This was really fun to put together. The Earth is based on this illustration by Wild Olive (with some adjustments).
When I was little, we had this set of World Book Encyclopedias that had these really detailed, acetate/transparency inserts that were layered and showed things like the inside of a frog, or the human head, skull, brain, muscles etc. I thought I’d try and accomplish something similar, but simplified.
The process turned out to not be too difficult to nail down. I started with a tiny prototype — it’s just a piece of vellum button-hole stitched over muslin. The hard part was nailing down what exactly I wanted to stitch. I wanted both pieces to be interesting on their own, but also to look good together. (I also loved that the “layers” had a double-meaning. Layers in the piece and layers of the Earth.)
I’m quite pleased at how well it turned out.
Here’s the first layer on its own:
I had planned on satin stitching the yellow as well, but after using almost a full skein (with just a tiny bit left over) on the orange, I didn’t want to chance not having enough for the yellow ring. I like the way it turned out regardless. I loved combining embroidering on fabric and embroidering on another surface. I might just do it again sometime.
I have been working on various things over the past few weeks.
First, I finished up a swap piece for the latest Phat Quarter swap. Here’s a tiny peek. I am tremendously pleased with how the whole thing came together. The completed piece is just about as I had envisioned it in my head. I cannot wait until my partner receives it and I can share the whole thing with you all.
I also got a little crochet lesson from my mom and it took some time, but I’ve gotten a decent feel for it. I’m not sure what exactly I will do with this skill (perhaps a blanket) but it’s been handy to have a ball of yarn and a hook in my purse as I’ve been spending lots of time at the softball field with my oldest these past few weeks (and that will continue into June).
All of this momentum is good. I’ve got plans to start on Alice Paul’s portrait in the next few days and to start on sketching out some more specific ideas on the thing I want to do next.
The what I want to do next involves old family photos and other pieces of personal ephemera that I’ve saved over the years. In the process (and after seeing Olisa’s stitched poem fragments), I pulled out all of my old poems. I think I might have touched on it when I did my Dickinson piece, but I started out college as an English major, wanting to be a writer. I wrote poems like a mad-person back in those days — and I saved everything. Things that I had written when I was 10 all the way through college graduation. Some of it is so precious (and so is my handwriting). Here is my very first poem, I remember writing it in 5th grade (and then I wrote six or seven quickly after):
They wave their grassy hands
As people walk in their sands
The sand dunes.
And then, naturally at age 12-14 they are cringe-worthy. Unrequited love. I have no real friends. (One acrostic that spells “hypocrite”)
But eventually, they started sucking a lot less (and obviously I was influenced heavily by Dickinson).
can change the world
All you see
reflected back —
[1:10 pm 19 Oct 1999]
with the scalpel
I bleed –
[10:59 am 18 April 1999]
I was so obsessive, I used to track the dates and times (and maybe also where I was) of every little thing I wrote. I was convinced that a pattern would emerge, but yet, I don’t think I’ve ever examined the data. (Perhaps it is time!)
I’ve been holding off starting to work on a second suffragette portrait for several reasons. First, the photo of Alice Paul I had been thinking of using just didn’t seem to be quite right for this project.
I certainly think it’d make for a good portrait, it just seems to be lacking in oomph.
And second, I’d signed up for an embroidery class (taking some sort of class has been on my list of things I want to do for a while now) that was scheduled to start next week. It was going to cover creating embroideries from photographic images. However, as there weren’t enough people enrolled (I was the first and quite possibly the only one signed up), the class was cancelled. Would I have learned a new technique or two? I can’t say, but I’d have loved to find out.
I was pretty bummed when I got the official cancellation email this morning. I have decided though not to linger on my disappointment. Just the other day, I picked up a few books on the suffrage movement at the library. One — Jailed for Freedom — I had started on my nook, but the free ebook is riddled with OCR errors and made it difficult to read. A hard copy is much easier. The other — One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement — is a book of essays that was right next to Jailed for Freedom on the shelf and I figured why not. As luck would have it, as I was flipping through One Woman, One Vote, I came across what I think is the perfect photo for me to use of Alice Paul. I haven’t been able to find a digitized copy of the photo — either at the Library of Congress (my usual source), or at the Smithsonian archives, but I think my scanner will do the trick. I like it when things seem to fall into my lap. It makes me feel like they were meant to be.
The prospect of the class, which was entitled “Embroidering Life Stories”, also got me thinking about some of my favorite old family photos and about my experiments with transfers to fabric. There’s a good chance something along those lines will come next. Eventually. I’ve had some good brainstorms while riding the commuter bus to and from the office and have scribbled down lots of notes.
It feels good to be excited about things.
I had a desire last night to stitch up something pretty, something just because, something not too intense. This little doodle (in a 4″ hoop) is what happened. My work life is getting a bit hectic, and my mind is still working out who to do for my next suffragette portrait, but my hands needed to move.
Ever have moments like that?
I’m pretty happy with the way that it turned out. I learn something with each piece. This time around, I’ve actually taken care to block the piece (something I’ve never done before). Next, I’ll be finishing the companion piece, the bear cross stitch and crossing my fingers that they work together.
As I worked on this, I couldn’t help but contemplate all the things that she and other women like her went through.
(A few more detail shots in the ol’ flickr stream)