One of the things I most enjoy about this series work is I am continually challenged by how to convey my message or tell the story. The piece I have been working on (#16) these past weeks is about our marriage. A couple months ago I began the prep work by dismantling my wedding dress, which my mother had sewn from heavy cotton pique, lined with cotton flannel. This dress was so well constructed & sturdy, I could have gotten married in the Arctic in January, instead off spring in the Bay Area. After I took the dress apart, I made Thermofax screens of our vows from a fill-in-the-blank book gifted by the preacher.
I printed not only the dress fabric but some of the flannel as well. Additionally, I had retained one bridesmaid dress which was also made by my mother. The wedding theme was based on my Russian heritage. The bridesmaids and I wore headscarves and their dresses were of a flimsy, but lined, cotton voile in a red/white/blue paisley print.
The dresses were ‘granny’ style with a wide ruffle at the bottom. Initially I thought to incorporate the ruffle into the new piece but nothing about that spoke to me. I decided instead to fuse different size squares onto the now pieced wedding dress background. That gave the entire piece a bit of a whimsical feel which certainly was not my intention, but worked!
I hand-stitched a piece of the dress lace vertically to the piece. Then I basted my great grandmother’s hand crocheted lace headscarf to the base and hand-stitched that down. Only in doing so did I find a few areas of disintegration that previously were invisible to the eye.
My idea was to then layer and hand-stitch my headscarf on top; but something was missing. It didn’t quite feel right as the headscarf was a large triangle bound in trim and essentially blank in the middle. So I decided to hand-stitch the image of hubs and I walking down the aisle onto the headscarf before I stitched it to the base.
That became my challenge. I didn’t want to trace it and potentially ruin the one and only priceless heirloom. I thought of several options but none seemed right, so I asked an artist friend and a mentor for their opinions. And voila, from that came the solution. I printed the image onto silk organza which I pinned onto the back of the headscarf heirloom. Then I gingerly placed it into a hoop and stitched the image through to the headscarf. Only after I lost the light when the sun went down did I realize I could perfectly see the image from the reverse side, so I flipped it over and stitched from the reverse, remembering to knot accordingly. Ah success.
In today’s morning light I cut away the printed organza on the back side and voila! I have exactly what I wanted.
It’s the little things that bring so much joy! Onward to the next layer…
Martha Ginn says
I love what you’re doing with these treasures, and getting to incorporate so much of your story in the pieces is a bonus to the beautiful outcome. These pieces keep saying “the hand of the maker” to me. I also identified with your previous post about the small stuff. We’ve all been in that “you could sell that!” sink hole. But friends really feel special when you give them away.
Good idea Martha!