Here is my own little flying marvel, who has travelled maybe 6,000 miles to nest again outside our bedroom window .
This piece follows on from an earlier piece that I blogged about in April which you can read here. The smaller piece was my first attempt at designing a backing that would tell a story. I had never attempted stitching text before. Both went well and I was pleased enough with the results of the first piece to attempt to tell the whole story of a Swallow’s Journey.
The story is inspired by Horatio Clare’s book ‘A Single Swallow’, a story that maps Horatio’s 6,000 mile adventure following the migratory route of Swallows from South Africa to his home in South Wales. Along the way we learn about the countries he travels through and the amazing people he meets along the way. The book is far more than just a travel journal though and we learn to question with him our western lifestyle and need for ‘things’.
Once I had finished the book I started to plan the words that summed up the countries and the swallows journey. I finally decided on a grid of 18 columns and 37 rows. This gave me 666 squares to work with and fitted (to the maximum) a standard piece of art glass that was still affordable!
The trickiest part of the planning stage was fitting the words into the grid and then spacing them to fit in 6 swallows travelling along this map of text. I decided I wanted the threads of the text to change colour with the journey, giving the impression of changing temperatures.
The text, on average took me an hour/row. The concentration needed astounded me as if my mind wandered the needle started to travel…. Its been a challenge to say the least.
I have been thankful to have had more than one piece on the go at a time and it has been a welcome break to create some swallows, a vulture and a Rook.
Below you can see three of the swallows pieced and ready for stitching.
Again, two of the smaller swallows stitched and ready for placing on main piece.
Finally the first two swallows in place, it was great to see the text finally being broken up by some birds!
Below, the first large swallow completed and stitched in to place. When you view swallows in flight from the ground they can look very dark, the red being almost unseen and their breasts looking quite creamy, grey. When I played with the colours this looked wrong in practice so they have retained their red faces but with a darker body colour.
Below the largest of the swallows fixed into place and the wire drawn in ready for stitching.
Below, the piece is complete and ready to be sewn onto mount board ready for framing. I feel quite sad to be nearly at the end of this journey and hope that Horatio will have another trip planned soon…..