What a word. rhythms. Perhaps one of the words that have the least a,e,o,u, i or y’s. yes, I do not know the word for these subdivisions of letters. In dutch they are called klinkers or medeklinkers: basically sounds or added sounds (probably a terrible translation but these words are really confusing dutch to me). Anyways, a new blog post. Yet another one about cross-stitch. Why? Because I found myself making more patterns and projects, and I find myself in uncharted territory. Or at least, that’s how I feel about it now. I wouldn’t say that I am a truly original artist, but the history of cross-stitch and how I use it in my work is quite interesting to look at (I think). So how do we know cross-stitch? it seems to be everywhere nowadays. Of course, some of the traditional applications are the samplers: in dutch the ‘letterlappen or merklappen’ the sometimes huge textiles on which often very young children learned to stitch the letters of the alphabet to be able to mark their (future) linens to mark them as their own. In addition to letters, there were numbers, borders and some images such as trees, humans, and animals.
The other kind of cross-stitch you might now is now easily explained as an enlarged computer image: the image is build up out of pixels, or in this case crosses, cross-stitched. A third option is the more traditional more abstract ways of applying cross stitch: for instance, the folklore patterns that were used in traditional garments which often are symbols for things important to man and that particular culture. In these certain colors are often required, or the lack of it as in traditional blackwork.
Now I must confess: Growing up I thought samples and the pixel images to be very very boring. Basically, I thought: why would you first go to the trouble of making a sampler if you could just make an actual project, such as stitch a little poem (the lazy fox jumped over the sleeping dog, anyone?). Neither was I, or am I very interested in making ‘realistic’ images of things and objects via cross-stitch: I think it is loads of work and the medium does not add enough to justify this work. Personally, I am mostly drawn to the more traditional folklore patterns and blackwork.These ancient patterns are good at what I called in the title the post ‘abstract’ rhythms. Nevertheless, they are very static, these patterns repeat them selfs, and even though I find them very pleasing to the eye, they do not leave very much room for creative expression.
I love the cross-stitch medium, for the same reason I find the images made by cross-stitch very boring: you only have crosses and a grid, on which you have little freedom. However, as in most creative endeavors restrictions give unknown opportunities. In my cross-stitches, I like to explore the idea of abstract rhythms. As seen in the previous post with cross-stitch you can repeat a pattern, you can turn it, copy it wholly or half, you can add an extra color, or take one away. In that way, you create some kind of living creation. You still start with a ‘fixed’ pattern, but you don’t have to keep it that way. You can ‘abuse’ the basic principles of cross-stitch: rhythm and abstraction.
simulation of how pasic shapes can create an dynamic image that can be endlesly enlarged
(2) replicating and turning the squares create a new pattern, with circles and squares
(1)The outlined square is the ‘random’ situation of various squares
(3) enlarging the pattern creates an even bigger pattern that seems unpredictable yet logical.