Sunday, March 4, 2018

New Project Underway, Part 2

Our textile art group has committed to put together a show of six works, each one inspired by a different aspect of the Maude Abbott Medical Museum collection. I have blogged about this project a few times in the last couple of months.

My piece is inspired by the museum's surgical instruments. It is essentially a quilt that will be stretched over a canvas, 36" x 24". A bit like a sampler, a bit like a patchwork, it is composed of 17 different elements.

Some of the elements depict the surgical instruments themselves. A surgical tray typically has multiple scalpels, clamps, needle drivers and scissors laid out neatly, and I have referred to this presentation in my piece.

scalpels: shapes are fused and stitched

shapes are made with a satin stitch

Grips are fused then zig-zag stitched,
with a small meandering stitch as background

scissors, needle drivers, clamps: their outlines are stitched onto antique linen

Other instruments are depicted with photo transfer directly onto hand-dyed cotton.

I have used my imagination for other elements in the project. They resemble images one might see looking under a microscope, and evoke cellular growth: perhaps healthy tissue, perhaps pathology, but all utterly imaginary.

This was made by layering organza and tulle onto hand-dyed cotton,
then stitching in chains of rectangular shapes and
applying heat, to burn away the synthetic fabric.

These look like nodules in striated tissue. They were made with free-motion machine-stitching.

Seed stitching, done by hand with lightweight wool. 

The ovoid cells were fused and stitched into place,
while the lines were made with machine-stitching and couched wool.
Beads were added later.

couched yarns and hand-stitching,
with tiny buttons added for interest

pebble-like shapes, with spaces that show the mottled quality of the
hand-dyed background

Trapunto technique was used to stuff these circular shapes, about the size
of a loonie. I "deconstructed" a maxi-pad and used the rayon fluff as stuffing.
Highly therapeutic.

French knots as nodules on hand-dyed cotton background.

A sampler of suture stitches, tacking together pleated cotton.
Found this antique instruction manual on Wikipedia.
It served as a guide for the suturing.

Cloth and Stitch: Inspired by the Maude Abbott Collection will be installed at the entrance to the William Osler Library, McGill University, and will run from mid-May to mid-June. I will be sure to post here as the date approaches.

Meanwhile, there is much to be done to document the show: bios, photos and artist statements for each artist, a brief history of Text'art and an intro to the exhibition itself. The Museum will produce a booklet and a poster for the show, and promote it throughout the McGill community, and several weeks of lead time are needed for this.  Putting this together has been a new experience for our group of six artists and we have every intention of rising to the challenge!

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