November’s favorite designer comes from Turkey and is an absolute sweetheart. Banu Demirel of Seba Designs specializes in blackwork in its modern colorful form. Her designs combine simple lines to create complex patterns, which is the essence of blackwork. Unlike traditional blackwork Banu’s designs ask to be treated with color and lots of it. They aren’t as easily reversible as traditional designs (which were meant to imitate lace and were stitched to look the same on the front and back), but as the main canvas is no longer clothing, this is also largely a moot point. Blackwork is also a stitching method in which varying the fill pattern and thread thickness of black thread on a (usually) white background are used to allow shading of what would essentially be a line drawing to create depth in a picture. Some examples of this more common use of blackwork can be found in this article on the ANG website.
Banu’s designs create simple line drawing that leap out at you. While she can use the simple lines for shading she more commonly allows them to speak for themselves. Her inclusion of cross-stitch borders and other stitches such as the algerian eye stitch in many of her designs also sets her apart from tradition. I first encountered her designs in colorplay bookmarks. Four of these I’ve included in the slideshow on my Old Projects page. I wanted to stitch a number of these bookmarks as holiday presents, but found the pattern as printed by her publisher to be distracting because some of the bookmarks showed up in in pieces with one even being carried over 4 pages. For a project that small it was too much to want to jump back and forth. I decided to try to contact someone about it. The person I emailed was Banu herself. She told me it was a problem of design and printer technology communication that she had no control over, which is the sort of thing we’ve all encountered. So you’d think I’d just get to be frustrated, but instead she emailed me the patterns for the designs so that I could print them or stitch from onscreen. It was such a generous and helpful thing to do. She asked me to send her pictures of the designs as I completed them so that she could include them in her gallery (I only got around to doing this for the first three.) I love her gallery (not because some of my work is there), but because she keeps it very up-to-date and is very interactive with the folks who stitch her designs. She even offers a yearly SAL, which I discovered while visiting her site once. You will recognize it as the birth sampler I did for Oren. She posts stitchers’ work in progress on her site as they complete her SAL’s, which function as colorways. Please feel free to visit her site as I am relatively new to blackwork and to adapting colors to the various patterns so these are not the best examples of what her work can be.