i took some of the strips off, more toward the edges. the fabric is readable, and you can still see the background. and then i trimmed off the excess, and pinned everything down so i could scrub away the chalk drawing i had put on the background in order not to lose my place.
the problem was, i had mistakenly used jim’s pastels instead of chalk. pastels have titanium white, which stays, while chalk just turns clear and rubs off when you put a wet washrag on it. so i had to scrub extra hard, and you can still see some white. oh well. i had been debating whether i needed some sort of outline in order for the collage to make sense. i guess i got my problem solved for me. that’s the thing with this process – nothing turns out the way i expected.
but then i was ready to start gluing stuff down. so i did. i got out my gallon tub of gloss gel medium and started dipping fingers full of the stuff and spreading it on the back of each strip, then grabbing both ends and turning it over, placing it carefully down in line with the template marks, which of course i could no longer see well since i’d rubbed them out. i made each strip line up with the last, instead. and this part was relatively quick, and only took 2 days. once everything’s dry, or when i feel like going back to it, i’ll have to use more gel medium and restate the glue on the collage, so that it sticks better. one of the reasons jim thinks the gel medium didn’t stick when i cut the collage into strips is maybe because i thinned the gel medium way down before dipping the fabric into it.
the big problem i’m looking forward to solving is what happens to the glued-down strips in transit? i have good faith that the gel medium i’m using (extra heavy gloss gel medium) will hold the strips on when i hang the thing on the wall. but what happens when i have to roll it to put it into a shipping tube, or god forfend, when i have to fold it in order to fit it into someone’s suitcase? i’m thinking the whole thing will crack and fall off.
the reason i think this is because when i was hacking and cutting thru the collage to make strips out of it, the muslin backing kept popping away from the collaged fabrics on top of it. this is bad. it means that, while the gel medium makes it flexible, it’s not all that flexible. i was already going to include a small jar of gel medium so that lisa could fix anything that popped off, but what happens if it’s a large-scale problem?
so it was a full moon last night, and i can never sleep. i lay there thinking about my collage and the next steps. if the gel medium is not going to hold the strips on under duress, then i’m going to have to find another way to attach them.
the obvious way to attach the strips would be to take the whole thing to the sewing machine and stitch it down like a regular quilt. but not only do i not want to revert to the old tried and true method of attaching one piece of fabric to another, but the fact that i’ve already used a bunch of gel medium means that there’s no way a machine needle will go thru it. and i wouldn’t be able to do it by hand, either, because hand needles are thinner and weaker. i could hardly get silk pins to go thru the collage when i was placing the strips down.
okay. so i can’t sew thru the strips. but i can sew around them. i lay there fantacixing a network of threads, going thru the background canvas and wrapping around each strip, sort of like basket weave with threads. i’d have to use a thick thread, too. so no irridescent threads, no invisible plastic threads, i’d be using carpet thread, and it’d have to be black. i could use netting, and just tack it around each strip. but that would obscure both the background canvas and the collage. more thinking is necessary.
then i thought, well, why don’t i fold and tuck, pleat and draw, while i’m at it? i could basket weave the thread from side to side all up and down the length of the canvas, and then gather parts of it up. or i could pleat it, and make some areas of collage come together in a mass, or make some areas of background come together and hide the collage strips between them. i could fold and bend and gather the thing until it was a shaped piece on the wall, instead of lying flat. depending on what i have to do , the final steps may transform the thing into something unrecognizable. we’ll see.
one thing my fantacizing did was to supply me with a hanging solution. i have to rig a hanging sleeve on the back so that the thing can be mounted to the wall. usually this is done by sewing a 4″ wide piece of cloth all along the top edge of the canvas, and again at its bottom 4″ down. but i don’t want to see the stitches, and i don’t think i can sew thru gel medium.
it so happens i have a few buttons left from cutting the clothing into pieces. i can use strips of cloth instead of one long strip, maybe 4 or 6 4″ strips well-spaced. i can sew them on with buttons that will show on the front of the canvas, and look just like i meant them to be there. so i went thru lisa’s ex-clothing i saved (wow, i did something good), and found a half a pant leg from one of my dad’s old suits that’s almost exactly the right size. i also found the waistband from the same pair of pants, and this waistband has the name of the tailors dad used to go to. so i’m a little torn as to which method to use. but it’ll look great and work well, so it doesn’t matter.