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Inspiration Gallery: Reverse Applique

Thursday, June 9th, 2011
By Twistie

I love reverse applique.

Whether it’s an elaborate South American mola like the one pictured above, or a simpler piece,

like this clever  set of instructions from Craftzine on how to use the technique to repair a ripped or stained shirt, the principle is the same. You take layers of cloth, and cut down to the layer you want for each individual part of the design. Once you’ve got your motifs cut, you bind the raw edges.


Inspiration Gallery: Collage

Friday, April 8th, 2011
By Twistie

via Hongkiat

I kind of love collage. It’s fascinating to see how someone can take a bunch of random images or scraps and give them meaning  by the way they’re organized. For instance, this beauty is a portrait of Steve Jobs, created entirely from images of Apple products. Trippy.

Of course collages don’t have to be entirely two-dimensional. You can add texture at the same time you add to the story, as in this whimsical piece entitled Hers and made by Abstractions Art:


Inspiration Gallery: Eggs

Thursday, March 24th, 2011
By Twistie

via All Things Family

Between the horrible weather and the fact that today marks precisely one month to Easter, I have decided we need to talk about decorating eggs. Why? Because they’re festive and fun. What more impetus do we need?

While dyed or painted eggs are most commonly associated with Easter, there’s no reason we can’t play with them the rest of the year. Eggs are nicely shaped little canvases. And if you’re uncomfortable working with real ones, it’s easy to find faux eggs to decorate.


Inspiration Gallery: Macrame

Friday, February 25th, 2011
By Twistie

via Artblahg

If any of you grew up in the seventies like I did, chances are you saw plenty of macrame every bit as disturbing as this piece… though you probably saw a lot more wall hangings of owls done in orange or harvest gold on dark brown trees.

The thing is, macrame doesn’t have to be anything like either of those things. I would, however, point out that there is some seriously good work going on in that bra. It’s just that it’s sort of Mata Hari’s nightmare as an actual finished piece.

But if one is interested, it’s possible to find macrame that’s worthy both in technique, design, and purpose. Let’s take a look, shall we?


Inspiration Gallery: Scrimshaw

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
By Twistie

via Blackbird Blog

Scrimshaw is a controversial craft, and rightly so, considering its best-known materials. Whalebone and elephant ivory are scarce and getting scarcer. the good news is that using them for scrimshaw has been outlawed for a generation. The bad news is that many people don’t realize that most current scrimshaw is done with either heritage ivory (reused antique materials, such as broken ivory pieces or fossilized ivory) or with new, imaginative choices such as ostrich eggshells, tagua nuts and even man-made materials like acrylic.

The two gorgeous pieces above, obviously, date from the days when whalers on their way home from the hunt would pass some of the time by making amazing pieces of folk art for their loved ones back home. Obviously I’m not in favor of continued whale hunting, or the killing of elephants for their teeth. I’m glad both materials have been banned.

Once the work is divorced from the slaughter of endangered animals, though, it’s a rather spectacular craft. And made with sustainable materials, it’s still thriving around the world.


Inspiration Gallery: Straw Weaving

Thursday, February 10th, 2011
By Twistie

via Belarus Guide

Ever since man began farming, there have been by-products of the plants raised to feed a hungry populace. One of these is straw, which has many fine properties as a crafting resource. It comes in a pretty color, it’s bendy, and there’s a lot left at the end of harvesting a field of wheat. Somewhere along the lines, someone got the bright idea of weaving it into decorative and practical items like this spectacular box shown above.

Or it can be strictly decorative, like this intricate piece on display at the website for the National Association of Wheat Weavers (NAWW):


Inspiration Gallery: Reticella

Friday, January 28th, 2011
By Twistie

The above is an illustration from Les Singuliers et Nouveaux Pourtraicts by Federico de Vinciolo, 1587. It’s a pattern for reticella, an  early form of needle lace.

So what precisely is reticella? It’s actually an extreme form of drawn thread work, wherein most of the threads in the interior of the piece are drawn out. The few remaining threads are then embroidered over in fanciful patterns, like the one above.

While its general popularity waned by the middle of the 17th century, reticella has continued to be practiced by needleworkers all over the world.


Inspiration Gallery: Stained Glass

Thursday, January 20th, 2011
By Twistie

This magnificent stained glass window resides in Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, England. Some of you may have seen it in the film of The DaVinci Code, some of which was filmed in Lincoln Cathedral after Westminster Abbey turned down the opportunity.

I didn’t see the film, but I love the window. In fact, I have a great fondness for Medieval stained glass. It’s so intricate, so colorful. Gorgeous.

On the other hand, I can definitely appreciate something more modern and less exuberant. Then again, I can really enjoy a piece that has some real humor to it, like this brilliant piece by Dig Dug of a classic video game machine:


Inspiration Gallery: Smocking

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
By Twistie

via Northumberland Hills Stitching Guild

Many of us have seen smocking mostly on children’s clothes of a certain era. As a small child, I had a couple dresses that looked just about like the above illustration. It’s easy to see why it was so popular for little children of both genders. It’s attractive but launders reasonably well, and it obviates the need for fussy closures on small, squirmy children.

But when smocking started out, it was worn as much by adults as by children, specifically by adult male laborers. More fanciful stitch work on finer fabrics would be worn by wealthy people on their linens, as in this detail of a sixteenth century painting by Ambrosius Holbein:


Inspiration Gallery: Ribbon Embroidery

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
By Twistie

This is ribbon embroidery, the art of taking lengths of ribbon and sewing them decoratively onto a background. I love ribbon embroidery. I think it’s a fun, imaginative craft with a lot of possibilities to it.

This particular piece is part of a series of lessons that used to be offered by Sharon B’s Pin Tangle, but she has, alas! ended the courses. Why? Because most people on seeing it either  say they couldn’t possibly do it or they don’t have the time to learn. But it doesn’t take longer to learn than many other crafts and while it offers many possibilities, I can’t imagine the basics take much more time and skill to learn than other forms of embroidery. The good news is that Sharon’s website dangles the possibility of a collection of her designs for sale if enough people show an interest.

So why should we be interested in learning ribbon embroidery? Take a look and see.


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