About a year ago, walking in the woods of rural Illinois, I made the drawing on the right above. I was struck by the relationship between the three trees. I also think of the drawing as "The Three of Us." I don't think of it as each tree representing a specific one of us--we're somehow interchangeable in my ruminations on it.
I thought for a long while of translating the drawing into a large quilt. I imagined swaths of dark fabric against a white background. I made several thermofax screens from photos I'd taken of bark (first row of prints below), and I also scraped thickened dye on fabric to get other textures (second row):
I talked with Bill Kerr about these ideas last spring. He asked, "Does it need to be so literally like trees?" Right, no need for bark texture--more abstract is better. "The line drawing is very nice as it is." Yes, agreed, I really like the line drawing.
So, I started thinking about doing a line drawing with thread. While in New York this fall, I bought several interesting threads/yarns made by Habu, the gray and black ones being combinations of silk, linen, and paper. I spent some time trying out various stitches with these threads, working on old linen napkins, of which I have a large supply from my mother and aunt.
After deciding on a simple couched stitch, I made a 9x12" version. Then I decided to go smaller, to the size of the original drawing, about 4x6. Better. Not everything has to be large. Seems odd to end up with something so small, after thinking about it for more than a year, but I think it's O.K.
I decided to mount it on a stretched canvas, rather than quilting it. I've been wanting to try this method of display for a while, and this project gave me the opportunity. I worked from a tutorial by Lyric Kinnard, though I stapled the fabric rather than fusing it.