Monday, January 4, 2010

The Meat Embroidery Project

I'm finally free to create after all the calamity of the holiday season. I just started the greatest project ever! I'm embroidering words and images into raw meat and then cooking them, and eating them! I realized that I needed to push embroidery to a new limit, that there had to have been a place that I could take embroidery that would make a statement and still be challenging. I took one look at the venison roast in my fridge and I was a goner....

Think about it - Chefs already use string in cooking and it doesn't catch fire or explode. I did some research and it seemed like the standard was that it needed to be 100% cotton (synthetics would melt at oven temps and that would just be bad)and uncolored. I really wanted to use colored string - so I did a test with apples, and there was no visible sign that the dyes had had any reaction to the heat (as far as moisture and bleeding were concerned) I'm still a little cautious about this because heavy metal dyes and I'm on the safe side for the moment, maybe I need to naturally dye my own strings. Interesting...

I feel like the cooking is absolutely essential, because meat is really expensive and I don't want to be buying it and throwing it away - that's too much of a waste. Plus, I just wanted to see what would happen to the embroidery.

The embroidery process was pretty standard, just like fabric except that the meat would start to dry out. I kept rinsing the meat and the string to keep the moist. As it dried it would get sticky and just felt uncomfortable. As I think about it now, next time I might rub the whole thing down with oil. That way it will stay moist and won't have to be continually rinsed.

I'm really interested in turning this into a group performance piece. I want to get a bunch of people together in matching outfits and a white surrounding to stitch meat together - and then I was thinking of stitching all their pieces together in order to create a rug affect - and of course cooking it! - nothing is better than food and art.

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