Thinking about the use of stitch

Thinking about the use of stitch


Stitch, whether by hand or machine is a vital element in my making process. It is not used as a decorative device but as an integral drawing and mark making tool to articulate form and meaning as well as create a dynamic textured surface.

Stitch is the means of embedding narrative into the surface of the cloth and of articulating the maker’s voice. It can refer to transitory moments of observation and reflection .Stitch can suggest calm,be ‘haptic’ in nature; but can also be vital, alive, raw, opinionated  The calligraphic effect of the stitch mark suggests the narrative and the rhythm. The sewing machine makes fine freely drawn lines which can be manipulated by change of stitch length and tension to alter the structure of the surface of the cloth. Hand stitch might puncture the cloth surface, suggest movement. It takes the viewers eye across the surface of the cloth, involves them in the story the cloth is telling.

Rhythm is an important factor both in the putting together of pieces of cloth and the mark making whether with brush or stitch. I see the movement of thread and cloth  as analogous to moving through the landscape.

Artist Victor Pasmore wrote: “As the rhythmic divisions of time and sound in music find an echo in the deepest recesses of the mind, so do the spaces, the tones and the colours of painting.”  For me also.


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Stitching into paper is a different experience to working with the more pliable quality of cloth. It needs care but also physical pressure to pierce the paper, to pull the thread through. One is very aware of the process.

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stitch on paper


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2013-01-29 08.55.49Tuesday morning down the track, looking at the puddles more like a lake. Lines of stalks making patterns on the surface. Able to go to the studio where I set up a surface on which to work. Papers roughly stitched together were painted with gesso.

2013-01-30 13.23.57

Now to think about marks; stitches dynamic, vigorous, with thread, cloth, paper?            Add colour? Keep the image in my head and explore.

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an observation

After overnight rain it is a very different sort of day today.

The snow has gone; the sun is shining; the colours are changed and the greens are very bright.

No longer muffled by snow there is the sound of the wind and of bird song.

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Despite the greyness and cold there is something I like about the austere almost monochromatic winter landscape after snow. The sky is grey and the fields a bleached brown where the snow has blown away. Hazy and greying in the distance the lines of tress are a dark khaki brown. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Walking the dog

Out of the door and over the road past Hoppit
Listening for cars coming too fast round the bend.
Turn right past Rook Tree Farm and down a quieter lane.
Come to the gate, new last year, with a big shiny padlock.
Room to get round it past the sloe bushes full of hard green fruits.
On to the track between Small Holding and Horse Ground.
Verges with spots of purple Meadow Cranesbill flowers and the yellow of Ladies Bedstraw.
Straight along to where the track broadens out.
Grass with buttercups and wheat on either side.
Up the slope towards Castle Hill Farm.
Look round
See the wind turbines in the far distance on the Oxford road.
Trace the tractor patterns across the field.
Follow the rhythm of the tree trunks in the copse.
Feel the minor stresses of life leaving me.
Think, plan, review, reflect,
Four dog’s worth of walks along here.
It is familiar yet always changing.
It is in my head. I can walk it any day, anywhere.

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