It all started a couple months ago when a nice man bought a gift certificate for his wife. She wanted one of my pieces. She had a particular space in mind. One thing led to another ... in terms of figuring out the perfect size. The measurements worked out to 30" x 54" framed. Quick calculations arrived at a triptych with a center panel measuring 22" x 22" and two side panels each measuring 22" x 10. I mapped out a diagram on graph paper.
The photo above shows the original design on the pale green graph paper and the two patterns created from it.
I decided to create the two side panels first. The image above shows the foundation pieces, aka "the lowest layer of polyester stretch velvet. The black fabric is synthetic felt. It used to be the packaging material that protected a kayak being shipped from a manufacturer to my local outdoor shop. The owner of the shop has donated this felt to me for years. Although the floral motif at the top appears to be two different colors, they are actually the same bright pink. The direction of the fabric's nap and the lighting angle make then appear differently to the camera.
Next ... I added turquoise and copper heat-activated metallic foils.
I worked layer to layer and from one to the next until the construction was complete.
A layer of heat-activated adhesive (Pellon's 805 Wonder Under) was ironed over both surfaces. This "glue" is necessary to add strips of chiffon scarves around the work. I use several colors but made sure to add each one in the same basic arrangement on both side panels.
Then, I tackled the center panel. This is the foundation.
I added lots more shapes and layers. In this photo, the work is shown twice. The image on the left shows the center panel before the chiffon strips are added. The image on the right shows the same center panel after the chiffon strips were applied. There's a subtle but fabulous difference.
Here are all three panels. The construction is complete. Next is the stitching!
I stitch with only 100% black cotton thread. The thread is the only natural material in the entire process. This is important! I know that the final steps involve melting techniques. I must carefully link the foundation shapes together using the stitched lines of thread. I stitch little "bridges" to link these pieces. This can be seen on the left side of the photo ... where little black lines of thread link the two, big polyester shapes together. The "black" area is between the two, big polyester shapes is simply the recycled synthetic felt. It will eventually melt away ... but the cotton thread will not melt. The cotton thread will stay in place and hold the shapes together.
In order to perform my melting techniques, I staple and/or lace the works to stretcher bars.
I do the melting in our framing garage while wearing a carbon filtered respirator. First, I poke holes through the layers of polyester velvet and then I zap the entire work using an industrial heat gun. My husband Steve wasn't around for the heat gun ... but he once took THIS VIDEO of the process.
The next thing is to mount the work. I stitch all my pieces to acid-free mat boards. For larger works like this, I staple the mat board into a linen liner. The liner serves two functions. First, it protects the edges of the mat while I'm mounting the work. Second, it holds the glass away from the artwork. Basically, I put a frame around the linen liner ... and the glass goes between the two ... creating a mini shadow box!
I photographed the piece before it went behind glass. Here it is leaning against the back door!
I took several detail shots too.
Finally, Steve installed the work in its new frame with it's over-sized glass.
I am thrilled that the piece was picked up earlier today! Here it is with the owner! I'm elated!
I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber artwork.