Tuesday, 24 June 2008
It was pieced by machine from a wide variety of black silks of different weights and textures interspersed with some strips and stars of purples and pinks. Many of the silks came from old shirts - some of my own, some from charity shops, a lot of the black from a skirt and pair of trousers that no longer fitted! I backed it with a wool 'pashmina' (again a charity shop find ) which dictated its final size - 45 x 200cm. How to join the 2 together was a pit of a puzzle until a friend suggested sewing them face together along the long edges and turning them the right way round , Doh ! so obvious ( anyone else have these 'Homer moments'?) As you can see the stitching is still in progress as it only gets done while travelling! The stole is useful as a lap warmer, to smarten up an outfit very quickly and only requires needle and thread. It packs up quite small as it's only 2 layers of silk and wool and as the stitching is intentionally large the odd jolt is not a problem and doesn't require too much concentration while talking (it generates a lot of interest!) Only problem sometimes is the black fabric in poor light but as I'm mainly using contrasting thread it's not too bad. I love deciding whether I will sew stars or spirals.
It's been stitched on in several countries - a lot done in a snowbound hotel in the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus. It's most recent trip was to Iran but only a few stitches were added. Who knows , when its finally smothered in stitches perhaps the fringe will get some attention!
PS Just have to watch that the needle is removed before wearing! (found out the hard way)
Monday, 23 June 2008
I've written about this piece based on Susian guards in my previous post which sparked off a number of interesting comments. Where had she got the idea from ? - probably from books in the library (although I've got a lot of her books, this isn't in it). The colour choice is interesting - I'd forgotten until Ian mentioned it that the small museum at Persepolis was painted in colours based on fragments they'd found - everything that we think of being stone coloured would have been brightly painted For my modern interpretation I used a photo of the relica roof of the palace in terracota colours and used a detail of the stone relief of a Susian guard ( an archer) as a displacement map using Photoshop ( good to try a new technique out)
After several trials I was pleased with the result and printed it out on commercially treated fabric and used a linen as a border ( closest match I could find to the original fabric of the hanging)
For the back ( as I seem to be going down the double-sided approach to most of my TIF challenges!) I used a photo of a detail of the hanging using my own bubble-jet set treated fabric. Interestingly not such an intense colour - but then self coloured pieces are difficult to photograph and increase saturation for printing.
I used fairly simple quilting ( loved doing the spirals in the beard) and it had an interesting effect on the back. The edge is some cotton perle over stitched with zig-zag. As many of the hand embroidery threads I have come from my mothers stash, I'm fairly certain it was some of the original thread she used on her hanging.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
What made me take a sharp intake of breath and a sense of connection was that the subject matter of the design was the stone relief Susian Guards (or 'Immortals') from Persepolis in Ancient Persia which we visited over Christmas !
I showed the banner to Ian without saying where it had come from - he instantly recognised the figures and was bowled over that my mother has stitched it over 30 years ago.
After a careful press, it now has pride of place in our hallway.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
I inset some thin strips of seaweed like colour ( quite a job trying to find a brown madder despite my extensive stash)
I stitched it by machine with twin needle and by hand - seed stitching with cotton perle. In my excitement to start painting I forgot to take a photo of what it looked like. This photo is of the back - wherever possible I use the same fabric front and back so that people can see 'before' and after' - also gives me a second chance if it all goes horribly wrong!
Detail of painting
I'm fairly pleased with the results. As it was a sample piece and with time marching on I don't want to do another, I crammed too many ideas and techniques in for the piece to work entirely successfully in itself . But its achieved its purpose, I've got a better idea now how to proceed - leaving more of the background fabric unstitched and unpainted for a start. The twin needle worked really well - I'm less sure about the fabric strip inserts , about how much they add?
Monday, 9 June 2008
This is what its looked like to start with - kimono fabric with curved strip inserts, heavily stitched by machine and hand quilted.
Then I painted over it with acrylics! (detail below)
Sunday, 8 June 2008
" ...... stride like a Giant....solid like a Henry Moore Madonna as I stride over trees, field, hills....."
For the back, I'd used the same sketch when I went on a silk painting course a few years ago using steam fixed dyes. I'd started stitching it by hand with buttonhole thread but abandoned it long ago so used the whole thing, synthetic batting and all! ( bit of a mistake as the machine quilting puckered and wrinkled more than I'm used to with cotton wadding) The back has turned out quite interesting as there's a mismatch of stitching and painting.
I printed out a photo of the Henry Moore bronze 'Large standing figure:knife edge' on silk organza and applied it to the quilted sketch (only stitching enough to anchor it to retain the volume and floating quality)
I then painted over the background with acrylics with mixed results - in some areas its a bit heavy handed but I like the grasses in the foreground
This has given me the basis to go ahead (or should that be plough ahead-groan) with altering the orginal field piece- the foreground was what particularly bothered me and overpainting will resolve this, I'll just have to be careful not to overdo it elsewhere. I'll have to print out the figure on more than one sheet of organza and join it (probably try to do that along one sculpture edges and make a feature of it.) But I like a challenge!
Sunday, 1 June 2008
What I haven't completly settled on is how I'm going to stitch it and whether I combine it with this image of Echiums ( the view from my lab ) manipulated in Photoshop (''find edges' filter) , printed out on indigo-dyed fabrics. This is crying out for beading
Maybe I can catch up again with the challenge for June - the concept is ' stories that are, stories that are possible' with the colour scheme from a stash of sinks.
I'd co-incidentally found this photo a couple of days ago when searching for something else and think it has lots of possibilities - it's a load of discarded metal plant labels in a skip at work. Each label has species name , accession number (which links to database with all the information on that plant - where it comes from, propagation notes) . Apart from that story there's the mystery behind why they were discarded. And what's the significance of the paper butterfly? I guess I couldn't resist continuing the theme of botanical labels !