I am entirely focused on my island project, frantically working towards a deadline, which I am not entirely confident I can meet. I stitch every minute I can find of every day. The rest of my life is uncomfortably neglected and I worry about the consequences but I keep stitching. It's a huge project, and inevitably more complicated in the making than it seemed in the planning.
Each layer of blanket, cut to the contour lines of my imagined island and its deep opencast mine, is needlefelted for colour and increased height/depth. This stage seemed to go on forever and unlike my iceberg sculptures, I couldn't start stitching until every layer was felted.
But finally I began stitching, inside from the bottom of the deep mine, up and then over the hilltops and finally starting down the ridges and gullies that are the sides of my rugged island. The mine's tailings seep down one gully like a blood trickling from a mouth, or lava overflowing from a volcano.
The vivid grass green of my island is very difficult to photograph accurately. Anyone who has flown into New Zealand from overseas would recognise the colour: New Zealand pastures are an impossibly bright green, more intense than anywhere else I've ever seen. This is the colour of my island, not the colours in these photos.
The island is hard to stitch because its 3D, so my needle is usually going in and out at awkward angles, there are tight corners and uncooperative gaps. The sea that it will sit on is easier to stitch, being flat. But it's huge and is the part of the project which most threatens my ability to meet the deadline. But these days I can do flat blanket stitch practically in my sleep, and literally while I read. Only turning a page interrupts my sea stitching, and only threading a needle interrupts my reading (right now, the very compelling Steig Larsson Millenium trilogy).