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Updated April 2011

Womandrake *visit Womandrake*

Monkshood *visit Monkshood*

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25 November 2010  The Mandrake was my first poison stitch… WAY back in, like, 2006 when I was first toying with the possibilities of personified botanicals:

mandrake a084

He was also part of my first experiments in mixed media surface design: stamping, dyeing, hand painting, watercolor, & pen and ink drawing.

I sketched the pattern onto the fabric with pencil, and used watercolor crayon to give it depth and lay a base for the stitching.

I’d originally intended to stitch the whole root/body in thick chunky stitches, but after I began the contouring I really liked the exposed areas, so I left the stitched lines loose and sparse down the body.

sketch on fabric + first stitches

As I continued to develop the ideas, he got a life of his own when a digital artist issued a mandrake challenge for other artists to give him a makeover:


*link to explore*

In addition, he’s been reworked into many of my sketchbook and mixed media stitched garden books:

madrake transfer graphiteUsually I begin with the same pattern and do a pencil transfer.

mandrake color sketched inHe gets a little watercolor crayon treatment and I begin choosing threads for the stitching.

My favorite watercolor crayons are by Lyra; they are dreamy creamy and work equally well on fabric or paper.

paintboxI have 2 sets of 48 – one I keep clean and one for slopping around in.

I also use A small set of Winsor Newton half pans to supplement.

The pencils pictured at left are Albrecht Durer & WONderful, but not available in crayon so I use them mostly for outlining.

mandrake leaves painted in book

mandrake full size wc+ first stitchesNext, I’ll be posting on the underpainting for the Womandrake… pretty much the same techniques, but with more pigment and of course BIGGER!


Thanks for sharing my story!