Monday, February 05, 2024

Hand-stitched Commission

(Above:  My friend Donna with her newly commission, hand-stitched In Box Series artwork.  The artwork is framed:  31 1/2" x 18".   Click on any image to enlarge.)

Recently I was honored with a commission from my friend Donna.  Donna works for a local bank.  Twenty-three years ago, the bank purchased a city block in downtown Columbia on which to build their new offices.  Donna convinced the bank's officers to allow artists to salvage anything from the three buildings scheduled for demolition.  I went.  Donna checked all the artists onto the fenced off block.  It was the very first time I ever signed my name as "an artist".  A year later, the bank held an event to showcase the artwork made.  This was one of the first times anything I created was also sold. So, it seems fitting that one of the last things I will stitch here in Columbia is a commission for Donna!  By the end of the month, Steve and I will be moved into our Cateechee mill village church outside Central, South Carolina.  Below is a bit of documentation for this commission.

(Above: A piece of recycled, black industrial felt onto which I ironed a piece of Pellon 805/Wonder Under.)
(Above:  My stash of polyester stretch velvet shapes.  The reverse of all this material was previously fused with Pellon 805/Wonder Under.)
(Above:  Pulling off the carrying sheet of the Pellon 805/Wonder Under.  The adhesive defines the area in which to create the artwork.  It also gives an extra firm hold on this foundation layer of polyester stretch velvet.)
(Above:  Assorted pieces of the polyester stretch velvet stash fused to the industrial felt.  I generally add another, solid layer of Pellon 805/Wonder Under over this surface before adding more layers.)
(Above:  Additional pieces of polyester stretch velvet layered onto the foundation pieces.  Some of the shapes are as much as five layers deep.  At this point, I iron another, solid layer of Pellon 805/Wonder Under over the entire surface.)
(Above: Strips of sheer chiffon and bridal tulle/netting are fused over the surface.  This provides a smooth surface for stitching.)
(Above:  The piece is then stapled to a stretcher bar.  I stitched this piece while riding in the cargo van, back and forth to the Cateechee mill village church.  Assorted 100% cotton embroidery floss is carefully stitched in a back-and-forth system so that no odd, diagonal stitch is visible after the melting process.  Basically ... I have to keep in mind where the stitch on the backside is going!)
(Above:  I use an industrial heat gun and melt the space between the polyester stretch velvet shapes.  This is the space where the felt is still showing.  It is the thinnest layer which melts within a second or two.  The cotton floss "bridges" do not melt.  They hold the shapes together.  These bridges are obvious on the back side.  They are the ones with the twisted colors ... because I've laced most of them when stitching from one square to the next.)
(Above:  The finished commission, full image without the frame.)
(Above:  Detail image at an angle.)
(Above:  The finished piece before Donna picked it up!



Ann Scott said...

Such a nice story and beautiful piece. With all of the moving forward steps in your adventure I hadn't thought about all you'd be saying "good-bye" to. I understand it's not a cross-country move so I imagine there will be reunions in the future.

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

I love how you create these pieces, the invisible layers (that we no longer see in the finished piece) that hold it all together securely.

(apologies haven't been around for a while, moved to another city, with a massive downsize as I'm living in a semi community where my allocated space isn't very large. Not started back into artmaking quite yet, although it's all organised)