Dunstanburgh View project in pictures

You will have gathered from the build up that I was not sure how I would get on with canvas work.  in the event, it turned out to be a very surprising genre for several reasons.  Firstly, the amount of time it took was astronomical.  I am not a fast worker at the best of times, but canvas stitches took the biscuit.  It was a little bit like an oil painting, in that all of the colours and textures had to be created with threads and fibres.  I used stranded cottons, coton a broder, rayon embroidery thread, twisted silk, floss silk, braided silk, and crewel wool in various colours and combinations to try to replicate the textures and colours in the picture.  As this is a favourite spot of ours, I was very familiar with the place, which almost paralysed me… It was as if I could not bring myself to approximate anything, my perfectionism was in full swing.  And with canvas work, perfectionism is not necessarily a good thing.  Really good canvas work is about finding the essence and suggesting detail in texture, but my imagination was half ‘on location’, on the cliff top, listening to kittiwakes and skylarks and watching the sea pinks toss in the breeze.  A little more detatchment would have been liberating.  The second thing about canvas work that surprised me was actually how much depth and movement could be dragged (sometimes kicking and screaming) from a two dimensional grid.  The last thing that surprised me was my reaction to the piece.  I usually fall in love with any given discipline as I work, but I never fell in love with this.  It was a struggle.  and at the end, when I would normally mourn the passing of a project, I just felt relief.  I wasn’t sure if I liked the finished piece even.  But strangely enough, a few months down the line, I looked at it agin before handing it in, and suddenly bonded with it in a way I hadn’t whilst I was working.  I think it achieved its aim – to place the viewer into the landscape.  Can you hear the kittiwakes?  I hope so!


PS – The ninja.  As I nearly finished (and possibly was getting slightly hysterical) a boulder and two thrift flowers suddenly looked like a ninja hiding behind a bush.  once seen, cannot be unseen!

9 Replies to “Dunstanburgh View project in pictures”

        1. Don’t let that worry you for a moment. The certificate course is meant to assess technical ability rather than design ability. You might even find that designing is more fun than you feared, once you are paired up with a competent and experienced tutor. They support you throughout, you won’t be left floundering on your own. If you don’t like your own designs they can help you come up with something. And if you are working from a photo or drawing, with modern scanning and printing it is easy to print it the right size and then trace it on a light box. Honestly, you will be fine 🙂

  1. You were so right, had my first day at the RSN, my design is now completed, pricked, pounced and painted! Thank you for pushing me over the edge into the start of a new adventure!

    1. I am delighted that you went for it. crewel work is loads of fun, just enjoy it! And the bulds will be out at hampton court as well. I started at this time of year as well, and the beauty and all the creativity is just exhilerating, and would leave me buzzing for days. I am now based up in durham, and watching the river flow past from Tracy Franklin’s studio is similarly wonderful. soak it up, and stitch well! Are you at HCP on a saturday? my friend Rachel goes then. who is your tutor? Please pass on my best regards to anyone who remembers me.

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