It began in the late 1800s, peaked during the 1960s and 1970s, and found a resurgence in the 2010s. That’s a nice run for a math lesson involving thread. I’m talking about string art: arranging threads between various points to create geometric patterns, shapes, and designs.
Today, many of us don’t even like math, er, I mean, many of us make string art for the patterns and colors rather than for the geometry. I dabbled in it during my Girl Scout years, then started pinning and following string art Instagrams last year when the home decor magazines brought it back in style. I didn’t really pick it up again, however, until Doug Kreinik showed me his latest creation: metallic thread string art. This was different from any string art I’d seen, and not because of new patterns and designs. It was the thread that made it unique: it was shiny thread not plain yarn. Doug started showing his metallic string art models to designer friends, and they all had the same reaction, “Wow.”
Since then, I’ve spent many evenings stringing my metallic heart away. Metallic thread string art is more vibrant than yarn string art, but not garish. It marries child-like colored lines with a grown-up finish. It somehow encapsulates rudimentary form and modern tech. It’s geeky, retro, yet current. It’s so eye-catching, it surprises you. Can you tell I’m a convert? It slices, it dices, does your taxes and calls your mother. Well, not really, but you get the idea: it’s something fun and different. You are going to have to try it, trust me. It’s one of the freshest trends in thread that I’ve seen in a long time.
Kreinik (the thread company out of Parkersburg, West Virginia) developed a line of String Art On Canvas kits as a result of the growing interest in metallic thread string art. Instead of needing hammer, nails, and wood, not-to-mention carrying that around as a cumbersome embroidery project, these kits are compact and portable. This is free-form embroidery with metallic threads on a gauze-like canvas. The gauze gives stability to the design, plus makes it like a patch that you can attach to any surface.
The kits include everything you need to make one design, including outlines, canvas, needle, thread and reusable embroidery hoop. There are no rules, no limits, just color in the outline. I can stitch one in about two hours if I’m really engrossed in the game/show/movie I’m watching. The Kreinik kits include glow-in-the-dark threads, which adds another layer of fun to the project.
I demonstrated metallic thread string art at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival last month. Kids and teens LOVED it. I mean, couldn’t stop doing them, begged their parents for them. For some it was the first time they’d held a needle and thread. I’d say two out of five adults had trouble with the “free form” concept (“No charts to follow? I don’t know if I can do that?”), and one parent even told their child, “You’re doing it wrong” (yikes, poor child, and there’s no way to do string art incorrectly). Once they tried it, they embraced the freedom. Funny, how hard it is to let creativity loose once we “grow up.”
Your mission is to explore the exciting world of metallic thread string art: to seek out free-form creativity with random stitches, to boldly stitch on something you may not have tried before. You can go here for more information on Kreinik’s starter kits. Stitch long and prosper.
P.S. It’s so much fun to be on this stitch-and-embroidery voyage together. Happy 6th birthday www.mrxstitch.com.