The day finally arrived for me to finish my piece and I waited patiently for my name to be called in the reception of École Lesage. My frame was carefully leaned against the wall in its rich velvet cover, the tiny golden Lesage logo glistening in the dim light. I had carried it to and from each class, protecting it as best I could on the bustling metro and hurrying through rain showers and snowstorms. Today it felt more precious than ever and I guarded it protectively against any mishap. I thought back to April 2015, when I had first visited the school and made the decision to study there. The journey had been long, challenging and joyful up until this moment and I wanted to savour it. I could hardly believe that I would be qualified as a Haute Couture embroiderer in just three short hours…
There were moments throughout the process when I doubted if I would finish the piece. I doubted my abilities, I doubted my stamina and I had serious doubts about the time! Stitch by stitch, bead by bead, sequin by sequin the piece advanced and I slowly worked through each section. Despite my doubts I had succeeded and then I found myself in the very strange position of not wanting to complete it! I think when you invest that amount of time, energy and emotion into something creative, six months, countless hours, a few tears, it can be hard to release it. I reluctantly took my embroidery frame from its cover and placed it on the stands, I marvelled at the work, honestly incredulous that I had created it and I waited for the teacher….
I steamed the back, petrified that I would burn or melt something until the teacher took the iron from my hands laughing and did it for me. I tidied and trimmed any loose threads, double checked the knots and then treated it with a layer of gum arabic. This prevents fraying, reinforces the knots and stiffens the fabric slightly. Next I began to remove the pins and bands that had kept the fabric taught and it boughed with the weight of beads, sequins and threads. Finally I held La Pièce de Résistance!
It was heavy in my hands and I felt glorious for a moment before it was whisked away by the teacher and carefully wrapped and rolled in silk tissue paper for me to transport home. On the metro I felt like I was charged with a treasure of great worldly importance, a police escort would have been appropriate! I arrived home and tentatively unrolled the rustling paper, I gently unfurled the embroidery and I was overwhelmed with relief, wonder and pride. Et Voilà! I am a Haute Couture Embroiderer!