Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Walk Through The Universe: Red, week 4

I'm very excited...I have a treat in store for you with the last post on red!  I've had this artist in mind all month, as who could discuss the color red for four weeks without featuring the one and only Carolyn Saxby of Love Stitching Red!  Many of you may already know of Carolyn and her work, but if not, you're in for a treat....and if you haven't fallen in love with all things red by now....here's your chance!

I asked Carolyn a few questions that I thought might give us an insight into her life and love of making things by hand...with red!

How did you come to be such an aficionado, appreciator and interpreter of such beautiful reds?

My love of red began and developed more than 25 years ago when I came to decorate my home.  When first setting up home I didn’t have a lot to spend on decorations so I thought carefully about theme and colour.  I have always loved primitive homespun things and have always decorated my homes in a contemporary country style with a neutral backdrop of cream and white and I found myself drawn to red as an accent colour.  I now live in a whitewashed cottage that is 200 years old and my theme fits very well with the Cornish granite fireplace and tiled floors.  The white walls and cream furniture make the best of the light and space available and the touches of red are warm and cosy and homey.   I carefully stick to my theme so that my home doesn’t look cluttered so I always seek out objects that are cream, white and red.  I also love silver and tones of grey (pebble colours)

I chose red because, for me, red epitomises my favourite seasons of autumn and winter.  I love the warm russets and red browns of autumn leaves, berries, hips and haws, the festive reds of Christmas, winter berries, cranberries and holly and valentine’s day … red hearts … well red hearts all year round

Reds please me so much.  They make me feel happy.

I tend to go for “berry” tones of red rather than a primary red.  I favour raspberry red, cranberry, burgundy, claret through to dark blackberry and elderberry, as well as autumn reds … the colours of rosehips, haws and winter berries.  Red hearts and berry garlands are a recurring theme throughout my cottage.

As a textile artist, nothing pleases me more than to stitch with red threads on white cotton, linen or silk and make homespun things for my home.  I love red work (red stitching on white) and also white work (white on white).  I also love to indulge my passion for pebbles so I stitch a lot of greys and grey blues with silver and white.

Recently my work for the Brooklyn Sketchbook Project was all RED:

And the pieces in my erosion bundle are cream and red because at the end of the day I wanted eroded pieces that would fit my theme:  http://love-stitching-red.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-year-new-bundle.html

However, as you will see from my blogs and flickr, I do work with all colours because I make things for other people to enjoy … so I also stitch a lot with seaside colours of blues, greens and yellows.

Where do you find your greatest inspiration?

My greatest inspiration always comes from nature.  I enjoy country walks and take myself off for a nature walk with my camera most days.  I seek pinky red leaves and buds and berries and try to photograph with a neutral background of a plain sky or twiggy branches.  My least favourite colour is green so I try to crop as much green as I can.  I favour winter skies and trees with bare branches and autumn leaves rather than spring or summer greens

After a while I notice red in everything … red seaweed, shells with touches of pink, red fishing boats in St. Ives harbour, red peeling paintwork and rust

You could say I am a little passionate about red!

Do you do any hand dyeing and if so how does that work itself into the pieces you make?

Yes, I have been experimenting with natural plant dyes for the last few years especially with unmordanted fabrics firstly to see what natural colours can be fetched from plants that are local to me and more recently honing my own dyeing recipes for strength and variation of colour.  Most recent experiments have been with plant dyes and rust tie dyed.  I discovered the rust sometimes acts as an accelerant and I’ve had some interesting results.  I also enjoy dyeing synthetic materials, fabrics buttons and threads with procion dyes.

I use my hand dyed fabrics, buttons and threads in my work and from 1st April 2011 I will be offering some of my hand dyed pieces for sale in textile packs together with some of my heated, melted and bonded fabrics and some of my finished artwork.  I shall be opening an online shop (details to be announced nearer the time).

Any words of wisdom to share?

To have fun!

Just to be as playful as you can with your artwork.  To have fun and never be afraid to try something new.  Always carry a camera or a sketchbook with you to capture things that catch your eye and try to take a few minutes longer looking a little more closely at things.  Also, you don’t necessarily need a fancy camera but taking time to practice a little with the features/settings that your camera has will be time well spent for achieving different looks and taking photos a little closer (macro).  I also carry a plastic bag and a book everywhere I go.  The book is for pressing interesting leaves or flower faces and the bag for gathering …  acorns, berries, shells, pebbles, seaweed etc. which I use in my work or stick in my little art journals.


I was going to select a few more photos from Carolyn's flickr site, but I couldn't even begin to choose...so many wonderful possibilities.  I encourage you to follow up on the links to her many blogs and flickr photos.  The last one is full of images of pieces in beautiful soft pinky reds!  You all are going to be busy looking at all the beautiful work Carolyn has to share...I'm heading over to flickr now!  



  1. This is a great feature, P. It always impresses me when an artist specializes to this degree but continues to bring forth unique and interesting works while remaining consistent with one style, medium or color scheme! It holds a lesson about remaining true to your own tastes and strengths while not succumbing to stagnation or lack of challenge/growth in the progress of your creative life. I admire that accomplishment, as much as these beautiful pieces! Many thanks for sharing this.

  2. I'm going to have to stop reading blogs - everytime I do I'm pointed towards yet more lovely blogs, it's no wonder I never get my house tidied! (I jest of course, great post about a great blog)

  3. Gabriella...very well stated comment...right on the money!

    Carolyn....so happy to showcase your beautiful work! You are an inspiration to so many people!

    Carrie...I know exactly what you mean. I can't add any more blogs to my reading list, but that's exactly what I do...who can resist!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!