|Virginia Woolf's Tea Towel, 2016. 16"(w) x 24"(l) Hand embroidery on vintage linen.|
I had a vague recollection of a vintage tea towel in the stash that had tea cups embroidered on it. Following my usual strategy, I thought I would just embroider some pithy saying on it and voila! I found the Virginia Woolf quote quickly enough, but could I find that damn tea towel?
My stash is highly unorganised, to say the least. I burrowed through totes in the crawlspace, emptied trunks, upended my cedar chest, even checked the random plastic bags in odd corners. Finally, after days of searching, I found the piece I was looking for.
Only it wasn't what I remembered. It was more of a serviette than a towel, on thin cotton, and sloppily made. No way it would work.
So I found a plain linen tea towel that I had used last summer while making blackberry jam. Of course there were a number of purple stains on it, but after several soaks with lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide I managed to remove the worst of it.
I redrew a vintage iron on embroidery transfer featuring teacups and traced it onto the cloth. The embroidery was a breeze, reminding me of how effective a few lazy daisy stitches and french knots can be. At last, my canvas was ready!
Embroidering the quote went fairly smoothly, after I realised the letters were too small on my first attempt. I picked out the threads, redrew it, and finished stitching during a slow shift at work.
A lot of effort for something that is basically a one-liner! I didn't attend the gala, but heard that there was a mad bidding war for the piece and it ended up going for $185!