For the next few weeks I’ll post some of the pieces I did for the Larks exhibition, and I’ll start with what is supposed to be the centrepiece of the show. One problem about most of my designs is that they’re pretty small, which is fine of course, but they don’t make much of an effect on a gallery wall. So I thought I’d do one big piece to act as the centre of the show.
For this I returned to an idea I tried several years ago – an aviary design made up of lots of different kinds of birds. This one consisted of 16 different stitched and appliqueed birds, not stitched together as a quilt would be, but rather stitched separately on a single big piece of fabric It sounds like a simple idea, but it was hugely demanding technically, and I honestly began to have nightmares about it. I could just imagine spending three weeks digitising and stitching it, only to make a fatal mistake on the last bird and wreck the whole thing
One major headache was that the video camera on the Innovis, which I used to align all the different designs, didn’t allow very accurate lining up of the different pieces. I digitised the birds with lots and lots of basted lines which were supposed to let me line up the different squares accurately, but it just didn’t work very well. You can see in this photo that many of the alignment lines aren’t in fact lined up.
Bad alignment - the lines of basting stitching are supposed to be lined up exactly
It's true that the alignment is only out by a couple of millimetres, but it all adds up when you're working on a big piece. I think the problem might be because the camera doesn’t have a very high degree of resolution, so you can’t see the lines clearly. However the whole thing eventually got done, and I found that by painting the fabric between the squares, most of the mistakes were hidden, and it didn’t turn out too badly