Monday, 11 June 2012

the edge almost found

I've been a while working on this, it started as a tryout to see what was possible while machine embroidering in a hoop; how close could I get to the edge by turning the hoop different ways? Then I had fun trying out different threads above and below, working out where edges were beneath the needle and how close I could get to them. Then my darling daughter hit her finals at Uni. I knew she was struggling. She is both dyslexic and dyspraxic and has worked really hard to get to this point. I phoned regularly to see how she was getting on, hearing her struggle against her sense of defeat, realising that, the more stressed she got, the harder it all became. After the second exam I could hear that it was all getting too much, despite  support from the Uni, and suggested she went to talk to one of her tutors. They saw her very genuine anguish and have suggested a way through that means she didn't have to take the rest of her final exams. I think it's called an aggregate degree. She came home last week and is now very relieved to be home, but worried that she has "failed". In my eyes she will never have failed, no matter what her final result, because I know how hard she's worked, I know how fuddled and muddled her brain gets when it all becomes a bit too much and I know the yearning and bright spirit she took to University, so full of hope. 

It occurred to me that actually, the stitching I had been doing had mirrored her plight. It evoked (to me anyway) the helpless disorder of her mind as she struggled with that "Finals pressure", but also reflected the brights and darks of her time away, the pattern of life that is never just one thing, but always variety, good and bad, positive and negative and the way she has been finding her own edges. So this one is for her.
Here I'm working out how to frame the stitching to bring it to a sense of rightness. What sort of border will bring those swirling colours, lines, thoughts, feelings, together?
I played with bits of organza arranging them around the edges several times, trying for a whirling out, all disordered, from the centre  - this is one of the "not quite right" times
Once I was happy with the organza I used soluble fabric over the top to hold all those little bits in one place, preparatory to stitching. Here it is lightly pinned down prior to tacking and then sewing on the machine. I've use a light batting behind to give the whole thing a bit of substance and contour.

And now you'll just have to wait. Mum never allowed me to start one project until I'd finished another, "otherwise you'll have lots of unfinished projects stuffed away" ... she didn't realise how this is all part of creativity; that maybe that UFO will take on a whole new life when you've learned from something else; that sometimes the vision needs time and a few twists and turns before it comes to fruition.

So, in that spirit, here's a finished object! My little ice cream sundae has joined the other offerings, all to be stitched onto a piece of Jubilee Themed "wearable art" for the regional challenge day in July. I shall be going and will take pictures!
Hope you like it!


  1. I do like it. And, seeing it, I think I have something for you that you will like. I will put my mind to the realities and likelihoods of us being in the same place at the same time so you can see if you want it.
    University is about lots of things but certainly not about the exams. It's for education. She's been in York 3 years, how can she not have had the most wonderful education? So far as I know, it is impossible to fail at Life, and failing at anything else is completely unimportant. The things I learned at York Univeristy have illuminated my whole life, but the degree course was next to irrelevant.
    So glad she's home.
    Come over for a cup of tea??

    1. would love a cup of tea!! I'll e-mail you and yes, she's learned lots of Good Things that are nothing to do with exams!!