Sunday, February 27, 2011

Buttercups Under A Twilight Sky

This final art piece in my flower series I'm not so sure of. I ripped all the flowers off twice to get the look I wanted and then decided the round cotton buttercups were too flat, so I embossed some. This was a learning experience: 1) Embossing with glue and a paintbrush is messy, fun and unpredictable and 2) applying heat from a heat gun to melt the embossing powder actually "cooked" my flowers and made them curl up into almost burned looking shapes. My dear hubby at first glance thought I created something using cornflakes!

"Buttercups Under A Twilight Sky" - 20"w x 20.5"h

To create this "masterpiece" (air quotes) I used dye and paint on cotton. The whole piece is cotton; no silk this time. I love the way the sky turned out so I left it as a large part of the landscape piece. I couched fibers for the greenery behind the flowers and added a lot of yellow french knots, which turned out to be mostly covered up. I used plain cotton circles in varying sizes to create the flowers, and put in A LOT of them with beads -- yellow beads for the background bigger buttercups and small light green beads for the smallest buttercups placed on top of the other buttercups, all over. There are also leaf beads here and there.  I free-motion stitched a quilt sandwich and added two different colors of border: blue for the top half to bring out the blue of the sky and green on the bottom half to reinforce the painted greenery under the flowers. After the embossing debacle I glued on a little bird in the sky.
detail of the sky

detail of embossed buttercups

detail of the bottom showing leaf beads

Field of Poppies

"Field of Poppies" - 24"w x 14"h

 This was super fun to make. I hand-dyed the silk background with Senneleir silk dye and also mixed up a custom mix of orange in varying shades to dye the silk for the poppies. On the background I used fabric markers and couched threads for the greenery. A really nice ribbon I couched was a vine of can see them clearly through the poppies.

The poppies are flat rounds I cut out of the dyed silk using my new Sizzix Big Shot. I really love this little machine. The die I used had four sizes of circles and I used every one. The bigger ones are on the bottom and they get smaller as you move up and away. By attaching them with beads I was able to place them exactly where I wanted them and then pulled the nymo thread tight to get the petals to curl up. Placing them close and overlapping created the 3-D effect I was after with the flowers and leaves.

I tried a new method (for me) to finish it off. I satin stitched it to Pellon heavyweight interfacing that had been fused with bright white cotton. I wanted it to look like a mat board frame. Lastly I added a few more flowers so they spill over onto the frame and added a small flock of birds using a fly stitch and heavy crochet fiber. Please leave a comment if you like this or have any feedback to make it better.

detail of bottom right

detail of upper left

detail of center

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My favorite flower, the Peony

I am anxiously awaiting spring and sick of being in the house, cold all the time. So I continue to make flowers in my art to remind me of what I love. This wall hanging I've entitled: Peonies Along the Garden Path.

Peonies Along the Garden Path - 19"w x 15.5" h

There's a long story into how this art piece evolved. I won't bore you w/the details. The biggest thing was that I just HAD TO make peonies. In all of my ribbon and flower books I couldn't find a technique anywhere. So I fiddled around with my ribbons, ripped them apart and finally with a little ingenuity and a lot of trial and error I developed my own technique for creating the specific peonies I want. The "Raspberry Sundae" peony has white outer petals with pink and yellow inner petals. I ended up dyeing my own silk for the flowers and used circles/disks of this silk in many layers. Some of the rounds are fringed around the edges; all are gathered in some manner. I obtained beautiful results in my dyeing by using a mini-mister to apply the yellow and pink dye onto white silk. I couldn't be happier with the results -- I love peonies!

After getting the peonies down, I created the background. I wanted it to be a landscape obviously, but nothing that overshadows the focal point of the peonies. The background is dyed silk which I free-motion stitched grasses onto and hand-stitched french knots in yellow. The path is brown paint with a sand medium added for realism. When I put it all together I decided that I really liked the grasses, so they got several passes with paint and markers. The final piece is fused to a heavyweight one-sided fusible by Pellon. I put on a yellow edging at first, then tore that out because it was too distracting. Again...after trial and error I ended up with a kelly green that matches the grass and made it as though the path and the grasses extend beyond what is seen. (I sewed more grass and painted right to the edges in some places). I hope someone out there likes this. I consider it one of the best landscapes with flowers I've ever done. [BTW I have two more flower landscapes in the works.]. The following shots show detail, especially how 3-dimensional it is. It's hard to explain but when you actually see the art piece you are compelled to touch it.

detail pic

detail 2

shot taken on my table, as if you are going to walk the peony path

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lavender and Lace

I am in a phase now where I'm experimenting and loving making flowers with silk ribbon. This one is of lavender and each little flower is handmade from hand-dyed laces. There is a lot of fiber that you can't see behind the flowers, just at the bottom: many fibers couched and needlefelted. The green bushes are also needlefelted of wool roving with some Angelina thrown in. The background cotton was also hand-dyed. Free motion quilting and a pretty purple with green edges ribbon frame completes it. Hope you like it as much as I do.

Lavender and Lace - 23"w x 22"h

Lavender and Lace - detail

Lavender and Lace - close-up detail of flowers

Pretty Necklaces of Fibers

I saw "fiber necklaces" on Etsy that caught my eye they were so pretty. However they were kind of expensive, so I'm thinking I COULD MAKE THAT MYSELF. Here's what I made out of my stash of ribbons, fibers, and jewelry stuff: I hope you like them...I sure do! Oh and sorry about the poor photography. I took these today on a very rare sunny day; however it cast shadows through the windows.

Two different necklaces

Here's a shot of the one on the left. It has several ribbons, rainbow fun yarn woven other textured yarns, and a whole string of pretty beads and baubles, secured with copper wire (no glue) onto silver ends and a twistee clasp.

Necklace 1 - 22"
  Here's a shot of the necklace on the right, the longer one. It was made from a flowered ribbon, various silk ribbons, textured yarns woven together and with large silver beads every 3 - 4 inches. It also is secured with copper wire, silver end caps and a silver toggle clasp.

Necklace 2 - 26"
  This last picture shows the cool pendant on the second necklace. It is a silver moibus band (not sure of the spelling but I know what it is: a surface that continues endlessly) that has an inspiring engraving on it which says "May you always have walls for the wind, a roof for the rain, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, and all your heart might desire."

Necklace 2 - detail of pendant