KLKinng, that's such a good idea! someone should do it in cafe press or something (so beyond my computer skills though!!)
Seraphina_de_Sangre, the military fact is super interesting as well. brainwashing is such a terrifying thing to me. i grew up in a fairly conservatively religious community, and it wasn't the religion itself that bothered me, but how EVERYONE had the exact same thoughts and beliefs, because they weren't encouraged at all to question their faith, or to learn about it any deeper than what their youth minister told them. that's so different than the way i grew up, with open minded parents and the knowledge that you don't HAVE to agree with everything that the church says or does. words and the emotions that they create can have such a powerful hold over people.
fluffybaka, i'm sorry to hear that. i had hoped that with all the recent attention to bullying, schools would be emphasizing the power of words more.
and thanks kittykill. another reason i think we tend to see emotional abuse in a lesser light is just basic human nature. if we can't SEE the damage, we don't know how to help, we feel useless, and it gets pushed under the carpet, so to say. i see the same thing with invisible dis/abilities as well. if someone has a broken arm or something, we know how to provide medical care for it, so we feel like we can help in some way, but if someone has emotional scars, it's much harder to know what to do. that's why people such as yourself are so important, the people who DO know what to do to help!
thank you so much everyone! i finished this in september, and i've been SO IMPATIENT to post it, cause i love it so much. and then tonight i realized that i was remembering the entry dates wrong, and i almost missed posting it at all! (duh me)
it's really intriguing to me that something so awful can be so beautiful, like poisonous flowers, the "handsome quiet man" next door (can you tell that i watched a LOT of csi while doing this?!), the cells of diseases, etc.
erdbeerblau, not stupid at all!
i'd love a big one too, but i think i'd have to find a different way to construct it, because a bigger one would take FOREVER! this one will probably sit up on the back of my sofa, like the fancy pillows always did at my grandma's house.
the bubbles are fairly hard, maybe firm would be a better word. they're filled with polyfill, but they're packed pretty tight, so it's firm, and then the pillow itself is packed fairly full too. i'm not sure how you could get the same effect without the firmness to maintain the shape.... hmmm. it would be neat if it was softer, especially if it was a bigger pillow. this one isn't really something you'd want to cuddle with!
i embroidered this because it's something that i want to hang in my house. i want to remind myself, and to remind others in my life, that words can be as incredibly hurtful as other kinds of abuse, and to take care.
i remember as a kid, the phrase "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me". i sincerely hope kids aren't still learning that, but when i was a kid, we didn't talk about bullying and the cruelty of children. when i started school, my dad told me that if a boy bothered me "punch him in the nose" (i don't think i ever did, though as i grew older, i realized a groin shot would be more effective anyway! ) but we never learned how to deal with the emotional cruelty, you know?
i was a super sensitive kid, i cried at EVERYTHING, and got teased all the time, and even more so when i started to cry! it got to the point that by my early teens, i'd trained myself to never cry in front of anyone else - even if it was totally acceptable (like a sad movie). i don't really know how things would have been any different if we'd talked more about it in the 80s, but i wonder.
i really wanted to embroider this piece for the domestic violence theme because i think emotional abuse can sometimes be overlooked. i think survivors of emotional abuse are often the first ones to do that. i was in a common law relationship for several years that was really messed up, when i look back on it now. it took me over a year to stop hearing my ex's voice in my head putting me down, even though i realized soon after we split that it wasn't really ME thinking those things. friends have come out and called the relationship abusive, but i still shy from that. i don't think he was intentionally trying to hurt me or to control my actions, i think he had a lot of his own emotional problems, and we were really unsuited. is it still abuse if it isn't intentional? i'm also uncomfortable calling it abuse because it doesn't seem "as bad" as other people's stories of physical or sexual abuse, which i know is totally contradictory to what i'm saying here. but that's how it goes, you know? rationally, i know that emotional abuse can leave long reaching scars, and for some people, may be more damaging than other kinds of abuse. but emotionally it's a different story.
coming out of the relationship i realized that both my physical and mental had been affected by the relationship, and even now, years later, i still struggle with things that go back to that period in my life.
so this is what i embroidered
the words are a simple font, i wanted them to look almost childlike. (i'll edit this with the actual name later, i have to look it up!) they're simple backstitch, and the heart is satin stitch with two different shades of pink.
once again, comments and criticism are totally welcome, and the pics are on flickr, so if you'd like to see them bigger, just click on them.
my original plan for this piece was an anatomical image of a breast with a lump, much like the pregnancy anatomical image i embroidered a few months ago. breasts are incredibly complex, and i love all the lines that make up the images.
i started googling for images, and ran across an entirely different anatomical image - the breast cancer cells themselves. though i continued searching for the breast images, i kept coming back to the cells. they were so BEAUTIFUL, and i was really challenged by the idea of a more 3-D needlework piece, since i usually work on flat surfaces of fabric.
i started thinking about how as a society we idealize beautiful breasts, regardless of what may be hidden inside them. a pair of slightly droopy mom of 3 breasts are seen as less beautiful and less valued than a pair of young perky 20 year old breasts, regardless of actual health. you usually can't tell from the surface if someone has breast cancer, which is why self exams are so important.
and this is what i came up with.
this ended up being smaller than i'd originally planned, because gathering up the bobbles took WAY more fabric than i'd anticipated! i bought half a metre of fabric, about 19", and the piece ended up being 5.5" tall and 10" or 11" wide. i used a stretch velvet because i wanted that slight sheen, the variance in tone dependent on light, that velvet has. i used sewing thread to hand stitch circles on the fabric, then pulled them up tight and stuffed them with fiberfill. i didn't have any fiberfill, but i did have a pillow form - this piece took almost all of a 12"x12" pillowform's stuffing! it took a really really long time, so much longer than i'd anticipated!
after i had all the cells complete, i hand basted the velvet onto a piece of cotton, basting between the cells to keep the surface consistent (the cells had a tendency to pop out everywhere!).
i used dmc tapestry wool, colour 7896, for the french knots. i printed out the image and took it with me when i went shopping, and this was the closest i could get between dmc and anchor. i looked at embroidery floss, and at the possibility of using beads instead of the french knots. the embroidery floss was too shiny, and would have made knots that were smaller in proportion to the cells than i wanted, and the same thing went for the beads.
because i was using wool, but working with a fabric that i would need to pierce, i used chenille needles that were thick enough to thread the wool onto, but sharp enough to pierce the fabric (unlike typical needlepoint needles).
i find french knots easy (don't throw stuff at me! i'm sorry!! ), so that part of it was fine, but getting the wool through the "cells" was a whole different story! after an evening that left me with severely bruised and callused fingers, i dug out my locking pliers and used them to get the needle through. in some areas it was going through countless layers of fabric and fiberfill, the gathering of the bubbles/cells created a lot of excess fabric around the bases of them!
with the flash, the colour is a little less accurate. it looks more blue here than green.
and the back, with the title stem stitched across. i had bought all the skiens of tapestry wool that my local needlework shop had, and used the majority of them for the front. i decided to use a lighter shade for the words, so that i could do as many french knots on the front as possible!
i also did a little flower design, to tie the two purple shades together and to add detail to the upper and lower portions. i used french knots there as well, and back stitch for the curlicues. i'd like to do more french knots on the sides, the areas that aren't visible from the front, once my local needlework shop gets in more wool of this colour.
after both sides were done, i machine stitched the two long sides of the pillow. i had to use my sister's industrial machine, mine refused to stitch it! i stuffed the pillow, and ended up hand stitching the short ends because it was impossible to get the sewing machine foot close enough to the bubbles/cells.
and this is the image that inspired it all - Credit: Annie Cavanagh. Wellcome Images firstname.lastname@example.org images.wellcome.ac.uk A cluster of breast cancer cells showing visual evidence of programmed cell death (apoptosis). Scanning electron micrograph
i hope you like it. comments and criticism are TOTALLY welcome! and if you'd like to see the needlework in more detail, click on the pics and they'll lead you to flickr.
dm, i think you saw them on flickr a while ago (hence the undead comment!), i'm super behind on posting to craftster!
schnerby, i did paint the frames. a coat of spray primer (i like painter's touch sandable, it's way better than krylon), then a coat or two of spray paint. easy peasy! i've been painting a TON of frames and shelves lately, cause i'm getting ready to move. these three are all krylon outdoor spaces colours, though you should be aware that even if it says the same colour name, the colour IS NOT the same from can to can! i bought another can of the watermelon to finish off a project, and it's totally a different shade than the one i started with (or the one you see here!).
and yep, ignorant is in chain stitches! i love the way they look like knitting when you do them in rows!
PLEASE NOTE: though i believe that crafting is inherently political, and that needlework is one of the best crafty ways to get your message across, i TOTALLY respect craftster's wishes to keep the discussions on topic, i can't imagine the riot that all of our varying politics would create! Please refer to kittykill's post about off-topic comments, and feel free to come bitch, complain, discuss or agree on my blog instead! (specific posts about healthcare, zines, and the word pimp are here, here and here)
The Healthcare Debate is Simple Really.....
i'm obviously being slightly facetious with this piece, since people die in every country. but at the same time, i'm really not. i did a whole bunch of babbling about my personal experience of losing a friend to a treatable illness due to her low income status, and my position as a Canadian about healthcare, it's all on my blog.
the stitching is rather simple, back stitch for the country outlines, and tiny tiny stem stitch for the words.
Zinesters Do It For Love!
this piece was inspired by a few things.
the first, and the main, inspiration for this is something that i've been seeing for quite a while, and something that's been bugging me for quite a while, and i've blogged a whole bunch about it here - zines aren't supposed to make money.
and the second inspiration, which is much more mellow, was those awesome 70s ringer tees with the glittery slick iron ons with phrases like "teachers do it with class", "football players do it in the end zone", "seniors do it better", etc. i found one for a friend years ago that said "musicians do it with rhythm", and i've loved them ever since.
i tried something a little different for this - i wanted to cross stitch the words, but i didn't have waste canvas small enough. i also wanted it to be a little less perfect than cross stitch usually is. so i used a cross stitch font! the font is called Home Sweet Home, and it's from 1001fonts.com. i typed it out in a word document, 42 point size, and then trimmed a piece of tear away stabilizer to 8.5"x11" and printed it right onto the stabilizer.
it was so freaking easy, i don't know why this never occurred to me before! i use tear away stabilizer for a lot of my stitching, because my stitches are so bloody tight that they tend to pull on the fabric if i'm not careful. the stabilizer helps with that,plus, it's way easier to transfer patterns onto than dark fabrics!
after i'd printed the words out, i used a pencil and traced an image of a typewriter on the stabilizer.
that's actually one of the typewriters in my collection, and i had fooled around with the photo in photoshop awhile ago, making it outlines only, so it was easy to trace. it's mostly all backstitch with 2 strands, except for the keys, which are single strand, and the typebars, which are chain stitch with 2 strands.
Saying Pimp Doesn't Make You Sound Cool, It Makes You Sound Ignorant
though this last piece is the one that started my recent spate of political pieces, and is one that i've been planning since at least january, and am very proud of, it's also the most frustrating piece, and the hardest to write about.
this piece is in direct response to the crafty/diy community, and the language we use. i wrote about the inappropriateness of this word on my blog, and also about my concerns publicly posting a piece that criticizes the community, so i really really hope you'll take a few minutes to read my post, and maybe rethink the slang terms that have crept into our language.
completely off the political topic, and onto the embroidery itself....
this piece uses stem stitch, back stitch, french knots, and chain stitch.
as i was doing the french knots, i was asking myself whatever possessed me to chose them... and thanking myself for choosing to use them on the shortest word!
i wrote out the phrase in a word file, choosing different fonts for each part.