Wrestling with colour

News from the workroom

This is where Charlotte and I take a bit of time out from the project and our own work to do a wee bit of collaborative experimentation. You may remember a few weeks back we showed you the results of our buried fabric bundles. Our latest experiment has been to exchange little pieces of fabric and notions, and to create a postcard each. I posted a wee box down to Yorkshire, and Charlotte sent me a little selection from her stash. Nice idea, but there was a twist. The things we sent were in the other's least favourite colour. I love all colours, so Charlotte sent me a box of white and cream. The last time I did whitework was for O'level embroidery, shudder. Charlotte's least favourite colour is yellow, so I sent her a box of sunshine.

Charlotte said this about her package: "Honestly I don't know why I dislike working with yellow so much. I love to see yellow flowers in spring, and those flashes of yellow on the goldfinches that visit the garden are a delight. But for stitching, I hate it. When my package arrived from Fiona, I opened it and shut it again quickly. So much yellow! The only comfort was when Fiona messaged me to say her parcel had made it into the island and she joked she was having palpitations."

After some delay, when I think we were each pretending the packages weren't there, we set to, and stitched our postcards. Charlotte has been doing my free sketchbook tutorial and decided to use her sketchbook practice as inspiration for her postcard.

"I was feeling really daunted by all that yellow, so I decided to try to concentrate on shape and texture rather than colour. I'd been looking at some shells from my last visit to a beach, last September, and a feather and some grass from behind my house. Using the photos and drawings of these in my sketchbook, I began to explore the pieces in the box. My first happy find was some ribbon, which when pulled, would fan out in a way perfect for representing shells. That, and a bright yellow button to give some height to the shell structure got me started."

I find white a bit limiting as a colour in its own right and tend to use it for highlights. Happily my wee bundle had some soft greys in it and some cream. Unusually for me I didn't use my sketchbook. I decided to deconstruct some of the materials and then reconstruct into a postcard. The lace edging naturally wove itself into a flower head and was large enough to provide the focal point. I worked out from there. I do like this type of construction but feel more secure exploring ideas in a sketchbook first. Amazingly it came together quite quickly and it is a wee hint of things to come as Stitched Stories is hosting a virtual stitching festival in May in aid of the Butterfly Tree charity.