When I am at home I have no access to a design wall as we do at Studio 11, so I improvise with shelves full of books. I have many of those and a random title pulled forward makes an excellent support for a hanger, and this type of hanger makes an excellent support for a piece of cloth. Wide pieces, like the ones on the right can be clipped to bit of suitable sized card, but Mesopotamia fits.
Below it is clipped together with a piece of soft blue design cloth which I am using to try out techniques, You might recognise the buff and turquoise fabric - in an earlier incarnation it too was a trial piece for "her ladyships trousers" I used it to develop the dyeing technique for the bottom of the legs.
It is a vintage linen - previously sheets (see the trousers story), and very soft and fine. I'm sure it was lovely to sleep on when used for it's former purpose, but now it stands in for Mesopotamia; layers of linen and layers of time blending together.
There is a moon peering up out of the darkness, and sandy soil rippling ripe for cultivation.
There is the outline of two rivers - the Tigris and Euphrates of course, tacked onto the cloth ready to be couched
The colour ripples in the fabric have an estuarine feel to them, suitable for an environment where water and ground were intermingled. I have stitched across the entire piece with running stitch to hold things all together and create one cloth out of two, backed, of course with a fine muslin.
and at the very bottom, the deep dark water that is "Abzu", home of Enki, and source of the sweet water which is the basis of all life.
I plan to embroider the cuneiform script for Abzu here.
And this soft blue? Another piece of the same linen, where I am finding out what happens when you couch down a variety of threads, all bundled together. They can turn and twist around each other; separate and rejoin, and even flow off the main course completely and create space for a town or city.
The first city, according to myth, was Eridu, where the sweet water of the Abzu bubbled up out of the ground. I have bought some little chippings of lapis lazuli and carnelian to stitch where the main towns are cities are - and of course I can take the "water" away from the main course to create a surrounding liquidity and space for the soil to be brought together around the city, to build and to grow.
I think the ideas are beginning to coalesce, and I understand where I could go with this. There is much to explore, and perhaps several pieces of cloth to express several ideas and themes. I'm looking forward to the journey, and to the learning.