The Florence Thomas Art School has recently moved to a new location in the old Ray Hardware building in West Jefferson, NC. Its a beautiful space with worn and polished wooden floors, a hammered tin ceiling, and lots of natural light. With one big open room for the school, they commissioned me to make these large curtains creating the option of privacy between classroom and gallery. Check out their class schedule. This is a real gem in The High Country.
These curtains were an interesting challenge because of the large scale that I was working on. Careful attention was given to cutting square with the grain of the fabric and having then tension set just so on my sewing machines. There is a fine balance that must be found between the weight of the fabric, the gauge of the needle, the type of thread being used, and the tension between top and bottom threads. I take the time to sew test samples with machine and materials every time I start a new project. One can often get away with mediocre set-up on a machine when sewing short or curved seams, but poor set-up shows on long, straight seams, especially when those seams are hanging, as is the case with these curtains. I used french seams, top-stitched for flatness, to join the gray panels. That meant three passes on the sewing machine for every one seam.
The most exciting part of this project was setting the 2" grommets. I had to buy a special set of tools for setting these large grommets, and when it came to hammering them together, I was whaling on them with a rubber mallet, full force.