I have no idea whether this is a common occurrence with my fellow artists, but, at least with the hair embroideries, I often reach a point in the piece where I have no idea whatsoever why I have chosen to undertake this tedious, frustrating activity which will require 200-300 woman hours to complete. Sewing as penance? At this moment, taking a break from being hunched over my sewing table, I am seriously questioning my own sanity.
I normally intersperse this activity with painting, doing no more than 3 or 4 hairs before I stop to do something else, but I am trying to finish this piece in the next few days. I do not know how many more of these hair embroideries I have in me. I am SO excited to begin my new painting!!
Hair Embroidery Statistics:
-Average length of hair: 20 inches
-Number of hairs per hour: 3-4
-Average number of times ONE hair slips out of the needle and needs rethreading: 4
-Average breakage of hair while working: 1 in 4 blond hairs, 1 in 9 for darker shades
Things that you might not know about embroidering with hair:
-It expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity: therefore, it will buckle and pucker the fabric, even when used with stabilizer.
-I am using mostly straight hair, which wants to stay straight, making it much more difficult to tie knots with
-Hair is often thicker at one end than the other, which affects value in the embroidery.
-One strand of hair can have as many as 3 distinct values along the length, requiring careful planning as to where these value changes take place in your embroidery. For example, the vertical lines right above the horizon, below, are all one hair from laft to right. The ones on the left were deemed too dark, and were eventually cut out, both short ends tied off (ARRGGHH), and a new hair was used to replace it.
Work in Progress, Oubliette I, (click to enlarge)