I joined in the recent Phat Quarter swap to celebrate Mr X's 5th birthday of blogging, with the theme of FIVE. I was partnered with Jessica Kelly who is a innovative and wonderous stitcher, who does a lot of stitching on paper. I'd received an amazing piece from her in a previous swap - no pressure!
I wasn't quite sure what to do with the idea of FIVE, but I'd had the idea to stitch a nude for a while, so I started with that. I wanted to embroider a big fat nude - I'm a rounded sort of lady myself, and I think images of a large female body can be very powerful - like the Venus of Willendorf.
I primarily used stab stitch rather than long and short stitch, and went for blocks of shading that followed the contours of her body. I started with no proper sketch, just putting my ideas on the cotton. I began at her legs, and by the time I'd got up to her neck, I didn't want to make her entirely human. I wanted her to be a bit wild. So I gave her a fox's head, playing a flute. She feels magical and wild and dreamlike. It was then I saw how she could tie in with the theme, and I gave her five flowery beads as the musical notes.
I then looked to the background, and used watercolour to give a pale green background, and stitched some ground and tendrils, as though she's emerging from a dream-like forest....