The Measure of It
I pulled out two big cloths I made five years ago called ‘A Floating World: Capturing Time’.
At the time of making I was drawn to the enormous amount of time it took to embroider the cloths. Each line of pattern darning captured time, time spent embroidering and thinking.
The work was inspired by kogin work from northern Japan. The lines of embroidery ran across the weave of linen like floating thread and similar to supplementary weft in weaving. (I left the ends free to show that it was embroidered and not woven!)
I also referenced the japanese concept of The Floating World. It made me think of the internet!
The work was ‘time expensive’ and I decided not to measure how long it took me in ‘clock time’.
(I always get asked how long it takes me to complete a cloth as they look so laborious!)
I measured these cloths in body time, working until I was tired. I was also limited by daylight as they were so hard to stitch by electric light. I still don’t know how long it took me to make them!
I pulled these cloths out as I’ve just finished a new cloth that is filled with embroidery and even more ‘time expensive’!
This time, in addition, I’ve been thinking about the physical measurements of the cloth.
I’ve made cloths before that are the same size as my kitchen table, the panels in my doors, a chair seat and also paper sizes. This time the cloth is the size of my bath! –I think a lot in the bath!
Interestingly, the width of the bath was exactly half the width of the bolt of linen cloth I use.
While I’ve been making I’ve also noticed the size of most of my stitches. They are nearly always the length of my finger nails. My friend Steph reminded me that she thought that an inch was supposed to be the measure of half a thumb, from the end of your nail to the joint.
When I finished the new cloth and ironed it and laid it out, the gestural motion and flow of my stitching was so evident and because it was the size of the bath and referenced my body, I couldn’t help but think that it was another skin that I had shed.
My new cloth is called, “Quietly, With Every Stitch…” and I’ve made it for our exhibition in Cirencester in October.