For this exercise I chose to concentrate on one of my new feature bathroom tiles. They have an overall interesting curvilinear design shape with smaller geometric squares also featured.
I started with a photograph and then, as the tile is quite textural, I decided to try a rubbing. That was interesting because it immediately simplified the design and made the squares stand out from the background and appear much more obvious. I think the difference between the two images is quite dramatic and just doing this has been a valuable lesson in learning to cut out excess information when trying to loosely reproduce something.
My drawing has picked up most of the detail but perhaps I have been too pedantic in capturing all the information.
The tiles are classed as olive green but, frankly, they look very pale grey to me. I decided to go with purples in my stitched piece as this is not a colour that I work with a lot.
My stitched sample is on a blue/purple tightly woven cotton fabric. This is one of the pieces that I dyed last week. To achieve the differences between the various horizontal lines on the tile I have used a range of lightweight threads – Perle 12, stranded cotton, silk and Perle 8 – in different stitches so some are more pronounced than others. Running stitch, back-stitch and twisted chain are all included.
I stuffed shiny viscose tubular ribbon with plain white blind cord (the cord you have on venetian binds to raise and lower them. Very handy product.) and did invisible couching to hold it in place. I was keen to have it as a solid mass but not to overwhelm the rest of the work. Hence the reason I picked a very light tint of purple/lilac to use.
The squares were cut from two different synthetics, an organza and a sheer. The first one I stitched down in Holbein stitch (aka double running stitch) but I was unhappy with the result and the difficulty in doing it. It is a fabulous stitch to use in counted thread work on linens and canvases but the application here wasn’t as accurate as I wanted. So I moved to back-stitch and the look became much more even.
I’m very pleased with the result as the original tile doesn’t have any really outstanding feature to dominate the rest and I believe I’ve achieved the same in the sampler. It took quite a while choosing the materials to get the effect I wanted but it was worth it in the end.