Monday, October 30, 2006

Experimental Material


Recently in Hilton Head, my mother and I sorted through a box of tangled embroidery floss, yarn, and assorted threads. The jumble was a result of three years in the public classroom. Students managed to make quite a disaster from all the sewing supplies I brought as an Artist-in-Residence. I'm not teaching like this any longer. It was time to salvage some of the material. It took hours. We used nearly one hundred ziplock bags for storing what we retrieved. Still, there was an unbelievable mass remaining. Mostly, these were short strings, knotted ends, and frayed pieces. They were impossible to unravel, but I planned to "do something" with it.

This weekend I finished the artist book about extinct languages, transferred images onto the forty plus pages of Life Everlasting (my second copy, a recent Amazon.com purchase), and I had enough time to EXPERIMENT!

I spread half the pile over a piece of dissolvable fabric and covered it with another piece the same size. I pinned the edges; it looked like an odd pillow. For about an hour I free-motion machine embroidered the entire surface with a nice varigated thread. Then, DISSOLVE.

The result is strangely beautiful. It is quite a solid piece of material. I haven't decided whether to frame it, make it into a handbag, or hand stitch on it. I still have another pile of knotted yarns and threads left but no more dissolvable fabric. Thus, I have time to think about it.

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