Friday, February 17, 2012

Can't Count the Stitches




On December 8th of 2011 I posted an article, One Stitch at a Time. After many hours and many stitches it is complete. The above picture is not well lighted and doesn't show the lush surface that was achieved. Often when working at this scale I feel the work doesn't hold it's own unless it is framed, but this little piece commands it's wall space nicely.





The finished size of the piece is 17.5"h x 18"w. I would love to stitch a piece that is perhaps 6' x 6' but right now I can't begin to even think of what that would require in the way of pure determination to finish a project like that.

The above detail shows how I did a running stitch between the embroidered stitches. I did the embroidery first. Were I to do it over I'd do the overall stitches first but I had no clear idea when I began as to how this would work out.





Here you can see the contrast between the more dense stitching and the more lightly stitched areas.

Many stitchers talk about hand stitching as a meditation. It is a quiet activity but I'm not too sure about the meditation part for myself.. For this piece the meditation would have been something like, "I am here. I am stitching. Mind wanders off. I wish I was finished. Come back mind. I am here. I am stitching." Toward the 75% finished place it was more like a prayer: Please give me the tenacity to complete this. PLEASE!!! The scary part is I actually have a much larger piece in progress that I started about the same time I began this little fellow. I think I'll let that one simmer for awhile.


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33 comments:

  1. Terry, I'm almost speechless by the beauty of this piece. I hope that you do more like this one.

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    1. Hi Valerie. I am very appreciative of your comment. I will be doing more but this type of practice is an extremely different way of working for me and I'm in the process of learning "how". Thanks for your interest!!!

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  2. It was worth the effort and time spent - it's absolutely amazing and couldn't have been made any other way. The hand of the maker personified!!

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    1. Thank you very much. The consideration of "hand" has been something I've been thinking about a great deal so your beautiful comment is especially appreciated.

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  3. It's fantastic!! I just want to roll around in all that texture. Beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Rebecca. The surface really is lush. During the opening reception of my recent show I saw a woman approach one of my small pieces which is intensely machine stitched and rub her hand all over the face of the piece (yikes!). This one might really get that lady in trouble ;-) I love hearing from you.

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  4. So gorgeous! I talk about hand stitching as a meditation and it is that, much of the time....but there are many other moments filled with the jumping out of your skin impatience of wondering if you can actually go through with it. It's beautiful and I hope worth every stitch of your time! Cheers! Patti

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    1. Hi Patti! Thanks for commenting and support.

      I do feel it was worth all the time and effort. I am sometimes an impatient person. I'm trying to learn to be in the moment and slowing down (I believe) is part of that learning process. My mind prefers to keep jumping ahead but this type of work demands that you enjoy the moment.

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  5. Holy cow, Terry, that's some stitching!! I love the piece!

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    1. Love you Judi. You make me smile. Yes, Holy cow! I can't believe I stitched the whole thing!

      Holy Cow I can't believe I'm thinking of a series of small pieces based on this one. I may need to get bigger glasses!!!

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  6. I'd love to see it and actually be able to touch it, it's a beautiful piece.

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    1. Thank you Linda. This work is a good example of how one thing leads to another. The final results were so much more than I envisioned. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

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  7. I love the intensity of this stitched work!!!
    I agree a series would be thought provoking! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

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    1. Thanks Connie! It's funny sometimes how work develops. I love surprises.

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  9. Thank you Mary Helen. The piece fits nicely with my thoughts on simplicity and Complexity. Always nice to see your comments.

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  10. I am over the moon and want you to stop it now. I mean it. Your substrate monoprinted fabric (?) is divine and the stitches make the piece have a mysterious surface.

    I don't really wish for you to stop it. I just can't get over this work, it's like a birth of a new baby!

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  11. I spend hours stitching too, but I usually have the TV, or a movie, or NPR on to keep my ears/mind interested while my hands are busy. I love when I have a good callous on the tip of my finger from stitching by hand- much more than a crick in the neck from hunching over a machine.
    This is beautiful and I hope you'll continue. It's definitely a good idea to do you "overall" stitches first so you can decide how far to go and when to stop. Try working with a thicker thread for a bigger, bolder mark and speedier process.

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    1. Hi Marie! Thank you for your support and ideas. I believe I will be trying all of those ideas as I see a lot of stitches in my future....I'm psychic you know :-)

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  12. I love your description of your mind at work while your hand is stitching. Just perfect. And the piece -- wonder-bars!

    Pat Pauly

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  13. wowzer.
    Yes, the piece is fabulous but also -- that's what meditation is -
    focus, loss of focus.
    Pull the mind back.
    Focus, lose focus.
    Pull the mind back.
    Focus.
    Repeat as needed.

    xo,
    Melanie

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  14. Hey Pat and Melanie! Love you both and appreciate the comments!

    Yes, that is how my mind works AND I am currently working on Mindfullness through meditation. Melanie, your description of meditation is exactly as described in the material I've been reading. It's sort of like being a cowgirl who has to keep those "doggies" with the herd. YeeHaa!

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    1. One of my meditation teachers said it was like training a puppy. Things -- baby animals, grown animals, minds, the good scissors -- do tend to wander off. . .

      back at ya,
      M

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  15. Hi Terry, Agnes Martin-like focus and concentration come to mind for me in this very rhythmic, beautiful piece. I love this new direction, if you can survive it to repeat it!

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    1. Hey Jeanne! Isn't it the truth! I now feel that I am going to move forward on several fronts and develop several directions with the stitching being one of them. This is very interesting and different for me as previously I've worked one concept at a time.

      I am enjoying the extremely different scale and detail orientation of this new work.

      Always great to hear from you!

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  16. See above. I loved looking at the closeups of this Terry. I agree I think I will like the meditation aspect, then I keep looking at how much I've done, and how much I have yet to go, and I become very impatient

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  17. Hi Karen. Yes. That is how it has been with me as well so it was wonderful to see the results. As with all work, the final finishing took the piece to another level.

    My original idea was for a much smaller piece but I'm happy I followed the path for a larger piece.

    Always happy to have you here.

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  18. Terry, this piece is beyond exquisite. I am actually speechless - took my breath away (in a good way!) I have been contemplating hand-stitching for quite some time, so maybe this is the inspiration I needed (although I would be doing as much praying as you said you did to get through the hours and hours and hours....)

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  19. Hi Aryana. Thank you for your very generous comment. By all means do give it a try. Start with something small and see how you like the work and then you can make a decision. At this very minute I am stitching away so this obviously hasn't deterred me....I suppose the praying helped!

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  20. Loved hearing your thoughts while you were stitching- it was hysterical! When I am hand stitching I am always thinking- no way am I going to attempt a piece this large ever again. Or- It takes soooo much time. Or- this is either meditation or the easiest way to lose your mind. But in the end it is worth it- and as soon as you end you will start a new one.
    It goes without saying your piece is lovely. K

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  21. Hey Judy! I was thinking about you today. Really. Obviously you understand my description of hand stitching as you made the more important observation...as soon as you end you start a new one.;-)

    Great to hear from you. T

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  22. It is beautiful. A 6'-square piece would be gorgeous.

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  23. Than you Kathy. I agree with you. I'd like to think I have it in me to make a 6'x6' piece this way. Wanna come and assist?

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