A Skin for a Skin, 2015 48"(w) 60"(l) Hand embroidery on linen; wool, wood, leather
Yes, I went with the fringe. I am very happy with it, for a few reasons. First, and most obvious, is that the fringe is leather - skin. Even though I have been using wool thread, an animal product, for the embroidery, leather is directly connected to my subject. The piece is full of references to the fur trade of early Canada, and the title is a translation of the Hudson's Bay Company motto, "Pro Pelle Cutem". Leather gives the cloth a much more visceral quality. The fringe visually balances the piece. And the fringe moves beautifully in the breeze, as you can see in the video below.
My search for leather was not easy. I couldn't find any leather suppliers on Vancouver Island, and didn't want to do mail order. There is a leather bag maker on Gabriola, who would have sold me a piece, but she was away on vacation. Then, during my volunteer shift at the Gabe Shop, I noticed a small, very fitted, leather jacket on the rack. Perfect! There was enough material in the sleeves to splice together the needed length, and I cut the strips with my rotary cutter, leaving a half inch or so at the top edge to hold it together. I machined the leather to a length of twill tape, and hand stitched it onto the back of the hem.
It was such a grey day flash had to be used when taking these pictures. The colours go together much better than it would appear.
My only concern now is the drape of the piece. I interlined it with cotton flannel, which gives heft, but it seems like the linen wants to stretch more than the cotton. I'm hoping gravity will even it out over time, but I may have to go back in there and adjust the interlining.