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  • Writer's pictureMarlene Dahl


Even though weaving is my primary and preferred medium as a textile artist; embroidery and stitching also plays an important part in my work. It is quite an instant process of creating with textiles as it requires literally no set up and little initial preparation. Weaving on the other hand takes more effort and consideration as one needs to first of all decide and calculate a warp. Then you continue on to dress and thread the loom or weaving frame. All you really need for embroidery is fabric, some threads, a needle and a pair of scissors.

The two works featured in this post are made on linen fabric using a chain stitch and a variety of French knots. I am using linen thread as well as mercerised cotton which has a slight shine to it. These are made with so called free-hand embroidery style. This means I did not draw my design on to the fabric or had a detailed motif prior to stitching.

Both these pieces are therefore created in an intuitively manner while listening to sounds made by water. I found this to be very helpful to let the creativity and inspiration flow more freely. Sometimes within my artistic practise I feel I struggle with overly planned and designed pieces. So to do exercises like these when you add another sense of influence, in this instance; sound, can really help me stay present and focus in on the actually process of making.

I started at the centre of the piece and worked my way out in a spiral while increasing the size of the stitches. In my mind I wanted to abstractly create something that resembled ripples on water as well as the image of a whirlpool. I added clusters of French knot stitches in a different colour to symbolise droplets. They add another texture to the pieces and also helps emphasise the main shape.

I am happy with the outcome of these simple, little embroideries. And I am planning to make some more – perhaps in other colours and sizes. And could also be worth attempting to overlap shapes to relate back to the earlier photographs.

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