I started today by stitching the leaves first, not straight sailing because there are breaks – a few of them come from beneath a flower. With all the leaves done, I moved onto stitching with turquoise – first the blue yellow flower at the top, next the turquoise centres.
Thread Painting Underway
Then on to working the bottom left flower. I’ve done most of the yellow stitching, although I intend embellishing that further tomorrow.
Thread Painting – Detail
I spent quite a bit of time creating embroideries of small circles for the flower centres – I’ll use my metal hoop so I can do the embroidery work easily. I want to position embroidered circles on top of the fabric circles at the centres. I suspect that isn’t going to be easy to execute. In any case, I won’t get to that until I have all the other thread painting done. Then I have to decide if I want to do any kind of stitching on the background! I may leave it alone…. I’ve discovered I can’t plan any of this out in advance – it’s all about one step at a time. It’s about improvisation.
I’ve been looking at pictures of quilts by Freddy Moran – large bold background with appliqué collage in strong bright colours. I decided to try something like that.
I set up a black/white fabric background, then began cutting out flower-like shapes in layers and bright colours. Nine large flowers later I thought I needed to connect them in some way so I included a long flowing branch of leaves. Then added a few lighter green leaves (from a floral print fabric) to just finish off the appliqué.
Now to start thread painting – here’s where I can use contrasting colours, particularly on the leaves and stem to make them brighter. No time to even start that today – tomorrow, for sure.
Finished this morning (well, I still have to hand stitch the invisible binding on the back but other than that, the work is completed). The burgundy batik used in the border/frame brings out the figure – I tried other contrasting fabrics but the burgundy worked best, I think.
Fall Day 2007 – Finished
After I’d stitched the trunks and branches of the trees/bushes, the fused appliqué was easy to apply. Once in place, I decided to edge stitch the small pieces in autumn shades that blended with the leaf colour. I had to think through carefully stitching the shading boundaries on the figure (it’s actually a photo of me, used with David Lacey’s permission) because mistakes would be undoable. So I opted for just the minimum of stitching.
I achieved quite a bit of texture with the fused appliqué and overall the finished thread painted work is more lively than the original photos printed on fabric.
Fall Day 2007 – photo collage
The whole work took much less time than I thought it would in spite of the large amount of thread painting I ended up doing. I started playing with the images on or around the first of April, printed the images on fabric and began the piece in earnest on April 7 – so I finished it in just over a week; not bad.
I’m pleased with the finished art work.
I’ve worked on this for the last four hours – first stitching in the tree trunks and branches on the left, adding foliage from tiny fabric scraps with fusible web on the back (applied to fabric before cutting it, then stitching branches on the trees on the right. Next, I added some definition to the landscape elements by outlining them. Last I added the figure, fused it in place, then outline stitched the figure and the shading on the clothing.
Fall Morning 2007
That’s as much as I can do for now. What I haven’t figured out how to do is stitch the foliage on the trees and on the ground. The fused scraps are very tiny so stitching around each outline doesn’t seem feasible but I don’t know what to do instead. I have to sleep on that.
And below is the image I started with – background and figure fused.
Fall Day 2007
Here it is, finally completed. It looks like I was imagining it – with the help of some permanent markers and coloured pencils I was able to sharpen the men’s faces and clothing just a bit.
In the end, I created/modified embroidery stitches on my machine to provide a bit of texture to the hanging plant behind the men and on the bush peeking in front of the sign on the left. The thread painting in this piece had more to do with creating definition rather than filling in areas as it was with the tropical flowers. Nevertheless, it took quite a bit of time deciding just what should be stitched, what colour thread, what stitch size (I ended up using a 1.5mm straight stitch for much of the stitching)… And all within the limitation of being able to stitch just once!
The hand gesture is still obvious, the second man looks attentive, and the shop fronts turned out quite well – so even though I gave up trying to create reflections in the shop windows they have turned out quite well.
I found the framing fabric in my stash – from the Northcott Medici collection I used in the large medallion quilt. The dark fabric makes the sunshine and highlights stand out.
I began working on this piece February 4 – it’s taken me just over 2 months to complete it – a lot of contemplating time involved here trying to figure out how to simplify the image and create the street scene to showcase the men.
This is piece #5 for the Parrsboro show – I need still another 5-6 wall art pieces of some sort. My self-portrait on a fall day is up next – I’m still not sure how to texture the background on that piece but I’m sure something will come to me.
Halifax Harbour II
Another textile art piece finished. The second version of the city of Halifax floating above the fog as seen from the Dartmouth shore. In this one, there is more of a sense of the fog shrouding the city.
In this piece I let the photography speak more than I have in previous works. I thought the overall movement of the clouds and the sea/sky balance worked as it was so I didn’t cut this image printed on fabric into smaller elements to situate them within an appliqué background. This image, with a small amount of thread painting stands alone.
I’ve come up with another pair of images that I’m going to compile into a piece. These photos were taken in the fall of 2007 when David Lacey (a NS landscape painter) and I were spending a day taking landscape pictures.
Fall Day 2007
David took the photo of me not on this particular country road but on another close by. What draws me to this roadway is its gentle curving from mid-left to bottom right and the sun/shadow balance and the farmland in the distance. David’s photo of me, taking care to position it correctly, will make the sun on my back fit into the shadows in this landscape. I don’t know yet to what extent I will use the background photo printed on fabric or whether I will piece the background. More and more my photography seems to want to speak out.
I didn’t expect to finish this piece so quickly!
I sat down to do some thread painting this morning, and before I knew it the stitching felt completed. I chose not to stitch the boundaries of the fog, or within it, because the fog is a diffuse blanketing of the land/water interface – I wanted to retain its fuzziness. I also decided not to stitch the skyline because I didn’t think I could capture the tiny differences in building height even if I used a 1mm stitch length – I left it alone.
Halifax Harbour In The fog
I added a signature, and a wide outer border/frame. Finishing up these pieces takes more time than I expect – hand stitching the mitred border corners, adding the hidden binding and stitching it in place all takes quite a bit of time and painstaking hand stitching.
I’m going to attempt another version of the city enshrouded in fog – in this second photo taken a few minutes before the one I used as inspiration for the piece above, the city peeking above the fog is more pronounced, the clouds are more defined, as is the fog the Halifax side of the harbour and I like the sea/sky balance better.
Halifax Harbour 2010
This time I may not cut the printed image apart, but instead try to do something with the photo as it is – my inner photographer thinks this image might not want any thread painting and maybe even a hidden binding so that what strikes the viewer will be the city barely visible in the fog. Have to think about this some more.