I’ve started this appliqué piece from a photo of a large textile art piece by Kate Themel. Mine is going to be small – finished size ~ 9″ 12″. I’m doing it as one of several examples of textile art for a class I’m teaching in June. I decided to use this image because it’s obvious where the colour demarkations are – they are often hard to see when you’re not used to looking at photos for that detail. To emphasize the colour layers I often print my photos (or enlarged photo elements) in black and white so I can distinguish contrasting tones. I will do that in another of the examples to illustrate how that is done.
Here, I began by tracing the main image areas thinking about the fabric layers I’d need. Then I pulled lots of scraps from my stash in the range of colours I wanted to use, making sure I had lots of contrast.
Next I set up my working background – a piece of muslin 20″ x 26″ (much larger than the finished art piece just in case I might want to add borders, binding…) backed with Warm ‘n Natural batting. I marked both the horizontal and vertical centres, then marked the dimensions for my finished piece, and stitched along those lines. Although the piece has to built from the background up, I focused on the main flower to begin with, cutting out the petals and the darkest accent from templates I created from the photo.
Next I added a dark background, fused and stitched it in place. I’ve done some dark leaf cutouts which will be fused in position later. At the moment I’m building up the layers of each petal of the main flower – four to go (I’ve kept each template pinned to the fabric so I know where the petals go later when it’s time to fuse the flower in place). I’ve also chosen fabrics for two background flowers which will be darker, less prominent, than the central one.
Before I can add the main flower, however, I have to thread paint the dark background to suggest foliage, then add the background flowers and thread paint them, add leaves and thread paint them, and finally the main black-eyed susan.
The next small example will be based on Peony by Danny Amazonas:
I’ve chosen this example to illustrate his fused appliqué without thread painting. Again, Amazonas’ piece is quite large, mine will end up a similar size to Rudebeckia – 9″ x 12″, so I won’t be able to include quite as much detail as Amazonas but I will be able to show the building up of the image from background to central focal point.
The example after that will be based on a photo I took a number of years ago:
This piece will illustrate how to create the effect of light by setting up extreme contrasts – the fence rails will be done using off-white fabric, heavily stitched with both blending and contrasting thread to suggest the shadows. Also I will construct the background at the top of the image using pale fabrics but cover it with one or more layers of pale grey silk organza to suggest the fog and the foreground will require a LOT of thread painting over carefully fussy-cut layers of fabric.
Watching the World
My fourth example may well be based on this photo (with boys positioned to the right rather than the left) to illustrate incorporating photo elements printed on fabric into a textile art piece.
I’ve got my work cut out for me for the next month!