Those of you familiar with my work will know that much of it is done with with cable stitch. Heavy threads are wound onto the spool and I then turn my base fabric over having stitched in basic lines, to work on the reverse. This allows me to build up rich swathes of colour and long unbroken “couched” lines as opposed to the traditional stitched lines that occur with normal machine stitching. The spool runs out every three minutes so it’s quite labour intensive but there is the added element of surprise when I turn back to the front to see what’s happened!
Fine lines and details are then superimposed from the front over the stitched areas and it is usually this that makes or breaks the work. I use a combination of freely drawn stitched lines- rather like working with a pen or pencil to provide texture and contrast, and then precise, often darker lines are added to redefine forms that need re-drawing or have been lost during the stitching process.
The drawing is the beginning, but it never dominates the end result. Each piece evolves as I work. Movement is affected by fabric distortions which I have to try and control, or to work with, and colours can appear to change quite dramatically as I continue to add different threads. The following detail from a new piece should demonstrate what I’m saying