I decided, last time I made a large piece of work, that I had had enough of big.
I have done a fair amount of big work, wrestling awkward and unwilling layers of fabric through the sewing machine. I’ve also made large work from hanging individual components together. And I’ve made some hefty artists’ books. That’s another story, ideal for weight training though.
I was always so enthusiastic, ideas spread over a large substrate are always exciting to explore and develop, , and the effort was worth it. The pieces earned their keep in shows and in gaining me employment, bless them. They are a bit of a pain now though as I face that artists’ conundrum of what to do with rather a lot of large stored work. Small pieces aren’t so much the problem, they generally move along given a show or whatever, but when it comes to pieces up to 2.5 x 2.5m I don’t think there would be many people able to give them a home.
If anyone out there has any ideas, please let’s start a help page, or whatever! It’s a common problem with painters, but textiles are more difficult to deal with, particularly ones that are XXXXXL.
So it was with fairly typical inattentiveness I recently started another big piece. It’s in the post before this one. It’s not huge by some standards, but when I finished the laying down I rolled it up and had no enthusiasm for stitching it. It’s on linen, which I love, but even with some test stitching using the machine I didn’t like the creasing. I do love flat and tidy. I love a wiggle, frayed edge and crease in other peoples’ work, just not mine.
Then I decided to use the naughty linen once again for some smaller pieces; they were about 40cm square. Once again I wasn’t happy, I didn’t like the machined look they seemed to demand, and hand stitch didn’t suit them.
So, it was back to the hoop. I have developed such love for the hoop. Stretched fabric looks excellent, linen can be well sorted, and as I really only want to do hand stitch at the moment, it looks at home in the hoops whereas on the flat pieces it just looked wrong.
I recently took part in my first exhibition for around two years. It was great to get back to it, and I chose to hang a number of hoops. Well, that was fabulous, they all fitted into a small box, they weighed nothing, they didn’t need levelling up and hung on a neat little tack. They were well received, undulating as they did across the wall.
Before and after images…
Above are some multiple images from the three laid down pieces of work in their square format. There was a fourth, and may the fourth not be with you because alas I cut it up, to be seen at a later date, I disliked it that much.
I do like a couple of these square lays though and may recreate them as stitched collages on paper, since I’ve photographed them all.
Below, after. Hoops! Fun at last. These are the first four.
I’ve used the three birds that I had already cut out, and it’s likely that following hoops will be a little more esoteric.
I’m finding I’m very sea orientated at the moment as I haven’t been to the coast for so long, it’s too sad. Really I should live there, I’ve always wanted to, but seem to be stuck in the middle of England!