Stitch Club: Bliss

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Oliver Bliss recently led a workshop through TextileArtist.org‘s Stitch Club on exploring tone and color. I had planned to sit this one out since I’ve had many art classes dealing with the topic and am short on stitching time. But, alas, I was pulled into it when he provided a skull to stitch. A skull, you say? Well, I couldn’t pass that up, not with my background!

I want to be clear here, though, that the inspiration for this skull is not from Oliver but instead from Sima Miller, found here. His skull choice was problematic for me: it did not include details for the teeth which I felt looked like one of those blank-faced creepy things, but not in a good way. Plus, teeth are my jam! So I went looking online instead and found her lovely render. [More thoughts on this at the end…]

I snapped a screenshot, but working with as many colors as she had would be impossible since I try to only stick with what I have on hand already. Thus, the first thing I had to do was reduce the number of colors. I’ll explain this here so I have a future reference, and maybe it will help you some day, too. [But let us keep in mind I want to add something about all this at the end…] In photoshop, I first selected out the three main components: the skull, the pink flowers, and the white flower. I had to save these as three separate files for the next step. Under Image > Mode > Index Color, you can reduce the number of colors in the image. For this one, I think I settled on around about 8 different colors originally for each component, just eyeballing as few colors as I could get away with while retaining the overall feel. Then, I combined the three files back into one, and isolated each color group to determine how many colors of thread I would need (since some of the colors may have been similar between the three parts). At this stage, I merged a few more together, here and there, and was left with a total of 22 colors. It isn’t nearly as beautiful as Sima’s original, but I could at least work with it.

But 22 colors across however many triangles there are – it would be difficult to transfer this pattern to my fabric. I opted to test printing to the fabric directly. Huzzah, it (mostly) worked! To do this, I printed the skull onto paper, then taped my fabric where it needed to be, and printed again. I chose a minty color because, you know, the color theme I cannot break myself away from!

Going back in time, I wouldn’t have started it until I chose all the colors in thread. Instead, I chose for the first color group I had made in photoshop, and this created a problem when I didn’t have the right colors for the next group, but I would have, if I had only chosen differently the first time. In the end, I felt I needed to outline the flowers because of this mistake, which is why I ended up using a dark teal with two threads to set them off a bit.

This was meant to be a quick workup for the workshop, but it really wasn’t that fast. It *felt* fast, since each color grouping was actually not that many triangles, but, hello, there are a LOT of triangles! But this is why my stitching isn’t necessarily as neat as I could have made it. I used mostly split and straight stitching here with three threads. Going back in time, I would have probably used only two, though this would have added so very much time that I don’t know if that’s actually true. Going back in time, I might have also opted for satin stitching, but again, time.

I don’t have any real plans to finish her off, so she’ll just hang in this hoop for the time being. I will say she is the neatest backside I’ve yet created, though I didn’t think to snap a pic before tying the edges up. I am proud to say that I finally achieved the challenge of not using a single knot and keeping all the loose ends neatly clipped off.

In the end, I didn’t so much follow Oliver’s workshop as much as I simply rendered Sima’s art in hand embroidery. Huh.

And now that I’ve explained how I made it, I want to add my thoughts about this process. As a hobbyist with zero intentions on selling anything, I worked under the assumption that it’s been fair to grab images online to work from. There’s the old adage of just needing to change something 30% or whatever to avoid copyright issues, and isn’t working something with needle and thread a huge change anyway? I do my best to always link to the inspiration when I can, and even try to contact individuals (unfortunately, I am unable to contact Sima). Plus, I always add my own spin on things.

I make no profit; I give credit where credit is due; and my own artistic license is added to the mix. So, I’m fine. … Right?

Well, that’s the rub. I’m less of a hobbyist now and more serious (I even have two pieces in an upcoming art show) and this project in particular, for whatever reason, has made me question these assumptions. I just don’t feel right about this particular one, and if I think deeply, probably some others in my past as well. I considered not posting it, even, but I thought that perhaps my uncomfortableness will benefit someone else who may be making similar decisions.

My next task now is to understand artistic copyright issues better.

 

See more posts related to:

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for more cases of the Crafties?
Stitch Club: Edwards

Stitch Club: Edwards

Priscilla Edwards led a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club where we learned to make a wire frame and use batik wax to form a sculpture. For whatever reason, I decided I’d make a sailboat!

read more
Hexie Dreams + Template

Hexie Dreams + Template

My Hexie Dreams quilt, which was carefully fussy cut and hand pieced by me, then hand quilted by my gramma, is finally finished after three+ years of work (and avoidance). The proof is in the stitching – persistence pays off!

read more
Stitch Club: Dias

Stitch Club: Dias

Cassandra Dias lead a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club workshop on embroidered landscapes, and I was inspired to recreate a honeymoon photo of France’s Pont Du Gard.

read more
Hello 2024!

Hello 2024!

For the start of 2024, I’ve been playing with drawing, paint, and watercolor pencils to get a feel for the media.

read more
Ida Andersen Lang’s Tutorial

Ida Andersen Lang’s Tutorial

I followed a water color pencil tutorial by Ida Andersen Lang to work through some techniques to set me up for a successful Mixed Media 2024 journey.

read more
Stitch Club: Boschert

Stitch Club: Boschert

Deborah Boschert lead a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club on creating a mixed media art quilt. I based mine upon a visit to a new town and restaurant.

read more
Finds and Things

Finds and Things

A random post about some art supplies, vintage finds, and an AI-generated experiment for future crafts.

read more
Stitch Club: Stone 3

Stitch Club: Stone 3

Sue Stone’s third workshop with TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club prompted us to use text in our piece, so I recorded a trip to Shawnee National Forest.

read more
Stitch Club: Stone 2

Stitch Club: Stone 2

Sue Stone led a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club in her well-known portrait style, and I was inspired to capture a man in a hat in four variations.

read more
Hexie Dreams 19

Hexie Dreams 19

My hand sewn fussy-cut EPP Hexie Dreams quilt is all ready to go to my gramma for hand quilting. Check out a few of my embellished hexies, and come back in the future for the finished product!

read more
My Village Quilt

My Village Quilt

I present to you My Village Quilt, based on the Urban Village Green quilt: a four-year-long project that tipped the love-hate scale finally over to love.

read more
Hexie Dreams 18

Hexie Dreams 18

My fussy-cut EPP Hexie Dreams quilt is coming along. All the flowers were stitched into rows and the rows are being stitched together now for the final push. I also share some of my dear sewing supplies!

read more
Stitch Club: Maue

Stitch Club: Maue

TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club with Joetta Maue prompted a stitched piece from a photograph and I’ve recreated an adored image of my late grandparents.

read more