Crochet – The Art of Assemblage
by Ann Reillet
Assemblage, like decoupage, is a form of mixed media art. In fashion, it’s embellishment; the taking of various fabrics, textures and hardware to form a custom piece. To create the look, you don’t even need to know how to crochet. You can buy finished items and embellish them, thus assembling the entire piece. It’s a journey of artistic discovery. Google assemblage artist Basia Zarzycka, she creates an array of bridal couture.
Step 1: Begin by asking: What do I want to assemble/embellish?
See the sample pictures (shown left) for ideas.
Examples: accessories, clothing, furnishings, household goods, collar, camisole, cap, cuffs, handkerchief, jeans, gloves, lamp shade, pillow, sachet, scarf, shoes, etc…
Step 2: What colors should I use?
Example: Ecru, white and brown–Pink, brown and ecru–Brown, pink and white–Purple, green and white–Purple, green and pink–Dk blue, Lt blue and beige–Gray, black and ecru–Black, red and white–White, beige, lavender
Another option is to use a trio of two (2) shades: purple/pink, orange/yellow, dark green/light green.
Step 4: Decide where to decorate the item.
Example: A collar might be decorated along the trim and front, while a napkin or handkerchief would need edging and a corner. Jeans could be decorated along the pockets or from the lower calf to ankle, etc…
Step 5: The embellishing materials are like members of a band. They can’t all play the same instrument so look for a variety of texture. Start by finding a main centerpiece in the 2nd color of the selected scheme.
Examples: Crystal Iris Beaded Sequin Motif Applique, beaded crochet motif, duchesse lace motif, brussels lace motif, embroidered cut lace motif, Venise applique, point de gaze applique, embroidered tulle, millinery flower, beaded chiffon flower.
In this step, it’s about incorporating all the colors of the selected scheme. Perhaps two (2) of each color to mirror the effect around the centerpiece.
Step 7: Lay out the design and when you’re satisfied with the look, tack (hand sew) the embellishments to the piece.
Fabric adds texture to crochet. Silk and velvet ribbons look wonderful, but also embroidered tulle, vintage lace and lawn or other fabrics. The only requisite here is to have the edges or seams sewn first before affixing to the crochet work. It’s best to attach the fabric to the crochet work by hand-sewing as crochet doesn’t readily lend itself to machines and the risk of ruining all that hard work is too great.
To add beads as you crochet, string on the number required, then work around the bead as you crochet. Similar to seed sts, the bead works to the back side. Another option, far more time-consuming, is to hand sew the beads at the end using sewing thread in a color that matches the crochet work.
Another (genius) method of adding beads is to use a piece of 28 gauge jewelry wire to insert as you go. See photo: