I continue to make oil paintings of spools of thread, the latest being a small 8″ X 8″ painting I finished this month.
The thread paintings speak to a little bit of my own personal crazy (of which I have loads), my unabated passion for color and the ways colors reverberate off each other, and my fascination for objects that contain a certain potentiality.
I learned to sew when I was about seven. My older sister Lorna taught me on my mother’s black Singer sewing machine that fit snugly into its own cabinet. We made dish towels—simple, useful. They were pink. I think we added some ric rac along the edges. Oh, ric rac—I remember you well.
The Discipline of the Machine
You had to thread the machine just right. One misstep and you were screwed. Even the tiniest deviation from the sequence, threading the needle from the right side instead of the left for example, would result in the needle punching hole after hole in the fabric, but no sewing.
When I look at spools of thread now I see how much could be made from unwinding them—rhythmically, slowly, with purpose. There’s music in there somewhere. In this way painting, and sewing, long walks, and writing poetry are the same.