…In different notebooks.
I hoped to finish ten new embroideries this summer, but it looks like I’ll have maybe three. I did embroider a lot, but I started a large self-portrait and I really enjoyed doing really small stitches and taking my time. The hoop is 35 cm in diameter. It’s my favorite embroidery I made thus far, I’ll probably frame it. I stitched it on cotton canvas that I have dyed with onion peels and turmeric (it’s from the same old bed sheet that I used for sewing a blouse.) I used the sewing machine with a thread in a very similar color to the canvas for larger surfaces (like the forehead), but I stitched most of it by hand. I like the “watercolor” effect this embroidery has, even more so in reality (the photo makes the lines just a bit harsher).
When I finished it, I was kind of sorry to lose such a pleasant way to spend my free time, but I have already started another, very detailed, embroidery.
It’s really relaxing to me to make these drawings from time to time and just observe small scenes from our house. Also, I get to use my big collection of all sorts of colored pencils (I’m slightly obsessed with color pencils, I should make a post with all my sets, some found at the flea market and some bought new). The last set I bought have multiple colored leads, actually they have a few nuances of the same color in each pencil. I really like them and I use them a lot combined with other pencils I have.
This blouse is something I partially sew by myself as a school assignment, but also as something for myself to wear. My friend helped me with some of the sewing, but I made a lot of things by myself, too (I copied the pattern, I cut the fabric and I did some of the sewing). Also, I dyed the fabric (an old cotton sheet) with onion peels and turmeric and I embroidered the text. So, I can say I did a lot of it :).
The fabric is really nice, the old cotton has a softness that only something that was used for a long time gets. Also, I like the color that turned out after dyeing it. I lose some of the color with each washing (even if I fixed it with vinegar and I wash it only by hand in cold water), but still it becomes paler and paler. But, at some point, I can dye it again, because the embroidery thread I used is synthetic, so it won’t be affected by the dye. But, for now, it’s fine.
I embroidered on it a text in my handwriting that you can see only if you come close enough and you make an effort to read. There are random thoughts that I had while working a lot at home during this spring, but if you don’t read them, they are just a vibrating color and texture. The text, roughly translated, says: ” …the small noise that the needle makes when it goes trough the fabric…I listen to the news and a sea of anxiety and despair overflows…sometimes, hope…when you get closer to reaching the age of forty, everything is the same, only you judge yourself a little less harshly…and getting legitimization from others is much less important…sometimes…this body that carries me through the world so well…maybe there is some more ice cream left in the fridge… ”
I started this embroidery at my favorite class in the M.A. program I joined this fall. I used for the first time a needle felting machine and I was really excited to use a new technique for my embroideries. I did an outline of the self portrait, I felted the lighted parts and then I stitched the above the felting and the shadow parts. I didn’t want to use wool and I wasn’t sure if artificial fibers will work, but they did, and I’m glad I can still use this technique even if I try to avoid using animal products. It was really relaxing to do this and I like the result. It’s not perfectly similar to me physically but I do recognize myself in its atmosphere.
I feel overwhelmed most of the time these days, by all the things I have to do and all the things I would want to do. But I really enjoy working on this in my free time.
I have had this notebook for a almost ten years. I have bought it because I used to like old maps, before learning about what these maps were really standing for. I have never used it, I just couldn’t write in it. But it is an expensive notebook, nicely made. For my birthday, my friend Maria offered to transform it to me. She covered all the ships that went to the Americas in order to robe, enslave and try to completely erase entire civilizations and ways of living. She drew in the place of the colonial ships and the colonist with their weapons represented on this mid-seventeenth century map animals and peaceful Native humans. How the world should look like.
I don’t have a before photo, but I found this image online:
And this is how my notebook looks like now: