Sunday, July 10, 2011

The method to the madness

I'm frequently asked to talk about my design process.  Here goes.

When a piece first comes across my design table I like to get an impression of overall style.  I decide whether the piece is primitive, elegant, cute, funky etc.  It's at this point that I bring the client's style into the design.  If my client leaves it up to me, (which is most often the case) I let the piece make the decisions for me.  I assume that my client sent me this piece because he/she loved it enough to spend a great deal of time stitching it, so I embrace the style of the piece and jump right in.  This first impression will guide me in choosing whether to use mats, what style molding to use, and it gives me a direction for embellishment of the mats.

I begin by picking mats. I usually assume that my client has gone to the expense of sending a piece to me because they want mats with my signature embellishments.  I almost always use mats unless the piece really doesn't need them.  (I'm framing more and more reproduction samplers lately that really just require a special frame to set them off.) I will generally use a color that is dominant in the design for the top mat.  I will then choose one or more bottom mats that further enhance the design.

Once I'm happy with the color scheme and contrast of the mats, I move on to the frame.  I tend to use frames with interesting embellishment or texture in order to pull the whole design together.  For example, if a piece has a dominant autumn motif, I may find a frame with an acorn or oak leaf design.  It's at this point that I will then adjust one or more of the mats in order to make the overall design have a cohesive look.

By this point in the process, I almost always have a clear idea of what I want to paint or carve in order to bring the design to it's full potential.  I tend to be very spontaneous when painting and carving.  If I'm "borrowing" a motif from the design of the piece, I may sketch it out to get it right, but I really would rather
let the embellishment happen organically.

This, of course is ideally how the process works.  Sometimes, a piece will sit on my design table for a day or so before the light bulb goes on.  Sometimes I'll wake up in the morning and the skies have parted and there it is.

This week's pictures are pieces that are shipping out on Monday.  Yet again this week I feel blessed to have
the opportunity to work on such extraordinary examples of needlework skill.  Karin and Kay, you are both amazing!

Until next time,
Jill







9 comments:

valerie said...

Beautiful framing Jill! Both stitchers must be thrilled! I really like how you did Karin's red birds.

Wendy said...

The Santa is exquisite! All are beautiful! Great work Kay and Karin!

mdgtjulie said...

Lovely work all the way around. I love the things you paint on your mats. They're gorgeous!!

livingincraftyland said...

Your work is so amazing. I love everything you do but that Santa is absolutely breathtaking. WOW!!!

marly said...

I never saw a more beautiful santa! The piece itself, but the matting, embellishments, and framing - genius. What an eye for this art! All of these pieces are just stunning.

leeni1176 said...

You've made me want to stitch that Santa.....Love it and all of your framing....Kudos to all the stitchers

Plays with Needles said...

Hi Jill. Thanks for commenting on my latest piece on my blog...

This is the second time I've come by to visit and I am enthralled with your work. I would love for you to "frame" me one day!

I just have to think of the perfect piece. How are you at shadow boxes? Much of my work lately is 3-dimensional...

I don't know if I'll ever get my Alice in Wonderland piece back but I SOOO wanted to frame that "wonky" just like in Alice in Wonderland....

I wonder...when you look at people's work...do you see visions of how you might frame it??

We'll have to figure out a way to collaborate...I'm off to put my thinking cap on...email me...xo Susan

demeter83 said...

Hi Jill,

THink that your framing is absolutely gorgeous. Do you ever get pieces from over here in the UK or is it only America?

MysteryKnitter said...

I like the green one with the simple frame.