Soft Geometry 1
Susan Hensel (BFA 1972)
ABSTRACT STITCH A single stitch is made by stretching a thread between two holes. The line formed by it can be loose or tight. It can be thick or thin, depending on the diameter of the thread. It can be long or so short that it barely exists. But, it can never exist as more than a single defined geometric event, a sort of singularity. The combinations of these singularities create planes, lines, forms, and geometrical space. For several years, starting with the support of a Jerome Foundation Project Grant for Textile Art in 2014, my intense media focus has been on digitizing for machine embroidery. The process is highly technical, using several software packages that can only be described as a non_intuitive cross between Photoshop and Illustrator. Creating digital embroidery is limited by the geometry and the capability of both the machine and the materials. Needle and thread have real dimension and stitches can only be straight, joined together to suggest curves and forms. Digital embroidery lends itself to hard edge geometry as well as biomorphic form. The combination of high tech with "women's work" provides a delicious contrast of hard/soft, nostalgic/current, objective/non-objective. It also lends itself to modular repetition and re-combinations. Themes can be played out quickly in the computer and then stitched and sampled oh so slowly on the machine; combined with and without mixed media in a wide-ranging exploration of forms in space.
This work is featured as part of Future Former: An Exhibition of Alumni Work. This exhibition honors the creative work and careers of all Stamps School alumni, creates an aspirational connection between generations of U-M artists and designers and current Stamps students, and inspires reflection during the university's Bicentennial year.