Monday, July 30, 2007
Last week I finished everything for my solo exhibition at Francis Marion University. I deliver the work this Saturday. I also finished up all sorts of other pieces which left me in a wonderful position...time to devote to "backgrounds". I am taking a month off from creating "whole" artwork. I am just experimenting...playing, really...learning the possibilities of my new embellisher and letting Stitch, Dissolve, Distort by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Gray influence me. (I'm not copying anything in the book...just READING it...over and over, slowly, and trying to free my mind to new ideas.)
One of the first things I did was to take scraps of fabric and work with them. Above was a piece of transfer painted polyester that had been cut off some other project. It was a good "warm up"...trying to see what I could do with something I'd tossed to the side.
Another book that has really been helpful in triggering ideas is Dale Rollerson's Surface Tension. Somewhere in it, Dale suggested using "metallic netting" and making a "sandwich". I'm not sure if the image above is doing exactly that...but this is what I did. In fact, I had an entire yard of this gold, lacy stuff and made four piece...two much larger ones...in various colors.
Most everything I've read about the embellisher reminds users to work from both sides. At this point, I can safely say that I really like working from the back. Yes, that's me...backwards. The piece above, however, has a wool yarn worked from the front and little snippets of craft felt worked from the back. At first, this was just another piece of heat transfer painted fabric that I had cut off a section I liked better.
Above is just a piece of felt with things worked from both sides. I did several like this...different colors...using snippets of yarn, metallic foiling, wool rovings, chiffon scarves...whatever was close at hand. Fun!
The piece above started off as a wool circle onto which I attached snippets of felt. Then I embellished it onto the silk with a piece of red felt behind it. Since I could see the "ghost" of the ornament on the reverse...I worked the red felt onto the front being careful not to get the red on the ornament.
I spent a long, long time on this piece. Part of a cotton lace doily was sandwiched with white wool roving between two pieces of tan chiffon scarves. I embellished more wool, in darker tones from the reverse and a bit from the front before zapping the front slightly with a heat gun.
While digging around in the boxes of fabric, I found a little needlepoint from ages ago...back when I did this sort of thing and thought that not following a pattern meant the result was utterly contemporary. It was "finished" but obviously tossed aside...pink isn't my favorite color...so....I thought about an idea I read about on a couple blogs recently...and also in Valerie and Maggie's book...paint it with "emulsion"...house paint and then ink and then bleach. Well...I used the interior latex instead of the oil based exterior stuff and my ink doesn't turn blue and I can't seem to wash out the lingering smell of bleach....but I LIKE IT NOW!
I also found another piece of needlepoint...three-quarters completed...intended to become a pillow...based on mosaics..some design out of a book I no longer own. Well, I cut off about a third...the mostly unfinished area...and embellished little snippets of felt into it from the reverse...and tape yarns...and kept going...and added a yarn border...and WOW...I LIKE THIS ONE TOO! I haven't decided what to do with the "finished" part yet!
Above is another piece of felt with "things" worked into both sides and then stitched.
Then, I took a lace piece off an old, polyester (very tacky!) wedding dress I bought in a thrift store (there were a few beads actually glued onto it...terribly tacky). I used brown felt with painted WonderUnder and metallic foil, pale blue and mauve rovings, and a light blue chiffon scarf. Then I stitched with a gold metallic thread. From a previously cheap-looking piece of lace...I think I really succeeded in making something lovely.
Then, I went into the upholstery scraps. I cut apart this one piece and resembled it with the embellisher (above). I spent more time with the piece below. Originally, it was a single color. I embellished enough from the front to see the "ghost" of the areas from the reverse. Then, I followed this design in order to "punch" the black felt through to the front...two-toned...covered it with painted WonderUnder, metallic foil, a scrap of a green chiffon scarf and stitched. This machine is amazing. The stack is growing. There are others...these are just my favorites!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 10:13 AM