Making Personal Work

Rael Lockwood. Dear Diary Series. Hand built ceramic plates. 2016.
A Letter to a Dress. Stitched silk and a wedding dress. 2016

I have really developed a stronger understanding of my work by examining textiles as a personal and cultural archive. Looking back on past works really established the emphasis I have on the personal aspects of making and how textiles and ceramics has helped that.

I would like to summarize my studio process and work this year a piece from my final paper this term about my work thus far.

“Cloth preserves values and traditions and provides us with connective experiences as we interact with cloth in our material world. My goal is to create lasting relationships with textiles that other people can relate to. I believe that there are traces of ourselves left in materials as we interact with; traces that change them into objects of meaning. I see those traces as hints of the hand that gives the work value. Meaning is established through the process, link social consideration, and personal reflection. Meaning is established through memories. Memories that would be mere ephemera if they did not embed, dare I say weave, themselves into our consciousness; into the cloth and textiles that we surround ourselves with. The textiles that protect us and guide us.”


Change of Colour

Plastic is a material consisting of a combination of synthetic organic compounds that can be formed into solid objects.  The word ‘plastic’ itself means soft, men’s health workable, this or flexible and so from a manufacturing perspective it is easy to understand how it has become one of the most commonly used materials. Besides being one of the most adaptable materials, with its low cost production and useful properties such as resistance to water, plastic can be made literally any colour we can think of.  As my embroidered hands series progresses I am changing the background fabric colour to an MX dyed cobalt blue to reflect the hue of a typical water bottle after it has been recycled several times. A transparent bottle becomes translucent over time, gradually fading to blue.  The cobalt blue is an exaggeration of that, so that the new white thread colour stands out and remains the focus of the piece.

– Kristen –

Surrealist Automatism Explorations

In attempt to push the concepts and approaches further in my larger scale pieces I tackled a couple smaller explorations. What has so far resulted are much more exciting new compositions and ideas for me.

Opposed to constructing the compositions I did some research in surrealist automatic drawings. What this meant for me is to allow the drawing to happen. By holding my pen loosely and closer to the end I allowed my mark making to react more freely on the paper.



These focused less on filling up the surface on the cloth and instead making impressions in a certain location. Visual elements from nature were considered in the construction of the drawings and translation on to the cloth.



Muted colours are used in the 3 completed embroideries as well as indigo dyed threads.



The result from this experimentation has been very motivating for me to continue with this approach. The spontaneous solutions feel much more successful and gratifying than the compositions that are less intuitive. I am excited by the potential of this technique to affect my large scale pieces already in progress in a impromptu manner.


3 Questions with Artist Christine Mauersberger



Christine Mauersberger. Guide. 2011. Reclaimed wool skirt
silk/cotton thread, sales felt, epidemic silk eco print, hand stitched. 20″ x 21″


I briefly wrote about American artist Christine Mauersberger several weeks ago in a previous blog post here. I reached out to Christine to expand on a couple questions I had about her textile work in regards to her inspiration, symbolism and colour choices.



Christine Mauersberger. Guide (detail). 2011. Reclaimed wool skirt
silk/cotton thread, felt, silk eco print, hand stitched. 20″ x 21″


JT: When executing your drawings after a walk, are they predominately from an automatic place or are you also focused on creating a pleasing composition?

CM: They are from an intuitive place. I’m not focused on making a composition of sorts.

Rather that the movement of thoughts are reenacted by the movement of my hand with pen on paper.

Drawing is a time-based medium, the marks that create any drawing never happen all at once, but they show traces of movement in the same way our bodies move in space.

I play music as a way to engage with a sense of place and time.

Both music and drawing go together, they change our sense of time and transform our experience of time.

(I read this idea  about music and drawing in Lynda Barry’s book ,

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor Paperback – October 21, 2014



Christine Mauersberger. Safe and Warm. 2012. Reclaimed wool blanket, hand-stitched, reclaimed wool scarf. 45″ x 45″.


JT: There are several repeated forms within your body of textile work such as the circle and a cross, what do these shapes represent for you?

CM: The circle is a motif that is universal. I use it to represent the ‘self’ or myself, or a being. In my work entitled ‘Guide” the circle is me. In “Safe and Warm”, it is my father.
The cross motif is often directly related to a religious belief. But for me, it refers to making a decision, whether to move left or right, back or forward. The simple cross shape is pleasing to me, it is straight forward and unambiguous in my work. What I mean is that since I’m not using other symbols that relate to religion, it cannot be interpreted as such, at least I do not hope so.

The cross is directly related to representing an artifact of time. Humans do come to crossroads if not daily, most surely when we must make decisions about what is next for ourselves.



Christine Mauersberger. Mind Map. 2011. Linen, silk/cotton thread, hand stitched. 41″ x 40″.


JT: The majority of your stitched works feature white or red thread, what is the significance of these colours in your work?

CM: The only way to understand something is to make things.

When you are making something as we do as artists, you don’t necessarily know what it is that you are making for a really long time.

We make things through our bodies and then must understand how to trust it and listen to it.

This is true for my use of singular colors. (sorry you’re Canadian colours!) 🙂

When I began to stitch in 2009  I used a natural-wool colored embroidery floss and also red because they please me.

I know that red is a strong color. It can mean STOP or represent blood, or danger or even anger.

Over time, I have come to think of the color red to mean life, vitality and strength.

The natural-wool color you refer to as white is still a bit ambiguous for me.

I think of it as pleasing and passive and good and clean and full of potential.

It’s an honest color-non-color.

And when I use it (white) , I’m striving to make something beautiful with very few color components.

I’ve distilled my palette to the least number of colors, and in the case of using white, only one neutral color in order to make a glorious statement about line and beauty.


Thank you so much to Christine for investing time in providing me with very thoughtful and thorough responses.



Removing Warp and Weft Threads

As I previously mentioned I have yet to come across any examples of fibre artists removing the warp and weft threads from the cloth base. This is particularly an interesting affect with linen as the thread widths vary between thin and slubby. I completed a couple test samples to see the variety of weight and structure I could remove from the cloth.



Sample swatch- pulling out one direction of threads within the linen.



Sample swatch- pulling out a variety of compositions of directional threads to remove structure of the linen.


Once I worked up the guts I started cutting in to my first embroidery to add some texture by removing threads. It was a really liberating experience to leave the result to chance and begin cutting and pulling threads out. It forced me to be reactionary and resolve certain choices that I had immediately come to regret.



Single warp and weft threads pulled intersecting with one another.


Particular points of interest are in the intersecting corners where a hole forms. It developed curious points of tension on the cloth.



Detail photo of removed warp and weft threads.

The goal in pulling out the warp and weft threads was to continue to speak to the map like nature of my work. The missing threads create lines and pathways at intersection points referring to the directional nature of maps.



Stitch Journals

For several months now I have been following Bonnie Sennott and her daily stitch journal. For an entire year, adiposity at the start of each month, she begins a new embroidery on linen which she works on each day. Based on what she witnesses in her backyard she mimics the colours and growth occurring documenting the changing of the seasons. Sennott uses one colour and one type of stitch each day with each stitch improvised creating an abstract composition. She documents each day on her instagram and blogs regularly on her experiences during the project.

Sennott uses the stitch journal as a part of her morning routine. I love the idea of approaching a piece of cloth each day and affecting it with thread without any preconceived notions of what it will turn out as. Especially when you’re taking the spontaneous element of weather and nature in to consideration.


Day 274. The last day of September.



Day 268.



Day 280. October.



Filling The Surface

One thing that I am battling with larger scale embroideries is combating all the white space, myocarditis there’s a fine balance between too much and not enough. I’m stuck within the realm of too much white space and have been researching a variety of other contemporary embroidery artists who’s work expands across the cloth.


Rieko Koga. Tourne tourne. 2010. 152 x 110 cm. Hand embroidery on cotton.


Rieko Koga. Des Pas. 2013. 65 x 49 cm. Hand embroidery on linen.

Rieko Koga, adiposity a Japanese artist living and working in Paris, works by hand to create responsive, spontaneous embroideries based on her environments. I thoroughly appreciate the balance of weight within her work as well as the variety of scale.



Christine Mauersberger. Timelapse. 2014. Hand stitched embroidery thread on silk/wool broadcloth. 45″ x 45″


Christine Mauersberger. Life Lines. 2012. Linen, Silk/Cotton thread, hand stitched. 40″ x 36″

American artist, Christine Mauersberger seeks to encapsulate the passage of time through mark making on cloth. Through walking she makes maps of her thought process and passage ways and depicts her journey through stitch. The calmness that hand stitching brings Mauersberger mimics the meditative nature of her walks.

I appreciate the balance between dense areas of overlapping or density with either small or larger areas of blank space that allows the eye to rest. The two pieces above reflect a spontaneous and organic nature of absorbing the surface of the cloth.



Richard McVetis. Displaced. 2008. Hand stich on wool. 28 cm x 56 cm.


Richard McVetis. Five O’Clock Shadow. Capturing a moment in time through stitch. A sunny floor in Madrid. 2013. Hand stitch on wool. 19cm x 19cm.

British artist, Richard McVetis, works with the process of repetition to document space, time and form. McVetis compares the similarities between materials of pen on paper and thread on fabric to create simple imagery that examines subtle differences through repetition of mark making. McVetis is a great example of organization and structure that I respond quite positively to.

One aspect I have yet to come across that I am interested in exploring within my work is the expansion of a thread that is the same colour as the cloth and mimicking it’s weave. If it works out as I imagine it will have a very curious tension and add an extra weight to the cloth without using colour or form.


The New Mending

For my Pechakucha I was inspired by Jonnet Middleton’s essay Mending which looks at the rise of modern day visible mending. Through mending we create a relationship between what we do within the garment and what the garment has endured through that activity.


My favourite denim endured a disastrous accidental dryer incident which split high tension areas to shreds. Unable to completely conceal the repair I embraced the wear and tear for an obvious woven repair.


While I compiled my presentation I realized that something that I valued and appreciated so greatly had little to no involvement within the production of my embroideries. As I approach the beginning of my next embroidery I have been taking mending elements such as darning and patches and into consideration.

Something that I’ve been feeling is missing from my work is a spontaneous, no rx responsive element. Mending in its truest form is extending the functional life of an object by repairing areas of wear. These repairs, when not made invisible, can feel like invasions across the cloth and create a sense of tension.

My next series of smaller scale embroideries focuses on playing with exploratory mark making that interrupts the linear construction of the linen. The stitches are in favour of mending a cloth that doesn’t require mending but instead embraces the techniques and aesthetic elements of mending.


Folk Elements in Fashion

returned to NeoFolk series

Clockwise from left: Akif Mahmood, there Valentino, skincare
Kenzo, Dries Van Noten, Matilda Temperley


After researching traditional folk costume, I keep recognizing many similar designs on fashion runways. Meticulous, time-consuming traditional processes lend chronomanual value to high-end, luxury fabrics. Embellishment in the form of embroidery and appliqué, and intricate construction techniques such as lace making and tapestry, give rich exotic texture and a sense of history.

Clockwise from left: Naeem Khan, Erdem, Tadashi Shoji, Etro

The irony is that many of these valuable traditions have been preserved and passed on by the underprivileged and marginalized in society. The designers are given the glory while the makers receive little or no recognition for their work. Are these trends trickling up or down? Is it posh or peasant? Homage or appropriation?



Caroline Forde Designs


Hello! My name is Caroline and I am a recent graduate from Sheridan College’s Textile Design program. I have recently joined ACAD’s fibre community this fall. Here you can see the work I’ve created in my previous program. I’ll be adding new work I’ve made at ACAD during the winter break!

I use squarespace as my website platform and I have to admit using this site is pretty fantastic. Students receive 50% off their first year of signing up! The website is very easy to navigate and put together making it user friendly. Plus they have great tech support and online instructions if you need help using the site. It’s definitely worth checking out.

You can view my website at

You can check out Squarespace at

Happy Thursday!

Stained by an Artist’s Hand

In doing research for my grad paper I came across an artist who also works with stain. Erin Endicott’s work Healing Sutras is very beautiful, prescription it’s a blend of antique linens, caries stitching and ink.

“The Healing Sutras”

Antique fabrics, clothing and linens
My dowry passed down through generations
My history woven into this cloth
A fine cotton tablecloth
Lovingly mended by my great-grandmother
Becomes a little girl’s dress

Delicate cloth
Beautifully worn and threadbare
Stained by an artist’s hand
Walnut ink flowing into complex organic shapes
Subtleties of value, depth
Bringing the wound to life

Lost in the meditation of stitching
Repetition, contemplation
From within the fabric
Memories reveal themselves

Stitches, like words
The story grows
Lines graceful, unfurling
Drawing with thread
The Healing begins

-Erin Endicott

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Although her concept for working on the stains is not quite the same as mine, I am inspired by her “healing stitches.” I am planning on adding some beads to my pieces… if they ever arrive in the mail…



Textiles in a Hungarian grandma's house. Photo: Heidi Friesen
Textile collection from a Hungarian grandma’s house. Photo: Heidi Friesen

In July I participated in an artist residency with D’CLINIC Studios in Zalaegerszeg, artificial Hungary and Lendava, search Slovenia. I had the opportunity to see some amazing traditional domestic textiles, and and even learn a few embroidery techniques. I also found some old linen remnants at the Zalaegerszeg market, and they are now serving as the foundation for some embroidery experiments of my own.

Continue reading “Neo-Folk”

Finding the Good Stuff: Silk Thread

In my embroidery practice it is important to my concepts to find the right materials. The right materials being specifically silk thread. I wasn’t entirely happy with the cotton thread found at Michael’s and other regular craft stores I had usually worked with.  Though on the pricey side, drug silk is definitely worth it in my eyes for the final result. I googled multiple times and asked around our department about where one could find 100% silk embroidery thread. I figure now I should have gone to Jolie first as she mentioned  that she used to teach embroidery.

After some research I found Traditional Stitches. My first trip out to the store was a confused one as it is located inside a house in Bearspaw, on the outskirts of Calgary. Traditional Stitches has a wide selection of threads among the other items you may find helpful in your own material search. It hasn’t been busy either of the times I have visited and the ladies there are extremely helpful. I would definitely recommend checking them out, it’s worth your gas and dollars.

ts1   ts2  ts3

**I would recommend visiting them in-store over ordering online. Here is their address:

261051 Bearspaw Road Calgary, Alberta Canada T3R 1H6


Hello, Frankie

In my search to find a new art journal, sovaldi sale I stumbled across Frankie. Frankie is a bi-monthly Australian Magazine that covers everyday life happenings and most importantly, sildenafil art, hygiene design and craft!


On their blog there are sections separating these three topics from each other, bringing an interesting conversation to how a magazine views the differences and similarities between them. Here I found a variety of multi-media artists including textile artists. Most of the art on their page could be categorizedas cute, mundane or even slightly kitschy.

Regardless this magazine is worth an inspection. My favourite artist I found on Frankie is Sula Fay and her embroidery with her own hair onto doilies:

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Find artists printed in Frankie Magazine here:

And Fay’s artwork here:



Push & Pull: Fibre Artist Aly Barohn


Push No. 1                                                Umber No.1

(Wooden dowel, story natural cotton canvas, and-dyed cotton embroidery.)

Aly Barohn is an American fibre artist who has come to my attention over the summer and has become one of the main influences on my studio practice this year. She works primarily with the technique of embroidery, with each stitch she creates conforming to a geometric or organic shape. Her work is commonly displayed as wall hangings and embroidered onto heavier material such as natural cotton canvas. All of the materials she uses are natural; some of her threads even hand-dyed herself. Aly began her career as a costume designer, slowly making the switch to become the textile artist she is today. She also runs her own vintage clothing shop.

I’m interested in her work because it communicates with the themes I am studying. Her pieces appear to relate to paintings visually through the thick canvas material supporting her pieces, and the fact that they hang on the wall. The colour gradient visible in all her pieces connects to my study of colour theory this semester. The balance of simplicity and complexity is an added bonus that I find visually appealing, and is something I would like to refine in my own work.


Check out her work here:

and her blog here:


References & Photos:

“ALY BAROHN.” ART&ARTICLE. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

“Work – Aly Barohn.” Work – Aly Barohn. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015