After a busy few days of teaching, it’s been great to spend some time in the studio working on some new pieces for my collection of boxes/vessels. I had underestimated how much I would struggle to create some more pieces about my childhood. Spending time with items that belonged to my grandparents was really difficult and brought my emotions to the surface.
This week I’ve been working on a new idea, inspired by a cigarette box belonging to my husband. The silver plated box was presented to Olly (a distant relative of my husband’s) in 1941 by the No. 26 (Northampton) Technical Training Group. We also have transcripts of his letters from the trenches in WW1 to his sister Bee. When I started reading the letters, there were lines that stood out and I started to highlight them.
It wasn’t until I started to create some hand embroidered text samples that I realised how much my writing didn’t suit the words. I was focusing so much on making my writing look the part (which I was failing miserably at) when the perfect solution popped into my head. Because of the family connection, my husband has written all the sentences for me in his fine handwritten style.
I’ve begun to stitch each line using tiny back stitches, transferring the letters on to fabric using the tissue paper method. An important part of my personal work is the use of vintage fabric and thread. Each line is stitched with a slate grey cotton thread onto a deconstructed bolster case.
I love working with these delicate fabrics and threads to create my work. Each piece has a story behind them which I’m not always aware of, my work is the next part of their story which I’m really proud of. Speaking of behind, the back of stitched lettering is always amazing, it looks like a mysterious language from another world.
The next stage for the pieces of embroidered fabric is to roll each piece by hand to represent a cigarette. I’m hoping to make twenty pieces to fill a replica of the box, I don’t want to loose somebody else’s family heirloom in an exhibition setting!
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