Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Commission of Angels

A while ago I mentioned things were works in progress and underway. I wrote that post on a Sunday, blithely suggesting that I needed to deliver things by Wednesday. Just after it was set to publish, I realised that I had miscalculated badly and that I actually had to deliver it on Monday (THE NEXT DAY) because we were going to Tamborine Mountain on Tuesday to visit family.  How had I missed that in my planning???!!!???

Big breath in and I went to work to see if I could get it all together. And the good news is that I did - but I tell you I could really do without that additional pressure.

The commission came from somebody seeing my two pieces called Four Friends at The Red Thread show.  They asked if I could make some more.  Their daughter is part of a group of 6 amazing women who their mum has called The Angels. The type of women who are there for each other under all sorts of pressure and stress; long hours, half way across the world from home and through lockdowns and other major events.

The job was to create 6 works with six 'angels' depicted (aka pegs with red thread). To begin, there were peg dramas (did not have enough pegs for 36 - had to buy pegs and hope they arrived). Pegs arrived; beautiful organic beech pegs - but yay (not) they had a waxed coating which would not take staining with tea.

Now what? On Barry's advice, I used boiling water to remove wax coating - tick. Stained them -tick.

The client had brought me her red embroidery threads, so I used six different reds to stitch the top and bottom running stitch lines. I wanted each work to be unique - no two pieces have the same combination of red threads for the angels.

The client also wanted to incorporate the notion of angels some how and I tried to find a way to do that uniquely and discreetly.  Rather than putting halos or wings on the front; I did something on the back.

Once more each set of angel's wings is unique.

I googled my fingers to the bone trying to find six 'easels' that would be big enough to fit the works on. You know when you try every combination of words you can think of? Search every art store you can think of? And then have the happiest of moments when you find them in a catering business for holding menus at buffets??? 

And they could deliver express, so we were still on track.

All of this was happening BEFORE I realised I had less than 24 hours to complete them. At the point I realised, I needed to wind all the thread onto pegs; pierce all the holes, cut all the copper wire and attach them. I had to draw all the angel wings, title them and emboss my mark on them; then attach the backing to the front, and photograph them for posterity...

Ta da! We did it!

The Angels then winged their way across the oceans; and I hope they have landed safely with their namesakes..

It was a lovely job to do and I enjoyed it coming together; but there were a lot of 'moments' with this one!


  1. how thread holds such perfect potential for metaphor ... beautifully realized in your hands ...

    1. Thanks Liz - so many metaphors with thread aren't there? I did enjoy this one!

  2. wow (((Fiona))) well done keeping a cool head, they all worked out so beautifully!

    1. Thanks Mo - there were quite a few moments; just one of those times when you have to think about everything and move things along at the same time rather than wait for one step to be completed. But we got there!

  3. F - great job - particularly given delivery of thread and other time constraints. B

    1. Thanks B - lot so problem solving required, but we made it!


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