I quickly fell into a love-hate relationship with my latest stitchwork project. I’m no big talent with the needle and thread, so any attempt to pull a stitch neatly is always doomed. I simply use it as a form of drawing and painting. The picture is everything.
This image started of as a portrait of the 1960s British fashion model Twiggy. But right from the start I got the mouth wrong. And I hadn’t given enough thought to getting a twinkle in her eyes, something that distinguished Twiggy from other gamine models and actors of the time.
So the project had failure written all over it. I’d pick it up, pull a few stitches then drop it in rejection, ignoring it for days on end. It started to really annoy me. It wasn’t just the mouth that was wrong. The hair was, too, and the nose. Those ears are a disgrace. And an unsightly hole had appeared under her right eye.
These stitchwork ‘painting’ exercises use a plain white T-shirt as their ‘canvas’. For display, I buy wire coat hangers similar to the ones used by dry cleaners. When I eventually have a collection, it will be ‘exhibited’ hanging from a clothes rail, free to browse.
But one day, all that negativity and bad feeling mysteriously faded. I saw an interesting face in there. Not Twiggy, but someone I’d quite like to meet. At the same time, the stitching became easier, much more natural and flowing. I began to mix colours with a new enthusiasm.
So now this is a project of love. I can’t wait for our next meeting and spend far too much time wondering what colour lip liner she will be wearing.
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