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Friday, June 13, 2014

Less is More...

...or how this...

became this...

It's a long story.

Several years ago, I mooched a cleaning rag from a friend of mine who is a painter in oils.  I liked the look of it, and thought that it wanted stitch; she thought I was barking, but humoured me after a bit of persuasion.  And it has lain about ever since, which, given it is oil paint, was probably Not A Bad Thing.  Raking through the box it was in (the one with the interesting hand dyed/printed/painted fabrics), I thought that its time had come... and promptly cut it in half.  I liked the balance of colours and shapes, the randomness of it, the way that it suggested sea to me, somehow, perhaps because my friend had been painting goldfish in ponds... and because Turner has painted seas in this kind of palette...  who knows?

I wanted to make this the first piece in the 'Linescapes' series I have been slowly working up to; so far, I have a lot of sketches and postcards, but no textile pieces.  I thought I would approach it the same way I have the drawings, by beginning with three curving lines.  I wanted them to be quite small, because the real interest in the piece, I thought, was the painted cloth, and I wanted them to be textured.  So, I thought I'd try taking some dark green velvet, and add some other colours to it, particularly orange, through stitching, which I knew would  add texture and interest.  When I looked at it, having added a bit of stitch, though, I knew it wasn't right.  See for yourself;
Too dark.

This looked better, though...had I had enough of it, I would have used it, and the piece would be completely different.  As it was, I hadn't, so started looking through my scrap stash.

And I found this... which, a small person in my head jumped up and down with excitement.  That person is rarely wrong, so I put some fusible on a section, cut the lines out, and added them to the piece.  And stitched it.  And added some painted polyester cloth (for once, not lutradur...), and burned it back.

Reader, I hated it.  I rotated it.  I hated it less.

So I figured that I needed to work out what was wrong with it.  I decided that there was Too Much Stitch.  And if I got rid of the stitch, or at least, some of it, I'd feel better about it, because what was important in the piece was the exploration of space...and I had filled up that space with stitch, which was a distraction from what was going on in the cloth.

Okay.  So I thought I would take out a significant amount of the stitching in the larger section to the right of the turquoise/orange strips.  And I did.  And it was interesting... I didn't remove all the stitch, leaving bits and pieces of stitched mark here and there.  Look closely at the piece and you can see the holes in the canvas where the stitches were.

Here's a close up.

And that, I thought, might well be that... but of course, we both know better, because we've seen the after picture... more tomorrow.

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