Sunday, December 16, 2007

A "Slow Cloth" Project

Over at Sharon B's blog, there is a discussion on what makes a "slow cloth", and why that approach may be valuable......To me it means committing the necessary time to see a project through, not rushing any aspect of it, doing one's best every step of the way, and holding the attitude of surrender to the demands of the piece. If you click to her comments sections, here and check out her links here, you will find a lively discussion of what this concept of "slow cloth" means to different textile practitioners.

As I figured that no one would be interested in seeing another picture of the back of the H quilt currently still being basted, I thought I would share a project from back in the mid 1990's, one that qualifies as being "slow cloth" even though it was huge!

I was asked to make a decorative hanging that would cover some necessary sound-proofing tiles on a large wall in a meeting room for my church. I accepted this challenge thinking it was going to take at least a year, which indeed it just about did.

It was a "Stained Glass" style wall hanging, which finished was 12' X 17' (3.65 meters X 5.18 meters). I had to dye paint all my fabric with procion dyes before beginning constructing the hanging, as I had heard those dyes are the most resistant to fading. Here I am ironing down some of the "leading", which in this case was bonded gold lame that had wonder-under fused to the back before it was sliced into long ribbons. You get a sense of scale of this thing when you look at the next picture.

I constructed it basically in two halves, then joined it at the horizon line, with the tree trunks "leaded down" after the two halves were joined. Of course all the leading is sewn down with zig zag clear thread.
This picture was taken down in the basement rec room. I was lucky to have a large enough space to lay the thing out. (Tough on the knees, though.)

Here it is completed and stretched over the unsightly soundproofing tiles and mounted into place. Those of you familiar with the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany will recognize the main elements of the design....the trees on the right look more like they are out of "Flowers and Trees", an early Disney "Silly Symphony", however!

It took many slow months of dedicated and careful work to complete this project....I am glad I did it, too.
But that doesn't mean we aren't glad when a "slow cloth" is FINALLY finished!

19 comments :

sharonb said...

Allie this is a great story although I think all your work would be seen as a 'slow cloth'
Thanks for posting it

laplandyellow said...

impressive!!a jewel.

Possibilities, Etc. said...

Well - Tiffany would recognize and approve your art and effort! I have always heard that the journey is as important as the destination, but there are just some things I don't enjoy about finishing s piece. Good Job - it's gorgeous.

Momma Bear said...

OH.MY.GOD.
I am unworthy to grovel at your feet!
I bow to your perserverance, patience, skill & dedication.
You are my hero!

Allison Ann Aller said...

Oh Momma bear, please do not say such things...

All credit goes to the great Tiffany...and having a big basement!

Gail said...

Oh Allie, how beautiful, you truly are an artist. Thank you for sharing this wonderful work with us.

Debra Spincic said...

Beautiful piece! I have to agree with Sharon that the work you have shown lately is very slow cloth. How can it be anything but?

Barbara C said...

What a beautiful serene piece. And the scale is mind-boggling. It must have been a real act of love to see this piece through to the end.

I guess that is the essence of slow cloth: it's an act of love and the process is a meditation.

JoWynn Johns said...

Absolutely amazing! Thanks for showing it to us and telling us about the process of creating it. It is a marvel!

Mary said...

wow!! i never got to see this piece. IT'S HUGE!!! and beeeutious.....and you're my hero, too!! call ya later seester

Marty52 said...

Good grief, lady! That thing is huge... you are truly an artist. That's all I've got to say about that.

Kay said...

I just read the Slow Cloth discussion, and I agree with your definition, although many people seem to be equating hand work with quality. I hope the movement (if it becomes that) will call itself something else. The name "Slow Food" has always annoyed me because I think it's more catchy than meaningful. I guess I think taking time to say things clearly and accurately is important too :)

As for your beautiful wall hanging, I'm always impressed (although not QUITE groveling) by someone who makes something of this scale. Don't you think difficulty increases greatly as size increases even slightly?

Ruth said...

Absolutely gorgeous and the scale !!!! I'm sure the people of the church are forever grateful as you made their church so much more beautiful with your art. I too think all your work should be called "slow cloth" as you put so much effort and detail into your work.

Susan said...

What a beautiful piece for your church. It was well worth not hurrying. I like your definition. I guess mine is to stop at every step and say, "Am I finished yet?" and then listen to the answer. =)

Jules said...

Allie: I am in awe of your work on this piece. What a special gift for your church - it is beautiful! I love the peaceful natural scene. OMG, just amazing!

Granny Fran said...

Absolutely stunning! I can't imagine doing something of that scale. I like the idea of a fusion of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Disney. I adore the stylized nature in the early Disney films.
One of my Mom's schoolmates worked on those old ones. I'd love to have one of his original sketches.

mymarkdesigns said...

Oh my goodness... this is incredible :)

Kyra said...

What a gorgeous, gorgeous piece!

Michigan Loony Loomer said...

WOW! THat is absolutely beautiful!!