As an embroiderer I try to stretch out my wings and dare new places where I have not gone before. I started working seriously on perforated paper fifteen or sixteen years ago, getting the hang of it, getting a fine feel for it, and getting to know its possibilities. At this point I made around thirty quarter sheet and whole sheet samplers, some conventional band samplers and some slightly less conventional. I tried out Hardanger on paper. I made button samplers and other found-object paper samplers. It was fun. But the fun part was getting so many quarter-sheet samplers ground out in such a short time. Though I was consciously exploring the medium, I did not have a tangible goal in mind.
A sampler for my great-niece, Cassidy, about 7" X 10", 2007. I penned in the pink hearts first and then stitched the band sampler. The sixth band down is one of my Trellis Patterns for samplers.
I love perforated paper now for several reasons. The first is that it is fourteen count and my old cataract-plagued eyes can easily see the holes in most lighting conditions. The second is that with the normal 9" X 12" sheet I can't get too ambitious in my size. For instance, with a piece of 30 count linen cut to 14" X 14", with a stitching area of 11" X 11" that's 121 square inches. It would take me, a fairly fast stitcher, more than three months working around two to three hours a day, to finish the work and there would be a lot of background showing. With perforated paper, working at the same speed, I can finish a work in about three weeks. Am I able to get the fine detail? No, but I can get a lot of detail. Typically nowadays, I work every hole in the paper for finer detail. A third reason is that the finishing of the piece is easy. I started working two holes in so that the outer set of holes, which may get a little barked up, would not show under the mat.
The Sam and Linda Baty Sampler, 8" X 9". A button sampler. The perforated paper was purchased black. After stitching I painted over it in yellows to give it some pizzazz. This was done before I started designing Trellis Patterns.
Yes, I mat all perforated paper. Gives it a nice, contained look. I can keep the piece from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune unframed. The truth is, I have run out of wall space for new work and framing everything I finish would cost a fortune, even with my doing my own framing.
And last, what I love about perforated paper, I love the finished product, how it feels in hand, how there is no fuss in getting done--no blocking, no ironing, no stretching over foam core. It's just done.