Experimental embroidered bird for RoCo 6×6 2018 exhibition.

For the 8th year in a row, I submitted work to the annual 6×6 show held by the Rochester Contemporary Art Center. This is the very first year I have not done this with my students and while it was a little sad, I did see several former students on Instagram continuing the yearly tradition with their own submissions and this has made be very happy.

I have been creating a new nature themed embroidery motif each day as part of the 100 day’s project this year and one of these motifs depicted a little female “brown bird” (House Sparrow) that has long been a favorite image of mine.


For a change of pace, I decided to submit an embroidery piece based on this motif for this years 6×6 show. I wanted a format to explore some new ideas and ways of stitching that I have not had the chance to work with yet and this was the perfect opportunity to try them out.

I started with back stitch outlines and while I had intended on using some fill stitches here and there, I changed paths and decided to turn the back stitches into whipped stem stitches. With contrasting colors, the whipped stem stitch created more variation in the color and a more dynamic sense of the realistic color of the bird and leaves.


I filled in some of the areas on the wings with additional long stitches. I went back and forth on couching these long loose threads or creating additional whipped stem stitches but after a lot of “ripping” out and revisions I decided that this was the most pleasing combination to create the type of texture that I wanted.



I used a seed stitch to create additional texture in the body of the bird and because of the way that I did this a bit of rippling occurred in the fabric. Because it was so uniform I rather liked it. I wrapped the fabric onto a 6×6 inch canvas panel and used fabric glue to secure the fabric to the back. This ensured that there was no glue on the front of the piece.


It was pretty hard to let go of this as I ended up loving it a lot more than I had originally anticipated. I will definitely keep exploring these stitch options and will remake this piece at some point in the future. I also liked using a square format after thinking in circles for so long.

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