... now all i need is a walrus.
i'm at a weird cycle at work lately, where it's 'rush, rush, rush, fall off the cliff of *nothing to do*'. this makes things... interesting in a brain level. today, after lunch, i was left with about two hours of 'oh, crap, i finished everything i know to do, and there's no one to ask for a one-off.' so i started to write up the documentation that i'll use when i submit my stumpwork project. stumpwork is a form of raised embroidery that's much easier to show than explain: http://tinyurl.com/la4nrx7 .
i'm submitting this to an SCA Arts and Sciences event/ viewing/ whatever, probably around Christmas Revel, because i'm not sure i'm going to be able to go to anything else. so of course, i'm using SCA documentation guidelines, and i'm trying to figure out how chatty cathy i need to be to explain some things. like why i'm using stuff suited to counted embroidery... because nearly every single SCA needleworker i've seen down here does free-hand embroidery and if you've ever seen the patterns for that kind of stuff, they're kind of... lacking to someone used to a cross-stitch kit. lacking like 'how do you even know what to do?!' the guys who just make it up as they go along both fascinate me (because i'm not the sort of person who *can* do that), and frustrate me (because i'm not the sort of person who can even think of working like that. my patterns have patterns, ok?).
furthermore, when discussing materials used, it's a solid fact that listing materials *not* used in period is more practical. it goes something like: room-temperature pure mercury... but only because it kept running away. so listing the materials i used, i feel like i need to explain why i chose such obviously modern things... and it's like 'trust me, the would have used it if they could.' the primary difference between the materials i'm using and the ones from period are that Polly and Esther got together and had a baby.
What *really* cracks me up is that they ask people *not* to submit stuff that comes in a kit. But for stumpwork, it's perfectly period to *have* a kit - kits were sold by door-to-door saleswomen, and included everything you needed to finish the piece, including instructions and patterns, and a picture of what it was supposed to look like when done. Many stumpwork pieces of the day were based on popular paintings of the time.
i also feel an insane urge to explain why my first piece isn't a flower and fruit arrangement, which seams to have been all the rage, both then and now. i'm not sure what the attraction to stitching flowers is, but i really wanted to do something more likely to keep my interest. so i chose Celtic Knotwork, and an easy pattern at that, because i might have to re-do it, you know. and also, because the guidelines said 'no kits', i know i'm going to have to come up with my own assembly instructions, and i wanted something relatively easy to work with, and that i knew i could adapt to my needs, both in terms of the stitching, and the necessary elements i'll have to cut out. and frankly, i find flower studies kind of boring.
this is not the only time i'll have to face the 'boring' demon, though. a large part of stumpwork is the padded figures. if you took a good scroll through that URL up there, you'll notice that an awful lot of those figures are... people. and you know, i don't even really like to look at people in the face - it's they eye-contact thing. it always feels like a blow to me - gazes have *weight* behind them. and i honestly hate looking people in the eyes because it kinda feels like they're slapping me. it's a crazy, almost-physical feeling that makes no sense at all, even to me, but it does mean that i categorically hate family pictures. there's something indefinably awful about people who love you smacking you around every time you look at them. and *stitching* faces and eyes is just... CREEPY. i'd rather stitch a chupacabra disemboweling a goat than stitch a human figure facing the 'camera'. hell, i'd rather be the goat!
i suppose i'll have to do at least one human figure to prove mastery of the genre, so to speak, but while eventually i'd like to do a lot more than an upraised Celtic Knot and a wirework butterfly, i suspect most of my padded figures will be animals. they better be ok with that!
-bs, noodling on SCA stuff