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Completed First Embroidery Piece

This embroidery project started as an experiment during a teacher-training day two years ago! My district department chair brought in a facilitator who gave the group embroidery hoops, fabric, and a little tutorial. 

Here's the first line...
The first stitched line...initially pencil drawn. After this, I winged the rest by "feel".

 

Blocking in patches of color...
Trying, unsuccessfully, to "blend" color in the cheek structure...
Solved the "blending" problem by couching a new layer with different colors. This felt overwhelming at times --so many variables with color choice, thread weight, and texture variety!
Started thinking about how to finish...at first I planned to create a gradually shifting "dome" shape from one side to the other on a diagonal axis, but later I decided the piece would benefit from a vertical texture with a regular tempo to it, since the eye might need a place to rest after taking in all that variety in the face.
I thought the circles might kill me! The endless round and round of them was so slow-paced that it turned into an exercise in DEEP patience and dogged tenacity. I kept thinking of how I would have to master my mind if I were submerged under water with only a straw peeking above the surface to breathe. I'd have to find a way to be calm and persistant as I took tiny sips of air for hours at a time! And so it was with these damn circles!
Check out the back! WHAT?! All those knots & matted bits. You can see where I worked the hardest.

Aside from a brief flurry of stitches in junior high school, I had never tried embroidery, and I had no idea where it would take me. All I knew was that it immediately felt natural, even luxurious. 

And being luxurious, it seemed rich to indulge in it all the time. In fact, I only ever worked on the piece during vacations. But every time I started stitching, I had a little fantasy about making full-sized portraits with the medium. Of course, the idea seemed ridiculous, since it's so slow, so I always dismissed it.

Recently though, my daughter convinced me that I should give it a try: “Just look how much you’ve done since we’ve been sitting here, mom,” she pointed out. “If you spent three hours on it every day, you’d be able to make a whole portrait.”

And so here I go…

This next series will be an investigation into two concepts listed below. The first is an overarching exploration into my latest wonderings; the second, an anchor that ties together the subjects in each piece:

1) Things that take time
2) Biracial/bicultural identity

More about this as I go along…

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