Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shake it Up!

Okay, I just received a challenge from an anonymous reader. In case you missed it, here it is from my last post:

Anonymous said...

icebat sure does look handsome next to your woolly pillow and vice versa. you seem like such a nice, placid sort of gal. but whatever happened to your embroidery "with an edge"? let's see more of that!

Ouch! Nice, maybe - but placid? I can't take it! So here it is. I've been sitting on this since I finished it this summer, but now I'm breaking it out.

Here's how it works:

It starts with a photo, that I bought from a Chelsea flea market - one that actually still exists (as of this writing):

Believe it or not, this project has effectively been a few years on the making. I first made a pen and ink drawing based on it:

I think the lady on the right looks a little like Karen from Will and Grace. That wasn't intentional!

This is one of my favorite drawings I've ever done. It's definitely influenced by underground cartoon art, such as Charles Burns, the Hernandez Brothers, and one of my all-time favorites, Dan Clowes, circa Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron era.

So, this summer, I picked it up and tried to turn it into embroidery. I traced the drawing (not the original photo) onto fabric using standard carbon paper. Long live the small stationary store!

Unfortunately, my first try didn't work out so well. I don't even have that anymore to show you. This is the second try, which is horrible, so you can just imagine how bad the first one was:

It was really hard for me to let this go, because the above represents hours and hours of embroidery. Oh well! I got it right the third time - but I did do several different takes of color combinations on the nipples before I was satisfied.

I tried to stick to a limited color palette, almost like one might do for a screen print.

I love and hate doing hair. It's incredibly time consuming - but what can you do? Hair is important!

I'm very happy with how the necklace on "Karen" turned out. The blue beads were made by doing a pretty standard back stitch in a circle, and then placing a French knot in the middle.

This was surprisingly hard to photograph! It looks a lot better in person - in the pic, the lady on the left looks like she's giving you the evil eye! But it's an optical illusion.

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