A background of gold dupion silk can be used for small type of embroidery. Symmetrical design of squares made from folded metal tissue and leather are held down with cross stitches in metal thread. The border, which is important in ‘containing’ the , center of the design, is made from couched silk and metal cords surrounded by tiny squares cut from copper-coloured leather. This motif could be framed as a small panel or could be used to make a box lid.
A larger embroidery piece could be made by repeating similar-sized motifs, but of different designs, one beneath the other or in a grid format.
Threads used: Madeira gold 9807 couching thread, Madeira gold machine embroidery thread, Madeira FS 2/2 machine embroidery thread in blue/black. Size: 12 x 12 cm
Ideas for constructing layers of squares
Small squares can be cut from fine leather, suede or commercial felt, or they can be made from folded fabric. They can be placed in layers to build simple geometric patterns and applied to the background with a tiny stitch at each corner. Decorative designs may be developed by over stitching the squares with cross stitches.
Making more complex stitch patterns by overlapping and linking
Sticks used in model making were painted with coloured ink (any paint or dye could be used), then attached (couched) to a shot-silk background with cross-crossed stitches. The patterns were worked starting at the top left and increased in complexity as the exploration proceeded. Note , the overlapping and joining of stitches to create intricate and rhythmic patterns.
Threads used: flower thread, stranded cotton (one strand)
Small embroidery using plastic mesh
Plastic mesh in very shiny gold was cut into rectangles and strips. A bigger grid was made on some of the shapes by cutting away parts of the mesh. The shapes were then placed in a pleasing abstract arrangement (move the shapes around until you are happy with your layout) on a background of shot dupion silk and held down temporarily with tacking thread., Decorative patterns were made from layered crossed stitches of various sizes.
Thread used: Mulberry silk (medium weight) in strong colours. Size: 16.5 x 13 cm
Embroidery on a painted background
An overlapping design of squares and grids was hand-printed on rich red dupion silk with gold and copper fabric paint. As in the previous piece, various meshes and grids were overlaid in a balanced abstract arrangement and held down temporarily with tacking thread. The boldest grid was made from cocktail sticks painted with copper acrylic paint. Richly layered patterns were built up using cross stitches and some straight stitches. Tiny squares of soft leather in copper and gold were ad~ed and held down with yet more crossed stitches.
Threads used: Mulberry silk (medium weight) in rich colours and Madeira gold threads. Size 22 x 17 cm