April 17, 2008

Mizuna and vintage textiles

When I was working on the design for "Mizuna", I went rummaging through my collection of vintage textiles looking for something compatible. I found an embroidered cutwork doily that my good friend Jan had given me. It had belonged to her mother Ruth, a woman I had known and greatly admired for her kindness, vitality, and positive outlook. I liked the idea of using Ruth's piece in this piece where I was aiming for a balance between delicacy of the leaves and the strength and energy with which they grow.

The shapes in the embroidery design had a similar aesthetic to the shapes of the mizuna leaves, but the bright white of the linen was too harsh. I lightly painted the fabric, and cut the doily in half and realigned the pieces side by side. I added more texture and definition to the shapes with machine stitching. The result is seen just below the clouds in the detail shot above.

Here's the full view of "Mizuna" (You can see more at my website) :

In addition to the hand embroidered piece, I also used some vintage commercial laces. I tried to integrate them into the work so they enhance the design but do not dominate it. I am not trying to invoke nostalgia; I want a fresh contemporary feel and use the vintage pieces to add depth and character.

1 comment:

Pat's Place said...

What a wonderful piece this is! The addition of an aged embroidery is a perfect counter-balance for the whole design.