Thread Selection

I have been talking with other artists about the importance of sharing our processes. Sometimes it is fun to peak behind the curtain, and see how an artist’s mind works. My mind is usually a tangle of thread. I attempted to be a little neater in my process this time just for your benefit.

Step 1

I begin with a tray or box and start tossing in tons of threads. I try to add a huge variety of colors, thicknesses, and textures to my selection. Tossing the colors together, somewhat haphazardly, allows me to see color combinations that I might not normally choose. I use this same toss in a pile method for selecting fabric.

Step 2

I place the tray next to the piece I am going to stitch. This allows me to get a feel for the color mixture. At this point, I weed out a few threads and/or add other thread choices.

Step 3a

I then check to see if I have enough variety in the color pallets I am considering for the piece. Many people think you should match thread to your fabric. I use the “matching” colors to ground the piece. But then, I add my traditionally non-matching colors. If you match all your threads, they disappear when your piece is viewed at a distance. The threads that stand out and catch your eye are the color shifts. These are the colors that work with your “matching colors” and support them in the overall effect of your design.

Step 3b

Step 3c

Now, it is time to begin stitching. Some threads will not be used and others will be added along the way.

Snow Day Art Project

During a snowstorm in 2015, I had the honor of collaborating with my 7 year old, Mazzy, on a project utilizing her preschool and kindergarten drawings and paintings.  We had a towering stack of drawings and paintings that she had completed in preschool and Kindergarten.  Due to the use of lower quality papers and temper paints, many of the pieces were deteriorating over time.  She selected her favorite pieces to keep.  The other pieces we photographed and then used in a collaboration called Mazzy's Sketches.  

Mazzy cut her drawings and paintings into various geometric shapes.  She then collaged them on to heavy watercolor paper using PVA glue.  To preserve the paint and papers,  I coated the collage with Matte Gel Medium.   Once dry, I heat adhered silk organza I had previously dyed with fiber reactive dyes to Pellon 805 Wonderunder.  Mazzy then cut geometric shapes from the Pellon backed silk organza and I helped her adhere them to the collage with a heated iron.   

Gluing a layer of mid-weight cotton fabric to the back of the collaged watercolor paper added a more secure foundation to stitch through.  Once the PVA glue dried, I then used a rotary cutter to slice the collage in to rectangles.  We then arranged the rectangles in a pattern that we both liked.  To add additional texture and further secure the layers together, we took turns using free motion machine stitching.  The free motion stitching also connected the rectangles to each other in a panel. 

I then hand stitched hexagons in a flowing pattern across the panel using a rainbow of embroidery threads. 


I hand dyed a background fabric using fiber reactive dyes.  I hemmed the fabric edges and added a rod pocket for display.  Finally, I adhered the panel to the background fabric using smoky invisible thread and a stitch in the ditch quilting concept to hide the method of attachment.  Due to the overall size of the project I have been unable to get a clear picture of the complete project.  Therefore, all of my photos are currently of the panel before attaching to the background fabric.  I will experiment further in methods of photographing large pieces clearly.

Collaborating with my daughter was both a fun and frustrating experience due to her young age.  I am happy that we were able to create this piece together.  Mazzy was thrilled when I displayed this piece in a show of my work.  Perhaps at the end of elementary school we will come up with another project for her first through fifth grade drawings.




Join us Wednesday, March 18th, at the next Hampton Inn Artist Installation featuring NCSU Artists Lidia Churakova, Amanda Snavely, Bethany Minervero, and Julianne Gonski.

BEST Banner


Join BEST at Hampton Inn & Suites

TextureScapes: Artists from NCSU College of Design

ART by BEST artists Amanda Snavely, Lidia Churakova, Bethany Minervero, and Julianne Gonski

Come celebrate spring on Glenwood South at the Hampton Inn & Suites on Wednesday, March 18th for our latest BEST artist installation and reception featuring "TextureScapes: Artists from NCSU College of Design".

Join us from 5:30p-7:30p for a lively evening of flavorful bites courtesy of Sullivan's Steakhouse, complimentary specialty drinks provided by The Wine Feed, and live music by Tom Blazejack & Friends. 

ART by Amanda Snavely, Lidia Churakova, Bethany Minervero, and Julianne Gonski
MUSIC by Tom Blazejack & Friends
FOOD provided by Sullivan's Steakhouse
DRINKS provided by The Wine Feed 




  • Where: Hampton Inn, 600 Glenwood South in Downtown Raleigh
  • Time:  Wednesday, March 18, from 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • What: BEST artist reception featuring NCSU Artists Amanda Snavely, Lidia Churakova, Beth Minervero, and Julianne Gonski; Tom Blazejack & Friends singing popular favorites with vocal harmonies; Complimentary eats by Sullivan's Steakhouse; Complimentary sips byThe Wine Feed
  • View the Facebook event and invite your friends!

Follow on Twitter | Friend on Facebook | Forward to Friend 

Copyright © 2015 BEST Raleigh, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences 










What We Leave Behind

I recently heard the question, "What will archaeologist uncover from our generation?"  Grecian urns, Mayan carved bowls, Russian samovars...........No!  Sadly, we will leave behind Styrofoam take out containers, GladWare, and other atrocities.

With this thought circling my mind, I began my first outdoor sculpture for a local public art project. The sculptures will hang for a month from a tree in the Glenwood South District of Raleigh, NC. The largest challenge in the project is how to convert fiber art into an outdoor sculpture that can withstand the elements.  I will be creating three or more sculptures using various multimedia materials that are then hardened with a textile hardener, Paverpol.  In a future blog, I will discuss the materials and process in more detail as well as detail the complete public art project happening in Glenwood South.

Shattered, the first sculpture for this project, is based on the question of "What will we leave behind?"  Using cotton, felt, and silk I created my vision of an Urban Vessel.  I wanted to illustrate a shattered relic of our time using graffiti coloring as an alternative to the depressing thought of unearthed plastic ware.


My Rainbow of Thread Colors

One of my favorite gifts from my husband is my Gutermann 100% Natural Cotton Thread Set. Being able to quickly glance at thread color options and audition different colors without having to scramble through a box of thread is a huge time saver.

I currently use glass jars to contain my other threads.  However, I hope to eventually find a way to display them as well.  Shelf space is precious in my studio.  I will be searching for a solution that can be mounted on the wall.

I have tried various thread brands and prefer the 100% Natural Cotton Gutermann thread for most of my projects.  I prefer cotton as it can be over-dyed if needed.  The cotton thread works well for both machine and hand stitching.  There are many more expensive brands, but Gutermann is a good quality thread in an average price range.  In my experience, Coats & Clark brand threads break easily regardless of the type.  

I have used several of Gutermann's other thread types for both machine and hand stitching.  I use Gutermann 100% Viscose thread when I want to emphasize an area by adding shine.  For pieces needing added strength I use Gutermann's 100% Polyester thread for both machine and hand stitching.  To add a minimal shine, I use Gutermann's 100% Silk Thread.  I have currently only used the silk thread for hand stitching.  The most impressive thread is the Gutermann Invisible Thread.  Anyone that has ever experienced a rat's nest bobbin using invisible thread knows the importance of a good invisible thread.  I have used both the clear and the smoke invisible thread numerous times without any problems for both the top thread and the bobbin.  

Over the course of my experiments I will try other brands.  Currently, I am trying out the different types of thread while keeping the brand a constant.  Keeping the brand variable the same allows me to get a feel for the difference of type of thread without having to consider brand differences.

Please comment on either thread storage options or thread choices that you have a fondness for using.