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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Doing The Necessary

I found myself doing the kind of finishing work that we all have to do, and none of us particularly enjoys. I have the nasty habit of looking at a textile piece, and thinking, that's it, and simply stopping work on it. It says what I want it to say, and that's enough.

Except it isn't, of course. With the paintings, it's easy enough. They come in a preset structure, depending on what type of canvas I'm using. You paint it, you finish, you leave it to dry. You varnish and frame it. Nae bother. With a textile, though, there are broader considerations. Did the stitch distort the shape? Does it matter? If so, how to fix it? What kind of finishing do the edges require? How to hang it, sleeve or other mechanism? To frame, or not to frame, that is...well, only one of the many questions you ask yourself of a finished textile piece.

Who said it was over when the fat lady sings? Hah. Singing is the least of it. It's over when the fat lady handsews the sleeve on. So there. You can tell I don't like the finishing stuff, at all. So this is the week I take stock, make sleeves and mutter under my breath. Yuk. I'd much rather be making any one of the hundreds of ideas crowding my head, at least, until the point where I think, that's it... which is where we came in, of course!


Lynn said...

Oh, Marion. That is so true! I finish the quilting and can almost palpably feel the interest and enthusiasm for that project drain right away. Like a fickle lover dancing with the old while looking over his shoulder for the new. But I also have this niggling little angel on my shoulder who says "You must finish this you know." And I must say, my track record for finishing projects is amazingly good.

I take shortcuts on small pieces (anything less than 3' x 3') and do pillow-slip finishes rather than binding. Then all you have to do is attach the hanging sleeve. In fact, one of the pieces I did last May included hanging loops that I managed to put inside the "pillow slip" so that it was all done in one "swell foop," as they say. Of course, it also was a double-sided quilt so needed to be finished that way.

Shirley Goodwin said...

All the fun is in the doing, not the finishing, for me also. I like this piece, Marion.

Shirley in NZ

marion said...

It's a detail of a painting, Goddess, which I'm very fond of, and which hangs in my kitchen. Since I put the picture up on the blog, I keep going back to it to wonder how I can do that in cloth. The texture of the oils is wonderful, not really possible in cloth...unless...oh damn, another idea (wax comes to mind)

Linda said...

You know it is possible - it's only a question of doing it!

Omega said...

Aah, life's boring bits! How I too would love to hand things over at a certain stage and say to the wee folks "Just stitch this up would you please."
I once went to a workshop where completely unusually in my experience the teacher actually gave us an individual crit on our work. He was an excellent teacher: John Hicks, and of all the things he said to me one made the most impression. That is that for serious work one should conceive of the whole work - how it is going to be displayed included - before embarking on it. Of course it will change and develop, but thinking about all aspects of it should be involved in that development. Therefore the work is not finished until the sleeve, whatever, is sewn on. I found that that helped me - most of the time.