Thursday, December 06, 2018

Freiheit III, in progress

 (Above:  Freiheit III, a work in progress.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Sometimes I remember to snap images of work-in-progress.  Sometimes I forget.  With this new work I did both!  What do I mean?  Well, I started out with my camera in the studio.  Because of the large size, I'd generally remember to take a picture.  The piece isn't finished though.  Plus, three others are also in progress ... and I forgot to continue capturing images.  So ... here's what I've got!

In the photo above, I have ironed squares of polyester stretch velvet to a very large piece of recycled black industrial felt.  On the left side of my work table, you can see the piles of squares.  As I position them, I'm often thinking to myself, "OMG! This looks terrible.  It looks like a really bad 1970s patchwork made by a blind or utterly clueless amateur.  How on earth is this going to work?"

 (Above:  Detail of the first, horrible-looking layer.)

I have an amazing array of colors in my stash of polyester stretch velvet.  Together, they look perfectly dreadful.  This is the "ugly stage".  Yet, I know I will improve it.  (Seriously, with it looking this bad, there's only one direction for it to go! LOL!) I know improvement will happen because I've done this process before ... on Freiheit I and Freiheit II

 (Above:  Rolls of heat-activated metallic foil.)

The first way to "improve" the garish, first layer is to add heat-activated metallic foil.  First, I iron Wonder Under over the surface.  This "grabs" the foil.

 (Above:  Metallic foil ironed over the surface.)

Okay ... the improvement is admittedly quite minimal ... but at least there's a sense of distressing!

 (Above:  Detail of the metallic foiling.)

The foil seems to "complicate" the rather straight-forward approach to the initial layer.  It breaks up the patches of color.  On this surface, I then start adding smaller and smaller squares ... one on top of another.  The garish, first layer recedes into the background. 

(Above:  Freiheit III in progress ... lots lots of little squares were added to the initial, foiled first layer.)

I attempted to create a sense of depth by adding darker colors to the middle and by thinning the layers out toward the edges ... allowing the initial squares along the edge to have no additional pieces.  My intention was to create a piece measuring 48" x 48".  I anticipated a bit of shrinkage while stitching.  Thus, the design was (at this phase) 49" x 49".

(Above:  Freiheit III in progress ... strips of sheer chiffon scarves have been ironed over the entire surface.)

Some of the square are now four or five layers thick.  The surface is very uneven.  To facilitate machine stitching, I ironed another coat of Wonder Under over everything.  To this, I ironed on strips of chiffon scarves.  These sheer strips allow my machine to glide over the layers easily ... plus they add another wash of color.  Already, the piece has improved!


Above is a detail shot of the surface before any machine stitching.


Above is the piece after all the stitching was complete.


Above is a detail shot showing the machine stitching.  Definitely, this is a remarkable improvement over the initial, hodge-podge layer of garish squares!

 
Finally, this is the stitched piece on my living room floor.  It has a coating of GAC 400 brushed all over it.  GAC 400 is a fabric stiffener.  I applied it first to the back, then to the front.  That's when I forgot to take any more pictures.  Instead, I have started, stitched, and sealed three smaller pieces.  Today I am working on the final presentations .... stretcher bars and floater frames.  Yet, before they will be fit into their frames, they will all have at least one or two layers of epoxy poured over them.  My ideas is to eliminate glass and also to add some protection from UV rays.  The epoxy I use is a UV filtering, artist-grade product.   I have returned to snapping photos.  Next blog post will include them!

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