Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Paper Stitch

Before I became a paper aficionado, chances are good you would have found me with needle and thread in hand. Not only was I caught up in the counted cross stitch craze that swept the nation, but I did crewel work, needlepoint, and made clothes and curtains. I even spent a summer during college embroidering an elaborate design on a shirt for my long-haired-hippie-freak boyfriend, now the husband. (See, Dad? These things usually work out just fine.)


But until I came across the work of Jessica A. Kelly of Paper Stitch, I had never thought of embroidering on book pages. What she does is impressive, especially to math-challenged folks like myself. Jessica combines her love of numbers, patterns, symmetry, and margin doodling by creating one of a kind embroideries on vintage textbook pages.


She was born into a family of self-taught crafters, but hasn't been stitching for very long. One day Jessica noticed line drawings while flipping through a math book from the mid-1800s that she had bought for fifty cents.


At first Jessica tried following outlines with her stitches, but wasn't satisfied (though I rather like the red apples!)


Next she began doodling as she often does in book margins, but instead spread her doodles across the entire page... and the idea for a graph series was born. I'm picturing a set of these geometrics matted, framed, and hung as a clustered grouping.



Here Jessica used the data on a page that showed compound interest on $1 at 3-8% and graphed the curves as a stitched pattern.


And this next one is a graph of K3.3 from one of her old math textbooks. And if K3.3 means something to you, you are obviously lots farther along in your math education than I.


Jessica's work is available in her recently opened Etsy shop, Paper Stitch. If you would like to give embroidering on paper a try, she's posted some helpful tips. At the moment Jessica is working on mostly non-paper pieces referencing the 1930s, though she's sure some paper pieces will work their way into the mix.

By the way, thanks so much for the lovely messages about the site redesign. Today is my second blogiversary (hard to believe!) and it feels really good to have a fresh look to mark the occasion.

22 comments:

angelin said...

thank you so much ann for featuring jessicas fantastic paper stitches

jess said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Ann!

Yuenie said...

I love your new design =)
Much cleaner, more elegant in its simplicity. The new header is prettier and neater too!

Maureen said...

Unusual and creative work by Kelly.

Happy Blogiversary!

chillin with Quillin said...

That is really cool!
Paula

shea said...

I always enjoy when you spotlight another artist. These are very unique and I like the style. There's just something about books!
Speaking of books, have you ever seen Brian Dettmer's book carvings? Amazing. (wanted to email you a link, but don't see a way to contact you.)
Happy Blogiversary! Off to visit Jessica's shop now...

SUGANTHI said...

Happy blogiversary Ann! Jessica is really talented and I loved visiting her blog.

Ann Martin said...

Thanks everyone!

Shea, yes, Brian's work is jaw-droppingly great! Good point about no email addy on the front page... have remedied that.

krE said...

That`s very cool!

CraftyRichela said...

This is right up my alley. I love it! Fantastic work.

Baukje said...

Great work on all!!!
Groetjes Baukje

June (planetjune) said...

Happy blogiversary, Ann! I love your redesign - so clean and stylish.

Lu said...

What a fantastic idea!

And happy blogoversary -- the place looks great!

patricia said...

Lovely designs!

Happy anniversary Ann! The blog looks really great!

Ann said...

Those are wonderful. What a creative idea and quite unique

Melissa said...

Interesting idea!

Congratulations on the anniversary and the blog redesign. It looks great!! I've been meaning to work on mine for ages now, but it keeps getting pushed to the back burner, especially these days!

BellsInSpires said...

hi Ann! the new design looks great! and book embroidering is stunning, so awesome that she combines what is actually on the page with her work.

EMR said...

I like your new look very much - minimalistic, but very pretty.

apinnick said...

What an original idea! Thanks. I've seen altered books but never with embroidery.

Elena said...

Interesting. I migh try some of the patterns.

Nancy said...

Oh, wow! Like you, I've spent a lot of years with needle & floss in hand, but am now a paper addict. But this combination - beautiful!

WhoCares... said...

I started recently to save some old books but I've never thought at those gorgeous things!

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