I am preparing for a class I will teach later this week. In this instance I was asked to do my Small Works, Big Impact class with a leaning toward painted imagery (rather than dye) and hand sewing. I love dye for its vibrancy, but paint is pretty awesome too. In this sample I used Stewart Gill paints, which are really creamy and nice. Just the organza layer is painted.
But what I am really interested in is the stitch work.
The title of this post is inspired by Jude over at Spirit Cloth, whose work is scrumptious. I love it so much, I lurve it. I don't know that she uses a sewing machine at all. But she tells stories in cloth and stitch, calling it slow cloth. This is a play on ideas like fast food, is there such a thing? And if we work with our hands, is it not the time and energy that we put into the making that is the substance and comfort of the process?
This is a detail of the stitches surrounding the top most bird. As I was working on this piece I made an effort at listening to the needle enter the cloth. I found that I prefer stitching all the way through the cloth and back up again, rather than a running quilt like stitch to create the straight lines of stitching that surround the bird. The reason being that I think the sheen of the DMC embroidery floss shows up better when worked in this manner. I am using a mixture of hand dyed and commercial flosses in this piece and like the difference in color and texture that this creates.
I love Slow Sewing. I like to say that I don't like reading a book unless it is fat! I want to get into the characters and story line, I look for total immersion. I do this in making my art too. I want to make the cloth, love sewing densely by machine and for these smaller, more manageable pieces, I like to use embroidery and hand sewing to best advantage. It feels good.
My friend Cricket got this birdy tray at Ikea and, of course, I love it!
Now to discuss the Tools of the Tray (which makes me giggle). The embroidery scissors are a cherished gift from my brother and are about 20 years old. I sewed the leather case for them. The thimble fits me perfectly, size 8. The office nubbins is a lifesaver when embroidering. It really helps take the pressure off your wrists and hands, helping to grab the needle and pull it through the cloth. Then of course there is Thread Heaven, a wondrous waxy help. It actually works better than wax.I think it has silicone in it.
So there you have it. I will be working on more of these this week.