I have had a very introspective few days completing a piece of work I started 12 -13 years ago. Although technically finished – it was a City and Guilds piece – I never felt it was complete. Any more work on it at that time would have been impossible, and shock/horror the hanging mechanism consisted of 3 drawing pins hammered through the back!
My embroidered work in general takes hours and hours and is almost a form of meditation; I switch off, immerse myself in the original source of inspiration, resolve matters in my head, think about the people I love, plan the future and generally have a thoughtful meander around. Because of this, the plan I start off with usually goes on a bit of a detour, and never quite gets back to its original destination. This makes planning how the end piece will be and especially how to hang it a flexible affair and a complex task.
Because each piece of work is a journey, they become very hard to finish. Each piece is an amalgamation of my thoughts, inspirations and literally hours of my life. I usually work on them from multiple directions, so there is no definite top or bottom. They are quite abstract and I have to wait until the end to decide which way up to hang them, which is why drawing pins are a useful hanging device as I can change my mind easily!
So committing to an ending is really difficult, almost emotional and I do my best to avoid it! I love it when someone takes a piece of my work and displays it how they think it should be, taking all the responsibility off me…
I decided to enter the Quilts and Embroidery Show at Uttoxeter as an excuse to finish this piece of work based on a film image taken when my twin niece and nephew were born. The camera stuck and all 36 images were printed on the same photo, creating an opaque mass with what looked like a bit of twig in it. I couldn’t stop staring at it, trying to pick out images that weren’t there anymore; hence its title “Searching for Clarity”.
By entering an exhibition I limited my choice of hanging methods to two, decided which way up to hang it and completed another 10cm of kantha work border in 3 solid days of hand stitching! I am so pleased with the finished piece, and like the twins who were 13 this week, my piece has grown up!