At the beginning of February, I decided to embark on a 100 day project where I would craft decorative panels. Working on an intense project like this has been on my life list for a while and I hoped that it would force me to be spontaneous and free in my work. The only perimeters I set for myself was to keep the panels to 3×3″.
With these panels I wanted to let loose and play around with material and technique combinations that have been on my list to explore for some time now. Some panels have inspired others, while some inspirations have come from the people around me. I am already seeing these explorations seep into my binding work. You can follow the daily updates on my Instagram, but over the next 11 weeks, I’ll outline each panel further here on the blog.
Panel No. 1 // Squiggles
To jump start the project, I made a list of about 30 ideas and a handful of sketches. For the first panel I pulled from one of these sketches. It’s a simple design of red buffalo skin with a handmade coral red paper onlay. The paper comes from the Morgan Conservatory and was attached with PVA. The embroidery is a simple looped line stitched with Splendor lilac silk thread in back stitch using a combination of 1- and 2-ply thread.
The panel is photographed on white paper and was made while listening to Jay-Z.
Panel No. 2 // Boys
The illustration of these two boys comes from one of my middle school students created during an exercise in blind contour drawing. I’ve loved this illustration and had fun recreating it in embroidery on leather. The panel is covered in dark grey buffalo skin with hand-painted shapes using Acryla gouache in coral red, misty blue and olive. The embroidery is done in back-stitch and French knots in melon and peacock blue DMC cotton floss. The line weight varies between 1- and 2-ply thread.
The panel is photographed on my bench and was made while listening to Jenny Wilson.
Panel No. 3 // Summer Drops
This panel was a random collection of marks made through colored pencil, paper and embroidery. The panel is covered with handmade Katie MacGregor paper in celadon green. I used Caran d’Ache Luminance colored pencils to create the doodles through the piece. Embroidery was employed in back stitch, seed stitch and French knots using DMC cotton floss in light antique violet, electric blue and khaki brown. There are a few paper onlays in fuchsia Lokta and handmade Katie MacGregor paper in rosewood, all attached with PVA.
The panel is photographed on white paper.
Panel No. 4 // Playdaze
As I was building this panel, it began to remind me of a roller skating rink I often visited as a kid. The panel is covered in maroon goatskin with painted circles using Acryla gouache (coral red and misty blue). The embroidery is done both by hand and with a sewing machine. The electric blue circles were created with the machine; playing with the settings created stitches that were loose and irregular. The bright yellow bursts are stitched with Gloriana silk thread. The French knots with dual tails are done in Splendor lilac silk thread.
Photographed on salmon pink cotton fabric and made while listening to Jay-Z and Jessica Pratt.
Panel No. 5 // Neighborhood No. 1
This design is half of an idea that was rejected by a client during the design phase of their project. I really loved this stack of houses and wanted to see it realized at some point. This panel is covered in mauve buffalo skin with lines tooled in matte bright blue foil.
Photograph with house blocks and made while listening to Joan as Police Woman
Panel No. 6 // Sea Vents
The base leather became the inspiration for the overall design of this panel. It is printed calfskin which was meant to be used for another project, but the printer was low on ink and therefore the color came out wrong. The imagery of the printed calfskin is a photograph of a tide pool (created by Rebecca Chamlee), which inspired me to create a scene of deep sea vents with handmade paper onlays using paper made by Katie MacGregor (celadon with drawn lines in navy blue colored pencil) and the Morgan Conservatory (orchid). Embroidery is done in back stitch in dark melon cotton floss. Long stitches of icy blue cotton floss and gunmetal metallic thread surround the base of the sea vents.
Photographed on paste paper and made while listening to Jay-Z.
Panel No. 7 // Veil
This panel was generated by the drive to use the cloud filling stitch. I wanted to create an irregular pattern with this stitch and allow it live outside the three inches of the panel. The panel is covered with handmade Katie MacGregor paper in celadon green. Dots colored with Caran d’Ache Luminance pencil in spring green. To create the cloud filling stitch, vertical stitches are placed into the paper with old gold DMC cotton floss. The netting effect is created by running a light terra cotton DMC cotton floss under the initial vertical stitches. These running threads were tied at the ends with the tails left visible along the edges.
Photographed on image from Gowanus Waters by Steven Hirsch and made while listening to Joanna Newsom.
Panel No. 8 // Tranquil
This panel is my re-imaging of an object from the Louvre that I found calmed my nerves. The panel is covered with handmade peach Katie MacGregor paper. The object is made from brown St. Armand colored paper and embroidered with various tones of pink: burgundy polyester thread, dark rosewood, light rosewood, and plum cotton floss. French knots created with black brown cotton floss.
Photographed on marbled paper and made while listening to Joanna Newsom and John Wizards.
Panel No. 9 // Outing
I grabbed The Ideation Deck by Julie Chen and Barbara Tetenbaum to help generate the design for this panel. The result combined various textures through paper, leather and embroidery. The panel is covered in tomato red St. Armand colored paper with onlays of soft pearl mint crinkle paper and pastel marbled paper outlined in a whipped back stitch using dark teal green and light nile green cotton floss. The accordion map is an onlay of cornsilk cowhide with edges painted with lilac Acryla gouache. Route stitched in dark rosewood DMC cotton floss with points stitched in French knots using light beige grey DMC cotton floss.
Photographed against a vintage Replogle globe and kaiju figurine.