Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Paper of Pins and Needles, Part 1

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. 
 A quarter-page sampler, unconventional with glued on stars, painted and and then markered in gold.  The Trellis Pattern is between the two left bands. Sent to a friend, 2004.

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.
 A Daughter Is a Day Brightener And A Heart Lightener.  Barrett's birthday sampler, completed the last week in February this year.  This reminds me of a carpet page from an illuminated manuscript.  8" X 9", with wild silk and metal threads from India, silk threads, and 6 stranded cotton with gold beads (barely discernible in this scan in all the red-orange areas.  This has been matted with medium- dark blue.  No Trellis Patterns, but blackwork stitches.

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