A quick look at some of the things I’ll be taking to the gallery tomorrow:
A dozen Flying Bananafish…not at all like the drab, digitally altered photo above of a whole fish, but brightly colored, with iridescent wings and beads and glitter and EVERYTHING. Party fish, these guys.
I’ve also made half a dozen embroidered marbled fabric works, stretched over frames like paintings.
Embroidering onto marbled fabric was a lot harder than I thought it would be—and, as I found when I searched the internet to see what other stitchers had done with the combination, I was not the only one who hesitated, when faced with the densely patterned fabric. Even the great embroidery blogger, Mary Corbet, balked at the task.
When you think about it, it’s just printed fabric, and you should be able to stitch over it with wild abandon, right? Except that, with an actual marbled print, you become painfully aware that every stitch or appliquéd piece or attached bead and sequin is going to cover up marks that are unique and can never be re-created in exactly the same way, again. That gorgeous swirl of hairline stripes and feathery loops, a serendipitous juxtaposition of colors that look so incredibly luscious they seem to glow…marbling is dense with little gorgeous patches like these, and an embroiderer really can feel like she is gilding the lily by trying to add her comparatively chunky stitches and clumsy solid color blocks.
But I gave it a whirl, anyway…sometimes I tried to fit my stitching in with the bigger picture, so that the marbling played a part in the story of the piece. At other times, completely defeated but desperate to have done something more than greeting cards for our marbling show, I treated the fabric as though it had been commercially printed…smacked a great big clumsy design onto it, and stitched it, and the marbling fell away into the background, losing meaning and pride of place. I think I understand a little bit, now, about what motifs work, and the feeling that I am after, but there is not time to start on new pieces. Hopefully the knowledge will still be with me for the next time I attempt to overstitch marbling.
The island shack piece you’ve seen (but in this pic it’s done), plus 5 others that you haven’t (because they didn’t exist until I embroidered them all today…my eyeballs feel like they’re trained on the tip of my nose, now!)
If I can squeeze them in, there are another three or four stretched marbled fabric pieces that I’d like to embroider, plus a few handbound journals of my own that I might, if I push myself and work till the wee hours of the morning, manage to get done in time for the opening night of Throwing Stones for Fun & Profit.
In case I forgot to invite you, everyone’s welcome…we’ve crammed a small room plus the foyer of the Darwin Visual Arts Association choc-a-bloc full of marbled works, most of them featuring our own imaginative twists and experiments with this ancient traditional craft.