Thursday, March 18, 2010


I worry that if I harp on too much about Antarctica the internet will get bored with me and go away. But I have nothing else to say really. It's an obsession but one that I monitor carefully to ensure I can continue to maintain sufficient internal and external resources to safely indulge it.

Update: I have added another contour now, and at 1500m the piece is now too big and too stiff to fit on the tapestry frame. I alternate between working with it spread out on the table or draped across my lap. This contour means I've crossed the halfway mark now, with only three more layers left to add. Out at the edges of the continent it's mostly very steep, so my stitching follows longer lines and fills in narrower widths.

Although still months away, I feel like the end is almost in sight as progress seems swifter, probably because the rest of my life has been streamlined simply to support several hours a day of stitching. There are a great many other things I could (and sometimes should) be doing, but all I care about is filling in the great white ice fields, stitch by stitch, step by step.

A potential bottle neck appears as I start running short of DMC blanc embroidery thread. I am going through two or three skeins most days. To get the quantities I need I have to place a special order at the Bernina shop in town, but there was a misunderstanding last month and my order never came through. I've reordered but I'm down to my last couple of skeins, not knowing when the two boxes on order will come through. And I'm not entirely sure whether two boxes will last me until the next time I can order. The thread is the most expensive material for this project and unfortunately I can't afford to stockpile.

A quiet thought sometimes occurs that if I do run out of thread for a few days I might catch up on the writing, accounting, cleaning and other mundane obligations that are not yet urgent demands, but will become so eventually if I continue stitching so obsessively. As a great sacrifice I have not touched a needle this morning, instead rearranging my little studio home for winter. Somehow, sorting out everything else I live with has left the great roll of loose contours adrift. It's a long white sheet-shrouded sausage which is now sitting forlornly across most of my table, not a convenient place since the table really needs to be clear for other purposes, such as stitching.

Even when I put Antarctica to one side for a few hours, it still dominates.


Joan said...

This is an amazing journey! You must wonder sometimes .. why am I doing this.. Scott would have had similar thoughts!Stores are running low. Morale flagging. Doggedness is needed. Keep it up crazy traveller.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about everyone else who is following your Antartica growth but I say there's no such thing as too much Antartica news - don't leave out a minute of it.
And let us know the exact skeins details, you never know what might turn up on your doorstep...and from where!

Sandy said...

Doesn't all great work come out of some kind of obsession? You sort of have to have a mania about something in order to stick with it long enough to make it what it should be.

The internets do hope, however, that you take occasional breaks for walks and cups of tea.