Stitch Camp Exercise
In the Studio

What I learned about painting in Stitch Camp

Everything I put my hand to lately seems connected to a lot of other things. Serendipity is alive and well and living in my studio. This past week I took part in Stitch Camp, which was hosted by TextileArtist.Org. Even after signing up I wasn’t sure I’d show up (we all do that, right?) but something compelled me to jump in and I’m so glad I did.

I learned a lot about painting with a needle in my hand.

It started with mark making on Day 1. The exercise was to take a bunch of random items that could be used as tools to make marks, two pieces of cloth and three colours. I went with turquoise, purple. Decided I’d add yellow if needed. The photo below shows the tools I used and my results. Even though a brush appears in the photo I stuck mostly to the other items because I found it liberating and fun.

Tools and Colours

The “alphabet” of mark making is a language I can use with both my fibre art and my paintings. I have a couple of canvases in the studio I relegated to the closet because I wasn’t happy with them. They are coming out and I’ll be trying out my new tools on them in the next week or so. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The day after I completed the mark making exercise, artist Marion Boddy posted about this very topic on her blog, starting with the quote below. (Is it possible she’s taking Stitch Camp or is Serendipity playing with me?)

The trick is to develop a mark-making language with a set of tools that you can apply and alter to suit your needs.

Kate Boucher, Drawing with Charcoal

On Days 2-4 of Stitch Camp, the exercises involved cutting up the material and putting it back together in a different way. Gwen Hedley, the instructor, encouraged us to look for new relationships and patterns. I can see using this in a painting through collage.

Almost completed stitching exercise
Almost done

I enjoyed the process of deciding what to emphasize with embroidery. Even choosing what stitches to use was interesting. I took my time, which added to the enjoyment of creation. This was a good reminder that creativity is often deciding what to include and what to leave out.

I think I’m done but I’ll leave it out for a day or two so I see it whenever I walk by. See if anything needs to be added or taken away. ‘Composting time’ is a valuable step in the process I use with my paintings, too.

When I’m satisfied with this little piece, I’ll back it and finish it. It will most likely show up in my Instagram feed after that so you can follow me there if you’d like to see how this all ends up.

At the start of the year, my decision to create from the heart and view everything through a lens of play, opened a door. Possibility stepped into the studio. Seems serendipity invited herself in as well.

2 thoughts on “What I learned about painting in Stitch Camp”

    1. It has been such an eye opener. I’ve made this decision many times but it was always a head thing. This time around it was definitely from my heart and everything has changed. I feel lighter and more relaxed and I’m having so much fun with it all.

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