Made quite a bit of progress today – having decided to use the blue/green fabric for the border, I chose some blue/teal embroidery thread and overstitched in the dark green areas and while it isn’t sharp in the photo the stitching does tie in the blue of the border.
Thread Painting and Borders Almost Completed
Then I began working on the poppies – finished the centres, did some thread painting on the petals (may still do a bit more), added a bit of red stitching to the opening flower buds. Then I added the wide outer border and blind stitched the mitred corners.
Now I need to cut a piece of muslin for the back, and a couple of strips from the outer border fabric to do a hidden binding.
Poppies – Original Photo
Above is the original photo that served as inspiration for the textile piece. I think I’ve come close to capturing the vibrance of the poppies at the peak of their beauty.
Now to finish the piece and move on to the next one.
I have quite a bit of thread painting to do on the poppies – but I started thinking ahead to finishing the piece. I added the silk “matte” and a red piping to enclose the focus on the poppies themselves. I’ve spent quite a lot of time going through my stash, I’ve done it 3-4 times so far, looking for a bordering fabric that will tie the whole together and I’m coming up empty handed.
Conundrum – How To Border/Frame This Piece
I’ve laid a range of fabrics against the piece – black, dark grey, tan, light grey, blue, different shades of green, even shades red and peach – nothing looks quite right. Pale colours darken the poppies; dark colours make the whole seem brighter, but nothing I have seems to work to enhance the image. Everything seems to detract in some way.
Thursday a couple of friends and I made an excursion to Avonport Fabrics – an hour away from Halifax and there I found the Windham “Uncorked” fabrics in a variety of shades including this dark green. In the shop I thought I’d found “the right match” but when I got it home and cut strips I’m not so sure. The fabric blends the many shades of green in the image but it seems to overwhelm it. I’ve cut the fabric for a finished 3″ border/frame – perhaps it should be narrower – say just under 2 inches? That’s why I’ve got the black/tan/greenish fabric outstretched below – trying to see whether the darker fabric would liven up the image.
It’s a conundrum – I plan on thread painting the flowers with orange/peach shades to lighten the poppies and I may have to do more stitching within the greens, as well. Perhaps it’s just that green isn’t a favourite colour of mine and the contrast with the red of the poppies is too “Christmassy”.
At the moment I just don’t know what to do about framing this piece. Frustrating, because I want to get it done and move on to whatever is next….
I’ve been working on this piece for the past couple of days. First the dark green areas, then the various types of foliage. It’s been tricky because poppy leaves are long, thin, and fern-like so stitching them has required quite a bit of decision-making since it’s not possible to actually capture the precise detail – my goal has been to imply the structure using a number of different machine stitches to thread paint them.
Thread Painting – Under Way
This afternoon I started on the flowers themselves. I’ve begun working on the central pistil on the right-hand flower. I have finished the light areas. Tomorrow I’ll get to work on the stamens surrounding the centre – using some combination of greys/tans.
I’ve made progress faster than I thought I would – I expect to finish this piece over the weekend.
I finished thread painting yesterday afternoon. I added a muslin backing and hidden binding. This morning I hand stitched the hidden binding in place. After all this time (I actually started this raw-edge appliqué piece on May 17, 2018) I have it completed – absolute done!
Tropical Flowers – Finished!
The project sat around for months while I worked on other things. I started thread painting this piece on Jan 8, 2019 because I was teaching a class on thread painting and had to have something to work on myself. I got into the thread painting seriously after Jan 17 – when I completed the framing (I’d done that early in the process because I wanted the women in the thread painting class to see how I go about finishing my work). I spent time filling in leaves, then flowers. In the beginning, each leaf took a day or three to complete.
I was sure I’d taken on more than I’d expected when I started out. But as days went by I could see I was making headway. Jan 20 – one leaf finished; Jan 22 – a second leaf; Feb 11 – I got back to the piece (after working on some new quilts and planning two wall art pieces) and finished an Anthurium; Feb 12 – more progress; Feb 13, Feb 17, Feb 18, Feb 20 – I continued thread painting elements until yesterday when I stitched the last of the Plumaria!
People often ask – “How long did a particular piece take”? It’s not a simple question. As you can see, I started this piece on a whim back in May, it sat around for several months before I returned to it. The thread painting was slow going to start with but as I made progress I was able to stick with it for longer. When nearing the end I worked on and completed elements in a single sitting (although I felt tension in my neck and upper back).
You can’t see the thread painting in the upper photo – here are photos of the detailed work:
Epiphyllum – Detail
Plumaria – Detail
Anthurium – Detail
I feel a weight lifted having finally completed this work. The gals in the thread painting class are meeting again on March 5 – my piece is done. We’ll spend time that day working on framing and finishing, even if their thread painting isn’t completed. I want to create motivation for finishing their projects.
Tomorrow I’m going to return to Poppies which I began Feb 4. Time to get back to that and to Two Men in Cortona.
A friend sent me a link to some wonderful textile art:
Bisa Butler – detail from – “Three Kings” (2018)
You must take a look at her work: “Artist Bisa Butler draws from an array of vibrant patterned fabrics to create portraits of everyday people. She eschews representational colors, favoring layered jewel-toned hues to form the skin of her Black subjects, and often groups figures together into strong silhouettes.”
Her pieces are breathtaking – wild bold fabrics done as raw edge appliqué and quilted rather loosely following the contours of the elements of her figures. The pieces are large so you’d need huge wall spaces to hang any of them.
I must look through my photos to see if I have anything suitable to try a piece like this.
BTW – scroll down on the link to Butler’s work – you’ll see lots of other unusual textile/fibre art work.
I took this photo in the main square in Cortona, Tuscany in April. We were visiting the city and enjoying the food and the shops and just wandering around – these two men deeply engrossed in conversation caught my attention. I’ve known from the outset this would become the basis of a wall art project.
Enjoying The Morning Sun
I started playing with the image yesterday – first I wanted to remove the other people, to isolate the companions. The blue-shirted gentleman is making a classical Italian gesture – thumb pressed to first and second fingers moving his wrist back and forth; in his other hand he has a cigarette. I want to bring the viewer’s eye to this man.
Morning Sun – Initial Steps
With the other people removed and just the shops behind, the men now stand out – I removed the advertising from the supermarket windows – I will do them in the same dark colours you can see through the open shop door. I intend to keep the partial bench on the right (having taken away the woman who is reading and smoking).
Looking at this image now, I think I want the men to be on the right side – it’s got something to do with the speaker being stronger in that position. I’m about to try cutting off the building on the right and repositioning it on the left, reversing the bench so it is cut off at the left edge – that will also allow me to strengthen the greenery growing on the stones of the facade behind.
It’s not enough that I’m taking on this project, I’m also working on a second. I took photos of some poppies in Marlene’s front garden this summer and these two oriental poppies are striking. I started by outlining the petals so I could do a tracing which I’ll use for cutting out red fabrics. They’re growing beside a light green hosta, with a taxus shrub behind and a darker hosta in the top left corner.
Tomorrow I will start looking for fabrics I can use to construct both these images. Generally I work on one piece at a time. For some reason both have been insistent I begin work on each of them.
Just Finished. Today I completed quilting the remaining wide border, created an embroidered label, attached a narrow hidden binding to the quilt edge and hand stitched it into place.
Double Convergence – Quilt Top
The quilt is relatively small – 45″ square – which means it could actually be a wall hanging or a smallish lap quilt/throw. I decided to finish with a hidden binding because I didn’t want to complicate the quilt top any further. The wide border mirrored the double convergence and that felt like it was enough.
Double Convergence – Quilt Back
I used the fabric from the back for the hidden biding – stitched it on the front using a 1/4″ seam, then folded the 1 1/4″ strip under leaving me with a 1/2″ binding. You don’t really see the invisible binding unless you’re up close and looking carefully.
A bit of explanation about the quilt back – I needed a narrowish insert to accommodate the quilt width. I had a small amount of ombre fabric left and decided a strip of ombre as it was worked perfectly – no piecing, except to extend the length of the strip. There’s enough interest in the fabric itself that it accents well.
That’s quilt #7 since the end of August – I’m planning one more for the Parrsboro show this coming summer. Now to turn to wall art pieces – I have lots of ideas, I just have to begin creating!