hooks and eyes

"Stitch and Rend"

opened at the Chesapeake Gallery at Harford Community College on June 5, 2014.  I was out in Bel Air the week before finishing up new work, installing the show and visiting with my dear friend Jeff Ball.  Jeff is the art historian at the college and curates one exhibition a year for the gallery.  This year he was kind enough to ask me.  The exhibition includes nine dolls and three new two-dimensional pieces.  I worked right up until the last minute, but it was worth it.  I'm really pleased with how it all came together.  Remember this?

This was a little study I was working on along with the new dolls.  There are  two new ones that I am beyond excited about.  

This was a little study I was working on along with the new dolls.  There are  two new ones that I am beyond excited about.  

Each of these is approximately 18x27 inches.  

Each of these is approximately 18x27 inches.  

All three are made with vintage sewing pattern paper fused to interfacing.  In both of the larger works, I cut the original piece into parts and sewed it back together.  You can see the top stitching in red.  Then I sewed on groups of eye closures and worked stitches of varying lengths and color through the eyes and back again.  Finally, I played with the measuring tape motif, much like with the dolls.  I can't begin to describe how much fun these are to make, and all of the ideas they have inspired in future works.  They are unframed and hang from the wall with needles at their corners.  

All three are made with vintage sewing pattern paper fused to interfacing.  In both of the larger works, I cut the original piece into parts and sewed it back together.  You can see the top stitching in red.  Then I sewed on groups of eye closures and worked stitches of varying lengths and color through the eyes and back again.  Finally, I played with the measuring tape motif, much like with the dolls.  I can't begin to describe how much fun these are to make, and all of the ideas they have inspired in future works.  They are unframed and hang from the wall with needles at their corners.  

New work....

I just finished a new piece and I am so excited about the possibilities for this.  

I've been ready to stitch, and have even readied some fabric, but been overwhelmed by the white of the muslin.  So I wondered what would happen if I prepared the pattern paper I use on my dolls in the same way I prepare fabric to embroider.  I backed the paper with fusible interfacing and layered more paper with Wonder Under.  (It is heat activated double sided tape basically, and so easy to use.) The patter paper was then much more fabric like, and I painted it like my dolls.  I started sewing tiny eyes (of hooks and eyes, the closures on garments) on in rows, thinking I might make larger numbers.  I didn't like the regularity of the rows, so I gave in and started to stitch them in randomly.  I knew I wanted long stitches to pull at they eyes, so that was my next step.  Then I played with layering color in the stitches.  I did not use anything to stretch the paper as I stitched, so it has pulls that make the outside edges irregular.  This is about 10x10 inches from edge to edge.  I'm not sure about installation just yet, but here I used long embroidery needles in the top corners and then pulled the piece away from the wall.  

And a detail.  I love how it's weirdly scabby.  The exhibition I have scheduled in June at Harford Community College is titled "Ligature" and I think developing more of these will work for that.  A friend suggested large panels that one could walk through....I've got five dolls going I need to finish and then I will be ready to start.  It has been a million years since I have done anything big!