The name ‘tondo’ comes from the Renaissance period, and is “the ultimate in constructed painting. It is demanding both formally and metaphorically” (William Zimmer, The Tondo, in Art Journal, Vol. 50, No. 1, Constructed Painting (Spring, 1991), pp. 60-63-Published by: College Art Association).
Zimmer goes on to say that, “the tondo is the most harmonious and self-contained of shapes, but it is also the most radically demanding. The shape comes first, and the content submits to it, or else balks in opposition” (pp.60)
For me using the support of an embroidery hoop meant that this sugarlift etching on Japanese shozo paper takes on the shape of a ‘tondo’, while denying it as well- It is a support that reminded me of an intimate and solitary act- that of sitting doing embroidery, while in this case the shapes of the etching and the stretched, translucent paper work to bring a delicate hand made feel to the piece. The image is a meditation on a the light as it plays on the surface of water. It was my first piece using sugar lift as a technique and the results on the paper were varied at first. Once I had printed a dozen or so, I then chose two that I thought would work best in terms of their tone to cut and stretch onto the embroidery hoop. Here is the other one:
They seemed to work well as a pair, although there was some criticism of the embroidery hoop as a support. I created more of them, smaller and larger versions, but haven’t felt able to exhibit them together. These other versions work best on their own and there is nothing to gain from placing them together, as I had originally planned. The tondo was always a deliberate construct and perhaps Zimmer is right when he says that the content submits to the shape.