I finished weaving “Bipolar Prison” this morning, and added some padding to the bars and face. There’s still quite a bit of work to do, but I like it!
Here is a shot of the piece as it currently stands:
I decided to pad the bars and the face because I wanted them to stand out from the background. I could have woven the whole thing as a flat piece, but that would have been, well, flat. I wanted to exploit the flexibility of cloth to accent the elements I wanted to emphasize – the prison bars and the face. So I deliberately wove the piece keeping the layers as separate as possible, and then added layers of cotton batting behind the bars and the face.
Here’s what it looked like fresh off the loom, without padding. The crinkles on the face are physical ruffles: the white layer wove up more loosely than the red/blue layers behind it, so it naturally puffed out a bit. Perfect for padding. The bars, likewise, were a bit loose before padding.
So what’s left? I need to cut open the bottom layers, add the padding, add a backing fabric, and quilt around the eyes and prison bars. Quilting around the eyes will add depth and make the eyes more expressive. Once I’m done with that, I’ll line the piece and prepare it for hanging. And then I’ll start looking for shows to send it to.
I’m still thinking about what to title the piece. “Bipolar Prison” is the working title, but I’m looking for a better one. The best I’ve come up with so far is “Inside the Prison of My Mind,” which is OK, but which doesn’t capture the bipolar disorder/mental illness aspect. If you have other title ideas, please put them in a comment or email me! I’d love help naming this piece.