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?
Hexie Dreams 12

Hexie Dreams 12

Thirty more hexies have been prepped for my Hexie Dreams fussy-cut English paper piecing quilt. I’m either ready to start piecing them together, or just a few more to go – time will tell what I decide!

read more
Stitch Club: Pattullo 2

Stitch Club: Pattullo 2

As part of TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club, I followed Mandy Pattullo’s workshop to create a textile collage bird.

read more
Hexie Dreams 11

Hexie Dreams 11

I’ve added 141 more hexies to my Hexie Dreams fussy-cut English paper piecing quilt, putting me well over the original goal.

read more
Stitch Club: McVetis

Stitch Club: McVetis

As part of TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club, I created an abstract motherboard using techniques from Richard McVetis.

read more
#52tagshannemade 52

#52tagshannemade 52

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 52’s theme is making a little tree.

read more
#52tagshannemade 51

#52tagshannemade 51

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 51-s theme was to create a wreath.

read more
#52tagshannemade 50

#52tagshannemade 50

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 50’s theme was to add some circles.

read more
#52tagshannemade 49

#52tagshannemade 49

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 49’s theme was to catch a memory, though I went a bit off pitch.

read more
#52tagshannemade 48

#52tagshannemade 48

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 48’s was to use a sheaf stitch as a fill.

read more
#52tagshannemade 47

#52tagshannemade 47

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 47’s theme was to create a little birdie.

read more
#52tagshannemade 46

#52tagshannemade 46

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 46’s theme was to wrap some objects with threads.

read more
#52tagshannemade 45

#52tagshannemade 45

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 45’s theme was to create fireworks!

read more
#52tagshannemade 44

#52tagshannemade 44

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 44’s theme was to use cross stitching.

read more
#52tagshannemade 43

#52tagshannemade 43

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 43’s theme is to add a bit of tassel fringe, but I decided to focus just on the tassel itself.

read more
Hexie Dreams 10

Hexie Dreams 10

My fussy-cut Hexie Dreams quilt is coming along, now with about 670 hexies ready to go!

read more
#52tagshannemade 42

#52tagshannemade 42

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 42’s theme is putting tags on tags.

read more
#52tagshannemade 41

#52tagshannemade 41

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 41’s theme is a stitching theme, using “beautiful bullions”.

read more
#52tagshannemade 40

#52tagshannemade 40

I am participating in Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade #sew4thesoul slow stitch challenge for 2021. Week 40’s theme is “something yummy”, which I didn’t strictly follow this time.

read more
Hexie Dreams 9

Hexie Dreams 9

Fifty-seven more hexies to add to my Hexie Dreams fussy-cut paper peicing quilt, adding up to just over 600!

read more
Hexie Dreams 8

Hexie Dreams 8

Fifty-four more hexies to add to my Hexie Dreams fussy-cut paper peicing quilt!

read more