Monday, October 10, 2011

Perfectly Peacock

I'm posting these photos in their current orientations because all my attempts to right them have failed. Some miscommunication between editing programs is beyond me to sort at this hour. And besides - this whole project came about because of a mistake, so it seems appropriate. Sometimes you must say Why The Fury?
You see, I'd run into Sew Vac with a whirl of questions (those folks are so great!) and meant to get water soluble stabilizer in two sizes. Instead one of the rolls I picked up was *sticky* soluble stabilizer. I didn't catch the mistake until after the cellophane was torn off. I thought of asking if they had a shrink wrap so I might return it, since it is pricy stuff, but it was my mistake and I thought 'I might use it one day'... And the very next day my curiousity got the best of me and I started this Peacock Scarf.
After lately doing a lot of machine programming and very literal designs, the idea of working a lace collage of sheers and yarns very organically and loosely was appealing. It has been a while since I let loose with some free-motion embroidery. And to think that I once did so much of it I had carpal tunnel ankles from having the pedal to the floor!
So I approached this like a painting. I drew a loose cartoon, influenced by peacock feathers, but tried to keep it very free. I decided to repeat certain elements in a scarf-like shape, but to not render it literately. I worked very fast, not judging, intuitively. I learned that in a workshop. Thanks Lance!

I stitched all over this initial collage layer of sheers and yarn with black silk thread in the needle and bobbin to keep the 'hand' of the piece as soft as possible. Then I added more dabs of yarn, and more stitching. And then, since I wanted the piece to be double sided, I turned it over and added more yarn and stitching. You might think the sticky side down would be a problem, but the embroidery covered so much of the surface that it slid quite well - the sticky areas serving as a convenient hand hold to help steer the fabric.

After I washed away the stabilizer and could see how the piece moved, some individual pieces were added by detached embroidery. They add movement and dangle, and provide a means of tying the piece in a variety of fashions.

I must say, the piece took on a life of itself. It is sheer and soft - yet crisp and commanding. It weighs nothing and yet can appear almost bulky, powerful. It iridizes in the changing light and can morph into many shapes. Its boldness makes me think of a Priestess who has channeled the Peacock and is fiercely, proudly parading. I think it came out Perfect - by accident.  See the finished piece here


  1. Hi!
    Thanks for the comment on my blog .... Love the peacock inspired scarf! Very nice write up of the work in progress too.

  2. Hi Susan,

    I just love your work! Thanks for visiting and for your comments, too. I'm a rather new blogger, so very pleased you enjoyed the article. Hope to see you again.