Thursday, January 27, 2011

Abstract Punchneedle

In keeping with trying to warm up my little corner of the world this winter - I have begun a punchneedle picture that explores the fluidity of color and shading and I'm using lots of 'warm' color. 

The first step for a punchneedle project is to use my lightbox and trace over the design so that it appears in simple lines on a piece of paper.  As I draw the design I make notes to myself ('double line here' or 'blend colors' here).

Once the design is drawn on paper, I turn the paper over and retrace it.  Because the actual punching is done on the reverse side the pattern needs to be reversed when putting it onto the fabric.  After the pattern is reversed on the paper I lay it on the light box and position my Weaver's cloth over it.  I then trace once again -- this time onto the fabric.

After that the fun begins! This is the time to choose colors, to pick through floss and yarn and whatever might end up being put into the punchneedle form.  Because punchneedle can appear 'flat' if only one color is used at a time I always mix and match threads for any one section of a piece.  Sometimes I use three different shades of the same color family for background.

A picture like this will require a LOT of threading and rethreading because there will be so many variations of shades and changes of color.  In a small space like this picture, rethreading will be the most time consuming part of the process.  Threading the needle and then rethreading the needle and then rethreading once again to only cover an inch or less of space can become quite tedious.  Or it can be accepted as part of the process, which is the way I like to look at it.

As I punch, I write down the colors that have been used in each section.  The reason for this is that if I have to go back and fill in a space (which can easily happen with punchneedle) I will know exactly the combinaton of thread that I used in any one section.

The nice thing about punchneedle is that you can even make notes in the margin right on the fabric as you go -- that edge fabric will all be gone when the picture is finished.

So here you have a little 'lesson' in punchneedle.  Now that I have prepared the design and fabric I think that I'll get busy and start punching -- such an active word for such a quiet, peaceful process.

"I broider the world upon a loom
I broider with dreams my tapestry
Here in a little lonely room
I am master of earth and sea
And the planets come to me".
- Arthur Symons


  1. Thanks for this post, Penny. I so very much appreciate that you are always willing to experiment, then share your success (or otherwise ;) with the rest of us. I've watched you do that with punch needle for awhile now, and I think you have found your best artistic expression with it through this kind of abstract work. For me, it's suggestive of a landscape (always my favorite depiction) and I'm eager to see the end result. I know it will stunning!

  2. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out. It's always fun to see how something evolves. I really did not know very much about the process.

  3. I'm going to enjoy watching this unfold...I know nothing of punchneedle and you have my full attention :>]]



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