interview with four reknowned designers
by Rita Vainius
Part I of II (Part II to be
continued in the May Feature Column)
We are all familiar with the
Shakespearian expression, "A rose by any other name would
smell as sweet." So too, a rose may be portrayed in a myriad
of different styles, mediums, techniques and colors and appear
just as lovely in each artistic interpretation. To exemplify
this concept, we have interviewed several renowned needlework
designers regarding their approach to floral design, complemented
by examples of their floral design originals. The designers featured
are Sue Stehle of Sekas &Co., Julie Thompson
of Julie Mar Needlepoint, Carolyn Hook of It's a Crewel World and Janice Gaynor
of Janice Gaynor Design.
Q: What is your approach to floral design?
Sue: My "Watercolour"
[thread] designs are probably best described as geometric designs.
I usually incorporate florals with other motifs.
Julie: I use a traditional,
realistic approach to designing flowers and outdoor scenes.
Carolyn: My floral designs are
realistic, yet somewhat stylized and Jacobean in genre. Mostly,
they feature flower motifs exclusively. I do traditional Japanese
embroidery which on occasion influences my style.
Janice: The flowers I design are
usually stylized and impressionistic in nature. I usually combine
floral designs with a series of geometrical borders, sometimes
interrupting the border with a petal or leaf.
Q: Do you visualize the design in your mind
or use a model for reference?
Sue : Most of the time, I visualize
the design in my mind first and I'm thrilled when the stitched
design becomes the design that I visualized.
Julie: I visualize the design in
my mind and sometimes it evolves into something else, quite unexpected.
When designing I work like an artist.
Carolyn: Nearly always, I visualize
the design in my mind and the end result is usually what I've
envisioned, though it may vary slightly in a change of color
value or perhaps a stitch.
Janice: I decide on "the look"
I'm after first. I base this on my mood at the time unless it's
a special request. Each design takes on a life of its own at
one point or another and unless I personally like the design
it won't be shown to the public. In my experience, the best designing
happens when I don't try or "work at it."
Q: What color schemes do you use and how do
you select them?
Sue: My color schemes depend on
what I am designing. Many times I begin with a "Watercolour
[thread] and add some solid colors. Other times a "Watercolour"
will spark a design idea.
Julie: I use realistic colors from
nature to depict florals.
Carolyn: My colors are realistic
- I try to stay with actual color corresponding to traditional
Janice: The colors I use vary depending
on my mood. My designs range from soft infant pastels to rich
ethnic metallics and jewel tones. I have incorporated flowers,
from teeny and delicate to large, splashy and brightly colored,
into everything from baby Christmas stockings to large formats
which have been used for chair backs and area rugs.
Q: What stitching techniques and interpretation
do you employ for floral?
Sue: I try to create textures in
my designs by using a variety of stitches.
Julie: I really love tent stitches.
I think there is nothing more beautiful than a classically designed
piece done in tent stitch with exceptional threads.
Carolyn: I use crewel embroidery,
especially long and short stitch to achieve shading and to create
the effect of "painting" on fabric with threads. I
use various crewel stitches to create dimension.
Janice: I really don't stitch needlepoint
and never consider what stitches would be used. Maybe I should.
I do however imagine how a particular floral design or any other
design may be used: pillow, seat or chair cover, wall hanging,
belt, footstool etc.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part
of this feature story nor the included designs can be reproduced
or distributed in any form (including electronic) or used as
a teaching tool without the prior written permission of the CARON
Collection Ltd. or the featured designers.
Regardless of the floral motif depicted, the personal style
of the designer and their artistic interpretation, the bottom
line is that ultimately "beauty is in the eye of the beholder,"
as well as the designer!
This special interview describing how professional needlework
designers approach floral design will be continued in our May
Feature Column. Please stay tuned!.
For more information about each designer's
work and availability, please refer to the specifics below.
Sue Stehle: Sekas & Co.
1114 N.Court #112
Medina, OH 44256
Julie Thompson: Julie Mar Needlepoint
28 Battery Park Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
Carolyn Hook: It's a Crewel World
231 Essex Street
Salem, MA 01970
Janice Gaynor: Janice Gaynor Design is distributed by
18344 Oxnard Street #109
Tarzana, CA 91356
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of this feature story nor
the included designs can be reproduced or distributed in any
form (including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without
the prior written permission of the CARON Collection Ltd. or
the featured designers.