The next embroiderer I would like to introduce readers to is someone I have been reading for nearly decade. Chitra started her blog Jizee6687’s Weblog in mid 2008. I always assume that people have seen her work only to discover they have not!
Chitra constantly explores stitches and works samplers of the many stitch varieties she can think of, often really pushing a stitch to see what it will do. Her constant dedication to these experiments has always made me feel there is a like minded soul quietly stitching on the other side of the world from me. Those stitching lessons are then applied to practical items, usually clothing.
India has a rich textile tradition and Chitra often shares those traditions with us. When you visit her blog don’t forget to read Chitra’s tutorial on Kutchwork. There is also a tutorial on Shisha or Mirrorwork too I love the fact that we can learn a traditional stitch from someone in the culture. Without the internet we could not do that!
Anyway without further fuss Here is the interview with Chitra of Jizee6687’s Weblog
TAST Interview with Chitra of Jizee6687’s Weblog
Why do you like hand embroidery and hand work? How has it influenced your life?
I love colours. Hand embroidery helps in creating pieces with colours. Hand work is not perfect and that makes each piece unique. I work mainly on clothing and sometimes that gives an identity of its own.
How did you start? Were you taught by your mother, school or taught yourself online? If you taught yourself what attracted you to embroidery?
Hand embroidery is considered to be a good hobby in India. It started with my mother, widened in school, grew with help from friends/neighbours, inspired by some experienced teachers and from the onset of internet -Sharon. Still learning.
Do you use TAST to make samplers or incorporate the stitches into projects as you go. Or what sort of projects most attract you?
All TAST stitches are used to make samplers. The stitches are also used on other projects. Functional projects attract me.
Can you talk about your last project and/or your current project?
Currently working on zardosi embroidery on a silk tunic and participating in TAST challenge and a few other stitch challenges and SALs
What is the project you are most proud of?
Do you have any UFO’s? If so, fess up to how many?
Yes. At least fifteen have been started. Other few need to be just finished up. Too much stash of embroidery threads, notions are also piling up. And many are Unfinished Ideas.
Do you work purchased designs or do you design your own projects? Or do you do both?
I design my projects. Occasionally on kits or designs by others.
Do you have a creative design process? If so what is it? Or do you work intuitively?
It starts with inspiration, mixing up different features, then intuition. Whenever something inspires me, I try to imagine it being worked in a particular colour scheme, type of embroidery, as different functional projects, and start giving it definition.
What stimulates your creative process? What inspires and sparks ideas for you?
Any particular embroidery or colour or a fabric or a picture or a location or a sewn product or a sculpture or carving are all the sources of my inspiration. I find it easy to work on a precise project. Once the definition is set, I relax, and enjoy working the embroidery.
Lots of people have trouble starting a project. What makes you start a project? Do you have any tips to get you from blank fabric to stitching?
These days the projects are on clothing. It starts with a tunic design or a saree colour or a memory from childhood, an Indian sculpture or painting. Once the idea is well established, it starts becoming a project. Sharon’s online classes are of great help.
Do you have stall points? If so how do you get past them? Do you have any tips to share about this.
My stall points are clouding of ideas. These things halt the ongoing progress sometimes. When that happens, I go back down memory lane, where there were moments of enjoying an art piece, just for its sake and not as something I would like it be. This calms my mind, and then I restart from there.
Do you have ‘go to’ stitches. In other words stitches you use frequently that you return to using over and over. If so what are they and why do you think they are so successful for you.
My focus is basically on Indian embroidery, this aspect makes me do over and over again- kutchwork, mirror work, chains stitch.
Do you have a favourite embroidery thread, or something you use all the time? If so what is it?
I use Anchor stranded cotton, because of its accessibility. Sometimes, when there is a chance, a small stash of other threads also are bought. I use them for samplers.
What advice would you give to new hands?
Relax and enjoy working with needles. Easy to say, but it is worth cultivating this habit. Each one of us is different. Our growth shouldn’t depend on other people acceptance.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Hand embroidery being a slow involves enormous amounts of sitting down time. It is better to balance our activities and get more exercise. Neck and hands are vulnerable. Taking care of them is vital.
I hope you have enjoyed this TAST Interview. I certainly enjoyed discovering more about Chitra’s approach to embroidery. Pop over to Jizee6687’s Weblog for a visit as I really enjoyed browsing the samplers on her blog and selecting images for this article. There are an amazing amount of stitches and varieties on those samples!
This interview is part of series that will run during 2017 as the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge has been running for a decade. Throughout the year I will interview stitchers about their hand embroidery and feature their work.
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