January 24, 2016

Sketchbook: Isis

I'm stumped when it comes to depicting Isis. Cross stitch for Sheela-na-gig (pictured at the end of this post) felt natural, for no reason whatsoever that I can explain. For Isis, I have only vague ideas involving fabric collage and embroidery. To me it's obvious that I need to play, experiment freely without concern for the results. With that in mind, I flipped through a stack of fabric samples sitting on the ironing board (waiting for me to try to remove the large, glued on paper labels from the reverse sides) and pulled out all the pieces that appealed for one reason or another. Block prints, feather stitch, swirling lines, and simple stylized depictions.

What fiber did the Egyptians use to wrap mummies? Was it linen? (Yes, according to the interwebs, typically 4,000 square feet of linen bandages.) That would make an apt ground for my depiction of Isis. Perhaps linen embroidery floss, too. Except pearl cotton (or perhaps silk?) with its sheen would make the feathers/wings shimmer. This sort of overthinking is stifling play...
Then this sunrise, with the warm, fiery glow setting off the skeletal trees in silhouette, suggests another idea. Perhaps for a feminine archetype other than Isis, but worth remembering all the same.

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