Embroidering the face on this one was harrowing! I didn’t want to overshadow the rest of the piece, and i wanted to keep the almost translucent fade back of the face itself. It took me months to get the courage up to put that first needle to it from the time i thought of it on April 18th until the 12th of this month! I made lots of notes and sweated over many ideas–and fears 🙂 I really wanted to do this one even before my residency, but as it turned out the idea of this year’s exhibition is a “resonance” on what we were doing as artist 5 years ago, so this face, done then in a different interpretation and style, called my name very loudly.
I deliberately started with the “hard” part first. I could have gone nuts on the oak leaves, or started on the machine work, but until that face was in, it just didn’t feel like i could get going! I can see though that the left eye has to be picked out as it arches too high in the middle section in comparison to the other one.
The ganglia at the bottom were a bit problematic. I need the larger areas to be more solid, but i suck at satin stitch! Finally decided that a modified needlelace cup would work–it’s perfect, adding dimension and visual import without being too dimensional and detracting from the facial area.
As i go along, i’m making decisions about other areas also. I want the bees to be “lifted” from the surface, as i had done on “Hand of the Father”. When i stamped some out though, i realized they are too heavy and strong for this piece. The areas that are already done this way on the background are fine, as they will be somewhat shadow-like when the top bees are applied. I’ll do those as the one i had done on HotF after all, with the rust fabric and metallic machine stitching. (I do love that one 🙂 )
The bee idea i will use:
Learned a few things along the way: don’t baste through major design areas–i had to pick it out, then try to make the line of needle holes disappear with a dab of water. Well, that would have been fine if water soluble pencils and graphite weren’t in the mix. Had to re-wet and rework that part so it didn’t look messy or heavier!
Also, do not iron to dry things with embroidery……the face outline got smashed flat–wtf was i thinking? I’ll try to puff it back up, with more water CAREFULLY dabbed on. If that doesn’t work, well, sigh, will have to make it work somehow. Maybe i can pretend it’s because that side of the face is receding into shadow……Except that the delicacy is gone from that line because it’s all flattened out…poop. Hoofies crossed on the dabbing then. (Edit: it DID work, thank goodness!)
I had fun (that IS meant facetiously….) separating strands of different colours then recombining them—there’s rarely just the right colour it seems when you have something specific in mind. At one point, i had 4 loaded needles going. Hope no one notices the blood on this 🙂 It’s a simple method i used, and i know there are those who could/would do the face solidly in hand or machine, but i want the fabric to show through, cause that’s kind of the point OF using this fabric.
Changing name of this also to The Bee Keeper–simple— and less important now that i make a “statement” about NOT being part of the Hive Mind 🙂 i think i’ve proved that! (Tongue in cheek, darlings!)
One thing i want to say that i mentioned on FB— People seem to think ecoprints and natural dye fabrics should be kept inviolate–i say add paint, draw on it, embroider your own designs and make it your own. This ecoprinted and rusted cotton has paint stamped, stencilled and smooshed, as well as the water soluble pencil and water soluble graphite used on it. And add a specific design/motif–that’s what fabric is all about for artists, isn’t it? A canvas to express yourself? Don’t be so afraid to mark it up, cut it up, slash and burn if you have too 🙂
I LOVE what Kimberly is doing with hers–digital prints and hand and machine embroidery over–AWESOME. She’s an incredible dyer and artist to begin with, but her work taking them further than just “fabric” is again 🙂 AWESOME.
I need to do some new ecoprints as well! Since Calgary’s growing season is all too short, i’d best take advantage while i can. My first year doing ecoprints was extremely frustrating as i started in the late autumn and had to resort to stock from the flower mine where i worked 🙂 I much prefer local vegetation, that kind of being the point of ecoprinting.
And another bee has landed in my art collection. From Ele Willoughby in Toronto, this wonderful linocut fellow is winging his way to me. Ele’s shop is on Etsy, and she has a great selection of her original linocuts as prints.