When my local group met last Friday, we tried a texture exercise that I read about in Creative Embroidery by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. You take white paper and make different textures by various methods such as twisting, crumpling, cutting tearing, curling, braiding etc. Each of us made lots of different textures and then we added them all to the same page. The photo above is a sample I made because I unfortunately forgot to get any photos of the group’s page. The reason that you use white paper is you want to think about texture and not about color. Once color becomes involved, you have a tendency to concentrate on color.
Once you’ve completed your texture sheet, you can scan it into the computer as a grey scale photo. I put this into Photoshop Elements and increased the contrast and decreased the brightness. Now you could take this and look at small portions of the page with a frame, picking out a portion that interested you. Then do sketches from that framed portion using the sketches as a basis for new work. Or you could find one of the textured papers that you really liked and think about making that texture into fabric. How would you get the same texture in fabric? How would you stabilize the texture and attach it to a base? Or do certain of the textures remind you of stitching? How could you stitch to achieve a similar texture and add it to your work? Really quite a simple exercise but one that has many possibilities that could lead you in different directions.
Next Friday, we’ll begin working with the element of color. That should be fun! Please let me know if you have been working with texture in your work, I’d love to hear what you’re doing.