Made It Through the Dread.


© C. Ford.

There’s a special hell in having to wash embroidery, especially embroidery you’ve put over a thousand hours into, fortunately, it made it through. I had to see if I could get the rest of the colour bleed out so I could just focus on finishing the damn tree. Paranoia saw me putting in way too many colour catchers, but the tree quilt came through, brilliantly, and the last of the colour bleed is gone. I think. Now, I must iron. Then one of these days, I might actually get back to work, which would be nice.


  1. says

    Wow so much color!!!

    I’m curious and I’d like to ask you a question I’ve asked other artists: how much previsualization/planning do you put into your creations? I’ve noticed that sometimes I’m more or less random (photography lends itself to that) where other times I have detailed assembly orders and diagrams (leather work or woodwork) would you care to tell us a bit about your process? If I’m intruding, I apologize.

    Tangentially: a few years ago I hung out with a photographer and was amazed when he pulled out a book full of sketches of plans for photos. He would sit and design the lights, set, even the expected post-work in photoshop, before he even picked up a camera. I’d never seen that before (and I’ve done large format work!) So he’d sketch a still life, then create it, then photograph it, then tear it all down.

  2. says


    Uh…none. I do plan some stuff, you have to, but for the most part, it just happens as I go along. With the tree quilt, I adapted a tree I had done on an earlier piece:

    That piece is massive, 70something inches by 80something inches, so the one on the tree quilt is smaller in height, but not in width. I drew the tree out the way I wanted, the size I wanted, made sure it would fit on my fabric, drew it on the fabric. I cut and sewed the edging fabric to the main quilt fabric. After that, I got out my thread and started stitching. The tree is all candlewick knots, no other type of stitches, so it goes fairly fast. Everything, for me, is colour. I just chose colours which struck me, and kept stitching. I did have a fit heading up the lower trunk, and decided to go out and look at trees. Took a *lot* of photos, stared out the window a lot, too. Saw some patterns I wanted to replicate, so I drew those in; used whatever colours struck my fancy.

    As for all the background stitching, oy. That was not planned. I spilled tea on the damn thing, and without thinking, put it in the washer with any colour catchers. The dark brown bled all over the fucking place, so…
    Just covering the colour bleed would have left everything looking lopsided and fucked up, so I ended up with a fucktonne more work than I planned. The last bit of bleed is still slightly visible, but I’ll be able to cover that with the quilting, if I ever get the effing embroidery done.

    For most stuff, about the only planning I ever do is whatever shit pops into my head when I’m trying to convince myself to sleep.

  3. says

    For most stuff, about the only planning I ever do is whatever shit pops into my head when I’m trying to convince myself to sleep.

    Aha! Thanks for explaining all that!

    Most of what I do is “whatever pops into my head” and I think a lot of artists work that way. It’s fascinating, to me. The kind of work you’re doing is much more effort-expensive than pointing a digital camera and mashing a button; I’ve always wondered if the implicit cost of a process often makes the artist plan more, or not. Generally the answer appears to be “not”

  4. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    As long as we’re just asking:
    -- how much does the quilt weigh
    -- what kind of washing machine do you have

  5. says

    I haven’t put it on a scale, but when it’s been on my lap for working purposes, it’s a medium, comfortable weight, and *very* warm. That’s without the batting, which is a double thick cotton for this quilt. It will probably end up in the 3 to 4 lbs area. Maybe more, I don’t know.

    I have a standard Samsung washer, with an almost flat impeller. This one.

  6. Ice Swimmer says

    It’s such a gorgeous and dynamic work of art already.

    As for planning of artsy stuff, my photography is opportunistic and event-driven. In making music (I don’t think I’m all that good at it either…), it’s a bit of both and things often turn out to be something else than planned. Once I decided to make a new ringtone for myself. The end result is a close to five minutes long piece with multiple key changes. Another time, a few years ago, I was going to make a 180+ BPM evil sounding hardcore techno/gabber piece which became a 85 BPM tender and melancholic track.

  7. says

    Yay, I’m glad it washed well.
    That’s always such a big step. I usually pre-wash my fabrics and the poly thread is thankfully colour true.
    The one time I didn’t was the kids’ christmas dresses because hey, it’s a poly dress!. Now one of my favourite shirts has a pink tint…

  8. johnson catman says

    Caine @4: Is that piece also a quilt? I like it. There is a lot there to focus on, but it is not crowded.

  9. says

    Johnson catman:

    No, it isn’t. It’s a wall piece, Trash. It’s made of swarf (metal scrap) and grog (ceramics scrap). I have a friend who is a ceramist in Canada, who sent me several boxes of different types of grog.

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