Friday, March 25, 2011
Blizzard and Island
Today I finished the stitching part of my Blizzard. There's still work to be done to mount it, but that will come later, after I've finished the urgent island I'm making to a deadline. The decorative/visible stitching of Blizzard had to be sewed standing up. Each long filmy piece of net curtain took its turn pinned to the cord that usually holds a noren to screen my sleeping alcove from the rest of the studio.
In order to see what I was doing on the translucent material, I had to work in daytime, with the panel between me and the window, so my thread was silhouetted against the light. Covering each panel with the Blizzard design involved a lot of stretching and bending while I sewed. It was tiring work, which I alternated with the demanding task of needle felting the layers of my island.
Now that the Blizzard is packed away for the moment, I've picked up another task to alternate with needle felting. I'm embroidering the ocean background for my island. I want a very deep blue sea so I'm using my bluest blanket overlaid with a solid ground of dark teal blanket stitch. The colour needs to be very rich and vibrant to hold its own with the intensity of the island colours and it's the largest piece of blanket I've worked on since I finished My Antarctica.
The timing of my switch from Blizzard to ocean stitching is perfect. Today is really the first day its been cool enough to make covering my lap with a heavy wool blanket appealing. The island is part of my Extraction series, with no relationship to the Antarctica theme, yet covering my lap with blanket takes me back to the pleasures of last winter's stitching marathon.
The island and its ocean, although based on a dream with no strong climatic or geographical links to reality, nonetheless reminds me of an island I noticed a couple of hours into my last flight home from Brisbane. Somewhere in the middle of the Tasman Sea, a dot of a gorgeous green atoll sits in a vast blue deepness. It looks absolutely nothing like the island I am making, but I don't have many islands in my memory that are as small and as isolated as this one, so that's the connection.
That island was one of the two most beautiful and unexpected scenes I've ever viewed from an airplane. The other was several hours of Northern Lights, aurora borealis, as I crossed Canada from East to West on an almost empty plane for an almost endless night. One day I might have to stitch those curtains of light too.