Work continues on Engine 22 and the first row of the main stitching is finished - that is 10 sections out of 44 – all good so far and the image is gradually appearing.
I have started thinking about my next piece for the Echoes exhibition in October. My initial idea is based on revisiting Irish dance dresses now that my girls no longer dance. I thought of making an ethereal dress that would hang by itself – an echo of the real thing and a kind of memento mori for a part of our life that has now finished.
A page from my sketchbook thinking about how to stitch the knotwork.
I cut out pattern pieces for a bodice and tried some ideas.
Slightly distracted into drawing hearts in knotwork.
I toyed with the idea of using bright colours and stitched a couple of samples, but soon moved back to white. This next sample is a very thin piece of silk paper that I printed with lines in white acrylic paint. The Thermofax screen is one I bought a while ago because the lines are reminiscent of my earlier work using patterns from electricity pylons. I drew the knot in pencil on some soluble stabiliser and hand stitched the lines then dissolved it away. It shrank more than I thought it would and unfortunately, the pencil lines marked the thread so it is now a dirty grey, but it is useful as a test. I am going to try again but this time drawing in white pen straight onto the silk. My plan is to make lots of little pieces with fragments of patterns and join them with machine stitching into a single piece of fabric. I am not sure now whether I will make it into an actual dress or keep it as a hanging – will decide when I have more to play with.
Last weekend, I made some more pieces of silk paper but had a little accident with a couple of them. I made them in the usual way with CMC paste and net, and had covered the table with an old PVC cloth. Now, this is many years old – I originally bought it to protect the table from messy baby mealtimes and it has been used for painting etc for at least a decade. For the first time ever, the colour ran and marked two of the pieces with pale flower splodges. They sat around for a couple of days while I got on with other things and then on Friday afternoon, I gave myself some playtime, just for fun and did this.
These wonderful thread ends are from Marilyn, a very talented weaver who recently joined Gordano Textile Artists. She came to our last meeting with the warp ends from her latest piece which you can see on the GTA blog here. They are the perfect length for embroiderers to use and they are all dyed by her in the most wonderful rainbow colours. She also had a bagful of snippets about an inch long which I pounced on. I have sprinkled them onto the silk paper and layered with Mistyfuse followed by another layer of thread ends and then ironed it all together. I will need to add some stitching to stop the top layer coming off, but at the moment I am just enjoying the colours.