I'm entering what I affectionately call "exhibit season". (Is it just me or does there seem to be an exceptional number of show deadlines in the autumn?) I have a solo show in October and then the Earth Stories quilt and an Invitational to send work in for.
I was messing around with a new series idea a few weeks ago, was positive I had nailed it. And then when I tried to repeat the trial piece that I liked so well, it kept flopping. Might mean the trial piece was a fluke. Not sure. Only thing I know is that this is not the time to pause and ponder it. So I set it aside and decided I would make some more Remnants Collages as planned. (I do like me a good collage.)
Then yesterday, the studio smacked me in the head with an idea and I dropped everything else I was working on to obey.
You see, I've been working toward becoming comfortable with machine stitching. I want to make a new series that is more quilt like and while I'll stop being a hand stitcher when you pry my needles and perle cotton from cold dead hands, I do admit that I was feeling lured.
Now I'm going to say something and I'm sure I'm going to get some "Not true!" shouts at the computer screen - machine stitching is quicker. It's quicker because of the way I stitch my work - straight stitches, graphic, simple. So a line of straight stitch on a machine goes a hell of a lot faster then a row of straight stitch by hand.
Would it be quicker if I was thread painting? Nope. And all you lovely artists out there that do that kind of machine work have my admiration. But for the way I use stitch in my work? Light years faster.
So here is where I was at: if I can learn to use machine stitching in a way that I'm comfortable with and that suits my work, then I could produce more work, quicker and larger. Period. That's what really sparked my quest for a new series because honestly, I'm weary of producing such a low volume of artwork every year. I have so many ideas, I want. to. make. more.
And yesterday in the studio I did it:
19.5" wide x 18.5" high
I don't know about you but I always like the detail shots better then the overall ones. So here's a close up:
I don't know how to express how this makes me feel. Scared and excited all at the same time. Never thought I'd see machine stitching marching across my work. But somehow I feel it goes, maybe because it's a whole cloth printed piece of fabric. The focus is on the printing, the stitching is merely a layer.
It's a small piece, I wanted to see if it would work the way my vision grabbed me. And I'm happy to say that it did. It might seem insignificant, after all, quilters are burning up their machines every day.
But this is a huge step for me. One that still feels uncomfortable in a lot of ways but I've decided to just feel weird and keep going.
Gotta love the weird. :)