Like dancers, as embroiderers we have a huge amount of steps we can layer into our work. And like choreography, the design process asks questions like – how do I keep from overwhelming the viewer? And it comes with the desire to put everything we have learned into one piece – one choreography, if you will.
Lots of Options
So. How do we temper this urge and make an embroidery that is coherent? Let’s look at our options in generalities:
- textures from thread choice
- textures from stitches
Hmmm. That doesn’t sound all that bad, does it? But what happens when you throw lots of multiples of all these into one piece? Rather than interesting, it becomes much like looking at a pile of tangled thread – like in choreography, if there isn’t space for the viewer to rest, she sees chaos.
Of course you can have riotous pieces that work. What’s the trick? Choose ONE category. For example, a piece that contains a riot of colors should probably be limited to one to three stitches and one thread size/texture. Mix and match.
Lots of stitch texture (different stitches)? Fewer colors and thread types. Lots of thread types? Fewer stitches and colors.
Try it out!
Of course it takes time to learn to balance these. Doodle cloths and samplers are a great place to test combinations. And to practice your stitches in different ways with different threads to see how they perform.