Module 2 – Chapter 5

Patterned papers

Ink marks

image Image 5.1

Image 5.1 shows prints made using ink and two different sizes ovals cut from a rubber.  I was pleased with the different shades that this produced where the ink was thicker in places.

image Image 5.2

Image 5.2 was produced by dipping the hollow end of a marker pen into ink.  This created interesting variations as the ink sometimes formed a bubble thus creating some solid shapes amidst the hollow shapes.

image Image 5.3

Image 5.3 was produced by dipping the hollow end of two different sized glue-sticks into ink.  The different sizes, as well as the darker  areas caused by ink bubbles, made this an interesting print.

image Images 5.4 and 5.5

Images 5.4 and 5.5 were made using potato prints.  I thought that these created an effective representation of snakeskin.

imageImage 5.6

Image 5.6 was made by dipping a loosely coiled piece of corrugated card into ink.  This produced shapes with a less distinct edge than the previous examples.


Image 5.7

Image 5.7 was made by dipping a tightly coiled piece of corrugated card into ink. This produced a more detailed print.

Bleach marks

All of the bleach printing was done on black tissue paper


Images 5.8 and 5.9

Image 5.8 was made using the edge of a piece of curved corrugated cardboard.

Image 5.9 was made using a piece of card which had been cut into ‘teeth’ to make a comb effect.

 image Images 5.10 and 5.11

Image 5.10 was created using the corner of a piece of card to paint the bleach on to the tissue paper.

Image 5.11 was created using a serrated piece of card.


Images 5.12 and 5.13

Image 5.12 was created using loosely coiled piece of corrugated card.

Image 5.13 was created using a potato.

image Images 5.14 and 5.15

Image 5.14 was created using a hollow pen lid.

Image 5.15 was created using tightly coiled card.


Image 5.16

Image 5.16 was created using the hollow end of two different sized glue-sticks


The following monoprints were made using PVA glue coloured with black Brusho ink.

image Images 5.17 and 5.18

5.17 – cardboard coils

5.18 – card board used to scrape the paint into scoop shapes


Images 5.19 and 5.20

5.19 – for this effect I rubbed the paint numerous times until it started to dry and would no longer spread easily.  I was trying to create a tonal change from dark to light.

5.20 – small hollow pen lid


Images 5.21 and 5.22

5.21 – large hollow pen lid

5.22 – swirls made with pencil



Images 5.23 and 5.24

5.23 – this was created using two layers of print.  The first didn’t work well so I let it dry and re-printed over the top.  I like the contrast in shades on this print.

5.24 – card board used to scrape the paint into waves


Module 2 – Chapter 4

Drawing patterns from animal markings


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Images 4.1 and 4.2

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Images 4.3 and 4.4

Images 4.1 – 4.4 show drawings made from butterfly and moth photographs.  It was an interesting exercise to draw these patterns as it made me more aware of the great range of patterns on moths and butterflies such as stripes, circles, dots, and numerous random shapes.  Some also showed interesting tonal changes as one colour bled into another such as the section circled in red in image 4.3

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Images 4.5 and 4.6

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Images 4.7 and 4.8

Images 4.5 – 4.8 show my drawings made from reptiles, snakes and amphibians.  In contrast to the butterfly pictures, these patterns tended to be less linear as the animals’ scales were mostly oval.

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Images 4.9 and 4.10.

Image 4.9 shows an illustration I found in an antique fairytale book.  I was very attracted to the fairy’s wings made up of a combination of butterfly markings; this showed how different elements from the different butterflies and moths could be brought together in a new design.  Image 4.10 shows a rough pen sketch of the patterns within this fairytale wing.


Image 4.11

Image 4.11 shows an Aboriginal painting that I saw in a newspaper whilst working on this chapter.  It reminded me of the types of markings found on a butterfly’s wing.

Module 2 – Chapter 3 cont…

Machine stitched strips

Looking through my source material, I decided that the shapes and patterns that I wanted to try to represent in stitch were the lines, ovals and circles found in butterfly wings (see images below)

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For my stitched samples, I tried a range of stitches as shown below:

image 1               2             3             4            5              6            7 

From left to right:

  1. An embroidered flower stitch with the stitch length set to maximum.  I overlapped the lines of stitching with another ‘scribbly’ embroidery stitch to give this random effect.
  2. Another embroidered flower stitch with the stitch length set to maximum.  For this sample I did not overlap the lines of stitch and left quite a lot of black space between the stitches.
  3. Zig-zag stitch in various lengths and widths and overlapped.
  4. A leaf-shaped embroidery stitch spaced so that the curved shapes created a ripple effect.
  5. Cable stitch using free-style machine embroidery.  White perle cotton in the bobbin and black thread on top.
  6. A loop embroidery stitch with overlapping lines of stitching.
  7. The same stitch as in (6) but with the stitch length set to maximum.

I enjoyed using the pre-set embroidery stitches on the machine in an unusual way.  I have rarely used them before as I was not keen on their slightly twee appearance.  However, by distorting the stitches by adjusting the width and lengths and by overlapping them, they created some interesting effects which could represent the butterfly markings I was looking for.  I thought samples 1 and 7 were the most effective.

Module 2 – Chapter 3

Tonal effects in machine embroidery

All of the samples in this section were stitched onto a double layer of cream calico.

image Image 3.1 above:

Top left:  zig-zig stitch with the length varied row by row.

Top right: zig-zag stitch, also with the length of stitch varied but the variation was made throughout each row.  This created an interesting effect, but was quite difficult to obtain the subtle gradations I was trying for.

Bottom left:  zig-zag stitch with variation in the width of stitch.  I don’t think this was particularly effective at creating tonal change.

Bottom right:  a machine embroidery stitch was repeated across the whole sample and then I went back over it and overlapped the design from one side to create a denser, darker area.  I thought this was quite effective at creating tonal change, and also created an interesting texture.


Image 3.2 shows a number of samples created through overlapping and spacing stitching using different stitches.  I think that the bottom left sample was the least effective as it was difficult to create subtle shifts from dark to light with this very bold stitch.


Image 3.3

Top left: shows the effect of using zig-zag stitch spreading out from a corner using ever decreasing lengths of line so that one area becomes more densely  stitched.

Bottom left: shows freestyle embroidery using overlapping circles to create tonal change through spacing and overlapping.

Top right: shows a circular machine embroidery stitch spaced out from one corner to create tonal change.

Bottom right: shows freestyle embroidery petal shapes in decreasing lengths to create a denser section where more petals overlapped.


Whip Stitch


Image 3.4

This was my first attempt at Whip Stitch and I had very mixed results!

Top left:  straight stitch was used with white thread on top and black in the bobbin.  The black thread didn’t really pull through much to create tonal interest.

Top right: zig-zag stitch with white thread on top and black in the bobbin.  This was more effective as the bottom thread was pulled through to the front more causing quite effective tonal change as I varied the length and width of the stitch.

Bottom: zig-zag stitch with white thread on top and black in the bobbin.  In this sample I varied the width of the stitch and this created an interesting ‘peppering’ effect as the black thread was pulled through to the front.


Cable stitch


Image 3.5

This was my first attempt at Cable Stitch too. I was very impressed with the shades and textures that can be created using this stitch.

Top left: white thread on top and black perle in the bobbin.  I used straight stitch and zig-zag stitch.  The change in stitch across the sample created a slightly smocked effect as the zig-zag area pulled the fabric tighter.  It didn’t particularly create any tonal change.

Top right: white thread on top and black perle in the bobbin.  I used zig-zag in various lengths.  The white top thread did pull through a bot, but again, I didn’t feel this was particularly effective in creating tonal change.

Bottom: white thread on top and black perle in the bobbin. I used zig-zag in various lengths and widths and very tight tension in the top thread.  This created a quite interesting, slightly knobbly texture.


Image 3.6

Top left: Black thread on top and white perle in bobbin.  I dropped the feed-dog and used free embroidery to create this ‘scribble’ pattern.  The loop shapes were very effective at pulling the top thread through and caused a really interesting patter and gradation in tone.

Top right:  Black thread on top and white perle in bobbin. I used zig-zag stitch in varying lengths and kept adjusting the top tension as I was stitching.  This created an interesting random design and showed some tonal changes.

Bottom: Black thread on top and white perle in bobbin.  I usesd rows of zig-zag stitch in various lengths so that it pulled varying amounts of the top thread through thus causing tonal change.

I was very pleased with the effects achieved using cable stitch when the bobbin had white perle so that the black top thread pulled through creating speckles of black here and there.  It was particularly effective when used in free machine embroidery.

Module 2 – Chapter 2

Tonal columns in stitchery


Image 2.1

I used a variety of threads in black and white to create this hand-stitched tonal column using cross stitch.  I used embroidery silk for both ends i.e. the intense black and intense white sections and used all 6 strands to cover the canvas completely.  As I worked my way along the column I used less strands or thinner threads e.g. perle and then linen thread.  To create the grey areas i mingled black and white stitches.  I found that the column still looked too black and so added white crosses over the top using a thin linen crochet thread. 

I found this a really interesting exercise in trying to create tonal differences using only black and white.  It was quite difficult to get the subtle shifts through dark to light grey to white that I was striving for.

Tone created through pattern development


Image 2.2 and 2.3

Image 2.2 shows my design for a blackwork column.  I started from the bottom i.e. the full design and worked backwards, removing a section of the design per row in order to deconstruct it and reveal more white space. 

Image 2.3 shows my design translated into stitch.  I was pleased that it produced the desired effect of tonal change from lighter at the top to dark at the bottom where the stitching was denser.



Image 2.4 shows two examples where I used spacing of stitches to create tonal change.  The example on the left involved stitches being overlapped to create a darker area.  The example on the right relied on the closeness of the stitches as well as some infill stitches to create tone.  I was very pleased with the irregular style of these designs.



Image 2.5 shows the impact of changing the thickness of thread to create tonal change.  I used embroidery silk and started with all six strands and reduced the thread by one strand every few rows.  This created a very subtle shift through the tones.

Module 2 – Chapter 1

Tonal columns

Images 1.1 and 1.2 below show tonal columns made using a variety of methods and media.


Image 1.1:  From top to bottom: (a) Charcoal on white paper; (b) Black ink sponged on to white paper; (c)White ink sponged on to black paper.  I was pleased with the reverse effects of (b) and (c ) whereby the lighter tone was made by reducing the amount of black ink on a white background and increasing the use of white ink on a black background.


Image 1.2:  From top to bottom: (a) White oil pastel on black paper; (b) Black Brusho ink on wet white paper; (c ) Torn strips of black tissue paper on white paper.

These three samples were created with very different in techniques but demonstrate the  many ways that tonal differences can be created.  Sample (a) was very satisfying to create by simply scribbling with a white oil pastel.  Sample (b) produced some beautiful colours and shapes as the pigments within the Brusho ink separated out and swirled in the water.  Sample (c ) created an accidental animal print by using strips torn randomly and spaced densely at one end becoming less dense along the column.

Mixed media tonal columns

imageImage 1.3 – This column was created using a selection of materials including watercolour, polythene sheet, toilet tissue,tissue paper, white ink, white oil pastel and white paper.


Image 1.4 – this column was created by making a collage of music manuscript with the dark area being created from the area with denser notation.  It was an example of how I started to notice tonal changes in every day things – in this case the music which had been on our piano for months!

Module 2 – Introduction

Visual information

To gather visual information about animal markings I spent some time in the library looking through numerous books in the zoology section.  It was enjoyable to do some research the ‘old fashioned’ way rather than relying on the internet!

I was initially drawn to the skins of snakes, reptiles and fish due to the variety in textures, colours and the intricacy in the patterns. 



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I was also attracted to the markings of butterflies.  I felt that the variety of markings offered a rich resource to use as the theme for this module.  The markings varied from random shapes to ‘bull’s eyes’ to geometric shapes such as triangles and squares. I felt that these shapes would work well when translated into black and white.

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Descriptive words for butterflies

Fluttery, light, skittish, delicate, flitting, gentle, papery, graceful,  powdery,  regal.  Below are examples of marks I made to represent these descriptive words.