Stitching on Paper by Jessica A. Kelly

Before I became a paper art and paper craft 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.)

white embroidery on antique book page

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.

stitching on vintage book page graph
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.

antique book stack

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

vintage book page embroidered 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.

blue geometric embroidered book page design

purple embroidered hexagon on antique book page

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.


paper stitching design on vintage book page

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.

green geometric stitched design

If you would like to give embroidering on paper a try, Jessica has posted a helpful how to stitch on paper tutorial. At the moment she 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.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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