Porcupine Fish Embroidery Adventures

I fell in love with puffer-fish last fall after going to the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston. There were lots of fish in this family, including a particularly charming Porcupine fish I affectionately named Steve.

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Steve became the subject of a pet project meant to help me relax in the evening, especially on nights when I feel particularly stressed out. The embroidery process is quite meditative and it’s nice to “Netflix and chill” while poking needles into stuff.

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After transferring my drawing of Steve to Super Sticky Fabri-Solvy I began to create some basic stitches – trying to re-acclimate to the media after over a decade away. It took awhile to find my rhythm again. I couldn’t create a French Knot for crap for the first little bit until I remembered the tricks.

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After awhile I nixed the Fabri-Solvy and dissolved it away. This made it much easier to see Steve and create more subtle color variations. As you can see, I haven’t photographed these during the same lighting and I haven’t really done much to try to ensure that the color is super accurate – my bad…

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I began to work more free-style in the background. I was inspired by old illustrations of coral and various sea-life embroidery samples seen on Pinterest. I feel like I’ve been able to develop the forms fairly well without pre-sketching them out.

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Working in this fashion feels very exploratory – I don’t know what the form will be and I don’t know how the stitches will work out after a time. The wool felt surface I’m working on is pretty forgiving when I need to cut something out as it doesn’t show a lot of holes.

This is still in progress but I feel like I’m getting someplace good with it. In the last few months I’ve only worked on it a little here and there and so it’s taking a long time. However, I think I’m getting quicker and more confident. As I stitch I’ve begun to develop ideas for additional works – many involving paper.

It will be interesting to see where this goes later on once I have time to work on some of these ideas. For now, I’m just enjoying seeing Steve’s smiling mug and playing with color and texture. Eventually when I finish this off I plan to frame it for my studio. I’ll make sure to share a more accurate color image of it at that time (although the color below is perhaps the closest to the original).

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