Every year I set myself an embroidery challenge, something that forces me to push the boundaries and progress in my needle painting embroidery. This is not a project that I plan to give instructions for, to make into kits or put into books, it is a larger piece that I do just for the pure pleasure of stitching. My first challenge was the King Protea next I decided to try a bird which was the Lilac Breasted Roller, the following year I resolved to try a Portrait and this year I set my sights on an animal. I considered wild animals such as a lion or zebra but decided that these had been used many times before in different art forms, so eventually settled on this cat portrait. When I stitch something I have to feel drawn to the picture, it must say “Stitch Me”. I have a painting of a cat on a quilt which I bought many many years ago in an art shop in Harare, Zimbabwe. I was unable to find any information on the artist so could not ask her permission but if anyone recognises the painting please let me know.
I have been working on this piece for approx 9 months on and off between other projects and finally completed it this week. Although the cat is a replica of the one in the painting (and also closely related to a tortoiseshell cat that we used to have), I adapted the quilt substantially to make it my own. Each square of the quilt was stitched using different stitches and patterns which was fun. I loved working the cat’s fur, the eyes were a challenge and took several attempts but possibly the most onerous bit was the background fabric which seemed to take forever. (I nearly gave up several times). Normally I omit the background, or fade it out, as I prefer the simpler more dramatic effect of a portrait style picture on a plain background. Too much background detail (for me) tends to detract from the focal point, so including a background was a new concept and to be honest not something I would do again!
What is my challenge for 2012? Not sure yet but when I do I’ll let you know……………
I hope you feel inspired to push the boundaries in your embroidery! Wherever you are have a wonderful weekend and happy stitching. Trish