Recently, I’ve been experimenting with a woven cloth sample. I made this using indigo- and madder-dyed cloth. This allows you to make a small amount of cloth go a good deal further so it’s good for large scraps. I assembled it by weaving the coloured strips in with some plain white, and then incorporating a few oddments to fill up gaps/add a bit of interest at the edges. Once I’d put together something that I thought looked quite interesting I tacked it to a base of lightweight calico to hold it all together. Then I just set off embroidering bits and pieces without thinking too much about what I was doing, just to see what would happen.
This has been with me for a while. I’ve embroidered it on train journeys, as a passenger in the car and picked up at home in odd moments. It’s nice to have an on-going, not very serious project, to pick up and put down. But I think I’ve now done as much as I want to on this, and I’m going to move on to something else. While I’ve been working on this, over several months, I’ve been reading Jude Hill’s Spirit Cloth blog, and I’m sure I’ve been influenced by what she does, although I’ve not been trying consciously to copy. But I think it’s worth acknowledging her work which is very beautiful.
One of the habits I got into when doing the City & Guilds courses was to ruminate, once I got to the end of something, about what I might have done differently. The conclusion on this one doesn’t require a lot of rumination. I realised straight away when I started it that I’d made a bit of a blunder with the materials. Most (not all) of the cloth you see in the photograph is taken from an old cotton sheet (lace edging just visible over on the left hand side) which I’ve cut up to dye. The weave is pretty tight and it’s been very hard work getting the needle through two layers plus calico. So I won’t do that again. The cotton will be fine for anything that requires machine stitching but handstitching is just too demanding.
I suppose the squares (rectangles, really) could be a little bit of a homage to Paul Klee (see previous posts) but actually I started this piece long before I went to that exhibition. What it does reflect is my long-standing attraction to grid forms. I just love those squares and grids.
Blue and orange are complementary colours, and I chose these quite consciously. Of the classic complementary pairings it’s my least favourite. I don’t know that it works particularly well here, but another mistake I think I made was in using the harsh white for interweaving. Well, next time I put a woven piece together I can reflect on these mistakes and try to avoid them.