Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Strata II

(Pictured above: Strata II, the completed piece)

Despite a busy weekend full of fun activities (A Fool For Art and a Bohemian Garden Party and the Stars of NYC Ballet), I spent most of the time sewing in my studio. I finished Strata II. Hopefully, Barbara Blau of DP Professionals will like it enough to have it in her incredible conference room, right by In Box XXIII.

(Pictured at left: Detail from Strata II)

(Pictured at left: Another detail from Strata II)

I actually started the piece the weekend before and have been working on it for hours almost every day since. I spent more than two hours just laying out strips and pieces of sheer chiffon, interesting yarns, snippets of gauze, millinery netting, ribbon, and ravelings of assorted thread.

(Pictured at left: Reverse side of Strata II, before being dissolved. This is the side on which I could most easily check the density of the machine embroidery and determine if the lines interlocked enough to create a stable, unified structure.)

I put all these fibers on a new product I bought while in California. I have the packaging in my studio which includes the name, but I've also looked on my favorite mail-order website. I'm pretty sure it is also called Aquabond. This is the listing from www.thethreadstudio.com:
A new soluble fabric with a sticky surface.
The sticky side of the fabric is covered with a silicone coated paper to protect the adhesive surface. Threads, yarns and fabric pieces can be arranged on the sticky surface enabling the a whole design structure to be built up in its entirety.

That's pretty much what I did. These images show the threads, yarns, and fabrics trapped between the heavier, sticky surface and the sheer, clear water soluble top. Because I used so many fibers, I also had to pin the piece together for the initial stitching. I stitched...and I stitched...and I stitched....free-motion mostly but also a few of the open patterns available on my Bernina. Carefully, I made sure that everything was interlocked to something else with machine embroidery. Without some sort of connection, the piece could fall apart--at least in places--when dissolved. I could check the reverse side easily. The heavier, sticky side looks sort of like interfacing...it is white in color and allowed me to check the density of the machine embroidery. (Photo above) The shiny side, being clear, let me "draw" wavy patterns, circles, and whimsical lines to connect all the yarns to one another. Finally, I pinned the piece to an over-sized sheet of foam-centered board and hosed it down with water. I poured water for over five minutes and directed it at every inch of the piece...not once, but twice...once on Saturday and once on Sunday. It is still a bit stiff, which I like. To remove this stiffness, I could have hosed the piece down again to remove all the residue of the water-soluble fabric. As is, however, I think it is wonderful. It has all sorts of layers, perfect for its title, Strata II. I hope Barbara and Dana, her daughter, like it!

(Pictured at left: Strata II pinned to foam-centered board and ready to be dissolved using an ordinary garden hose. This is outside my studio's side door.)

(Strata II, looking through the clear, thin sheet of water-soluble film to the fibers. Also a good look at the machine embroidery done to hold it all together.)

(Another detail of the front of Strata II before being dissolved.)

1 comment:

Sharon Serrano Ahmed said...

Dear Susan, Thank you for your very nice comments on my blog today. I decided to "check out" your blog and wanted to say that I love your work too, especially this piece! I love Aquabond. Jan Beaney had it in her class. It is made by Maderia, and can be purchased here in the States, but isn't as common. OESD has an equivolent product called aquamesh plus (the "plus" one has the adhesive), Floriana I believe also has an adhesive water-soluable stabilizer, but it does not wash out very easily.
FYI, yes, I took Jan and Jean's class at Callaway and it was wonderful. They are not coming this coming January, but only the year after.
Sharon in Atlanta