Way back in 2021, Haf Weighton led a workshop through TextileArtist.org‘s Stitch Club on on architectural layering. I really like Haf’s work, and had done another workshop with her previously. This project is actually still in the works, but I needed to make a proof of concept, so to speak, and I’ve been told that it in itself is worthy, hence this post. I based it on a photograph by Daniel Andis (with permission) of the Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, Indiana.
I veered off from Haf’s original workshop, testing if I could use a frixion pen to trace an image after applying clear gesso to some yellow canvas. Though, truth be told, I began this project so many months ago that I may have used the pen before the gesso. (Now I think I will have to test again and see if there is a difference.) Then, I added the colors on top. The iron did remove the ink, and didn’t damage the colors, so yay! I enjoyed this style of mixed media quite a lot.
To add the colors, I lightly colored with Derwent watercolor pencils my brother donated to me decades ago and carefully ran a wet paintbrush over them to blend them in.
As a simple proof of concept, I was not worried about perfect stitching. And the wonkiness grew on me a little by the end anyway. My stitches are mostly back stitching or even just long lengths straight up the edges of the walls or across the roof lines. All very basic, which adds a bit of a naive look, I think.
I wanted to add some spring flowers cropping up in the yard as they may have well before the days of lawnmowers. The Culbertson Mansion was built in the 1860s after all. These are just little rayon purple colonial knots, rayon yellow cross stitches, and a few tiny stitches of quilting thread green. I don’t know that they really added to the piece, but I enjoyed imaging the yard full of color.
The green blended in so well that I signed (blurred out) and dated it in the corner without calling attention to it. By the way, I hate the physical act of signing the work I do; I find it so annoying! But, I do want to record the year. And if I am adding the year, I might as well add my name. So I have found the quickest way for me to do that: a combination of straight and fly stitching. For instance, the 2 is made of an asymmetrical fly stitch for the curve, and a straight stitch for the line. The 0 is made of two symmetrical fly stitches, mirrored top and bottom. And the 3 this year is made with two stacked fly stitches. Much easier and faster than trying to do a stem or outline or backstitch and all that. Plus, I can get the signature to be super tiny. This one is only 1/8th of an inch in height!
For being generous enough to allow me to use the photograph (posted with permission) in my work, I’ve sent this proof of concept on to the photographer. I hope to develop the Culbertson Mansion further in a new project and have dedicated one of my Working Boxes to it’s temporary storage as I build the courage up to bring it to life.