Sometimes it is difficult to know when a piece is finished. Often when I think a piece is done – I put it out of sight for a while, then I can come back to it with fresh eyes and I will see any glaring omissions or imbalances.
As a working artist – I have to balance the amount of time I spend on a piece with the “asking price” and this piece is a good example of that.
I love hand stitching, especially seeding and french knots – I could seed and french knot until the cows came home, or until I make a hole in the end of my stitching finger. I know, I know – that’s why thimbles were invented. However, I have decided that I need a summer thimble and a winter thimble – my hands were so cold in the studio to-day that my thimble kept falling off.
So, when I wore a hole in my finger, I decided to stop the french knots and running stitches on this piece – to work at it anymore would just mean that I was going to pay myself about 6p an hour – assuming that it sells. In all honesty, on this piece, another few hours of hand stitching would not add to the work.
So when DO you decide when a piece is finished? I think for me there is a whisper in my head that says “enough” and I stop. The enough can be made up of many things, enough hours spent on one piece. To do more would be to “overwork” the piece. Enough, because suddenly I have ideas for the next piece and want to move on.
On reflection – I think it is easy to overwork a piece, my rule of thumb – is that I stand back from the work and squint at it. There is the fine line between the stitching looking spotty, or blurry – if nothing jumps out too harshly then the seeding and knotting are probably right and then you have probably reached the “Enough” point.
This is just popped into the frame with no mount-board or backing – just to give an idea of how it will look.
The other great thing about hand stitching is that it gives me time to think. To-day I was thinking how nice it would be to give this piece a name with “Flora” in the title – she is the goddess of flowers in Roman mythology, unfortunately, in the U.K. that word is associated with a well known brand of margarine now.