resources.
In this particular article, Erich walks us through 4 basic editing techniques for those stitchers not interested in learning in-depth digitizing. Skills covered include defining lettering to avoid sloppy spacing and squashed digital stitching and measuring density to predict how a stitched element will turn out on a particular fabric or garment.
Here we are given an exploration of Kimekomi, a variation on Temari, a technique for creating beautiful decorative balls. Here we discover that the difference with Kimekomi is that the balls can be made from wood composite or sturdy foam. We see them used as ornaments, mostly. The other difference is, Kimekomi uses fabric inlays instead of stitched thread.
As well as balls, dolls have traditionally been made using the same technique. Mr X Stitch writer Madeleine Scharpf explains, “It is believed that the first Kimekomi doll was made by Tadashige Takahashi who served at the Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto, Japan in the early 1700’s. Near the Kamo rivier, he dug some shallow lines in a piece of willow tree and inlayed the cloth to create his first doll. After which, he mastered the technique and passed the art-form down to his grandson who created Daihachi dolls”.
A fascinating look at an age-old Japanese technique.
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