Catching up with Jean Dix

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submitted by Jean Dix, Ottawa Valley Guild of Stitchery

I have been a member of EAC/ACB since it was founded. I’m also a charter member of Scarborough Needlearts Guild and have served the guild as president for two terms and in several other positions. Since moving to Ottawa two years ago, I joined the Ottawa Valley Guild of Stitchery.

Over the years, I have taught workshops on crewel, Schwalm, hemstitching, shadow work, goldwork –  I like to design and teach my own work. I designed and worked seven antependia for my church.

I have enjoyed many of the EAC/ACB seminars and have met many wonderful people who are beautiful stitchers. There have been many changes and improvements over the years. Having teachers come from all around the world has undoubtedly changed how we stitch. There are so many new techniques, so many new materials and machines to learn. I guess this is called progress.  We all have to move up and onward but let us not forget about the beautiful handwork and the hours spent doing it. For some, it has cut down on stress and helped to lengthen their time here.  For others, there is always the challenge to do better.

One day, while  I was on the telephone, I had my usual piece of paper to write or doodle on. It is just as important for me to have that piece of paper to doodle on as when you are working on a new stitch or deciding which stitch to use, and you have a doodle cloth to work it on or improve on it.

Well, after the conversation ended, I continued doodling on my paper.  I was thinking, “I’ll draw a cob of corn.” The cob that I drew was upright and had extra leaves along the sides. I kept adding leaves, and after turning my piece clockwise on its side, there appeared to my surprise a giant fish. I kept on turning it, and there was an old fashioned high-heeled shoe. 

This was very interesting to me, so I decided to work on this design. I transferred my design to a piece of silk. The decision now was what colour I would use and which stitches. I thought about it for a while.

Looking at it from the side, the fish seemed to take over, so I thought of water colours. A pale aquamarine seemed to work with all articles. I could also add gold to enrich my design.

I started by couching down the leaves of corn with dark blue. Then using one thread of aqua, I filled in part of the leaves, leaving room for shading and decoration with some chain stitches.

The front of the ear was a little bare, so I added a scribbly line down the front and couched it down in gold. In the centre of the two outside leaves, I added a very fine chain stitch in gold. On either leaf, I shaded in satin stitch and seed stitch. At the top of the cob on the left, where there was an open space, I filled it with beads and sequins, which were to represent the kernels of corn. I also added beads and tiny sequins along my scribbly line down the front of the cob.

I had finished my embroidery – now for a frame. I decided to leave it on the hoop I had worked it on. I purchased a gold edging for it and a lovely ribbon to hold it up.

photo of an embroidered, blue and white cob of corn
Jean Dix’s doodle to embroidered cob of corn.

There it is. It is not 3D or stumpwork, but what can come from just a little doodle. I hope you enjoy seeing it.

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