Ronald Cribbins is a large silver birch machine embroidery, a work in progress. His back story and beginnings were told last week , so he has history, he has context, just needs to be made.
The Ronald is worked in only 2 colours, a fine dark petrol blue rayon thread on the trunk and dark olive green on the canopy, any other colour comes from the inclusions of a delicate knitting ribbon.
The trunk is short runs of angular hatching, over lapping and then sparse, trying to give the idea of the texture on the mature tree. It is at about 80% done, leaving space to add in the “silver” if needed. The stitch becomes almost regular at times, like a herringbone weave, but I have tried to keep away from this by being deliberately scruffy and imprecise. Being neat is too easy, I don’t want it to look prettily refined, more rough and rugged.
As a contrast the foliage is done in jerky scribble hatching. It is hard to keep the machine running just that little bit slower so the scribble comes out with uneven stitch lengths and disjointed curves! Out of step with the world again, I strive and slave to achieve imperfection! ( When the machine runs faster and the stitching and shapes are smooth it looked like a tight perm or a Persian lamb coat.)
The knitting ribbon isn’t that coloured but being the only colour on there it stands out far more than I expected. It again isn’t refined – I am expecting the scale to do a lot for me, just short lengths straight off the ball and trapped beneath the stitch. Nothing fancy or clever at all. The joy of working this big is the space, things have to be bold, direct and simple or they get swallowed whole.
Inspite of this robust approach Ronald is looking kind of wispy and a bit wimpy all on his own, apologetic about the space he is taking up.
The original Ronald was growing in a small wood, so there was a lot of trunk with a mad tufty hairdo of foliage at the top. Without that company he does look rather spindly, a bit mannered. The temptation was to fill him out a little, I have given in a little, but have compromised and introduced a chorus line of background trees to keep him company. The stitching is deliberately rough and crude, and all in greys, the focus is on Ronald himself. It hasn’t worked yet, they are in the flamingo stage, but there is hope! and with a foreground sketched in it should balance out more…. still hope.
Other things – there is a couple of spaces on courses left in August- listed on the workshop page. Also dates for your diary – if I could remember them – Great North Art Show in Ripon Cathedral, on over the first half of September, and Staithes Festival the first full weekend in September, plus the York Textile Artists’ show in Novemberish. I write their newsletter, I really should know these things!!
Also contact me to join my own newsletter circulation list, or to discuss…well anything stitchy, arty, exhibitiony.