I can’t believe where the time is going, it’s the end of day three and I’ve passed the half way mark already. Richard says I’m right on track to complete my piece by Friday but it still looks a long way off to me!
Today my chair has really started to take shape and I’ve picked up some brilliant techniques. What today has also done is make me realise just how many mistakes I made with the hare-chair, and again how laying the right foundations will give a much better end result. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what I achieved in that piece (and Richard was very complimentary based on my lack of formal tuition) but I can’t wait to compare what I’ve done this week with my previous work.
So, today was all about first stuffings – taking the ‘chair afro’ that I finished with yesterday and giving it shape and structure. Firstly it’s regulating the coir filling, teasing it out so that its evenly spread with good depth, no holes and fairly firm when pressed. Then we need to fit hessian scrim over the top to contain the fillings and give us something to stitch into.
This was the biggest learning exercise today for a couple of reasons. My books have been telling me to tack down the hessian at this stage and manipulate the shape within by sticking a regulator (a long, thick needle) through the hessian and move the fillings where they need to go, but today I’ve learned how beneficial skewers can be!
These can be used to hold the hessian in place while being easily removed / replaced for fine adjustments – simple! Why didn’t the book show me this? The second thing I’ve really learned is the importance at this early stage of getting the shape of the chair exactly right – early misalignments, hollow patches or bad symmetry will show through in the final piece even though there’s more stuffing to come. Time well spent.
Finally, I started my stitched edges, same as the hare-chair only a much better shape thanks to the care and attention this morning – and this is where I finished up:
There are more stitches to come tomorrow as we build up a little more height, but I’m glad of the rest – to get the nice firm edge you have to really pull each stitch to lock it in place and even wearing 2 leather gloves on the same hand my fingers are red raw!!
I need to start thinking about my top fabric tomorrow ready for fitting on Friday. I brought everything I have and at the end of today I put a few to the public vote – there seems to be a clear and unexpected winner, but I’ll keep you in suspense a bit longer on that one!
I’m really loving how everyone is so interested and complimentary about everyone else’s work this week – a truly supportive environment.