When looking at a thread painting, you may at first think that you are looking at an actual painting! The aim of thread painting is to create shading effects. This can create a very realistic image. When stitching in this method, you mainly use short and long stitches and stitch in rows to create the softest shading.
We just ordered a few copies of the book A-Z of Thread Painting, edited by Sue Gardner. It is full of information and projects that demonstrate this fun type of needlework. One of the projects that I was particularly impressed by would also be good for someone looking to try out thread painting on a smaller scale. This is the Pear, by Susan O'Conner of Victoria. This project can be completed with stranded cotton on fabric. The only stitches you use are a split stitch, long and short stitch, and back stitch. This book is really great because it gives detailed lists of all the threads and materials you will need and gives step by step instructions, including pictures for each step! I think it would be a great way to get acquainted with thread painting.
Another project that would be great for beginners is this kit, called "The Red Poll." Mary Corbett, of Needle 'n Thread did this piece as an introduction to the style, and I think it came out splendidly! The kit is by designer Tanja Berlin, and as Mary mentioned in a blog about the project, the kit includes thread, fabric, needles, instructions and a color photo of the piece to use as a reference! This piece is really sweet, and it looks like it would be a lot of fun to stitch! Think about being able to accurately represent bird feathers!
In the most recent and final issue of Fiber Arts magazine, there was a great article written by Jamie Chalmers of MrXStitch. Fiber Arts magazine is all about Contemporary Textile Arts and Crafts. The article featured an artist named Cayce Zavaglia. I found her work really inspiring, not just because I love portraiture! This piece, called Carol is hand embroidered using Crewel wool and Acrylic on linen. It is 14 x 38! Check out the detail for an up close image of the stitches. Just amazing! Like the Scarlet Quince piece I featured in our cross-stitch blog, I find that this type of needlework, rather than being intimidating, is more exciting because it is a challenge. When you finish it, you have the satisfaction of knowing you finished something really detailed and also conquered the form! Cayce says in her artist statement "I still consider myself a painter and find it difficult not to refer to these embroidered portraits as 'paintings.' Although the medium employed is crewel embroidery wool, the technique borrows more from the worlds of drawing and painting...Using Wool instead of oils has allowed me to broaden the dialogue between portrait and process as well as propose a new definiteion for the word 'painting'." I think it is interesting when artists look at their art form and other art forms and find a way to combine them to create something new. It will be interesting to see what else Cayce stitches in the future! And, for those of you who have been overwhelmed with a project before, look at this rug, seen in the book Needlepainting A Garden of Stitches by Eszter Haraszty. Amazing! This book was published in 1974 and shows this woman's house and all of the floral inspired thread painted pieces she completed. This piece in particular was quite awe-inspiring, partially because of its size! When looking at it and thinking about all of the small stitches she did, it's definitely a feat worthy of admiration!