Busy doing nothing

I feel I’m not as focussed as I should be – I’ve been busy working on my installation but have let slip all the other bits and pieces I am looking at and need to pull them together.

Firstly my progress on my Mothers. I had marked out the positions of each person and transferred the first piece of text across the top of the fabric. In the end I traced the text onto tracing paper, traced on the back of that paper with a heat transfer pen and ironed it onto the fabric. By using tracing paper I could line up the words easily – a problem I had with the plain white paper.

I started to embroider but wasn’t enjoying the process. One reason was the letters weren’t as sharp as I’d like them to be when I used the Hungarian braid stitch. I liked the texture but it was too heavy for the fabric and the curves looked ugly. I then tried chain stitch but this wasn’t working either – not crisp enough. Another reason was I didn’t like the feel of the fabric as it was stiff yet loosely woven. Then it dawned on me it was because of this loose weave I wasn’t getting the results I wanted.


I decided to cut my losses and start again with a different piece of fabric. I had some left over from a previous project – not as much as I would have liked but sufficient.

So, once again I took the fabric into uni and marked out all the years and placed the mothers according to the year they gave birth to my foreparents. I’m now back on track although my stitching is not as neat as I’d like it to be. I think I’m so used to seeing digital machine embroidery that hand worked text looks very messy in comparison. Of course I’m literally on top of it at the moment and can see every flaw – hopefully when it’s hanging  vertically and away from me these flaws will recede.

I’ve been looking at Judith Chicago’s The Dinner Party which is a huge  installation she undertook from 1974-1979. There is so much going on, she uses a myriad of materials and techniques to produce a stunning piece. She honours 1038 women, 999 by name and the other 39 by a place setting at her dinner party.

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I’m also reading around the subject of motherhood. One website I’ve come across is Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement. At the moment I’m unsure if it’s relevant to my work but I never know what I might find there.


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