Monday, April 25, 2016

Fabric tree collages

A while ago I had made a layered piece with gelli printed interfacing as a top layer, which I then melted portions away.  You can see that post here.

I thought I would try this with a tree image I have been working on, and use free-motion stitching instead of hand embroidery. Here you can see the different components. I have a painted canvas for the background. The leaf canopy and tree were fabrics I painted in a Jason Pollen workshop a few weeks ago. The interfacing layer is a gelli print I made a while ago. I used fusible web to iron down the yellow tree canopy fabric. I won't iron down the tree trunk until I have finished with the interfacing layer. 

When I put the interfacing over the yellow fabric, I am pretty sad that my painted fabric is pretty much hidden. Next time I would probably just grab a fabric from my stash and not use something I hand painted.  I then took this "sandwich" to my sewing machine and free-motion stitched on it.

What I learned as I went along:
  1. The interfacing melts a lot better if the free-motion stitching is fairly open. Tight stitching really prevents it from melting.
  2. If I cut slits in the interfacing where I want it to melt away, it does help. I just used a seam ripper. I wanted to make sure it melted where I have sky openings in the tree canopy.
  3. Sew right along the outside edge if you don't want the background fabric visible around all the edges. 
  4. Use lightweight interfacing. The heavy stuff does not like to melt and is some places the edges looked light brown/slightly toasted. 
Remember to always work in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask to block any fumes.

As you can see I played tree trunk swap and decided to use this magenta/purple one instead of the red one shown in the previous picture, since the gelli-printed interfacing had a touch of purple.

And here are a bunch more. This one has the heavy interfacing.

I did free-motion stitch around the trees and branches after I ironed the tree trucks down.  I really like the following two where I used colorful thread for this, instead of dark gray.

This one was the first one I stitched the interfacing on. I did the stitching very close together, so the interfacing did not melt much.

I love how they turned out, although there were a lot of steps and work involved.  I did use my Scan'n'cut to cut the tree canopies, but hand cut the tree trunks. These are roughly 8" x 10". I think I will work on a larger one next!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Finnabair classes

The week before last, I took some classes with Finnabair at Imagine That in Columbus, NE. I was thrilled that an internationally known instructor came to Nebraska.  I was also thrilled that my sister decided to visit and attend some of the classes as well.
Myself, Finnabair, and my sister Cinda
My friend Karen, from Denver, also came to Nebraska for these classes. It was great to see her as we haven't had a chance to hang out for quite some time.

Finnabair demoing
My finished piece
My sister's finished piece

My piece from class two (it needs a bit of work still)

Cinda's piece from class two

There was an article in the local paper about Finnabair's visit and classes, here is a link.  I was in the background of the photo they included in the article. Art is very serious...
ImagineThat Guest

After class, my sister and I both worked on some other pieces in Imagine That's cropping room, and then some more at home.

Here is Cinda's piece.

And here is my piece.

I did not include any progress photos of these pieces, since the techniques are Finnabair's and teaching them is how she makes a living. I highly recommend taking a class from her, she really keeps everyone on track so you can finish the projects in class.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hand sculpture with nails

A few weeks ago, on this post, I showed some fabric that I had stamped with washers.  I used one of those fabrics to make a hand sculpture.

I love how it turned out, but all the sewing had to be done by hand, so it was very time-consuming.  I had glued the nails to the fabric, thinking my sewing machine foot would be able to somehow sew over them, and it just did not turn out the way. If I make another one similar to this, I would sew the hand first and leave openings for the nails to be inserted through.

I am working on a series of hand sculptures to include in the Summer Art Market in Denver in June, so I will be posting some others in the future!