Slow stitching is where there are no patterns or plans for the thread, its a time to
let your mind go and let your hands lead.
I was honoured to be asked by Marutsca from the Seychelles, to decorate one of her pure linen gowns in which ever way I want. She has given 10 gowns worldwide to decorate and these will be used to launch her new linen range.
I start by foraging what I need, and in this case it was Black Wattle logs which I boil for approximately 2 hours and then leave over night or longer to draw the colour from the wood.
I then dip the fabric which I have soaked in soya milk ( but wasn’t really necessary as the black wattle has natural tannin in it) into the pot of cooled and strained water. I dipped the fabric about two thirds into the black wattle and then dipped the bottom section in a rusty water which changes the colour to a dark grey.
Once done hang up in the shade to dry and leave for a couple of days to cure.
Next Stage, slow stitch
I wash the fabric in pH neutral soap, i.e. Woolite or even baby shampoo, rinse and hang in the shade again, the sun will fade the colour after time, as it will any fabric.
Once dry I start to slow stitch the fabric, I chose the 3 colours of the fabric to stitch, it has taken me 3 months on and off to complete, but at least a couple of hour a day.
This has been a wonderful opportunity, and slow stitch is a form of therapy which calms the mind.
Beautiful one of a kind eco printed cushion covers on hemp, linen and cotton,
Unusual cushions for unusual decor, bringing the outside in, perfect for natural environments. Hand printed with actual plants such as eucalyptus, black wattle, fynbos and many other plants, some hand embroidered with slow stitching.
To start off I go foraging in the forest or on the riverbank close to where I live. During the winter storms old trees often get blown over which is a great opportunity for getting the top leaves I couldn’t reach before.
My walks give an abundance of leaves, grasses and flowers to choose from, I prefer to pick up windblown leaves, its also very experimental not knowing which plants will give colour, it also depends on the soil, the water in the area and whether the leaves get a lot of sun or not, the underneath of the leaf often give a better impression and colour than the top side. After some time you learn which ones work for you and after a lot of research too.
I sometimes feel like a witch brewing her potions of bark, leaves and berries and anything else plant-wise I can find. If I’m making a dye-bath with Eucalyptus the kitchen smells heavenly, but not always with other plants ….
After soaking the silk in a mordant and then a dye-bath, then leaving it to dry and cure, the fun part starts with the placing of the plants on the silk and bundling it tightly around a stick or dowel, steaming for approximately 2 hours, letting it cool overnight if you can wait, then the exciting part of unravelling the bundle to see what Nature has given you.