Thursday, October 17, 2013

My White Elephant

Mothers, daughters, aunts and grandmothers...they all stay together in the elephant family with the oldest, most experienced female taking the leadership role.  


The males leave during adolescence and either travel alone or form loosely-held herds...but the bonds within the male herd are not nearly as strong or as far-reaching as the female herd.


I feel some affinity toward those elephant groups of females...how they collectively protect their young and mourn for a loved one.

Here's a link to a great story in the Huffington Post where a female herd surrounded an elephant while she gave birth in order to protect her from predators.  How beautiful.

And crazy me, that's what I've been thinking about as I stitch this whitework elephant designed by Gary Clarke...


Our workshops with Gary continued (I wrote about the first class here) and we worked through an all white design that once again, played with the notion of layers.



The design is screenprinted on muslin...


And a base layer is created by tacking down various widths of cording and completing some base chain stitches and knots...


Then the whole lot is covered with gauze...


And you stitch around the cords and stitches so that the design appears in relief.  This is a close-up of Gary's model...


I placed my gauze on the bias to see how different it would appear.  There isn't that great of a difference and both ways appeal to me.  We use candlewicking thread for all of the embroidery and yet this style differs quite a bit from traditional candlewicking which is usually pure surface embroidery.


So far I'm absolutely loving this.  It's rhythm and repetition relaxes.   And the idea of sandwiching stitches and motifs between two fabrics is pretty neat.

I've had a collection box set aside for a future project...a Book of Wisdom.  My intention is for the entire book to be ecru and tone-on-tone.  My elephant is going to be included in my book...an old wise crone in the herd.  I'm thinking of changing things just a bit to make it my own...maybe mother of pearl or shells or...sequins?  I wonder what they would look like in the sandwich?


Elephants aside, Mrs. Rose is calling my name and her story needs to be told.  I'm moving on to finish her up in the next few weeks.

Looking forward to a few quiet days ahead and catching up with all of you.

18 comments:

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a fascinating piece you are working on, really interesting and detailed.

I have been thinking about Mrs. Rose and was going to ask you about her and then you mentioned her at the end of your post.

Quite a wonderful story about the female herd of elephants with the newborn. Thanks for sharing.

FlowerLady

Mary Ann said...

I love white work and this is really a unique take on it...love it:) Yes...I was missing Mrs. Rose.

Createology said...

This elephant technique is beautiful. The luxurious layers adding so much life to such a huge amazing animal. She will be perfect for your "Book of Wisdom". Making it your own by personalizing will be the crowning touch. Mrs. Rose has been very patient. It will be a joy to see her again. Blissful Stitching Dear...

Cari said...

Oh my goodness Susan...this piece is amazing. It looks like fun to stitch !!

gracie said...

Love the elephant and I know it will be wonderful. Looking forward to seeing Mrs Rose again.

Gerry Krueger said...

I studied it a bit and know what I would do to make it mine so I will be excited to see what you choose... But in any case I definitely think she deserves bells and you know how I feel about bells. Hugs

margaret said...

a wonderful elephant can see you are loving your classes with Gary. Good to read Mrs Rose will be appearing again soon, I have missed her. Will catch up on your elephant tales shortly, think it might be tearful

cucki said...

Wow I love white work and it's amazing..
Love from African heart ❤️

dreaminginstitches said...

These posts are so inspirational - thank you, I'm playing with ideas in my mind which I wouldn't have had if I hadn't seen this - isn't Blogland fantastic!

Rachel said...

Elephants make such a wonderful basis for a design - a strong, identifiable shape that allows for a huge variety of treatments. I've done two myself already.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I don't usually like white work, but this sandwiching technique is beautiful. I'm sure you will add your own touches to make it yours.

I love elephant stories. They are amazing animals. I have read a lot of these kind of stories. There have been many over the years. I don't really have a bucket list, but hope I will some day be able to visit the elephant rescue in Tennessee.

I can see how you would feel an affinity to the female herd!
xx, Carol

Suztats said...

Oh, wow! It's a beautiful piece! I look forward to seeing more, and to your Book of Wisdom.
Off to check out the links-thanks.

dar traviss said...

I'm so glad your going to be working on Mrs. Rose again even though I enjoy everything you share with us.

dar traviss said...

I'm so glad your going to be working on Mrs. Rose again even though I enjoy everything you share with us.

sewnormie said...

I've been following your blog for years and decided that I should finally say thank you.I don't do embroidery but your site gives me great pleasure anyway.Just thought I should say.

Wendy said...

what a beautiful design! Such an interesting technique

Susan Hook said...

Wow the elephant embroidery is stunning, what a great teacher you have!

Catherine said...

Love this!! You amaze me with all that you can do!

Related Posts with Thumbnails