Today we are very fortunate to have the wonderful Ella Wilson with us. Ella has been featured in the pages of our Summer 2014 issue of Sew Somerset, Spring 2014 issue of Somerset Memories, and the Winter 2014 issue of Art Journaling. She has kindly agreed to create an exclusive tutorial for our blog readers, which showcases her unique blend of black-and-white photography and vibrant red thread. Ella captures a nearly palpable raw feeling of human connection in her artwork; it was that strong sense of emotion that made me seek her out as a guest artist after seeing and falling in love with her Simply Red Journal.
After spending some time getting to know Ella and learning more about her creative process, her family, and the significance of the red thread, I knew I just had to share what I discovered. Now that Ella has happily shared her techniques, I am curious to see how some of you would apply her bold stitching and image manipulation to your own art journal projects.
“An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.” – Chinese Proverb
This quote, to me, is about love n’ kindness, and how we connect to one another. Being a military spouse, I have lived in many locations and have been exposed to many cultures. Moving around so much was difficult sometimes; I didn’t understand the language or the customs of my new neighbors. However, with respect, kindness, and a smile I found my way. I believe the red thread speaks of our humanity, our connection to others, and how we react and cope.
The photos I selected for my project share a sentiment of what makes us human— the joy of riding a bike, the celebration of a wedding, the homecoming of a loved one, the adventure of sightseeing through fresh eyes, or the simple delight of hugging a good friend. Have you ever met someone you instantly felt a connection with? I have, and I always feel as if fate played a hand in it.
If we just remain true to ourselves and follow our passions, then we’ll end up living the life we’re suppose to live. My father died while I was in college and I didn’t follow the career path I had wanted. Somehow — through all of life’s difficulties, like losing my first child and becoming a Type 1 diabetic — I learned that I had to walk through dark clouds to become the person I was meant to be.
The love we feel for each other and humanity as a whole should never be severed. If it is, we won’t be human anymore. That’s what the red thread symbolizes to me, an unbreakable bond. Sometimes we need to be reminded to find joy, search for the people who understand us and love us no matter what. It takes time, but as you walk through life’s tangled path, you will learn that it was all worth it. All the people you meet along the way will help you discover who you are; in turn you will help them, too. I make my journals and cards to remind others to look for passion, which lives in those precious colorful moments. Sometimes artists get lost in their world of creating, but we have to live to create and we have to create to live.
Materials for Ella Wilson’s Red Stitched Cards:
-Blank Cards and Envelopes
-Red Thread or Twine
-ColorBox Archival Dye-Wicked Black
-Red Wood Bingo Tiles
-Black and White Photographs
-Red Fine Point Marker
Ella Wilson’s Red Stitched Card Tutorial:
Step 2 - Now, make copies of the photos on cardstock. Cut out your images and attach the image to the card, with glue. Dot the glue onto the corner of the image, smearing some towards middle-with a toothpick, in this case less is definitely better.
Step 4 - While the glue dries, cut out fabric and select embellishments.
Step 5 - Gather wet n’ dry paper towels for the alphabet stamps. You’ll be stamping words onto your patches of fabric. I used words the word Kindred because it also has the word “red” in it. Kindred has two ds and because you’ll be using black and red ink, you’ll want to make sure you clean your stamp between uses.
Step 6 - Set stamped word aside, it’s time to sew! I poked holes into the designated areas before stitching; it makes things a lot easier.
Step 7 - Use a medium embroidery needle, with 6 strands of thread, knot at both ends. I connected the taller girl’s third eye to her friend’s hand. Leave a few inches of thread for later.
Step 8 - Move your thread to the side and glue your piece of fabric onto your card. Tie a charm onto the portion of the red thread that’s left hanging and make several knots at the end of it. I used a small golden key.
Step 9 – Stitch a little collar design onto one of the images.
Step 10 - Glue on the remaining embellishments, like your Red Wooden Bingo Tiles and let dry.
Step 11 - Use a red maker to highlight the ends of the key E.
There, you’re all done — we are all connected by our humanity.
Read About Ella Wilson in the Summer 2014 Issue of Sew Somerset
Thank you so much Ella for providing us with such a wonderful tutorial. To read more about Ella Wilson’s crafting style and mixed-media techniques be sure to pick up a copy of the Summer 2014 issue of Sew Somerset.
Posted: Thursday, June 26th, 2014 @ 6:15 pm
Categories: DIY, Guest Artist, How-To.
Tags: Ella Wilson, Guest Artist, How-To, Inspiration, tutorial.
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