Lush – The Life of a Peacock

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Here’s an update of my peacock embroidery. It is proving one of those embroideries that never seems to be quite ‘right’ somehow. It started out life as a very tight drawing of a peacock which I painted in inks on silk habutai, having done that it looked dull and contrived so I spread a load of salt and splashed and rollered a load of ink on top of what I’d painted. That helped and looked more interesting but the original image still really didn’t work for me so I scrapped the silk and have been cutting bits off it.
I started again with another image in mind, this time of just the peacock’s head which I was going to develop decoratively but that too has taken another tangent and the feathers of the head have become more recognisable as tail feathers and not at all how I’d originally envisaged. Perhaps it was all never meant to be. What I have garnered from this piece is using hand-stitching and free machine embroidery together, trying to mix the textures so they blend. I’d like to develop this further and find ways to use thicker threads on the machine and create beautiful “cheat” stitches that look like they were done by hand…something to develop through digitizing I think as well as exploring ways to express this further with different layering of textured hand stitches.

I’m not sure where this piece is going to end, perhaps when I’ve done more free machine embroidery on it to hopefully bring it into cohesive whole and added some more sequins – (I’m using it as a testing ground to try out different combinations to see how the colours blend together). I’m still undecided whether to add in a peacock head or just leave it as a bunch of pretty feathers. Either way, I’d like to move on now and do something different with other feathers and birds.

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