Thursday, September 27, 2007


(Click on image for closer view)

Several years ago I made these autumn leaves from 100% acrylic felt. I've given some away, lost some, but always intended to make a big pile one day. About two months ago, my friend Dolly Patton, executive director of the Saluda Shoals Foundation, finalized the selection of artists for a one day art event called "Through the Eyes of Art". It will include original dance choreography from the students at Columbia College, songwriters and musicians, poetry reading, student film-makers documenting the event, and visual artists demonstrating their processes...including me. All the art is suppose to be inspired by nature, and Dolly is working hard on a big media blitz.

For me, this was a wonderful opportunity to make the pile of leaves. For a month, I dropped into almost every local fabric store and craft outlet...even Wal-Mart...looking for the right golden/rusty felt. I had once purchased at least a yard; but I only had about a 10" x 18" piece left...not many leaves. I was getting rather desperate...I knew I couldn't alter my plans because there are maps and press releases already announcing the artists and their work. I HAD TO FIND THE FELT.

Finally, I googled "acrylic felt" and found The Felt People who had 7270 Old Gold. The minimum order is $100; the minimum cut of felt is three, now I'm swimming in eighteen yards of felt (in six different colors...Old Gold and some shocking neon colors too.) I'm way behind schedule but at least I've got the correct felt now!

By the way, the leaves are made by free-motion embroidery. Only local, deciduous leaf designs are being stitched. Each is cut from the felt with a fine tipped soldering iron and then dabbed with watered down acrylic paints on both sides. After the paint is dried, they are scorched with a heat gun. The paint prevents areas from shrinking but otherwise the leaves distort and curl into perfectly realistic autumn debris. I'll be stitching leaves for another week or so. The art event is on Sunday, October 7.


arlee said...

We HAVE to be sisters----i have a pile of leaves also in those colours---fme'd on organza, but not zapped, didn't know about it at the time

SeamRippstress said...

im new to deomposing leaves. yours are excellent! love the multiple colors in them on the close up! What fun to jump into a pile of these!

Julaine Lofquist-Birch said...

what is it about leaves? so many of us use them in our work...yours are beautiful, Susan!

Anonymous said...

I remember when you were little we always collected leaves as gifts for Grandmas, Sunday school teachers, library readers, Daddy, neighbors. Glad to see you are still at it. Mom