I have been working towards this exhibition for quite some time. I’ve out in the field looking at birds making drawings, paintings as well as photographing. I have also been just observing in my own garden. In this exhibition I have combined my ornithologist interests with portraits. At first it seemed a little uncomfortable asking people if I could draw or photograph them for my work. It is very easy to do self-portraits - I only have to deal with myself. With portraits I have to deal with the sitter’s self consciousness as well and I had to learn how to give directions to get what I needed. Some portraits just didn’t seem to work and I would like to pursue those still. Others were very easy. In fact, the first one of my niece Heldi took a long time to construct but it seemed to work well. I made numerous studies for this work and lots of samples so that by the time I came to make the final piece it was relatively easy to stitch.
I found that by not rushing into things this time, I had a much better success rate as it were. In the past I rarely made samples. I had watched a promotional video of an online course by English artist and embroiderer, Sue Stone. She advocated making samples after samples to avoid the ‘hit and miss’ approach of making art. While I couldn’t come at making lots of running stitch samples, I decided that as a new year’s resolution that I would make more samples. sometimes I would have already started and realised that I had no sample - I hadn’t worked out the technical aspects of something - and I would break of and make samples. I now have a sample port folio, although I must admit at times I have used the samples in finished pieces if things hadn’t gone quite according to plan.
I was able to send the study of Heldi to the NSW Embroiderers’ Guild exhibition, Thread Stitch Cloth, this year. It was a great way to figure out how to hang the work rather than just pinning to the wall as I usually do. The finally piece can be seen on the home page Bird Portraits