Last week, when I showed you this photo, some of you may have thought “wait - what happened to all that black? Didn’t she say that she was going back in the dye studio to get all that great black overlay?” Well….I didn’t listen to myself. After the second dye attempt, when it still wasn’t dark enough, I did what I do all too often: I told myself that it was fine, it looked good, I’d fix it in the sewing…..>sigh<……so now we have this:
…which is pretty strong (and will be better after I iron it and stretch it over layers of wool). But it’s not what it should be. I may attack it with a permanent black marker. Seriously, add all that black in, either achieving stark power…. or making an utter debacle, a total fiasco (ah! the thrill of textile art!). At least I’m sane enough not to hit it with a marker right now.
Meanwhile, I sent a version of this to Spoonflower, along with the Gods of Literacy piece. This version:
The original, photographic grouping, with ALL that black, to be printed 34” x 34”. If they get the colors right it could be magnificent.
Printing out my images commercially is a huge question for me. I love being able to research and design my image online (hi tech!) then dye and embroider them completely by hand (very old tech). Doing all that dye painting is the closest I’ll ever get to being a medieval manuscript illuminator. Plus, the whole idea of tablets is the reference to clay tablets, preserved information, etc. Ancient tablets were small.
But a 34” square of dark, black gloom with a screaming orange center could r-e-a-l-l-y sing. And I’d still get to do all that hand embroidery.
Along with the Gods of Literacy print, Spoonflower sent the Museum of Brazil print. Here it is, taped to the same wall over my couch:
It’s even better in person. Deep, rich blacks, great detail. I’m currently in Seattle, where I have no resources for better photography. A personal note: in order to be part of our granddaughter’s life, we now have a small apartment in Seattle, just 2 blocks from my son & DIL’s home, while keeping our house in NJ. It is GREAT to see her almost every day, but it does mean flying back and forth to NJ. Which works, because I can sew anywhere.
But it does make me face certain artistic choices. I’ll be 70 this coming year. This past summer, I finally cleaned out a massive amount of old material. This was the stuff I had gathered at garage sales to possibly use in my art. At 70, you can’t keep all your options open. If I hadn’t used those rusty mattress springs in the past 15 years, what were the odds that I’d use them in the next 10 years? The glauconite that I had gathered at the dig site, to try dye experiments - that’s not going to happen, is it? Materials were donated, recycled, throw out.
So I’ve decided which projects I WON’T do. Which way WILL I go?
Facing this big, wonderful print of the Brazil Museum, I realize that sewing it in the same obsessive style could take the better part of a year. I’m not being morbid, but what are the odds that I’m going to be stitching madly every day when I’m 80? Do I want to devote a year to this?
So I am sewing it, just the lettering so far, and I’m thinking, and I’m not at all sure how this will go. More thoughts on this next week.
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