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.
My friend made for me these portraits of our dogs out of shrink plastic. She used a disposable food container made out of plastic marked #6. These containers are kind of rare, but we discovered that they have them at a vegan restaurant when we took some takeaway cake. We look up for them and save them when we find the #6 mark.
Probably the “real” shrink plastic works better, but it is nice to make these cute things out of recycled plastic. I took some photos of the process. My friend draw our dogs with sharpies.
Here it is the real size of the initial drawing, before going into the oven.
In the oven (in a non-stick pan) it curled up a lot at first, but the plastic is flexible enough while warm and it can be flattened down with a spoon.
And this is the first portrait of our dog Souris. I will glue a brooch fastener on it.
Here they are the three of them. Lulu, the black one in the middle is drawn using as a reference a favorite photo of mine in which she looks so funny and silly, but maybe it wasn’t the best reference photo for this drawing :).
She also made me these even smaller versions with holes that I transformed in a necklace that I wear a lot. Although they seems delicate, they are quite sturdy. And Lulu looks closer to her real self in this one :).
I started this embroidery a few months ago, but meanwhile I had other, more urgent, things to do, so I postponed finishing it. I worked on it these days. I saw a beautiful huge pink moon sometimes in January or February, while the sun was still setting and the buildings still had an orange glow. I didn’t take a photo, but the image stayed with me and at some point I made a simulation of it in photoshop to use as a reference image for an embroidery.
I really liked working on it, slowly, in short sessions. Also, I practiced machine sewing for the sky, something that I needed to do at the time when I started the embroidery. But slowly stitching by hand stays my favorite thing to do.
This was another school assignment. I’m not sure for what could this be useful, as long as you cannot wash the fabric without it loosing its shape, but it was a fun experiment nonetheless. I used some stones my friend from work gave me. She brought them from the seaside in Greece. I think that the fact that they are so calcareous helps the fabric keep its shape, some of the chalk like dust form the stones staying in the fabric.
I tied the stones in the fabric, I put the fabric in boiling water and I let it boil for an hour with two spoons of turmeric and 250 gr of vinegar. I let the fabric sit in the water for 2 days, then I let it dry without taking out the stones. Actually, I let the stones there for weeks, because I wasn’t decided if I want them out or not, but I think that just letting the fabric with the stones in it till it is perfectly dry should be enough. The fabric keeps its shape perfectly and the colors are quite pretty.
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… ”
These are textile versions of doodling, they don’t have any meaning but I had fun making them (most of the time). I only used stuff I had around the house, some old scarfs that I never wear anymore, pieces of fabric left over from other projects and even some pom-poms I have from the late nineties and that I kept stashing in case I’ll need them for something. They are school assignments for my master’s degree. These school year went by so fast. Just some more exams and the first year is over. (I have some other works, too with a bit more meaning :), but I’ll post about those some other time.)
These are some old hand woven fabrics we have received as gifts from a ninety years old relative of my friend. Some of these fabrics belonged to her grandmother, woven sometimes around mid-nineteen century. Really fine, intricate hand woven and died fabrics that used to adorn the heads of these unknown women or were displayed in their homes. More than 150 years old. Made by women living in a different world.
Running my fingers through the different textures and hoping that there will still be someone around on the planet 150 years from now, trying to imagine my life, my time.