The process from embroidery design to silk scarf is an extensive and time consuming one (much like this post!), but it always starts with an idea.  It may be as ethereal as what thoughts or feeling do I want to convey, or as concrete as what do I feel like stitching next? 

Once I decide what to stitch, choosing colours is the next hurdle.  And believe me, this is no easy task.  The world of colour is almost limitless and when every colour is your favourite, it is always a challenge.  I love to work with colour combinations. Colours that work together, that complement each other, that enhance one another.  The colour wheel is an invaluable tool in my arsenal. But I also rely on books and other media: art books, embroidery books, colour palette books and websites, and nature - any place where I can see colour showcased in harmony.  A beautiful colour combination can make me swoon. Like a beautiful piece of music that makes you want to dance, the perfect colour combination makes my fingers itch to start stitching. 

Next comes the choice of ground fabric.  Often dictated by the end product, the fabric is essential to the design.  Am I making a tea towel?  If yes, I have pre-cut and hemmed fabric for those - durable and washable.  Am I stitching a personalized gift? Perhaps I’ll deconstruct and finally stitch that gorgeous linen pillowcase I bought in Provence expressly for such an occasion. Cotton, linen, twill - my fabric collection, which includes luxurious linen bequeathed to me by a grandmother, is rivalled only by my extensive thread collection!  

Once the design is set and I have chosen the colours palette and matched the threads and fabric, the next step is the stitch guide - ostensibly this is a rough list of which stitch is going to go where.  I admit this list is not carved in stone. Often my choices for stitches change along the way, but initially it is easier to begin if I have an idea of which stitch I am going to stitch and where.

The next step is to transfer the design onto the fabric. There are a number of methods to do so, and I won’t bore you with them, but suffice it to say that this process can be at once exhilarating and anxiety making - one misplaced pen mark can ruin a costly piece of fabric or change a design in unintended ways.

After transferring the design, I frame the fabric.  I don’t usually like to stitch in an embroidery hoop, but they are easier to port around, so sometimes that is a fallback. Usually I use a slate frame where the fabric is sewn and strapped in which allows me to get the fabric drum tight, a key to a successful final product. 

This next step is my favourite - I finally get to stitch!  While stitching, sometimes I listen to music, or audio books.  Sometimes, I sit in silence - whenever the case, for me, embroidery is truly meditative. I do a lot of problem solving while I stitch! Depending on the design, how intricate the pattern, how much time I have to devote to it at any given time, it can take weeks to months to finish a piece. 

The process of changing the finished embroidery to a design printed on silk, requires a completely different kind of creativity and the use of computer design software. The final step is the confluence of an age-old artform and new technology - this dichotomy is a perfect partnership!

From this point, the process is really out of my hands.  The design is sent for printing, cutting, and finishing. 

SILK/SOIE is an exciting new venture and I am thrilled to be able to share these original embroidery designs with you.