Saturday, June 13, 2015

Spring Squam 2015: Thread and Memory (Embroidery Project)

My second class was an embroidery/stitching class with Joetta Maue. As I mentioned, the first half of the class on Friday afternoon was spent working out the topic of the piece and how to narrow down ideas to what you're actually going to stitch.

I had come to Squam with the idea to somehow stitch about memories I have of driving to meet the school bus every day with my younger sister. We spent hours in the car over the years we both attended high school. A lot were spent in silence, but we also had good talks, times singing with the radio and, regretfully (inevitably), times when I wasn't at my best and we bickered and I exhibited other unkind behaviour.

I didn't know how I would do this at all, and my options ended up being limited by the only photograph I had brought along of the two of us. I certainly wasn't going to (I would say, couldn't) draw something original so I worked from this picture of our two young selves:
(Aaah...isn't that a sweet picture!?)

With Joetta's advice and help, I got the basic lines of the picture copied to tracing paper:
And then I traced it to a napkin I had brought along to stitch on:
We used a water soluble pen so don't worry, the blue marks won't be on the final piece. This is as far as I got the first day, but it was a difficult process for me. (I get so frustrated trying to draw anything.) But I got through it with Joetta's encouragement and was happy to have a design to stitch by the end of the day.

The next morning, I made it to the second half of the class looking forward to getting to the stitching. I was most worried about the faces so the others encouraged me to start with that.
While I was working with a bunch of colours, I worked with the others in the cabin porch.
I had a whole mess of floss that I had taken with me. (Thank you, sister Bonnie, for passing them on to me!)
Once I had done some of the details and knew I would be working with a limited number of colours for the clothing, I chose the colours and moved into the sunshine on the dock.
It was a glorious way to spend the morning!

Toward the end of class, we all gathered again and each of us showed what we were working on and talked about the piece for a minute. I love hearing about others' projects and what they were about. I think only one person was close to finishing her piece. (Joetta complained that the problem with teaching embroidery is that she never gets to see a finished product and asked us to email her pictures later!)

I didn't take any more progress pictures, but I can show you the current status of the piece. I just finished the figures last night:
There are some things I'd like to be different, but I kept reminding myself to just move forward. When I show people how to knit, I find it unhelpful when they constantly want to undo what they've done because there's a hole or loose tension or other problems. In the early tries, you have to just keep going for a while. So that is what I told myself about this piece.
Sure, I think my eyes are kind of freaky, and I could go on and on, but really I need to just continue to see how the rest will come out. Stop holding it six inches from my face and look at it from a reasonable distance. And, if I continue with this, there's a good chance I will do a series on the same theme, even based on the same picture. But this is where it is right now.

And you know I'll keep you updated as more develops.

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