Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Arbor Vitae

I will have a professional quality picture taken once I have mounted the cloth on a stretcher. But, here you are, dear faithful readers - a halfway decent shot taken after tacking the piece to the side of my house in between rain showers.
I used a running stitch to redo the water on the duck. I couldn't leave it out entirely because of the duck's position and because the previous, heavier stitching left a lot of holes. I am much happier with it now.
A giant banana slug cozied up along side. Perhaps he would like his portrait done as well?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

C'est Fini

Forty-five minutes ago, at 8:15 p.m., I put the last stitch in the piece I began 89 days ago. Then, with a mixture of satisfaction and sadness, I took the cloth out of the hoop, folded it, swept the floor and did the dishes.

There will be pictures tomorrow, camera willing. I am very happy with it. It still needs to be stretched and there may be some small touch ups, but it is done.

Figuring on an average of three hours a day, it took 267 hours. That doesn't seem like much, but it was enough to give me tendonitis in my right hand. (Yes, I suffered for my art!)

The next pieces will be smaller, probably single pages from the Codex. The last three months of work have taught me a lot, sharpened my skills, and proven my patience. Just when I thought it would never end, it seemed like elves came in the night and I was almost done.

I think I will have a wee glass of wine to celebrate.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bugs in my Garden

I have been persevering with the Codex embroidery, and am now about two-thirds of the way through the foliage. The end is in sight! Thank you, dear Judy Martin, for your words of encouragement. They came at just the right time. But, since the embroidery doesn't look substantially different from the last posting, may I offer some wondrous bugs from my garden? Below is a fat bumble bee enjoying the centaura.
Pretty, huh? Now for something completely disgusting.
The tent caterpillars are out in full force. I assiduously picked all the egg patches off the apple trees during the winter, and all my smaller trees are free of caterpillars, but I couldn't reach the higher branches of this big old apple. Now it is totally encased in worms.
Hideous, I agree, but kind of a marvel all the same.
They have eaten all the leaves off the tree. The leaves will grow back, apparently, but I doubt there will be any apples.
And not in my garden, but in my neighbour's studio, are these spectacular critters.
Sean Goddard is a sculptor who makes entomyologically accurate metal and glass insects. He has a lovely little gallery next door to me, and also sells his work at Circle Craft in Vancouver, as well as shows up and down the West Coast. More about Sean and his work can be found here. Thanks, Damselfly, for reminding me to mention that Sean's bugs are BIG, ranging in size from on to two feet across. Perfect for a garden wall.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fuzzy Progress

Yet more proof my camera is dying. I am sorry for the fuzzy image, the poor thing just doesn't seem to be able to focus. It probably didn't help that I hung the cloth out on my windy deck to take the picture - it looks sadly floppy. Anyway, I just wanted to show you that I haven't bailed on this piece, but progress is not as dramatic as I would hope.

I have completed the coral stitch vines. I could probably calculate the number of little knots involved, but am afraid to find out. Now I just have to draw the remaining (and also innumerable) branches, and prepare myself for the final kick on the embroidery.

I am also thinking that I should remove the zigzag water lines on the duck. He doesn't stand out as clearly as he should.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Into the Stretch

I have finished the lower left quarter panel. It seemed to take longer than I thought it would, but it could just be that the repetition makes it seem that way.
A detail shot to show the effect of shadow. Because the coral stitch is so heavy, and doesn't lie flat on the cloth, it casts a greater shadow than the other stitches.

I am starting to think about how the cloth will be mounted. I will probably have a custom stretcher made, and stretch the finished piece as I would if it were a painting. I am a little concerned about whether I should back the cloth, or staple a dust cover to the back of the stretcher. This might create a cozy habitat for the dreaded M**H. Maybe I could insert little sachet packets of cedar and lavender to deter aforementioned beasties.