Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Cheshire Cat

I remember a time when I would not tat anything that could not be done in less than a day. In fact if it took more than a couple of hours, it was certainly low on the list. I made and sold only things that flew off the needle. Then you flash forward just a few short years and I'm adding steps to pieces to give them a finished look. I spend extra hours embroidering edges and I'm working with color and what the hell has happened to me? I have theories on the subject of course. In fact, I like to think what happened was I went from being a crafter who simply liked the act of making to an artist who is no longer just satisfied with my fingers simply being busy.

I realized as I wrote that sentence that it came off horribly pretentious. There is absolutely nothing wrong nor inferior about creating for the sake of creating. The mere act of bringing forth a finished piece from a ball of string has all the merit in the world. I just suppose that wasn't enough for me anymore. I suppose I wanted to impress people, mostly myself with what I could make with tatting. I used to think that I needed to avoid using other methods with the lace to keep it pure or some such nonsense, but clearly I've outgrown that thought as well.

Of course all this babbling is brought on by my newest project, the Cheshire Cat Mask. You see the old me, the 4 years ago me, would have laughed at the idea and brushed it off as either impossible or far too much work to bother. The new me is cursing tangling thread and muddling though.

I had the idea to use the same triangle motif as the center for the ears, but attaching them was another matter entirely. I added them on with a second row, but they honestly looked ridiculous, so I added another row. The last one was one of my, 'oh just start tatting and see how it goes' moments. Thankfully, I think it went well. They have that sort of outside bent that the pictures show even.

I could see the cat at this point, but I still had to wrap the eye wires and decided to do them in black to give the eyes more definition and separate the green from the blue. I believe I had mentioned the prediction that this was going to be difficult. I was not wrong. This was a painstakingly slow operation attempting to hide all the other threads. I know that I did not completely succeed there, but I'm okay with the results.

Next, I actually outlined the eyes on the center sides, again a painstaking process, but I really wanted the eyes to stand out. The last thing I started on yesterday was the embroidery. I opted for plain black sewing thread and took the line all the way around the outside of the design. I think that I might add some lining on the forehead section as well, but it is of course forming organically and I'll do whatever it looks like it needs to get it just right. I thought a bit more about the whole embellishment, cat smile thing and have decided that the mask will be basically what you see here. No pearls, they looked ridiculous, nor other shinies, I don't think they really fit. Besides, I think after the embroidery is complete there will be enough extra details to make it fit in with the other pieces just fine...of course I'm a bit worried now about getting proper photos of this one. Meh, one step at a time.


Sara said...

It's gorgeous! Yeah, I'm not yet patient enough to go for the artistic, instead I'm happy with little projects. One day... :)

Emi said...

Great idea doing the black outline around the eyes, really makes them pop!

Jane S. said...

That is so cool! I have been reading with great interest about your Wonderland series. Outlining the cat eyes really did the trick.

Krystle said...

I'm always impressed with the amount of work you get done. I have little kids, and we are moving right now (had a heck of a time with getting our house, just like you lol) so I haven't touched any tatting thread in a week, other than to pack it of course! So I'm living vicariously through your blog right now...