All natural materials. Cotton canvas exterior, hand-dyed silk lining, embroidery floss.
© Allison Green 2012.
Modelled by Megan McGeachy.
Hand-embroidered vest fitting the theme “By Land, By Sea, By Air”. Land is shown on the left panel with a train, a bison, and a tumbleweed; sea on the right with a boat, a whale, and a jellyfish; air on the back with a plane, a bird, and a bug.
Modelled by the artist at “By Land, By Sea, By Air”, a wearable art show for Transport Canada. Scroll down to see video of the event by Charles Harding (visible 3:54 – 4:09).
I’ve come full circuit on this project (haha). From idea to action to rest. At least quilting feels like rest to me. It’s better than rest, because I have something to show for it.
I washed out the silk, very very thoroughly. The image became much clearer and the lines sharper. I did find that in places where the dye lapped up over the resist, it tinted the cloth underneath slightly. Part of learning the medium.
I hummed, I hawed, and I sampled, but I put off quilting the piece for several days. Pinning seemed to put major holes in the silk, while binding with spray adhesive soaked through and stained the cloth (despite its bold claims to the contrary). I queried the internet and found some excellent advice here. I couldn’t find the thin fusible web that was suggested but I did discover some beautiful drapey interfacing at my school shop.
I ironed it on, being careful to match the grain. I also stuck some heavy interfacing on the muslin backing to give me a little support and to help push the loft of the quilt toward the topside. Then I spray baste it all together with some extra fluffy polyester filling.
It quilted up like buttered muffins, or something equally lovely. None of that shifting and bunching that silk is so notorious for, yet somehow the interfacing was thin enough to look natural.
I nearly couldn’t stop. Thank goodness for deadlines. As is I stitched the poor thing to within an inch of its life. At first it was too “pillowy”, not nearly the structured look I was going for. With a little more time and thread it came together.
To finish it off I bias bound the edges, using a method similar to the one described here. This was for aesthetic and also to protect the silk from the violence of my staple gun.
I arranged so that the back would still be visible. Oftentimes the back is my favourite view, I like it to be all one colour so you get an abstract view of your work. It seems almost like a secret piece you didn’t intend to make.
It is now hanging for sale at the M&T Deli. I hope it finds a good home (although part of me hopes it will have to come back home with me). This one came out very much the way I had planned. Sometimes it has to go that way. Too often we arrive at the end and can’t see the beauty because it isn’t what we thought. We pick at the mistakes and distrust the compliments. But sometimes, as if in utopia, we love a project right from beginning to end.