After the intense physicality of the willow basketry module at City Lit just before Christmas, it was a relief to have a break and think about something else.
The submission deadline for the next South London Women Artists exhibition was 6 January, so this provided the perfect opportunity. The theme for the exhibition is “Equinox”, and my original idea was to make some random weave eggs containing felt “yolks”, representing spring. However, an email then arrived saying that all works had to be 2D. So it was back to the drawing board.
An equinox occurs twice a year, around 21 March and 21 September. The March equinox is generally regarded as the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere, while the September one is the beginning of autumn. It is so named because the length of the day and night are approximately equal on those dates.
I started thinking about the lengthening days and the warmth of the sun’s rays returning after the dark winter, and had the idea of making a stitched piece representing this. I found a piece of indigo shibori cotton that was roughly half dark, half light, to resemble the Earth, and pinned it to a piece of cream linen.
Then I started stitching.
I decided to use simple kantha (running stitch) to represent the sun’s rays, in differing shades ranging from cream to dark orange.
Kantha stitch also produces a slightly rippled effect, which evokes the oceans.
I left the edges raw, expecting (hoping) they would fray slightly, but in fact they frayed very little.
It was very restful, after wrestling with willow rods, to be able to sit and stitch quietly, even if it took rather a long time! 🙂
Once it was finished, I had the tricky job of mounting it. I didn’t really want to put it behind glass, as I think it deadens it and I didn’t want to lose the texture. So I stitched it to a heavier piece of cotton before stretching it over some stretcher bars and adding backing. This successfully removed the wrinkles without flattening the ripples too much.
Equinox runs from 3 to 22 March at St Marylebone Parish Church, 17 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LT. The private view is on 4 March, 6-8pm – everyone welcome.