Tailfeathers! Or, I’m sorry to start with an apology
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
There’s a thing that happens at readings sometimes that can annoy me: the pre-reading apology. The writer assumes their position on stage, and facing their audience, they feel uncertain. So begins the “I just wrote this yesterday” or “haven’t really edited it” or “this might be better on the page…” pre-reading apologies, which often just amount to the reader saying “I have no idea whether or not you’ll like my work, so please be nice.”
Have I done it? Hell Yes. Luckily, the more readings I do, the more I’ve been able to transmute most of my pre-reading jitters into something called excitement, and my early days of apologizing seem to be over.
Welcome to today! I really want to show you some photos of some of the visual things I’ve been working on here at the residency, but I just can’t figure out my camera. I’m sorry! I am showing you pictures anyway, and they are not that great. Please be nice.
We haven’t had anything that even resembles winter in the Northwest this year, and I think this first piece is my embroidery aubade to the snowy mornings we’ve missed. It is an abstract piece on natural colored linen with cut-work in steely light blue silk, embroidered with many tiny french knots:
My process for taking pictures at home is a magical mix of:
- A very fancy camera
- A tutorial-giving husband that knows how to use said camera
- The ability to hand over said camera to said husband when I get frustrated
Here at the Res, I have a small, non-fancy camera that I am still trying to make sense of. I can’t get closeups, so all the details in the work will have to be imagined. I fantasize about having David and Heather Gilson show up, armed with their cheery dispositions, camera knowledge, and baked goods. Well, we will have to eat while they make me a good photographer, right?
I promise to post much better pictures of the finished products after I return home.
I also promise to clap extra loud for the pre-reading apologists, now that I’ve put you through this.
Here are the finished Tawny Frogmouths, also in icy colors:
Before I left home, I started this Roseate Spoonbill. She’s lovely – a little shy, but willing to scratch your back her beak after a little sweet talk.
Now, into more fiery climes. This abstract piece is on seafoam colored linen with cut-work in rusty orange-red silk, embroidered with many tiny french knots and circles. From some angles, it looks like a figure sprinting, which is a nice enough metaphor for fire:
Months ago, I told Kate I’d make her a book for her birthday. When asked about the cover art, she responded that she loves cats, cherries, chickens, rosemary, and pine cones. We decided to go with a chicken – a rooster, actually. He’s a Rhode Island Red. I embroidered him on mustard-colored linen. I wish I could get a good detail photo of his tail feathers – they are shot through with blues, an homage to a rooster I once had. His name was Cornelius. Kate has named her Rooster Emmet.
As good of a shot as I could manage with his tail: