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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Footprints in the Sand . . .


"Footprints in the Sand" is a famous generically Christian poem that is not really to my taste. As a twelve-year-old, the first time I heard it, I thought it was so profound and moving; now, as a true gen-Xer, I read it and think "It's not edgy -- where's the irony, the meta references?" It doesn't help that the poem has been the subject of controversy, with lots of people claiming to have written it and seeking to cash in on its popularity. Then there is the bad artwork; for a true, uh, marriage of style and subject, check out the rendition by "painter of light" Thomas Kinkade (no, not that painter of light).

It was bad Christian art that inspired my embroidery in the first place. Fr. Beadbrother, O.S.B., sent me a link to the Crescat's post about a rather inexplicable painting of Jesus wearing a zippered hoodie robe and walking in the mountains with a bear. Lots of people in the comments thread had funny little captions for it, but it was Tim's -- "When you only saw one set of footprints in the sand, that's when I let the bear eat you" -- that had me laughing all day. I just had to immortalize it in embroidery (fitting, given one can buy cross stitch kits of the poem).

The fabric is linen, cut from an old skirt whose waistband is too stretched-out to wear anymore. I printed out the saying in Apple Chancery typeface, 36 point, and used a lightbox to trace it onto the fabric. I stitched it in stem stitch using Caron Collection's Waterlilies silk thread in Midnight. To continue the beach theme (and partly inspired by Love Stitching Red's Rockpool Hearts), I pulled bits of shells and sea glass from a jar holding the results of years of beach-combing, and sewed them on along with scraps of sheer voile (from the trim of the skirt), unrolled silk rods, crocheted lace, and sheer gray polyester-y fabric. I embellished the results with feather stitches, french knots, and bullion stitches (a sign of my commitment to my vision, because I hate making bullion knots) in more Waterlilies thread (Midnight, Mardi Gras, and Williamsburg) and white perle cotton.

I'm quite pleased with the results; I'd prefer an oval hoop to display it, but I haven't found one in the right size. The fun part is showing this to people, who see the first few words and think they know what this is about, only to do a double-take when they look closer.

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