Square to circle.

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…

Some materials: digitally printed fabric from images of my collages, silk, thread and a bird I liked.

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!

12 thoughts on “Square to circle.

  1. Hi Stephanie, thanks for your great blog and for sharing your wonderful, inspiring work with us all. I must have read your book at least 8 times already! A suggestion for what you might try in regard to ‘parting’ with your larger works…..Why not raffle them and perhaps donate the proceeds to a worthy cause? I’m sure there must be many folks and organisations who would love to hang your larger pieces in their homes or businesses. Just a thought.

    1. Well Rose to say I’m glad you enjoyed the book is putting it mildly! Many thanks for that. Raffles are something I have thought about, it’s a compelling idea which I need to research more. I’ve always enjoyed donating smaller pieces, but really need to put my mind to these gallumping pieces.

  2. Hi Stephanie, I’ve followed you on Instagram for sometime and much enjoyed what I’ve seen. It’s good now to find your blog with so much more to read and digest.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you, that’s very kind. It’s good to know you like the blog, I really enjoy writing it but sometimes question whether it’s worth it, as so many people prefer Instagram these days. I like Instagram myself but enjoy blogs because, as you say, you learn so much more about peoples’ thoughts and processes.

      1. I hope you stay with the blog, it’s so much more interesting to be able to read about your work and processes as well as to see the lovely results. What a problem storing large pieces must be – their sheer bulk must demand a lot of storage space! I would love to live by the sea, so looking forward to seeing how it influences your work… 🙂

      2. Thanks Ann, it’s good to know there are still people out there who enjoy blogs.
        In many ways, although I like Instagram, except for its obvious failures in security, I think blogs still have a place, and are less hackable. One post a week or whatever, going into something in a little more depth with good images [ thinking about yours here ] is satisfying and life enhancing. IG and the like can introduce you to new work and so on, and so it does have its use, but I find I have to watch out for scrolling burnout!

      3. I enjoy the blogs and the blog community, but it can be difficult to keep up with them all! It does feel much more worthwhile than scrolling through lots of less interesting stuff on Facebook etc. Occasionally I like to have a look at Instagram but don’t post there because I don’t have a smartphone.

  3. Love where you’re going with the sea theme Steph. I’m missing the sea too! I grew up on the coast and only live inland 20 miles now but we’re restricted but dog bylaws. They change at the end of the month though, yipee!

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