Taking a break for a moment – thread painting tightens the muscles in my neck and shoulders – I need to stop from time to time to exercise a bit, sit with a hot magic bag, until the tension in my body subsides and I can resume sewing.
The Epiphyllum leaf is done – I’m not going to do any more on it – I’m leaving the medium green unstitched.
Next is the Plumaria leaf at the top. Once that is done, I will have all the Plumaria flowers to do! Four clusters which I expect will take a couple of days. But then the piece will be done!
Because the framing has been finished, all that will remain will be to back the piece. Then I can to return to the Poppies and the Two Men in Cortona….
I finished shading the pale grey areas of the first Epiphyllum yesterday; completed the edging in off-white this morning. This Epiphyllum is done – phew!
Epiphyllum 1 – Completed
Epiphyllum flowers come in a variety of shades from white to quite striking red. I chose to interpret the Epiphyllum above as a soft pink – shading the petals from fairly dark to quite pale leaving the white highlights without stitching.
In case you’re interested here is some information on Epiphyllum – orchid cactus. Epiphyllum is a genus of 19 species of epiphytic plants in the cactus family), native to Central America.
My friend Marlene has a couple growing in her greenhouse – the blooms are short lived – the bud takes quite a while to mature but it opens and dies in one night – a wonderful sight. Because these blooms open at night, nocturnal creatures, such as moths and bats, are responsible for pollinating the flowers.
This Epiphyllum (also now completed) represents a pink one.
Epiphyllum 2 – Completed
I’ve started working on the two remaining large leaves now. They will both go quite quickly because the shading consists of quite long stitching runs that connect easily – this makes the stitching straightforward, unlike with the flowers where I had to plan the stitching so the short runs would flow from one spot to another. I’ve been working for two hours this morning – I’ve stopped for now. I hope to get back to the leaf I’ve begun, later this afternoon.
I wasn’t planning on working on this anthurium but I had the medium pink thread on the machine so I started stitching. Once that colour was filled in, it just made sense to carry on with the pale pink and then finally the white. My plan was to fill in the grey using colour and I think the shading works well.
To see the contrast, here is the panel before I’d done any thread painting – you can see this anthurium is almost entirely shades of grey. In the finished flower, a hint of grey is still apparent but the overall sense of the flower is rose pink.
Tropical Flowers – Before Thread Painting
I’ve made headway with the epiphyllums as well – here’s the lower one with the darker greys thread painted with the deep rose thread pair. Maybe later this afternoon (its a full-blown blizzard outside – not leaving the apartment today) I’ll get back to it.
Epiphyllum – Thread Painting In Progress
It really is a blizzard – visibility is much worse than the photo below suggests – I can’t really see the trees across from the parking lot. It’s turning to freezing rain – I can hear ice pellets hitting my windows. Expected to continue as freezing rain until this evening when the temperature will get above freezing but there won’t be much melting until Friday/Saturday when it will be warm enough to rain (which is forecast).
This is winter life in Nova Scotia – freezing rain followed by snow followed by freezing rain – makes for very hazardous driving conditions. Everything is cancelled today – no school, no university, the games centre is closed, and on and on. Good thing my freezer is stocked – lots of soup and chili. Just keeping my fingers crossed the power stays on!
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 the panel. (It’s actually squarer than the photo shows – its all about the angle I’m holding the phone at).
Australian Open 2018 – Federer’s 20 Grand Slam Win
Finished size: 20 3/4″ x 16 1/2″.
Techniques Used: Raw Edge Appliqué, Thread Painting, Machine Embroidery.
In the end I did less thread painting than I originally intended – I did none on the court walls other than to secure the edges. The grunge fabric provided quite a bit of texture which I decided I didn’t want to disrupt so I left the dark backing alone after embroidering the Jacob’s Creek name and logo. I did the barest amount needed to hint at the shadows of Federer created by the overhead lighting. I did densely stitch the white lines on the court to hold those narrow pieces securely. But that was it.
That’s all the wall art for now. This is #9 of the pieces I wanted to complete for the showing at the Art Labs in Parrsboro end of July to mid-August. Added to the 8 quilts I have ready, the gallery walls will be full.
I have two large projects I agreed to do for other people that have sitting around for more than 6 months – I have to get them done and out of the apartment. Then I can turn to making some clothing for myself and think about how to use a couple of fabric collections I bought for quilts a couple of months ago.
This is as far as I’ve got with this wall art panel at the moment.
I had set up embroideries for the Jacob’s Creek winery logo and the serve speed readout. I tested each embroidery on fabric scraps, made adjustments and tested them again. Then I took a deep breath and started to embroider directly on the panel. One error and the whole project is a goner. I was very lucky – the Jacob’s Creek logo embroidered nicely each time and the serve speed readout turned out crisp and a good size.
Before doing the embroideries, I’d shaded the court and thread painted the surface adding the shadows beneath Federer’s feet (both feet are about 1″ above the court surface – he’s actually in the air in the original photo) as well as the lighter shadows cast by light coming from another direction at the end of the court.
Australian Open 2018 – Federer vs. Cilic
I’m still thinking about whether I want to put in any shading on the court walls or not – if you click on the image you’ll see I used a shaded fabric (Grunge by Moda) – I’m not inclined to follow the random pattern of the fabric; were I to add thread painting, I’d mirror the shading I used on the court.
I’ve stopped for now. I’ve stitched around Federer himself using a fine clear (invisible) monofilament thread. I will likely stitch the shadows on his clothing and body and indicate the colour changes on his shirt, socks, and shoes. Tomorrow. I’ll look at it again tomorrow and see what I think then.
I also have no idea yet what to use to bind/border the panel. When I get the thread painting done, I’ll trim the panel, add the narrow silk inner border, then see what I have in my stash that might complement the panel itself and bring out the colour in it.
Finally done – borders and backing completed. I have to say it’s growing on me. In spite of the fused interfacing I still got some “bubbling” of the fabric. It’s much less noticeable when you stand in front of the actual panel but it is definitely visible in the photo.
Finished size: 16 3/8″ x 20 3/4″.
Techniques: raw-edge appliqué, thread painting (done with feed dogs down, and needle in the down position which lifts the presser foot when I stop, so I am able to maintain a consistent stitch length but freely move the stitching as I sew to create curved, flowing lines).
The background is pieced from fabric; the figure was enlarged, printed on fabric, and “fussy cut”. In the original photo the woman was on the left of the image; in this rendition I moved her slightly to right of centre to provide a better context for the direction of her gaze. The dark outer border fabric strengthens the light within the image.