An On/Off Project

As many of you know I have been painting silk for years and mostly selling painted silk scarves, but that was until Covid.

First the lengthy job of painting the long, long piece of silk.

When the pandemic arrived and with it, eventually, the wearing of masks in crowded spaces and on public transport and during a lockdown or not, there was an explosion of homemade masks of every shape and colour. And, as some of you know, I started painting and making silk versions. All that was until the arrival of working vaccines and the gradual reduction of mask wearing.

After painting and steaming the silk a backing was add with a layer of wadding between the silk and the backing to give a richer, thicker slightly quilted appearance.

Now, anybody who knows me in real life knows that I view sewing, by hand or machine, as a means to an end. Getting my old sewing machine out to make masks was an interesting experience for me. In the end sewing and making joined painting as part of my everyday work.

Random flowing machine embroidery make swirling shapes and loose gold stars.

All this prattle brings me to the point that for some bizarre reason at the beginning of this year I decided to embark on a large painting and machine embroidered piece of work. Yes, I did just write ‘at the beginning of this year’, because this has turned out to be a very long drawn out endeavour. And, I am now at the stage where I have picked it up and started and stopped so many times I am wondering whether it will ever get finished. The working day routine of sewing masks pretty much ceased back around last Easter and in between periods of scarf painting, this long, involved project began to take more and more time. Now, as we move into autumn my patience for machine embroidery on this scale is seriously running out of steam.

It is easier to see the freehand machine embroidery on the reverse.

Anyway I thought I’d share my progress so far and I will blog about it again if it ever gets finished.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

24 thoughts on “An On/Off Project”

    1. Yes, well, thank you, but I am not a natural sewing person (seamstress is too, too much) and I have been known to have these types of projects on the go for years, no that’s a lie, decades!

    1. It did start off as exciting, but the machining has turned out definitely not to be a calming activity for me and in these stressful times none of us need to find ourselves even more wound up.

    1. Thank you. I did like it at the beginning myself, but unsurprisingly the more I look at it whilst sewing it the less I like it. It may one day get finished, but slowly has now ground to a halt for the time being. Maybe in the depths of a deep, dark winter I might return to it when everything feels slow.

      1. You might like to cut it into pieces and see if they can turn themselves into anything. I recently made some fabric works with free motion stitiching and most I liked (they were small) but some were bleh, so I cut them into smaller pieces and now I find I am using them in a class I am taking in which we are making small houses out of found objects. Actually they look good there. Who knew?

      2. That is a very good idea. It is certainly long enough and wide enough to be cut up for perhaps cushion covers. I like the way you think round problems and arrive at a creative solution. Thanks.

      3. You’re welcome. I think sometimes my mistakes turn out better than my actual ideas. I’d love to see what you make of these. I bet with different proportions and the randomness that will come about with cutting them up, you will love them. There is something about fragments that I find appealing and inspiring when the whole leaves me…bla.

    1. Thank you. The first work I ever sold (a very long time ago) was a painted silk jacket that I had loosely quilted. I can’t even remember making it now, and I certainly hadn’t remembered how much I dislike machine embroidering. I think I found it easier and less noisy when I was young. This piece is going to be a struggle for me to finish. I expect I will return to it when my level of guilt at wasting so much fine quality silk surpasses my dislike of machine work.

  1. What a beautiful piece for an unique framed artwork. It also put me in mind that you could also create a bed coverlet. The piece would have to be so large and time-consuming, it would need to be for a special person. Such as yourself! So you are always surrounded with the joy of your own creation.

    1. Now, that’s very interesting as you are not the first person to suggest that this, or a very similar piece, might look pretty nice on their bed – my daughter has requested that I might wish to gift this to her! At the rate this project has proceeded this year it might be finished in time for her 30th birthday in three years time, but I am not holding my breath!

      1. You are so right about in another era re a dowry chest – I don’t think she has any intention of ever marrying and would absolutely never change her name.

      2. I couldn’t remember what we called them, but it came to me overnight – “glory box”.
        Good on your daughter. Over my life, I’ve had five surnames to choose from and yet I feel as if I have never had a name of my own.

      3. My nieces were visiting last week and we were discussing name changing. The youngest wants to change her anglicised surname back to its Jewish original form, but her father pointed out all her records, achievements and identity is already associated with the English version. The eldest promptly pointed out that this is still the expected norm when a woman gets married. Really, really insulting once you get to thinking about it.

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