Monday, 12 November 2012

The Starry Night

Emily came home last week for a film shoot. And while she was here she saw her sister Ellie working on an art project inspired by Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night. We had the 6 foot Art Quilter frame loaded up with some black fabric and fleece all ready for a film shoot. So Emily decided to thread paint Van Gogh's Starry Night. I'll let her tell you herself:

Emily's Van Gogh on the 6 ft Art Quilter frame

"Quilting is so fun! Last week, I was at home for my university Reading Week. One of my little sisters, Ellie, was doing an art project on Van Gogh's Starry Night piece.

She'd done a beautiful pen rendering of it on paper, and on seeing it I was struck by the notion that I could quite easily do the same thing on the Art Quilter!

The long, repetitive movements that Ellie created with the pen strokes could be also created with my sewing machine needle and thread as I guided it on the frame!"

Ellie's Starry Night colour sketch for her patterns in nature school project

"So, while I was practising some designs for our Christmas film shoot, I decided to have a go at Van Gogh!

First of all, I found a good, high resolution picture on the internet of Starry Night, and put my laptop by the Art Quilter, so I could see what I was 'painting'.

 I simply used the Art Quilter like an easel and drew myself a rectangle to 'paint' in, which helped me keep proportions correct. Then...I just went for it!"

"There were a lot of thread changes, and some practising outside of the box to see if the colours I wanted to use would actually work - they sometimes didn't! - and I kept my thumb on the Stop/Start button on the Nifty Grips , which helped with precision. I mixed a lot of threads together, for example the light blue variegated Rainbows and the purple King Tut, to make the background, which just meant that I got more colour for my thread! I also added the black thread in last, as it was easier to go over and cover up the lighter colours than it would have been to do it the other way around." 

Van Gogh's Starry Night  interpreted in thread by Emily Milne
I love how Emily really captured the movement in the original painting. Isn't it amazing what you can do with the right tools and some great thread.
Two views of the original and a bit of background on the piece.

Starry Night is Vincent van Gogh's most famous painting. "This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big," van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo. A work rooted in imagination and memory, Starry Night's sweeping brush strokes convey movement as a flame like cyprus tree unites the churning sky to the quiet village below.

Painted by Vincent van Gogh in June 1889, currently in New York's Museum of Modern Art.


Gertie Pye said...

This is just amazing! Absolutely fantastic work x

Diane said...

Well done Emily - lovely interpretation in thread. And well done Ellie too, for inspiring your sister.

John Hartoch said...

Hello Emily

I've tried twice before to leave a comment on here but have clearly not succeeded.

I love this piece of work and want to use the image for the background of my publicity for some Christmas readings in rural Somerset. Could I please have permission?

My email address is