Adam Pritchett: From conception to creation
Adam Pritchett is a hand embroidery artist based in the Lake District, England.
His work is focused around mystical, botanical, and entomological themes, mixing traditional hand embroidery techniques with contemporary subjects, and hand dyed textiles.
Adam has exhibited in a number of gallery shows in the US, and UK, and appeared on 2016’s episode of Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Christmas.
In this interview, part of our From conception to creation series, Adam tells us how a prompt from a US gallery set his imagination whirring and his creative fingers to work. He talks us through the process of making, where he sources his materials and the techniques which enabled him to create this beautifully detailed piece.
Name of piece: Spider Summit
Year of piece: 2017
Size of piece: 12×9 inches
Materials used: Woven wool, cotton threads, glass beads
Techniques used: Hand dyeing of fabric, hand embroidery stitching and beading
From across the pond
TextileArtist.org: How did the idea for the piece come about? What was your inspiration?
Adam Pritchett: The piece was in response to a gallery show prompt, which I had been accepted in to at the Light Grey Art Lab in the USA, the prompt being; SWARM.
A common theme or subject that I embroider are insects and I knew I wanted to have my piece focus on insects but had to give some thought as to how I wanted the piece laid out, and the composition that it could stem from.
What research did you do before you started to make?
I began by researching images of spiders to gather an idea of legs positions and sizes for each of them, in addition I hand dyed the measured piece of fabric that I cut out for the piece.
I chose to use a drip-dye method to create ombre/gradient effects on the fabric, giving much more interesting patterning than a more straight forward soak dye bath.
By working with three different shades of dye I achieved the effect I wanted to, and stretched my fabric on a roll frame, stitching it in place ready for working.
I intentionally did not want to use an embroidery hoop for this piece as I knew I wanted to have it mounted in a combination box frame, and hoops often leave difficult to remove marks on the wool.
What materials were used in the creation of the piece? Where did you source them?
My materials are often the same, tried and tested supplies that I am familiar with the quality of.
I always work with woven wool fabric, as it has a plush, felt-like texture but is a much stronger and more robust fabric, less prone to warping as felt does.
I always purchase this from a local fabric supplier in the UK, and all of my threads are all DMC stranded cotton. Again, due to my experiences and familiarity working with that brand, I find them to be the best to work with for my embroidery.
What equipment did you use in the creation of the piece and how was it used?
I used a 12×9 roll frame to stretch my fabric, Merchant & Mills hand sewing needles, DMC cotton threads, Ernest Wright & Sons fabric shears, and a combination box frame to mount the completed work to ready for display.
Take us through the creation of the piece stage by stage.
Once my hand dyed fabric was stretched on the roll frame, and I had my reference images ready and researched, I began with my usual method of using a Clover Air Erasable pen to sketch and draw directly on to my fabric, marking out the shapes and layout of where the embroidery will be.
After my initial sketches were done, I started to embroider the first of my insects, noting that I wanted some plants and botanicals to be interlaced around the spiders, to give added colour and flow.
This stage of my process is the most prone to fluidity and change, as the artwork develops I quite often alter the design and I am sewing, which is why I like to work with erasable pens, as the marks are so easily removed if a layout needs to change.
After I have completed the majority of the embroidery, I added some beading as extra details to catch the light on the fabrics, and I removed the fabric from the roll frame. Then mounting it on to the box frame using a staple gun.
What journey has the piece been on since its creation?
Since competition the piece flew to the USA for a 3 month consignment period in the Light Grey Art Lab show, SWARM alongside 75 other artists work.
The piece was then sold at the end of the consignment, and is now in a new home over in America!
Read Adam’s interview with TextileArtist.org here.
Let us know what your favourite aspect of Adam’s work is by leaving a comment below.