Not exactly printmaking …

A little under 18 months ago when I returned from Brazil I had an idea that I might use some coffee sacks in a ‘work of art.’  Although I had seen various uses of the oft discarded pieces of hessian I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do.

I did see in market in Rio, a stall that sold rather lovely table clothes and napkins that had been from recycled coffee sacks; a revival of a task undertaken by slaves to make their lives a bit more comfortable.

I did buy some; to support the cause, but I am not a table cloth and napkin sort of girl; the idea remained so until I got home.   While I was unable to get the sacks in Rio they are easily available in UK, and as a surprise there are a few remains of green beans and the smell is divine.

I carefully undid the seams making a blank canvas; not entirely blank as they each had stencilled lettering; that recorded the content, weight, its source and destination; not exactly a work of art yet. With each ‘sack’ 60 cms wide and 200 cms long there was a lot work to be done, and still not a clue.

I pushed back the furniture on my sitting room floor and sat and looked. I laid out threads and waste fabric from my work box and so I began, no pun intended.  As the light failed; all the time the light levels are high I can draw, engrave and print; but ‘embroidery’ with a daylight bulb and an easy chair I can prolong my day by at least two hours.  I say embroidery loosely as I am able to sew; the delicate stitching of cloths, napkins and antimacassars is not my thing. All that lazy daisy chain and stem stitches in stranded cotton would not be cool.  However, I did delve into my Observer Book of Embroidery Stitches and the rest is history

The original three tell the story of the Cotton and Coffee industry   and its relation to the sale trade in sewn words and pictures. They have been hung in various exhibitions this summer and I would love to show them more widely.

I have recently finished another three and these again tell in words and pictures of my bike; as it goes into its 35th year and will show it next year by way of celebration.  ( I will post pictures later)

Meanwhile, I have begun another … but I will discuss that later.

It might mean this project will end this winter but it has been a perfect way to spend the twilight hours with some music and a pot of tea.


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