The Journey From Embroidery to Applique

My entry into embroidery began with an assignment at NIU, where I was a textiles major. I had the honor of taking classes from Renie Breskin Adams. Her work continues to inspire me and make me smile. She assigned us to take a famous painting, make it our own and embroider it.

I was in heaven! Being totally in love with my college boyfriend (now hubby), I based the assignment on Gustav Klimt, and a photo of us.

This started the ball rolling for me and I never stopped. All through college and many years after I kept on stitching. I loved nothing more than listening to books on tape or music in my Walkman while playing with needle and thread. But there were two big issues, first - people didn't seem interested in buying small pieces and second - my hands were hurting all the time.

A good friend helped me brainstorm how to make my pieces larger. I studied what other fiber artists were doing and came up with the idea to add fabric. Bird Lady was the first large piece as a result of this.

This started an entire series of women and my love of birds. I never quite moved away from this theme. I sometimes think I can just title all my pieces Bird Lady.

The applique process has opened me up to a world of fun. Sometime in 2018 my hands asked me to quit stitching and I had to look for another way. Underneath the faces of the embroidered images, I would carefully apply color pencil to the canvas. This was my roadmap to what colors to use when stitching. I decided to work on this technique, and began to use faces without embroidery.

It's a beautiful challenge as an artist to stay open to the process and I look forward to where it will take me.

Peace, love and stitches,

Karen

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Karen Payton Art      Ventura County, California
karenpayton4@gmail.com