Process Images – Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

As promised, here are some process pictures of making Can’t See the Forest for the Trees!


1) Thumbnails, compositional sketches (negative and positive space), threading samples. This took quite a chuck of time and yet it fits in such a small picture!


full size template. I have a soft place in my heart for the incredibly helpful employee at the Downtown FedEx Office! It had been years since I had made one of the gigantic templates.


pinning together sections of stabilizer; later I switched to a more fabric-like stabilizer (Floriani Wen N Gone Water Soluble Stabilizer) rather than this plastic type, (Sulky Super Solvy). The fabric type has much better tensile strength, which is advantageous when working on a large scale and constantly  having to move the embroidery hoop around.


Initially, I’d draw the whole section out in pencil on trace paper and then trace it with sharpie or pen onto the stabilizer. By the last couple of sections, I was confident enough to just draw straight onto the stabilizer without it planned out.


My new (well, via Fabric Recycles, so new to me) embroidery hoop’s grand debut! I’m sewing with all Gütermann thread: 100% Natural Cotton as well as polyester lightweight bobbin thread.  Unfortunately, by this point, I was very much nose to the grindstone and didn’t take any pictures of the pinning and rinsing process. Next time, next time. However, in a nutshell, after sewing, I trim the excess stabilizer, pin the section to foam (with varying degrees of pin density based on how accurate or abstract I want the image to be), and rinse it (also to a varying degree) in the sink or in the shower based on the size.







Very time-intensive work, but the end result is satisfying.

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

Woefully behind in blogging, yes. 2011 was a tumultuous year. But moving on, here’s the latest work: Can’t See the Forest for the Trees. 3×9′ (yes, feet) of cotton & polyester thread (Gütermann) and pins (but not as many pins as you’d think). From initial concept to finished work, this took about two months. I hope to post about the process within the week.


Process is integral to my work and often becomes intertwined with concept as in Can’t See the Forest for the Trees. It is essentially about being lost, about losing perspective (literally or metaphysically) based on one’s position in time and space and how subjective clarity can be.

As such, every detail of the forest was meticulously drawn and stitched with varying degrees of density. Through a finishing process, details closest to the forest floor stay relatively clear. Moving upward, details become fuzzy until we reach the canopy where many details dissolve into abstraction.

A significant part of its making is the fact that part of the work itself was lost in its manifestation. Even the viewer’s interaction with the piece is determined by the viewer’s relative position to the work.

It is the constant play between being able to see the details and the (often elusive) big picture, whatever that picture may be.


Seen individually, the thread structures form random shapes. Many details become visible up close, but the shapes have little meaning unless seen from a “big picture” perspective.



My eyes go straight to the bunny in this image, though I had hoped to emphasize the frog at the very bottom. Ah well.