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Fearless Drawing by Kerry Lemon

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I love to use stitch in my drawings. My stitched work
is rather wobbly, irregular, and obviously done by
hand, but it creates an intimate texture, introduces
craft, and contrasts nicely with the drawn lines on
the page. A quick Google image search of stitched
drawings will reveal a wide range of deeply inspiring
and creative approaches to drawing with stitch. Take
a look at the work of Peter Crawley, who creates
intricate architectural drawings by piercing watercolor
paper with a pin and then using a needle and cotton
thread to join the holes. The patience and speed
taken is recorded in these wonderful pieces, and their
neat, technical rendering becomes truly astonishing
once you look closer and realize that each line is
stitched. For this adventure you can either create a
completely stitched drawing, or embellish an existing
(or brand new) drawing with stitches.
Try completing this exercise WITHOUT lightly drawing
your proposed stitch design in pencil first, as it will be
hard to erase without damaging the holes. Instead
be brave and plunge in freehand. Creating a path
for stitching by piercing all the holes first does slow
down the process, but once the holes are added, the
simple task of joining the dots becomes a relaxing
and meditative one. Enjoy this slower pace and take
time for contemplation.
Drawing as
Stitch
99
STITCHES
Let’s begin by exploring the types of stitch we might want to use in our drawing.
Thread your needle then try the following basic stitches.
Running Stitch
1. Use a needle to push holes into the paper to create a design.
2. From the back of your paper, push your threaded needle up through the first hole
and down through the second hole.
3. From the back of your page, push your threaded needle up through the third hole
and down through the fourth hole.
4. Repeat the process, stitching up from the back of the page and down through the
next hole, linking all the holes you have made with stitches.
5. Once you’ve completed the stitching, pull the thread to the back of your page and
tie a knot to prevent your stitches from unraveling.
Back Stitch
1. Use a needle to punch holes in your paper, creating a design.
2. Use running stitch to connect the first two holes.
3. From the back of the page, push the needle up to the next hole.
4. Thread the needle back through the end of the first running stitch hole to create a
continuous line.
5. Continue stitching up from the back and through the last stitch, working your way
down the row of holes.
6. Once you’ve finished stitching, pull the thread to the back of your page and tie a
knot to prevent your stitches from unraveling.
100 > Fearless Drawing
Cross Stitch
1. Use a needle to pierce four holes per cross stitch. Imagine a square and pierce a hole
through each of the four corners.
2. Thread your needle and come up from the back of the page through the hole in the
bottom left corner of the first cross-stitch square.
3. Stitch on the diagonal and bring the thread down through the top right hole.
4. Come up through the bottom right hole and again stitch diagonally across the
square, then down through the top left hole to make a cross.
5. Once you’ve finished stitching, pull the thread to the back of your page and tie a knot.
TIPS
If you have a thicker piece of paper or thin piece of cardstock, use that for this exercise rather than the thin printer paper we have been using.
You MUST create the holes in the paper first, and then use the threaded needle to join the dots. The paper is not as flexible as fabric, so if you
try to create the hole and sew through it at the same time, it is likely to tear.
Place a sheet of foam core or corrugated cardboard under your page to protect your table or surface from pin holes.
French Knots
1. Use a needle to pierce a hole in your paper.
2. From the back of the page, pull the threaded needle through the hole.
3. Wrap the thread around the needle twice, keeping thread near the point.
4. Push the wrapped needle through the hole, leaving a knot on the surface of the paper.
5. Once you’ve finished stitching, pull the thread to the back of your page and tie a knot.
Drawing as Stitch > 101

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