Master Craftsman

Color for Needlework

Trees on the Hill

Tar River Trail



Judging Criteria: Instead of demonstrating knowledge of a specific needlework technique, the candidate uses the needlework medium to demonstrate knowledge of the color principle or principles being explored. A brief essay and one or more stitched pieces are required for each step.
Step 1. Color symbolism. An essay on color symbolism in various cultures and two stitched pieces demonstrating traditional and nontraditional color harmony.
Step 2. Value and intensity. An essay on value and intensity and two stitched examples using a common design and the same hues, thread types, and stitches, but different value keys.
Step 3. Contrast. An essay on different types of contrast, and a single stitched piece illustrating at least two types of contrast.
Step 4. Space. An essay describing how color can illustrate space, accompanied by a stitched piece to illustrate space.
Step 5. Illusions. An essay on how five illusions (transparency, iridescence, luster, luminosity, and optical mixing) can be suggested by using color. One stitched piece representing optical mixing and another demonstrating one of the other illusions.
Step 6. Unity. An essay on color unity and a stitched piece demonstrating mastery of color and its usage.


Master Craftsman

Design Gallery

Artist's Inspiration

Laura Smith
Golden Needles Chapter

Trees on the Hill

(click on picture for a larger view)
Trees on the Hill
5" x 7"
2004

"Trees on the Hill" is an original canvaswork design for Step 4 of the EGA Master Craftsman Program in Color. It demonstrates the use of color to produce three-dimensional form.

Here is what Laura says about her experience: "I had a great time and learned a lot from my three years in the Master Craftsman Program in Color.

"I feel that Master Craftsman is a worthy and do-able goal for most advanced stitchers. It requires thought, planning and good support, but the programs are wonderfully flexible, especially as far as time. I was very lucky that no life events interfered with my movement through the program. Mother's health, children's growth and husband's job cooperated well. The support of family and friends was a great help.

"The director of the Color Program was wonderful. Her critiques and those of the judges were reasonable, honest and growth-fostering even when my submissions were not perfect.

"My dear friends in Golden Needles, EGA, and Lake Norman, ANG, were very helpful and encouraging. When I became obsessed with checking the details of each piece, my chapter cheerleaders had a wonderful time razzing me (and then applying their Eagle Eyes to find more problems to fix--oh, nooo!). But I would much rather check, rip and fix than have the judges find problems."

About the design:

The foreground hill is under-painted with warm pink and orange to bring it forward. Hand stitched silk threads containing warm red-violet modify the cool yellow-green color of the machined foreground grass.

The birch tree trunks are stitched in warm grayed browns in linen and wool threads. The shadowed side of the trees and also their shadows on the ground incorporate warm red-violet. Value contrast plus the warmth of red-violet makes the tree trunks come forward and appear rounded. Shading the tree trunks took a good bit of experimentation on a doodle cloth.

The far lake is acting as a mirror, catching the sunlight. To produce the distant lake, pale blue-gray flat silk was used in an encroaching gobelin stitch. A veil of pale gray organza enhances the mountains in the distance. This design is being developed into a two-day class.

Text and photograph copyright © 2005 by Laura Smith. Published with permission.


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Master Craftsman

Design Gallery

Artist's Inspiration

Gail Stafford
Tar River Chapter

Tar River Trail

(click on picture for a larger view)
Tar River Trail

2008

“Tar River Trail" is Gail's original design for the Step 6 assignment of the Master Craftsman in Color for Needlework program, demonstrating mastery of color and its usage.

Here is what Gail has to say about the program.

“Color for Needlework is a challenging and wonderful program, particularly for those who enjoy writing and research in addition to needlework. I enjoyed researching the topics, struggling with some of the concepts, and finding appropriate examples to illustrate topics in the essays. To present examples of concepts, I used photographs and illustrations from magazines, catalogs, greeting cards and scans of my own needlework.

"When I received the packet of information for the Color for Needlework Master Craftsman Program, I was overwhelmed by the wealth of information. I remember getting to the page in the directions where footnotes were addressed. After I recovered from a brief period of panic, I found the examples in the style sheet to be excellent and I didn’t let a few footnotes scare me away.

"The artist statement was also something relatively new to me, but what could be more fun than telling those who will view your work just exactly what you were trying to accomplish.

"Though not required, I submitted original designs for all steps of this program. The feedback from the judges was encouraging and helpful. In fact, the pieces I submitted for step 1 of the Color for Needlework program are now the subject of a correspondence course for EGA.”

About the design:

“Tar River Trail” is stitched on 18-count mono canvas with stranded embroidery cotton and a variety of overdyed threads such as Silk N Colors, Flax N Colors and Watercolors and overdyed threads by Weeks Dye Works and Gentle Arts. My stash is now filled with many overdyed threads in browns, tans, greens, and yellows. These will come in handy in future projects.

"In late fall I took numerous photographs of the trail. The leaves that year had been spectacular due to the lack of water during the summer. I tried to capture the fall leaves in my photographs, but I felt it was the leaves on the path that conveyed the message I wanted to send. In addition to trying to convince my viewers that it was fall, I was also interested in making the direction of the sun obvious by showing the sunlight filtering through the trees and falling onto the path.

"The design contains many, many French knots in the leaves and shrubs, tent stitch in the path and fallen leaves, encroaching Gobelin in the sky, outline stitch in the tree trunks and a leaf stitch on a tree in the foreground. A comment by the needlework judge stated 'Phenomenal texture is achieved with only four or five stitches.'"

Photograph copyright © 2008 by Gail Stafford. Text copyright © 2009 text by Gail Stafford.. Published with permission.


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