Aida can be very unforgiving if you make a mistake while sewing. Where the needle passes through the fabric it enlarges the hole, and if the sewing is then unpicked, it leaves behind a trace of where it once was. Of course there are tricks to put this right, but the space left behind by un-stitched work has long since fascinated me.
A long time ago I came across the story of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus in Homers Odyssey. It was believed that her husband, the King was dead, and so many suitors wanted to marry her. Believing her husband to still be alive, she came up with a plan to keep them at bay. She said that she would not marry until she had finished her embroidery, and so every day she stitched it, and every night she unpicked it again.
With this in mind, I created a piece of work on a sewing frame, to look unfinished. The work has had the words “Until Death Do Us Part” stitched and unstitched, leaving behind the stretched holes, revealing this missing text. The boarder is a Greek Key pattern.
Penelope. Aida, cotton, wood. 2016
Penelope [detail of text].
This first attempt at stitched and un-stitched cross-stitch work was very successful in terms of how visible the text was, and lead me on to other experimental cross-stitch works.
I have a workshop coming up on Saturday 10th March at Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall, Leeds. The workshop is £10 per person and we will be looking at doing unusual, experimental things with cross-stitch. Find out more on my events page HERE.