There was so much preparation to be done that it was two years before any stitching began. It was decided to start with the upper and lower panels which show the gradual transition from trees to the city as seen in the early 1980s. Panels number four, the most intricate, were the ones they worked on first.
Here you can see that there are two sections of trees and two of buildings in both the upper and lower sections. The events in the central frieze are congruent timewise with the buildings in the panels. Each building in every panel represents an actual buildings in the city. If you know just what to look for, you will find Fort York and Casa Loma. Yes, Toronto has its own castle.
The sky and the water of Lake Ontario are hand-painted silk. The upper and lower panels are different but the right and left sides are mirror images. Can you see the CN Tower?
These are the final panels. The forest is gone – it is all city. Toronto is now a handsome city with a lot of modern architecture. It is also well planted with trees and has a good forest canopy especially in the residential areas.
The panels are all machine embroidery and they are intricate. I regret that there are no close-ups to show you.
Until the panels were completed, the frieze was not started. The frieze and the end panels of the Embroidery are all hand-stitched.
The Embroidery has nine pairs of panels with the frieze placed between them. It is 24 feet long and 6 feet high. That is – around 8 meters in length and 2 meters high. Pace it out in your home, if you have enough space. It took 140 members of the Toronto Guild 11.000 hours to create it. It is big, and, that is a lot of work.
Before we go any further, I must say that the photos here do not do justice to the colours, the detail, or the quality of the stitching. In real life, the Embroidery is vivid and alive. It has survived time way better than any photo I can share with you. It is in excellent condition. It is far easier to see the detail in person when viewing the actual Embroidery. Thank you to Marie Fenwick and Susan Clinesmith for all the photos included here.
There is also a video containing pictures of every stage of the creation of the Embroidery. I own a copy and although it is excellent for correct information, screenshots taken from it are blank. Frustrating to say the least.
The frieze is next! With photos taken by Susan during the creative process, I am able to include a lot more detail about the stitching. It is a good idea to take photos of your work in process. You never know if and when you might be glad you did.
Enjoy, and share.