Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Mr. Jimmy and the Riomaggiore skyline

"I made a huge mistake" One of my favourite lines from one of the funniest shows that should never have been axed, Arrested Development. I'm hoping all the rumours surrounding a movie release will actually turn out to be true. Sorry for going off on a tangent. This is a post about our latest embroidery, a private commission based on a Rolling Stone lyric and the reason why the images may look a bit blurry.

"Mr Jimmy" as I like to call it was the first piece we completed and sent back from London, it's also quite large. Too large to actually fit into a regular mailing envelope since we were sending it pre-stretched so I made a makeshift package for it. Paranoid that it might get damaged in transit I reinforced my handiwork and packed it pretty darn snug in layers of bubble wrap and card board and sent it off via Royal Mail. But because I was so pre-occupied about the packaging I posted it without taking any proper scans or photos. Dang!! As soon as I got home I realised my huge mistake but it was too late.

Luckily I had been sending progress snaps to the client and had taken a few pics of the finished piece for approval. Sadly most of the shots I took were out of focus happy snaps using my point and shoot Pentax and the lighting was pretty shoddy. So nothing good enough for print but scaled down the blurriness is hardly visible on the web. This is the finished piece it's roughly 40x40 cm

The palette was inspired by the colourful architecture of Cinque Terre (photo by Robert Crum, seen here on the Plenty of Colour site which is an awesome resource of inspirational projects all celebrating colour). I travelled through Europe after graduating from University and fell in love with Riomaggiore, one of the five towns. Everything about the town was magical, from the first glimpse of the clear blue sea as soon as the train clears the tunnel to the patchwork of colours of the town's architecture. It's definitely a must see if you're planning a European holiday and I'm hoping Ca and I get to revisit while we're based in London.

I knew I didn't want to use just cherry red for this artwork (a nod to another line in the lyric) and restrict the design to hues of reds and pinks. So when I came across this image on Plenty Of Colour I thought it was perfect for this embroidery. The cherry red would be mixed up and contrasted with shots of turquoise, green and yellow to create a vivid splash of colour.

I followed our usual process of sketching then inking the lettering in watercolours. Initially the design was against white but I discussed with the client the option of sewing onto black fabric to highlight the colours and give a bit of a twist to the design and I think it turned out really well.

Here is a dodgy snap of me hunched over the magnifying lamp. Besides a couple of pencil cases full of brushes, pens and tiny tubes of watercolours and Ca's sewing bag stuffed full of threads we weren't able to bring a lot of our tools and equipment over over from Sydney. So over the last couple of months we've been slowly re-stocking our "studio" with a lot of boring things like cutting matts and metal rulers and more exciting things like a loom and a standing frame (ok, only exciting for me but I get to stab sew two handed!) One of the first things we hunted down in London was a magnifying lamp to help our poor eyes. This one is a daylight lamp which is handy for night time sewing, showing truer colours.

We have more commissions that are just wrapping up so hopefully will be able to share these with you soon.


littlemiso said...

most amazing! i love your process. it makes it so real.

MaricorMaricar said...

Thanks! We love reading about other people's process and watching "makings-of" too.

Abbey said...

I love this! The colours are so amazing. You two are so, so talented... really makes me want to start embroidery :)