|4.11.C1 Finished book|
I tried to find one symbol which, for me, encapsulated the romance and fascination of that vanished world and at length found it in the circle - the shape of the tops of the barrels in which the fish were packed, the shape of the scales on the herring and the portholes in the boats.
I worked nine samples of drawn thread work on hessian, using the natural colour of the fabric, white for the spray on the waves and the salt used in the curing, grey and blue for the skies and seas and silver for the flash of sparkle from the fish. I chose my favourite nine photographs, all taken from my husband's grandfather's herring curing yard in Great Yarmouth around the turn of the 19th/20th century. I cropped and resized them using Photoshop before printing them out on acetate. I experimented with which sample to place on which background and it was quite fun deciding which tantalising glimpses of the photos were visible through the stitching.
Finally I attached each stitch sample to its acetate backing, using a hot glue gun to attach them invisibly. I punched holes in the edges of each page and used insertion stitches using silver thread to join them together to make a concertina book.
Here following are the individual pages of the book.
|4.11.C2 page 1 of the book|
|4.11.C3 page 2 of the book|
|4.11.C4 page 3 of the book|
|4.11.C5 page 4 of the book|
|4.11.C6 page 5 of the book|
In page 5, I couched a group of stiffish dark blue linen thread in a circle. I then withdrew threads horizontally and vertically to make a grid. I worked Russian Drawn Thread ground in a matching thread and then wove strips of shot sheer polyester and glittery blue thread through the resulting grid.
|4.11.C7 page 6 of the book|
In page 6, I outlined the circle in dark blue, removed four thread and left four vertically and horizontally and then worked spider's web stitch in a glittery blue thread.
|4.11.C8 page 7 of the book|
In page 7, I worked concentric circles of chain stitch with various threads, then withdrew two threads and left two both horizontally and vertically before working a diagonal filling stitch in a thread which closely matched the colour of the fabric.
|4.11.C9 page 8 of the book|
In page 8 I formed a pulled thread circle in the same manner as in page 1. I then outlined it in buttonhole stitch using a silver thread and worked a technique I found in a lucky charity shop book: "The New Lace Embroidery (Punto Tagliato)" by L.A.Tebbs, published by Chapman and Hall, Ltd, of London in 1905. I found it particularly satisfactory that the book was published only a few years before these photographs were taken.
|4.11.C10 page 9 of the book|
In page 9 I tried something different. I cut a circle from a spare printed acetate and cut out a grid from it.I threaded pieces of fabric (a strip of hessian, strips of recycled sari fabric and a narrow piece of worked drawn thread work) through the grid. I then attached that circle onto a page of printed acetate.
To join the pages together, I punched holes in the edges of the printed acetate and then worked a simple insertion stitch to join them. I was intrigued to find that the resulting stitches looked somewhat like fish bones!
The transparency of the acetate with the openness of the drawn thread work made some interesting layering effects when the book was folded in certain ways. Here are some examples below.
Finally, here are some different views of the book.
This chapter has filled me with mixed emotions, with several false starts, stress, frustration and many sleepless nights. However, I am pleased with the results, which expresses in my own way what I want to say about a now-vanished industry. There are only a few people left now who remember the days of the herring boom, when processing ships were known as "klondikers" because of the fortunes to be made. The fact that only tantalising glimpses of the photos can be seen represents to me the fact that only a little information is now available about what was a whole way of life for so many people in my part of the world. Soon those memories too will fade and be forgotten.
My heart and soul is in this humble piece of work.
14th June 2017.