Sunday, October 10, 2010

Petri Dish Promenade

Petri Dish Promenade
19" x 34"
I finished Petri Dish Promenade today. I started this piece in spring 2009 with a piece of hand-dyed and soy-wax-batiked cotton (the central panel), and then embroidered and embroidered and embroidered it. I couched down bits of thread that raveled off  the edges of yardage coming out of the dryer, and some silk roving, with all weights of embroidery floss and beautiful hand dyed threads and perle cotton.

After I was done, I thought the circles looked like cultures growing in a lab in petri dishes, twirling and spinning down the panel. Hence the name.

Then the piece sat for a long time while I determined what I should do with it, how I should finish it. I eventually decided that it needed a little “breathing room” around it, so I added a frame of some lovely cotton-silk fabric (“Radiance”) that I hand-dyed at Grace’s Dye Day for the Pandoras in August. You can see it on the top of the drying rack on the left in this photo:

I’ve always been a bit leery of working with silk – it seems so slippy and uncooperative! — but there is enough cotton in this fabric that it behaves itself. Rather than disturb the lovely patterns in the dye, I decided to cut a hole, or frame, and then reverse appliqued the central panel with the circles inside. After doing a bit more embroidery to continue the circles out into the frame, I added some fairly light, organic quilting lines, and enough quilting in and around the circles to add dimension. 

I tried a lot of new techniques and materials in this piece, and I’m proud of that.