This is the second embroidery to which I dedicated myself in timeline; not being linear enough to work on only one project at a time I interspersed it with various other works which I will talk about later.
The beginning is tactile/olfactory: I open the drawer of the vintage outfits recovered here and there and I choose the fabric that attracts me the most at the moment. In this case a towel that measures a little more than a meter and a half by 70 centimeters; since it is little that embroidery would have been wiser to choose a small fabric. It would have been.
I lay the fabric on a hard surface or on the bed and draw on something; in the very early days I used a plastic marker made especially for this type of work: it leaves a blue/green mark that disappears when the fabric is washed. I replaced it almost immediately with a fat pencil, I can’t stand having to buy and use such a polluting object.
When the drawing more or less satisfies me I mount the fabric on a large round wooden frame, trying to pull it as little as possible so as not to deform the lines, and with the needle (embroidery always by hand) tracing the figure drawn in pencil slowly. It takes a lot of patience, very long times, and often it happens that after an hour of work I take everything and start again, because maybe I don’t like how a curve came about or some other detail that I know I only see myself.
To finish the work prior to this, of the same size, I think it took eight months, also because I don’t have much experience yet and I’m still not super determined on how to proceed. And I’m not even sure I won’t go back to it.
As for the materials, in the early days I used the normal cotton skeins you buy in haberdashery. Then after doing some works I realized that the threads were too hairy and messy, not compact, and I thought of using normal sewing threads, but in Italy they are only mounted on plastic spools; cotton is almost sure that it is GMOs, and and I’m quite sure that colors are not environmentally friendly. By now, for me, after all the path of awareness that I have made with the bare meal, these compromises cannot be proposed.
So I found this organic cotton thread on Etsy, dyed with natural colors and mounted on wooden bobbins, which unfortunately does not exist in Italy (or at least I didn’t find it) and comes to me from Germany; and I have a great time there. The threads are compact and smooth and resist well to the various washing in the washing machine that I have to do every now and then to erase the excess of pencil from the fabric.
I don’t know how to express the emotion I feel when I am in front of the white fabric, so organic (not in the sense of biological, in the sense Cronenberg) and I can pierce it with the needle changing its appearance and structure, leaving it at the same time intact and free to return exactly to the original form, as a bloodless and risk-free surgical operation. The same threads that furrow the fabric are similar to veins that show through the skin.
For now I’m going on like this; every day I cut out from half an hour to two hours to work, fighting almost always with the inner voices that say I am ridiculous, that the embroideries are insignificant and insipid, that it is a precious waste of time that I should use to do jobs that bring a secure profit, and various other types of devaluation that go back mainly to things that I felt told by those who had all my respect, when I was too young to have a personal opinion and defend it.
In the end it is right that everyone faces and fights his monsters rather than deny their existence and find them suddenly in front of a hungry tyrannosaurus version. Sooner or later turning them over in my hands I will find a weak spot through which I will come out better. Art is cathartic, they say 😀