You often hear writers talking about how characters in their novels develop a life of their own during the writing process. That I can understand. What has surprised me is that a piece of cloth I am currently stitching is exhibiting the same tendency.
After my exhibition in September 2020, I remembered some advice from a fellow artist, that to lessen the post-exhibition low he always painted a yellow painting. Good I thought, I have an old yellow microfibre cloth I can stitch on.
I had visions of all the shades of yellow blending harmoniously together …. the cloth had other ideas.
I learned quickly that this faded and pre-loved cloth had an amazing ability to absorb almost all varieties of yellow. It could suck in sunshine yellow, daisy yellow, and some tones disappeared into it’s surface completely. Apart from contrasting threads, the only thread to boldly resist this challenging cloth is an equally recalcitrant hi-vis yellow stranded thread I bought on a whim some months ago.
20 JANUARY 2021 – Still a work in progress. My post-exhibition piece started last year, de-railed by Christmas and other projects. So much stitching even in a piece 39 x 39 cm. And the back, more gloriously feral than ever, when I realised that the hi-vis threads were too slippery to stay firmly attached without additional stitching. So lots of ripping back and re-sewing.
8 FEBRUARY 2021 – At last the end has been reached! The final lines of hi-vis yellow are in and I even stitched my name onto it. Resistant to the last it has developed a belly in the middle and refuses to sit flat.
Various salvaged, donated and bought embroidery threads on found microfibre cloth.
Today I have finally taken up my needle again and have had the pleasure of stitching these beautiful eucalyptus dyed silk squares sent to me by @bluedorritt as part of the Opening Stitches project.
Stitching on silk squares dyed with eucalyptus, original stitches by Sue Butler
It has been quite a frustrating being unable to stitch, and this project started to drift away from me.
A second silk square.
Now I am better I have had to reacquaint myself with the project.
A close up of the stitched square.
Somewhere along the line l had missed stitching these two squares that were sent to me some months ago. Fingers crossed that the paperwork tracking all the contributions has now been sorted out and I can get back to the making.
Since I launched the Opening Stitches Project at the end of January this year, I have had 15 people sign up to the project. I also have a couple of family and friends who keep telling me they will be coming on board sometime soon.
While many of the participants come from Australia, I am also really excited that I have a number of contributors from overseas. Indeed the first person to sign up lives in Japan. I also have two contributors from the UK, one from Scotland and one from the Czech Republic.
So far I have received 11 squares from 7 people. Yes, some of you are sending more than one square and that’s fine by me. I have completed working on 6 of those squares. This photo shows you what I have done so far.
As the squares were before I stitched on them.
The squares after I stitched on them.
I am still not completely clear where this project will lead me/us. Until I get a good idea of what squares people are sending in I can’t really decide how I might combine or display this work. But one of my goals is definitely to show this work in an exhibition.
If it seems odd that I am thinking about exhibiting at such an early stage this is quite necessary as most galleries advertise a year out for future exhibitions. I continue to look for exhibition opportunities with the idea of showing the work in 2020 or 2021.
I can also tell you that your stitches have already started me off on several new pieces of my own, which I also hope will be part of a larger exhibition. Here’s a current piece I am working on, alongside its inspiration, a square contributed by Catherine Stern.
I am posting updates about the project both on my Instagram page @leonieandrewsart and also on the blog on this website https://leonieandrews.wordpress.com. You are most welcome to re-post from my Instagram page or link to my blog posts.
It’s been a while, but I am moving forward again with my opening stitches project. This time a most beautiful piece of fabric and thread, (both made by Deb Lacativa, http://morewgalo.blogspot.com) contributed by Mo Orkiszewski.
This was a piece that had me thinking of complex wetlands, filled with intense colours and flashes of light, glinting off the water. Couching the threads down proved quite challenging, so choosing to use some slippery rayon thread was possibly more challenging than necessary. Here are the photos of the front and back sides, now that I have worked on it.
The front side.
The back side.
The opening stitches project is still open to new contributions, check of the link to get the full details if you would like to join in.