Susan Sorrell should place a warning on her site ‘Beware of heavily embellished fun ahead’.
Creative Chick Studios is bright, creative and a breath of fresh air as too many artists take themselves and their work far too seriously. I know people are going to jump on me for this and that art practice is serious but sometimes people represent themselves online in an overly pretentious manner. No one could accuse Susan Sorrell of this yet her work is far from empty headed or simply eye candy.
Susan Sorrell creates textile collages that incorporate beading, painting, printmaking, photography, computer images and found objects in what I can only describe a full throttle over embellished and richly decorated style. This heavy handed over embellishment will not appeal to everyone, but I love it. For a long time artists that used pattern applied with such a heavy decorative hand were tolerated or worse still simply ignored, until Miriam Schapiro’s Decoration Movement in the 70s and 80s.
In Susan Sorrell’s work you can see the influence of this movement and other artists. Susan Shie is immediately spotted. Faith Ringgold and Joyce Scott are two other artistic influences. When set in this context you can see that Sorrell’s work is not mere eye candy alone.
I must admit that I have a particular bias towards this type of full throttle embellishment work with its feminist connotations, as my eye is heavily influenced by Miriam Schapiro’s Decoration Movement . As regular visitors to this site know I also have had a love of over embellished and decorated crazy quilts of the past. I can easily see a connection between the two.
On Susan Sorrell’s site Creative Chick Studios there is an artist’s statement, information about workshops and upcoming shows and a gallery worth visiting. The image above “Spending the Afternoon Musing on Life” 2003 4 1/2 x 8″ is from Susan Sorell’s site.
Kitty Baroque keeps a blog of stitching and knitting projects and has a gallery section of visual journals, bookbinding, collage and drawing. Her second blog Being an Artist looks to be a new blog in the process of being constructed.
Zeneedle: needleart as life is a great knitting and stitching blog which I have just discovered. Along side documenting current projects links are provided.
Every now and then via the Stitch Collection I receive an enquiry about a technique rather than a particular stitch. This morning I thought I would do a round up of links associated with Stumpwork Embroidery.
Firstly it is not a new technique as forms of raised and 3D embroidery have been worked in Europe since the middle ages. Three dimensional effects were employed to decorate altar frontals as early as 1400s. Raised and embossed work was done by professional embroiderers usually for the church. By the 1600s it was very popular and decorated work boxes, mirror frames, pictures and bookbindings from this time are held in museums and collections. Today we marvel at the virtuosity of technique particularly since by the 1600s it was young girls who had often made them.
The term Stumpwork is a Victorian misnomer. Today it is often used to refer to any type of raised embroidery. Technically however, stumpwork is a form of embroidery that is first created on a background. Small motifs called slips are embroidered then transferred to another foundation fabric and applied. Padding and wiring produce a three dimensional effect.
Materials such as chenille, wire, beads, sequins and mica were used. Early kits include small carved pieces of wood for hands and faces that were then painted. Needle lace stitches are the main form of stitching of small doll like figures set often in biblical narratives.
This is a brief introduction to this type of embroidery. Probably the best online article that I found on this topic provided by Rissa Peace Root in which she covers a definition, a brief history, links to online resources such as free patterns and a bibliography. Another is here and Lisa’s stumpwork provides some examples and a bibliography.
Stumpwork is enjoying a revival as designers all over the globe are working with this technique. Caron have provided a brief tutorial and design of Holly & Berries by Karen Buell. Jean Fletch is one our best known stumpwork designers. We do have others. Jennifer Bee is an Australain designer who sells stumpwork kits and Janet Davies is a New Zealander. Also Liz Turner is a British designer who offers kits.