So this is my first challenge, my first attempt at embroidery, and my first finished project post.
Instead of interpreting the yin-yang theme in a literal way and using two opposite ideas/things, I decided to structure my idea around the symbolism of the traditional yin-yang in Taoism. Taoism utilizes a lot of natural imagery to make its points (the uncarved block of wood for our potential, the water in the stream for our ability to be flexible and willing, etc), so I decided to have a natural theme as well.
The yin is the female; dark, shady, earthy, and passive with the mysteriousness of night (though it is important to note that the dark does not equal evil or bad in any way). For the yin I did a take on dryads, or tree nymphs in Greek mythology--because really, what's more mysterious than a mythical tree-woman?
I used only backstitch on her, as I had a lot of area to fill in (clearly), and since it was my first shot at embroidery I thought it was best to stick with the basics. I decided to fill her in in a very solid way to convey how dark and dense the night can seem. It took forever, and I suspect it's because I'm rather slow at this--I only finished it on November 1st, and I started a few days after the contest was announced and worked at least 3-4 hours a day on it. Towards the end there may even have been some 6-12 hour days.
The yang is the male; light, sunny, fiery, active, and definitely the daytime. To represent this I embroidered a sun-man. Though not based on any specific mythology that I'm aware of (other than a loose take on the idea of sun gods), I felt that in many ways it was opposite to my dryad, just not necessarily in an obvious way. My design for this was a lot more liberal with the gratuitous design elements and all, but hey, I figure the yang should be a bit less serious than the yin.
I used backstitch, chain stitch, and more satin stitch than I should have for him. I left things a lot more open than I did with the dryad, because since the sun is in the sky it makes me think of airier things.
Both designs were my own, though I used a lot of pictures for anatomical references. Here they are together!
It's amazing how much I would've liked to add on to these pillowcases still--a river and a moon with the dryad, sun beams and some sun-man filling in, etc, but a deadline is a deadline. Also, I would've been happier with a less wrinkly outcome.
So all in all, I'm proud that I made it through my massive project with little to no skill, two old beat-up pillowcases, and a little bit of my sanity. Considering that in the time span it took to finish these I also wrote 7 papers, took two midterms, took 4 tests, went to a concert, had two 21st birthday celebrations and watched a crapload of Degrassi, I am quite proud of myself for managing anything at all. Hope you have enjoyed!
(And if you want to read an awesome book on Taoism, check out Benjamin Hoff's The Tao of Pooh
. Yes, as in Winnie the Pooh. It's that awesome.)