Dena Lenham, aka KreinikGirl, is Creative Director at Kreinik Manufacturing…
Hello! Kreinik Calling here, with your monthly thread inspiration. Actually, it’s more than an inspiration, it’s a “How-To,” as in, how to make threads visualize your thoughts. Take a look at this gorgeous new design by Ellen Brown of Waterweave, a needlepoint canvas company. She has recreated in thread a vibrational phenomena known as Cymatics; the design shows sound waves in stitches.
I had to Google it. Cymatics means wave in Greek. Nigel Standford wrote on his website, “Cymatics is the science of visualizing audio frequencies.” Let’s go to Wikipedia for history: in the 18th century a German musician and physicist Ernst Chladni sprinkled dust on a vibrating plane. He noticed that the powder moved with the pulsations, accumulating progressively into unique lines and patterns. His experiments built on work by Galileo and others, and contributed to the understanding of acoustic phenomena and the functioning of musical instruments. Studying vibration and sound waves seems pretty cool, doesn’t it? Stitching sound waves seems even better.
Fast forward to the new millennium, where needlepoint designer Ellen Brown’s husband was interested in Cymatics and mentioned it to her. “I am not a scientist,” Ellen says, “but just interested in patterns.” The idea was visualized in threads and stitches: her stitched Cymatics Sampler #CO1616 features 64 different patterns inspired by sound waves.
Now that we understand what it is, let’s take a look at HOW it is created. As with all stitching, you start with a good base fabric. Here, the color scheme comes painted on 18-mesh needlepoint canvas. Ellen created a stitch guide for filling in the squares, featuring a variety of stitches in a mix of threads (cotton, bamboo, Kreinik metallic) and colors (variegated, solid). The combination of colors, stitches and threads works like a recipe to make the project lively, visually interesting, and good. You will not get bored while stitching this design.
Just think about how vibrations and pulses are created from sounds, and how those vibrations create unique patterns. Inspiring, isn’t it, for the creative possibilities? But let’s go deeper (per www.cymaticssource.com): Once you’ve “observed how a stable structure (say, a formation in fine powder on a vibrating steel plate), can dissolve into chaos, but then in just a matter of seconds, re-configure itself into a more complex and finely-ordered form, you might just be able to view your own tumultuous circumstances a bit more objectively (and with far less apprehension!) as a purposefully evolving process leading toward greater personal coherency and equanimity.” Hmm, creating something beautiful from the unseen, finding order out of what seems like chaos, discovering the calm within ourselves? Sounds similar to the benefits of stitching.
Dena Lenham, aka KreinikGirl, is Creative Director at Kreinik Manufacturing Company, a family-owned, USA-based business that manufactures high-quality yarns and threads made of metallics, silks and real metals from their West Virginia factory. Dena’s monthly column, Kreinik Calling, sheds light on the fascinating fibres that we all use and love.