IN THE WINDOWS!

June/July 2018

Geometric Events
by Susan Hensel


Geometric Events
A single stitch is made by stretching a thread between two holes. The line formed by it can be loose or tight. It can be thick or thin, depending on the diameter of the thread. It can be long or so short that it barely exists. But, it can never exist as more than a single defined geometric event, a sort of singularity. The combinations of these singularities create planes, lines, forms, and geometrical space.

Since recieving a Jerome Foundation Project Grant for Textile Art in 2014, my intense media focus has been on digitizing for machine embroidery. The process is highly technical, using several software packages that can only be described as a non‑intuitive cross between Photoshop and Illustrator.

Digital embroidery lends itself to the study of geometry. The combination of high tech with "women's work" provides a delicious contrast of hard/soft, nostalgic/current, objective/non-objective. It also lends itself to modular repetition and re-combinations. Themes can be played out quickly in the computer and then stitched and sampled oh so slowly on the machine; combined with and without mixed media in a wide-ranging exploration of forms in space.

In this chaotic time, digital textiles seem like a way to begin to bring order to the world. Order is, however, always unstable, a glimmer of a hope, cut off by random acts of chance or intent. It is no different in digital embroidery. In the computer, all things seem orderly, put together, and logical... as though the human propensity for chaos did not exist. In the production, chance operates: human error, flawed thread, broken needles, run out bobbins, high humidity, low humidity, fabric popping out of hoops and the panicked phone call from a friend. Repair savvy, canny attention and a spirit of wabi sabi is essential.



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