In 2005 I began thinking about doing an embroidery project about my life as it has come to be since I’ve been disabled and severely limited by ME-CFS (or whatever it’s going to be called eventually) based on the letter S, which is the first letter in many words that have become important to me. Because of lots of interruptions for making gifts, taking courses and participating in TAST with Sharon Boggon throughout 2007, I’ve made very little progress on this project. Now I’m resolved to get it going.
For many years in my corporate and consulting career, I wrote proposals. In the 1960s and early 70s, I worked for a government contractor (Westinghouse Learning Corporation) that managed anti-poverty programs for the federal government. As part of a team, I developed proposals in response to RFPs (Requests for Proposals) from government agencies. The RFP specified what they wanted done, when, sometimes where, and within certain other parameters. In our proposal, we had to tell them how we would accomplish their objectives. Later, I would write many proposals both within the corporations where I was employed and as an independent consultant to organizations. Because my thoughts about this project were vague, I decided to develop an RFP, to clarify my thinking, saying WHAT I wanted to accomplish.
Then I wrote a “proposal” to myself, describing HOW I would achieve the objectives. This proposal gave me the specifications I would follow in designing the project. I wrote the specs in early 2006 and began a notebook to record my progress and collect my ideas.
I also created a simple mind map as a way of capturing ideas that were coming over time.
During 2006, the notebook grew fat as I added pictures, thoughts, clippings, doodles and drawings, even some practice cloths and experiments. My specs call for 14 designs somehow incorporating the S shape, using a variety of techniques and materials, some of which I’ve never done. This is an opportunity to learn some new ways of creating needleart.
By the fall of 2006 I had completed nine designs and had the concept for a tenth. As I worked on designs, I also tried out some of my ideas to see if they were doable and I practiced some new stitches, including some that were part of TAST in 2007. With the gold stitching at the top, I was trying to find out whether I could do underside couching (couche rentre) with metallic threads. It’s possible, but it takes about an hour to cover an inch.
I also did some experimental pieces, such as this encrusted piece inspired by an article in Stitch magazine. Between two layers of old bed sheet, I enclosed pieces of pasta and various nuts and seeds, along with the sections of the letter S cut out of styrofoam and padded with Pellon fleece. Then I stitched over it all.
I did this experiment again, with different threads and stitches and without padding the letter.
This crazy patchwork piece was also just a study, not intended as a finished work. I was simply trying out various materials, techniques, and stitches. As you can see, there are several S’s on it. If you click on it, you can see a larger image at Flickr.
No work got done on the S project during 2007. I decided that what I was learning in Sharon’s courses, Personal Library of Stitches, Sumptuous Surfaces, and the TAST challenge would be valuable for the project. Also I made some gifts, especially the one for my grandson’s wedding.
Now, at last, I’m ready to get back to work on S designs. That’s for the next post.