Janet Haigh : Her Work

Textiles: ideas, drawing, design, stitching….

Stitched Eye

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In response to the Burka Eyes page I received a comment from Rosalin Sadler, who commissioned this eye embroidery of her then husband, Howard Jacobson in the 1990’s. I remembered the piece well, it was quite a challenge, not just the small scale (approx 3cms) but the fact that a likeness had to be achieved in this one facial feature.

drawings from life, Howard and Stephen Jacobson's eyes.

I made several pencil drawings from life, the drawings above are from my workbook from the years 1995 – 7 . The upper drawing is of my husband Stephen Jacobson’s eye, his brother Howard’s  is below it and this is the drawing I worked from. At the side of the page in my book I have pinned a card from Rosalin discussing some of my other embroideries, she is asking me if I feel that embroidery is the most bad tempered of all the arts. I now remember a discussion about the precise stabbing action of stitching and how much I felt it suited my nature……

graph drawn on an overlay for sizing the eye for embroidery

I also remember researching into eye symbolism, apparently it is believed in West, that the right eye was a symbol of the sun and the future and the left of the moon and the past ( in the East the eye meanings are reversed).  The right eye that was chosen. There are also some handwritten notes suggesting colours “Blue grey – olive green flecked with ginger”

drawings for how the embroidery will be mounted and a drawing to actual size.

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In her comment Rosalin mentions the mount, which I also have a note of,  it was gold, antique and bought in Bristol, where l was living at the time.

What has been really interesting is finding so much information about an old piece of work, both her reminiscences and my working information. I am now becoming very thankful that I have kept my samples and working drawings for most of my working life, they may become very useful as I continue this to write this blog. And here, possibly, is evidence of the beginning of my fascination with eye symbolism.

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