Saturday, June 25, 2011

Contest Day Five (and Six)

I missed a day of blogging... obviously. I'm sorry to all of those who were at the edge of their seats waiting for the next step in the contest piece. I literally was so tied down to this piece the end of the week was spent stitching and occasionally eating.  The good news is it WAS completed, ON TIME, and has been turned in! I'm thrilled to have gotten it finished and am glad to have entered, regardless of what happens next. (Doesn't everybody always say that when it is obvious they want to win or they wouldn't have entered in the first place?) Anyway, I'll catch you up with the hand stitching before showing you the finished piece. No scrolling ahead.

I decided to be a little rough with the sand and water. I added some thread to the top of the work to give it a texture and give the appearance of not being so 'flat.' I also beaded the sand heavily, and did a little with the wave lines too.

The heron was my nemesis. I put him off because he terrified me. I didn't want to do photo transfer because I felt like it needed to be different from the background. I started by creating the body with fused fabrics.  I began to stitch over top of the fabric to create the detail of the heron.

And I hated it. SO, I ripped all of the stitching out on Friday, knowing I had to complete it Saturday, and decided to fall back on the outlining like I have done on other pieces. So after, not even kidding, an entire day of hand outlining I completed the heron and was much happier with the image. 

Finally I added the reeds and rocks at the bottom with a combination of fusing and embroidery and completed it with my "R." Luckily, my father built an awesome frame for me and while Brent painted it (yes, I am so spoiled!) I attached the backing and finished the piece! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Contest Day Four

After four days of leaning over my work table I'm starting to do the old lady move where you use your hand to help raise your back as you stand. My hands are cramping, neck is stiff.... but all totally worth it because I am in love with this piece.

The photo transfers started pretty well. After the smooth practicing I decided to go for the real pieces... 6 gulls and 1 lighthouse. I cut every single (incredibly) tiny detail of each bird and then attached it to the fusing paper to be applied to the background. The first one went on with out a problem, and the second one did fine. I added the lighthouse and had a little snag where a small section of the photo stuck to the protective paper between it and the iron. I carefully detached the paper and the melted transfer was fine, barely noticeable. I should have stopped there, cause then this happened.

Yeah, really. The ink/transfer gummed up and came right off with the paper. There really was very little I could do at that point but continue to gently pull the paper off while ripping the wing with it. The bird had attached completely to the background, so I will have to peel the bird off the waves without ripping or damaging the fabric. I said a few words, took a step back and decided to attach the rest of the transfers with adhesive and then sew over them later.

Once all birds were attached it was necessary to attach the side borders so that the heron applique can be placed over both the background and border. I'm dreading the start of the heron, but peeling off the adhesive marks from the problem bird sounds awful too.... we'll see how it goes! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Contest Day Three

In my defense, when you look at the progress made today it doesn't look like much.... BUT, all of it was time consuming and there was a lot of trial and error.  I started machine stitching the background, which is basically the only machine area, all other stitching will be by hand until it is complete. The machine stitching adds some texture and also stabilizes the fabrics.  The background is now complete until the birds and lighthouse are added.

So, onto the birds. I wanted to try using photo transfers for the seagulls, but I also wanted to be able to fuse them to the background. Both require ironing, but I had to practice with the different heat settings because one needs high heat and the other low, and I didn't want to burn off or melt the image. 


After that was settled I started creating the rocks that are fused fabrics. The next step will be to start attaching all the images to the background, but that won't be finished until late tonight... so the blogging will have to wait!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day Two Continued

Background is done.... Started with the solid piece of sky fabric, then fused the strips of different blues and finished with the beach shades. 

The next step will working on all of the photo transfers, which I haven't really worked with before. I may do some research, or I'll just play and see what happens.  

Contest Day Two

This piece has been progressing nicely! There have been a few set-backs, that wouldn't have been a problem if time wasn't such an issue, but not enough to really delay the project. When I started picking out the fabrics I didn't have anything that I liked for the sky, so I had to put together a bleach bath. It isn't my favorite method, I don't really like using bleach, but it got the look I wanted. The process basically bleaches out the color, so I started with a medium colored blue fabric that was balled up using twine. (Colored strings can dye the fabric.)

This ball of fabric is plunged into boiling water so that the fibers are able to open and accept whatever dye, or reverse dye method you are using.  I allowed it to sit in the hot water for a couple minutes before adding the bleach.

The bleach works quickly so you have to be careful to not have too much of the color bleached out.  Once the fabric has reached the desired shade it is rinsed several times in cold water and then washed with a fabric soap. 

I haven't done this since college... and I may have missed a step or two, and I probably should have measured, or taken notes on amounts of time and materials. But I didn't. And probably won't next time either. I like the end result, which was the original goal:)  Back to work!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Contest Day One

This past spring I entered a local art contest due at the end of the month. At the time, I didn't realize that the month of June would be spent changing jobs, creating multiple nursery pieces and painting graduation caps. All good things, but busy! Now, I have one week and an entire artwork to create... so, to the phone calls, texts and facebook messages I ignore, I apologize. I promise to enter the world again once this is done. I'm afraid that the local beaches and pools will be a distraction this week, so I'm going to try to blog every morning showing the work from the previous day. Hopefully the pressure of daily posting will encourage me to work as quickly as possible! 

Here is the sketch of the wall hanging. There will be a lot of traditional fiber techniques, but I plan to use photo transfers for New Point Comfort Lighthouse and the seagulls.  (This was also an opportunity to play with my new camera.) I haven't done a lot with photo transfers but I am excited to start. The downside are the 400 seagull photos that I am about to start going through....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fire Truck

Fire Truck

This piece was designed for a toddler's Fire Department room. I know very little about the fire department, but I love dogs, so it seemed like a good call to go with a dalmatian.   Initially I was going to place a fire hydrant in the background, but decided to go for a simplified fire truck instead. I loved the spots at first, but forgot the time it would take to embroider around them! Oh well, they stick with the theme and break up the border!