Wednesday, April 24, 2013
THE TIBER RIVER: A DIFFERENT VIEW
Some days ago I took a long and free walk along the banks of the Tiber river which flows through the ancient heart of Rome toward the sea, only around 25 kilometres away. I followed the river course from the Vatican City downwards till the Isola Tiberina, the boat-shaped island which was once the location of an ancient temple to the Greek god of medicine and healing.
Water levels were still very high after the hefty rains of the past weeks and part of the banks submerged. Stone stairs connect the bridges to the banks which run along the basis of the tall walls. These stone embankments are about 12 meters tall and were built since the end of the 19th century to protect the city from the severe floods so frequent in the past.
The river banks are a sort of separate world in wintertime. High above, the busy city life, cars, people, buses. Down here almost nobody, discarded waste of every kind, trash, old rags, pavements heavily damaged by the water, naked branches, silence. In summer things change: structures are rebuilt, damages repaired, people stroll leisurely along the book stalls and the cafés.
I took a great number of photos not of the beautiful buildings high above, but of the vault of the bridges from below, of the trash, of the old food wastes, of the ravaged ferryboat piers, of the ruined bicycle path.
So this is going to be my conservation theme for the final wall-hanging, as discussed with Sian: the sad conditions of neglect of the Tiber in the very centre of Rome.
Here are drawings from some details and photos:
Naked branches emerging from the muddy water
A graffiti “embroidery” along one of the banks
Ravaged bicycle path
Trash, rags, plastics
The multi-layered structure from down the bank
Plastic bags trapped into the branches
From another set of photos I painted the colours I saw
Words suggested by Sian Martin
married, enclosed, rhythmical …….. crushed, controlled, enveloped
peaceful, soft, quiet, restful ……………………..controlled, strong, enclosed
expelled, enclosed, separated, imprisoned ….. bend, separated, vigorous
frenzied, expelled, compressed ……………. bend, fast, vigorous, enclosed
Words which came to mind while looking at images collected
entwined, strong roots, world below -------------------------- hard and soft, solid and fluid, conflicting
gentle, imprisoned among branches, entwined, fragile cages --------------- gentle, rhythmical, fast, new life budding
confused, who knows?, afraid to get near ---------------- separated, parallel worlds, conflicting, alone in beauty
alone in beauty, graffiti embroidery, small world ------------- delicacy, spring coming, do not think too much
layers of parallel worlds, unaware, shadow: shelter from life, arches like wombs, noise/silence, resilience strength (left)
underneath, forgotten, disrupt, crushed (right)
conflicting, delicacy of things forgotten, silence/noise (left)
still lagoon, softly remembering in the shade of your heart, in the warm pleats of your soul
vigorous, trust your strong roots, strong in current (left)
be strong when current draws you away, trust your strong roots, use what you can, do not think too much (right)
unaware, cold and humid, winter at its end
Monday, March 18, 2013
1 – TECHNICAL SAMPLES USING ONE TYPE OF STITCH METHOD
The photo below shows my technical samples of stitching on six different water soluble materials. The first three samples from left make use of fabrics I bought some years ago – Avalon, Solufleece and Soluweb – while the second group towards the right shows products that are more recent developments of the industry – Romeo, Guilletta and Water Soluble Paper. I stitched the same patterns on all of them: straight and zigzag stitch grids both in regular and free stitchery plus some other simple drawings.
PHOTO ONE – samples before dissolving
PHOTO TWO: Avalon Soluweb and Solufleece after dissolving
PHOTO THREE: Guilletta Romeo and Water Soluble Paper after dissolving
All in all it does not seem to me that samples obtained are so different in appearance or quality. What it DOES change is the easiness of working on the newer materials: they are more stable, it is possible to draw on them – drawing on the water soluble paper is particularly nice - Romeo and Guilletta are both transparent and this is so useful when there is a need to follow lines or patterns placed underneath; Guilletta is lighter and less expensive, Romeo is more substantial but both can be used without a hoop – in case of heavy stitching Guilletta can be doubled - and I find this invaluable. Being thicker Romeo dissolves less quickly and this can be useful if a more rigid final effect is wished. Water soluble paper samples show some residues still trapped in the stitchery for a different effect.
2 - SAMPLES OF SOLUBLE LACE USING DIFFERENT STITCH METHODS
For this second series of samples I used only Guilletta and Romeo films without a frame. The numbers placed beside each of them follow the very useful system suggested by Sian.
1: regular stitching, 2: free stitching, 3: very open, 4: very dense, 5: only one direction, 6: opposite directions, 7: curved shapes, 8: straight stitch, 9: zigzag stitch, 10: cable stitch, 11: whip stitch, 12: metallic thread, 13: trapped bits
3 – SOLUBLE LACE SAMPLES BASED ON SEA AND SKY DRAWINGS
Guilletta is the film used for these samples. All measure approximately 10-12 cm on each side and some incorporate fragments of chiffon. I placed all of them on a white or cream background to show how they are look on their own, then on a coloured fabric to have a first idea of how these laces could be combined in a more complex way.
Before each of them there is the drawing on which it is based. Drawings are quite small in reality – squares of 4 cm – but I enlarged them to see patterns more clearly. I used mainly the same drawings of Chapter SIX in order to see how they translate both in cutwork and free lace.
Straight stitch only
DETAIL ON BLACK BACKGROUND
Zigzag and straight stitch
This sample is actually a combination of three in white, blue and green then interlaced and overlapped.
DETAIL ON BLUE BACKGROUND
DETAIL ON A MOTTLED PAPER
DETAIL ON A BLUE FABRIC