Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Wood Stitchery experiment by Robyn Gordon

For the past few months I've been experimenting with stitching wood. It's quite hard on the hands but I love the effects of rusty wire threading through weathered wood.

Recently I stumbled across Tricia North's work. Tricia stitches paper, fabric, canvas and slate.

Slate, gold leaf and stitching by Tricia North. See more on Tricia's website here.

More stitchery by Tricia North. See Tricia's Flickr photostream here.

Regeneration by Sheila Cahn. See more of Sheila's work here.

I discovered Sheila Cahn's work on Jackie's blog.
"I work with translucent natural fabrics, which I hand dye, then layer like a painter working with water colours, before machine stitching. By cutting through, I am able to reveal an infinite variety of subtle colour relationships." - Sheila Cahn
Bits and Pieces 3 byChristina Massey. See more of Christina's work here and here.
" I “kill” my traditionally framed paintings by cutting and tearing them apart, then mend them together by thread, a series of knots or weaving them together again giving them new life as a different form." Christina Massey

Beautiful hand stitched quilts by Judy Martin. See Judy's exhibition blog here.

"I love to stitch. I love the look and power of old quilts. I love the story telling and the many layers of meaning. I love the connection to the bed and all of life's major and minor rituals and passages. I feel that quilts are a woman artist's most honest medium." - Judy Martin

Hummingbird's secret by Jennifer Nerad. See Jennifer's website here.

"I am inspired by the subtleties of grey and colors approaching grey. Where is that edge when blue-grey turns into yellow-grey? I marvel at the power of water when I gaze out at the ocean or turn my windshield wipers on extra high. How can something so soft and gentle turn boulders into sand, mountains into mud? How can the patient, cleansing caresses of the wind carve gashes into stone?" - Jennifer Nerad
Paper, Fabric and Thread by Jade Pegler. See Jade's Flickr photostream here.

Secret Diary 3 by Angela Moll. See more of Angela's work here
"In the Secret Diary series I look inside, into the intimate space where journals are written, where quilts are stitched. The pages of my Secret Diaries are actual journal entries screen printed on fabric. The text records the flow of thoughts and the meandering of attention as I write on the screen with fabric dye. Each fabric page is a layering of different entries, the superimposition of a day onto the next one. I use the collaged and stitched diary fragments to speak about intimacy, communication, as well as privacy and isolation." - Angela Moll

Lake #3 by Nellie Durand . See Nellie's Lake Series here and blog here.


  1. Wow Robyn. Thank you for another fabulous and rich post. Love the stitches you have taken on the wood experiment. I bet it is hard on your hands!
    I learned to embroider from my Gram. I still love those stitches and have thought of French knots recently. They are my favorite. My hands remember how I think...

  2. Your stitched wood is a very creative dimension. Heavy gloves needed no doubt. I like stitching on most anything. All of the artists you introduced are very inspiring.

  3. I love your bewtchery metal stitchery!

    Just before my brother died I wanted to use stitching; and just last night I talked about buying a really heavy duty machine from an old friend who used to make sails for boats with it. So much symbolism in the basic acts of "making" : sew knead knot thread tie tear glue weave. Old basics of life, "civilization". Community.

    Lots again to explore here. Thank u thanda.

  4. love the part about painting with translucent hand dyed fabrics...that makes me want to stitch! As always I love your blog, I need to make my way back here more often!

  5. A fascinating post Robyn. I love the idea of pristine things being ruined and then give rebirth by being stitched into a different form. Love the bright, graphic textile work of Angela Moll and the intriguing Hummingbird's Secret by Jennifer Nerad. Two completely different works but both beautiful in their own way.

  6. Such an interesting post, Robyn. I was a stitcher for many many years, making "slow cloth"... embroidery and then quilts, and one of these days I'll probably return to it. I feel the pull, especially after reading this post and visiting some of the sites you linked to.
    As a child in the rural south I remember treasured wooden bowls that were stitched back together with wire, to extend their usefulness when new bowls were hard to come by. They weren't done as art but art they became. Wish I had one. And I once had an antique writing desk that split... so I sold it, not realizing that stitching the split back together with a beautiful copper wire would have made it more beautiful.
    Thanks for more inspiration to return to stitching.

  7. An amazing post with an interesting theme, meeting us with so talented artists! I'll enjoy their works slowly , with a smile! I like your stiched piece of wood...

  8. That was a great collection, Robyn. I'm especially taken with your stitching on wood- impressive. There's something comforting about stitches- time goes slower when we stitch by hand.

  9. Thank you for sharing such beautiful works! I'm a painter, but the daughter of a quilter and I love fabric and stitching! Stitching wood is something I would never have thought of...it reminds me of healing somehow...like you would get stitches to close and heal a wound. Thanks for sharing -- I really enjoy your blog!

  10. I love your wire stitches in the wood!! They're lovely and haunting at the same time; they have a fabulous Frankenstein-esqueness!

  11. Oh my goodness Robyn. You have taken the art of stitchery to a whole new level! The ability to connect two pieces of something with thread, wire, twine, or rope is such a great metaphor for the act of connecting--as one human being to another.

  12. my head is spinning
    and needs to be stitched
    back on my head!!
    each image would GET ME,
    then i'd move on down,
    and BE GOTTEN all over again.
    rich, creative, imaginative

  13. This is a new departure for you Robyn - very impressiv e.

  14. You've done it again, Beautiful. Gathered an intense variety of an art form in one place, so that we are left wanting to travel the world to experience what the artists experienced when creating these story-telling pieces.
    I'm particularly interested in your work, of course. Hope to see more soon.

  15. What an interesting + inspiring post... - stitching wood is a fascinating idea I think - bringing together the hard + the soft...

  16. Great post! Love all those examples. I've tried "stitching" on old wood planks and I love the look of it.

  17. I'm glad you were able to include the link in this lovely post.I love all the stitched pieces you have chosen.
    I did some tiny landscapes like th e 'Lake' piece at the end some time ago.
    Stitching is my favourite thing but I have no art words to go with it. I just have to do it. You are Art propelled, I am stitch compelled.

  18. It's an honor to have my work included in this post. To view "The Lake" installation piece that is my summer's work, click on the label by that title. It is comprised of 25 panels and will measure 9'x7'... all made of recycled materials in a collage technique I call "ortwork".

  19. well you know how I love to stitch, you had me with the title in my side bar! these are spectacular!

  20. yum. stitching wood? that is so cool. I love the intimacy of hand stitching - knowing that each hole has been thoughtfully and intentionally set and made, with thread pulled through to hold something else together - there is something very fragile and strong about the process and result. another favorite stitcher of mine is Jude over at Spirit Cloth... xo

  21. Wow! Stitching wood - and I think it's hard enough stitching through several layers of fabric and needing a needle! I love the grey pieces as well - I love seeing how many shades I can get when I dye. And, oh, that lake piece is amazing too - it has those same blue/grey colors I adore.

  22. How do you do that?? I love your stitched wood!! I also enjoyed reading your previous post about the door of protection. Beautiful.

  23. What a fabulous post Robyn. Thank you for introducing me to some wonderful artists. I love your work with stitching wood. You are definitely an inspiration.

  24. As ever you have left me speechless! and stitchless! will have to devote more time to looking. each artist's work is amazing! thank you so much for finding all these wonderful people!

  25. Thanks for using my images.
    LOVE your stitching in wood work really well together

  26. Thank you for posting a photo of my work on your most wonderful blog, Robyn. I loved looking at all that you have gathered. They are so inspiring.
    This blog is a great example of the power of the internet being used to connect like minded people around the world. Wow and wow.

    re: the stitching on wood, I love that too. Was in Alaska this past weekend and we went to the anchorage museum and saw dresses made from metal with shell buttons and beads sewn to them with copper wire. The artist's name is Rebecca Lyon. Your piece reminds me of hers.

  27. Thanks for the comments Robyn, as usual I am rather late in seeing your post, I love looking at what you find.
    Just want a bit of me time but I am sure there will be more upsets.
    Would you like the little pin? He wasnt for any reason and I would love you to have him.

  28. Oh wow! I love every stitch! But I realllly love yours. Wood and wire and stitches- how perfect!

  29. This is one after my own heart! Lovely!
    But the first picture is really the thrill of it all! xox

  30. What a glorious post...I loved each and every stitch!!!
    Your stitched wood is amazing Robyn, so beautiful.

    Jacky xox

  31. Robyn, I am in awe of your wood stitching...love the raw design and texture...very organic.
    Tricia's work is beuatiful and interesting...we have a slate roof and I have a collection of the fallen pieces which I sometimes use in assemblages.
    Sheila and Christina works are so intriguing...I love the construction and desconstruction aspect.. it's amazing how the photos you've chosen have similar palettes.
    Thanks again for a wondeful post opening with my favorite piece of all..yours.

  32. Leslie, it is hard on the hands but with thinner wire it will be a lot easier.

    Lisa at Greenbow, I love a running stitch on almost anything.

    Mansuetude, it would be great to see what you do when you get the heavy duty machine :-) I have a feeling you are hiding many talents. Thanda.

    Diane, these pieces do stir the creative juices don't they.

    Cathy, have a look at the rest of Angela's work in her Secrets series. Really gorgeous pieces! Jennifer's work has a charm of its own. Understated but amazing.

    Jo Reimer, slow cloths intrigue me so! Wooden pieces are often fixed with wire stitching here in Africa too .... as well as binding with raffia and leather strips. I'm smiling at the thought of your antique desk stitched back together with copper wire.

    Rossichka, it is amazing how many different mediums I found embellished with stitching. Tricia North even stitched a zipper between 2 pieces of slate.

    Shayla, I'm so tempted to start stitching a slow cloth on cold winter evenings in front of the fire.

    Cynthia, stitching and healing a wound is a different way of looking at it and I rather like the thought of stitching and healing wood.

    Willow, I'm enjoying everyones take on stitching wood :-)

    Hannah, stitches as an act of connecting ... I like that.

    Neva, aren't these artists brilliant!?

    Thanks Weaver.

    Deej, they do tell stories in so many individual ways.... amazing!

    Ger, I am inspired by your stitching too.... the crisp, fresh beautiful pieces that you create.

    Thespa, all over Africa weathered gourds and wooden vessels are stitched to prolong their function for as long as possible. They have a beauty that no new vessel could ever have.

    Jackie, your work doesn't need words .... just the stitches.
    I was so taken with Sheila's work when I discovered it on your blog.
    The Thames piece caught my attention immediately.

    Nellie, I enjoyed studying each piece in your Lake series. Each one brought back memories of similar waterscapes and colours that I have experienced at the opposite end of the world.

    Cat, your work always delights me. Glorious stitchery!

    Karin, Jude's work and the intuitive way she works has intrigued me ever since I discovered the first slow cloth on her blog.

    Heather, the other Lake pieces in Nellies series are so beautiful. They bring back wonderful memories of many holidays spent at beaches or lakes here in South Africa.

    Oogleboops, How do I stitch wood? .... slowly :-)

    Thanks so much Zappha.

    Lyle, I enjoyed every minute of it. The joy is in the search.

    Tricia, thank YOU!

    Judy, your work always inspires me. Thanks for mentioning Rebecca Lyon. I googled her and found several interesting pieces.

    Penny, thank you so much. If you can bear to part with him I would love to have him. Hope everything settles down for you and you get some "me-time" soon.

    Lucky Dip Lisa, I thought you would love the stitchery! Your work always inspires me and in fact your pieces were amongst the first paper stitcheries to catch my attention way back when I discovered your blog.

  33. mind blowing as usual! and i love that nellie's work is here too..what an honor to be on your blog :) powerful all of the artists and your stiched wood is really cool already! unreal looking.

  34. Stitching wood!! Wonderful and all the other examples of stitches in art. My heart connects to stitching from my childhood effort of sewing and later incorporating this into art...you've touched my heart with this beautiful post!

  35. You've done it again Robyn. Sharing fabulous artists.
    Judy's work has always made me swoon. I am trying to picture you stitching through wood, wow. Your door in the last post I showed to all of my friends in Chicago and got so many wow comments you would not believe it!!!

  36. I just came for an early morning wander Robyn and was so delighted to trail through these beautiful and stunning and original works.

    Your curating is magical and it is such a gift to the artists and to us all to be able to view a whole magnificent post on a thread of ideas - in this case 'thread' being the operative word!

    I love that the blogosphere opens up such possibilities for deeper and broader connections, ideas, processes and exchanges.

    Never was it such an important time for us globally to find community and kinship.... and I do think this is a beautiful contribution to that Robyn!

  37. Oh, what a post,Robyn!
    Can't tell you how much I adore your stiching on wood photo. It awakens something inside me that I have no words for.
    Just what art is supposed to do!

    Thanks so much for the time you take to find these other artists. I'm sure there's a lot to see,,there always is.
    (but I know right now that I won't see anything I like more,,,or as much as your stiching)

  38. I love the hand stitched quilt and the journal.

    I can't imagine how you are managing to sew on wood. Your creativity astounds me.

  39. Very inspirational blog !
    Love your stitches on wood, love rusted pieces in general which is maybe the next step... Like the idea that time is going to finish the work beautifully !

  40. loving your stitching into wood, wow!

    thank you for sharing the rich inspiration of these several artists, i feel more juicy and inspired after coming here.

  41. oh good grief! what a lot of inspiration here, robyn! thank you!!

    love the stitching on wood!

    all of this stitching resonates powerfully...


  42. Love it! -- Susan
    Looks great in wood. You are motivating me to try somthing similar in clay.-- Don

  43. What a needle and thread can do...
    love your wire and wood piece.

  44. Such creativity - your stitched wood is quite amazing and a lovely detail! I love stitching so this is such an inspirational post. Thank you Robyn!

  45. I just loved this Robyn! You've really inspired the heck out of me...I love everything I've seen and read here. Thanks so much!!!

  46. Another fabulous and inspiring post Robyn...very interesting to see the stitching you are doing...another group of wonderful artists, a few I am familiar with, but several are new to me so such fun to see their work.

  47. Robyn you have featured many facinating artists and their fabulous works of art!! I love your site.

    A Giveaway is on mine I think you will like!

    Art by Karena

  48. I love your blog and have followed it for some time. These pieces really reesonate with me as I am or was a mixed media textile artist.
    I wonder if you have heard of Clyde Oliver?


  49. Thanks Lawendula.

    Jacky and Lisa,
    you won't believe it .....though you probably will .... I'm making a wooden slow quilt in between my other carvings.

    Paula, thank you! Nellie's work is so soothing isn't it?

    Mary Ann, I suppose we all have connections with stitching from childhood. Something that stays with us.

    Corrinne, happy to hear about the wow comments!

    Sophie, the bloggersphere is indeed the most amazing phenomenon. I love and appreciate being a part of it.

    Babs, you say the nicest things :-)

    Stevie, we are part of a very creative community aren't we?Thanks Sevie!

    Maryline, rusted metal and weathered wood .... love it!

    Katie, so many artists so little time .... its just so wonderful having access to all this art!

    Lynne h, who would have thought ... you can stitch on anything!

    Don and Susan, years ago .... many years ago .... when I did a little pottery I used wire on clay which was then fired for wonderful effects. Actually I've probably mentioned that to you already.

    Hhnb, exactly!

    Caroline, glad you enjoyed it.

    Debrina, I appreciate your appreciation :-)

    Cynthia, it is interesting to see all the different stitcheries. I can't get enough of these amazing images.

    Thanks Karena.

    Lynne, thanks so much and for the link. A new artist for me.

  50. How extraordinary - sewing wood with wire, your poor hand! This post is so fascinating Robyn. Such variety of textures and methods. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate that you stopped by my blog and left your most encouraging comment. Have a lovely day.

  51. I love dropping by your blog Robyn but I always know I'm going to be here for awhile with all of the fabulous things and links you have for us. Thank you for taking the time to source all of these wonderful images for our benefit.

  52. Stitching has been on my mind a lot lately. I joined Jude Hill's cloth to cloth workshop and started stitching with great pleasure...felt like I had come home.
    Then I had hand surgery and now have five stitches on one hand and three on one finger of the other hand...they will come out today :)
    Stitching on wood...wonderful and you did a superb job.

  53. thanks so much for this post... I love stitching, the process and metaphor, though I haven't tried much myself. This just may give me the courage!

  54. You have made me want to stitch today... I am at a place in my paintings that I feel they need something more, (and in my collages, that they need something less). Stitching may be what I need in my paintings. I love what you have done with the wire and the wood. And thank you (again and again)for all your inspiration. Have an incredible week. roxanne

  55. I love it Robyn. The expectation is that stitched items are soft and pliable. I love that you used wire and wood. It still looks like one should be able to bend or manipulate it easily but knowing that's not so makes it even more intriguing.

  56. Robyn-your wood stitches take my breath away! How did you do that?! I love the combination-so thoroughly unexpected! I have always loved wood and other materials-brass inlay, fabric, silver and now...stitches. I also love the metaphoric/symbolic implications...thanks for this amazing view into your world (and all the links!) As always, much to savor and digest... xxx

  57. I have been very busy with my 83 year old Japanese aunt visiting from Hawaii and almost missed this post-- I love all the artists as I love stitchery, fabric, textile, and mixing it all up-- but I can't stand to do sewing or stitching myself-- I had to sew all my clothes growing up in my high school and college years and I now can't stand to do any.. but I love to see others do it..

  58. I love coming over here and always leave feeling inspired.
    Your "stitched wood" is amazing too.

  59. A great, inspiring collection here. I am also drawn to stitching and your stitched wood looks remarkable to me!

  60. j'aime ces expérimentations avec le bois et les aiguilles.. le résultat est déjà formidable.. le fer rouillé est comme une blessure incorporé et assimilé..

  61. As a "once upon a time" quilter - am intrigued with your nailed in stitches and your new blocks! Thinking, perhaps, one day - you could photo your hands. They must be strong. Nimble. And a bit "roughed-up." Thanks for sharing all that you do - I appreciate you!

    And now - I think I hear a washing machine calling out "dryer, dryer, dryer." My signal to move along.

  62. I love your stitched wood piece and the concept. Absolutely gorgeous work from all these wonderful artists. I need to check out the links now. Thank you so much for sharing this Robyn


  63. Gorgeous blog! I'm in love and passed on to friends. Thank you for all of the work you put into these generous images! Bookmarked!

  64. thank you robyn for the inspiration
    William Hudson