Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Devil in the Detail

It is amazing what I can get done in an almost uninterrupted week in the workshop. I even have achy arms, sore hands and punctured fingers to prove it. I thought I would never complete the irregular grey pebbles and had to force myself to sew a whole bobbin at a time non-stop and not allow myself any breaks until at least four bobbins were emptied. I used chalk and string to mark out a circle then trimmed and bound it as soon as it came off the frame. I still have a lot of thread tails to tidy up but it is more or less done and ready to stand the totems on. 

Yurtman sent the plywood circular bases which added an inch of height to each totem so I used my electric carving knife to trim down all of the columns. I had to wrestle the foam columns into their tight covers by squashing them into banana shapes, discovering that the only way to get them to fit was to put slippery plastic bin-bags onto the ends. 

Hand-sewing them shut neatly proved to be a major challenge and I unpicked several attempts before managing to do an invisible ladder stitch as tidily as Mo had demonstrated. I should probably have attempted to tear the plastic bags out because one or two of them are not yet sitting as flat on top as I would like.

After checking that my hand punch was cutting holes in scrap leather nicely and deciding that they were not, I ordered a more industrial press punch for 5mm eyelets. This is much easier to use and does not make my hands hurt after just 2 or 3 holes have been made. I discovered that the latest beaded skins must be a fair bit smaller than the white Imbolc one because I was woefully short of cord for lacing up the backs on the largest columns. 

I have reached the point now where the project is almost complete but I am looking hyper-critically at the quality of the finish. Some of the binding on the awkwardly shaped skins looks a little loose so I am wondering how to fix it without cutting it all off and starting again. The cheap gold lamé is a nightmare because some of the quilted stitching has burst and wadding is poking through in places. I hope that adding a little gold paint will solve that problem but at the back of my mind is the thought that I should make an entirely new gold totem!

I did emerge from the workshop occasionally to enjoy snatches of midsummer sun and do battle with the idiots at the Planning Department over their crass objections to the School’s application to build a small parking bay because the site-diagram did not have red pen around the outside. This saga has been going on for nearly 9 years and the Parent Council won’t let me resign until I cut the ribbon on the parking spaces.

Freya and I celebrated the Solstice with friends at the top of Scotly Hill. There was a bonfire, jamming guitars, midges and a typically damp, glowering sky. I took a photo as the light faded and used an app on the Ipad to create a watercolour scene. There are just two weeks left to the end of term so the pressure is on to attend to the final details of the Totem Henge and get them wrapped up ready to send to FOQ!

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