Daily Archives: February 3, 2010

Art with My Needle ~ Week 24

Today I am taking this slot in a different direction – right back to the beginning.

Pattern and Design.

Where to start?

Paper and pencils – Set your hand on a piece of paper and draw around it.  Yes!  Just like a child does at Kindergarten.  Already you have a design.  Remember no two hands are the same.  A series of straight lines thick or thin, or circles overlapping provide ideas.  A page of text forms a pattern, how many times have you looked at a printed page and seen an image, not from the meaning of the words but the shape of the words, sentences and paragraphs?

Give a young child some paper and pencils and leave them to play for a few minutes and they will provide plenty of abstract designs with their doodles.  Come on, we have all seen similar pieces hanging in Art Galleries and wondered what they are doing there or what they were supposed to be.  Time to begin doodling in monochrome or by adding some colour.  Hold two pencils together and draw with them as one.

Threads, string or knitting wool – Take a length of any of these and loosely gather it into your hand then drop it from head height onto a piece of paper and it will give an abstract pattern.  Soak the string in poster paints or randomly paint along the string and drop on the paper, then cover with another sheet of paper and place a heavy book on top or roll with a rolling pin to help transfer the paint to paper.

Rubberbands – Dropped on paper as suggested with the string. Try this on the scanner or use the digital camera and print out a copy of the photo on paper. Sometimes the shapes and not the lines become important.

Keys – particularly old ones form great patterns.  Arrange in repeat form, in a circle or in mirror image.

Kitchen utensils – graters, sieves and cake cooling trays all give pattern

Fruit and vegetables – whole, in segments or cut crossways.  I once used a cross section of a savoy cabbage as a design for a brooch.

Natural sponge and seaweed



Peeling paint – can give wonderful colouring and layer effects.

Trees and branches – Great for pattern

Leaves – particularly skeletal ones give magical lacy effects.

Back when I was working for the City & Guilds, among the names we looked to for inspiration were Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn.  In those days we had to cross the channel to mainland Britain to attend a workshop or hear them talk.  Now they have joined forces and the workshops come to us and in the video below we can see how Needle Art has developed in recent years.

If you are hungry for more ideas follow this link to another video by Ele Carpenter, Curator of the Open Source Embroidery Exhibition in San Francisco, California.  Now did you ever think of using GPS as a beginning for Needle Art?