Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Twelve Songs - body stitched

 A very busy few days have kept me away from stitching, but I've been able to sew the poem "Twelve Songs" by WH Auden onto the body of my model.

I've tried to make the words larger the closer they are to the viewer and more spaced out, and those further away have been made smaller and closer together. I hope this will help with the perspective. It also helps a bit if you can follow the body's curves.
I've upped the contrast settings on these two photos so you can read them if you want to!

Note to self: You need to concentrate when stitching text, and not drift off into the ether thinking of other things.  (I inadvertently wrote "Put crepe BANDAGES round the white necks of the public doves instead of crepe BOWS. Idiot that I am!!) Still, it was quite funny apart from the unpicking.

In case you don't know the poem, it is:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever; I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun'
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


  1. I am in awe of your stitching! Looking forward to the next step.

    The word verification is 'suraleg' which I read as 'showaleg' lol

  2. Thanks Julie...looking forward to painting this soon. I think it will probably be the next stage - before the background and extras are made.

    I can't read this poem today without feeling a little sad as we have a funeral to go to tomorrow. Such an odd coincidence that I'm doing this at the same time. :(

  3. What a powerful use of this poem - it gives me chills. It is one of my brother's favorites which he had passed on to me after my own loss, both because he was sure this was the way I felt and he wanted me to know he was feeling the same. Written all over the body? Well, as I said, gives me chills. I was wondering if its use was driven by the recent loss in the family so I am interested for you to share it was not. Darn those coincidences in our lives - makes you think perhaps they aren't coincidences at all.

    Hope you can find some solace in the service tomorrow and can bask in some happy memories. xxo

  4. I am in awe of all that stitching!!
    I have spoken to the Japenese mum today, sorry it has taken so long to catch up with her and she is getting back to me. (her English isn't too good, needs to talk to her husband)
    Thinking of you tomorrow

  5. I think I may have missed the start of this project. I am not quite sure where the idea came from or where it is going. It looks very interesting.

    It's a weird thing - when others use words in their art I find it quite inspiring, but for me it's one of those really tricky things that I just cannot use - yet. Fascinated to see how this progresses.