Paper and Thread

The good thing about having an interest in a variety of different arts and crafts is that when one well is dry (as it often will become), you can pass the time with another until it returns.  My favorite thing is drawing in ballpoint pen and painting with inks, watercolors, and acrylics.  But when a dry spell recently hit (for me, it happens in sort of all the same ways you might describe how a pen runs out of ink), I decided to revisit some embroidery.

I don’t have a lot of formal knowledge of embroidery, necessarily, but I’ve had a lot of fun working on embroidery projects in the past…


I am constantly inspired by the work of Michele Carragher, the embroidery artist from Game of Thrones.  While I don’t have the patience for the amazing expression and detail she puts into her work (hey, we can’t win ’em all, right?), I think there’s something so beautiful about the mixture of mediums.

I’ve tried it a time or two, mixing my illustrations with embroidery–this portrait of Jinkx Monsoon was one of my first.  I wasn’t sure how the paper would hold up, so I actually glued a very thin piece of fabric on the back side of the paper to help keep it sturdy, and just played with practicing stitches.


So this time, taking an old illustration I had done of (coincidentally) Catelyn Stark from Game of Thrones, I decided to practice a few of my stitches right onto the illustration.


On paper, it’s good to do simple stitches, but I’m curious how it would hold up to a lot of very tight, very detailed stitchwork.  Mine is more wild and simple and wonky.  And as much time as I spend on these, imagine if I were to REALLY take my time!  Heheheeh.


My favorite thing in all my work is mixing very soft things with very hard, or very sweet things with very bold.  I love these little metal jewelry jumpers; they seem to add a sort of “armor” to Catelyn…which also suits her character in the movie & in the books.


As much of a perfectionist as I am, I do not always take my work quite as seriously.  I enjoy just playing with the shapes, and mixing them together.  I’m pretty lenient with experimentation.  Mistakes WILL be made…


So this is a closeup of the final piece….which sort of happens whenever I just decide I’m done.


So when I’m really into something, I sort of obsess over it.  If it’s my “project du jour,” then it sort of always hovers around me when I have to do other day-to-day things.  With this project, I decided (as I sometimes do) to risk going ahead and working on it while our 4-year old played around doing her own projects.

Of course, it wasn’t long before she asked to “help.”

Well, I DO have boundaries, and this is one I didn’t really want her “help” with!  So, to be fair, I told her that this was a project I was working on by myself, but that I could show her how to do one of her own.  First, she had to draw something to sew on….so she quickly drew some sort of little creature.

From there, I let her pick out thread, and I sort of pushed the needle up for her (letting her dictate where the stitches should go) and let her pull it through herself, even showing her how to hold onto the thread so it doesn’t come unlooped…


…Not that she was always successful in pulling it correctly.  But seeing as she’s sort of afraid of needles and pokey things, I still see it as a win.  These kinds of things are good steps for her…


And this is her final piece!  I think she calls it a sort of horse, with a long, flowing mane, but to me it looks like a horse harp.  🙂

Eh, art.  It’s all about the experience, right?



11 responses

  1. I really like the mixing of these mediums. I’ll have to give it a try. The additions of beads, metal parts, etc is quite appealing. Yea!!!

  2. New dimensions, new textures, new experiments … I love it. Thanks for sharing so generously.

  3. I really love this type of mixed media! Your art is really amazing!

    This reminds me of the time I saw embroidered x-rays. I really appreciate your addition of hardware to the mix!

    Keep it up!



  4. stephcloutierartist | Reply

    I love mixing the two mediums, too! I did it for a self-portrait I made a while back. I love the Jinkx portrait

  5. Very interesting to add extra texture with the embroidery and beads! Love your art!

  6. These are beautiful! Have often thought about embroidering some of my photos but never followed through. You are now inspiring me to.

  7. You are mixing two of my favourite things. Embroidery and GoT. Maybe I should start embroidering again…

  8. I love it! The thread and detail really add a depth and texture the illustrations! Keep doing them! I think the horse harp is adorable too 🙂 The mixture of the mediums work – you have something great there!

  9. See the well doesn’t really run dry. Love the combination.

  10. I’m so inspired to try something like this! Thank you for the post! Love the inclusion of metal, great use of texture.

  11. That bird is stunning, and I love how your daughter joins in with what you do. Mine tried, but her interest wasn’t there. She’d quickly run off to do other stuff. Now she’s 19 and those days are gone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: