Sunday, January 12, 2020

Branching Out

In my last post, I hinted that I'd be returning to the studio this week to begin new art work -- and I've done just that.  😊

Those of you who've followed my work for some time will know how fond I am of the sky and the trees in this part of Alberta.  A couple of years ago I did a piece entitled When I Look Up in the Spring, which was bought by my dear friend Jenny from a SAQA Benefit Auction:

When I Look Up in the Spring (C) 2018

Ever since then, I've wanted to make something else like this...because I keep looking up at the trees around here, tiny top branches silhouetted against the sky.

Like this one (from my last post):

Then there's this one:

Well now...hmmmmmm...

I began with the second photo, sampling with a piece of synthetic fabric that I hand-dyed. Polyester or poly-cottons (this was an old sheet so I suspect it was the latter) dye much lighter than 100% cottons do.

I decided to trace the branches out on Sulky Tear-away interfacing (light, thin), sandwich it and quilt it -- using free-motion, and Superior Thread's King Tut -- colour #979 ("Obsidian") in the needle.  I used a light-weight white backing, with Superior's "So Fine" in the bobbin.

NOTE: The tear-away worked very well...but tearing it away from tiny branches is a bit of a pain!

I was happy with the thread painting...but how to create the hoare frost??  I had 3 choices: two different threads...and paint:

In the end -- as you can probably tell -- I chose the paint (Seta Color 'Opaque' in a lovely opalescent or pearly white).

Lest you wonder, I auditioned the thread with hand-stitching.  For one thing, I don't do bobbin work because I find working upside-down unsettling -- and the thread on the left (YLI's "Candlelight" metallic yarn in "Rainbow") was too thick to go in the top (needle).  The thread in the centre (Sulky Metallic 142-7021) could have done so...but it was too thin to give the effect I wanted.   Using a very fine brush, the paint worked out very well!

Here's how the piece looks with a bit of a "frame" around it:

I've auditioned some very tiny beads -- Mill Hill's Petite Glass Beads -- in a browny-red (colour #42012) to create the berries for the full effect of the photo.

Then I wondered...what if I combined the branches from the second photo with a deeper blue sky (sort of like in the top photo)?

Why not just trace out that top photo and interpret it?   Well...I'm impatient, and the tracing takes work!  😉  Plus I think that top photo would look better as a larger piece and I haven't the fabric on hand for the sky; I'd have to dye it...or see if I could find something commercially that would work.

So I did this -- BUT instead of tracing the design onto tear-away stabilizer (tearing it away was no picnic the first time 'round!), I printed it out directly onto my fabric, using the 'freezer paper method' and my HP inkjet printer.  I stitched it this time with the same thread BUT I used 'regular' stitches with my Pfaff Performance 5.2, which has a built-in walking foot:

And yes...I like it.  Here it is..."framed"...with some "regular-sized" Mill Hill glass beads just resting on the surface for the moment...

Now...the question for you, gentle readers bead or not to bead?

NOTE: the first piece will have beads.  That's a done deal.  But the second piece?  Should it be beaded too?  Or should there simply be hoare frost?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment...recognizing full well that I'll do what the piece wants, one way or the other!

NOTE TOO: Finished size of each piece is 4" x 6" inside the mat -- matted to 6" x 8" by the folks in charge of the SAQA 2020 Spotlight Auction...or by me...whichever one goes and whichever one stays...

And in other news...this week I've...

  • Finished the socks commissioned for a gift;
  • Signed the contract with the City of Lacombe for "Featured Artist" at the Art Show & Sale in April; and
  • Switched out my art exhibit at the Alix Public Library -- installing the six remaining pieces from "Inspired by Scotland".
Dear Nina-Marie is in what she describes as "a mess" this be sure to stop by Off the Wall Friday and give her some love.  I'm linking there now...and wish you all a good week!

(We're in the Deep Freeze up here... minus twenties with wind chills near the minus forties -- and that's Celsius! -- so stay safe, stay cozy, keep calm and craft on!)


Unknown said...

I think the beads add to your picture. It looks great!

Kate said...

I like both with and without beads, though I think I'm leaning a bit more toward without. Both your new pieces are treasures.
Did you see that Quilts Canada, in Edmonton, is having a post card challenge and sale, with proceeds to the Children's Hospital. I plan to make one as soon as I get inspired.

Joan said...

Definitely beads for both (and I love them both by the way). Stay warm and safe, and happy stitching. Xx

elle said...

Hard to say. Both work and yes, frosted trees are sew pretty!

Kathie Briggs said...

Both are lovely. Wait until you see the beads on the first before deciding whether or not to bead the second. It certainly stands on its own merits without embellishment. Hope to see you interpret more photos from your previous post. They would make a stunning series.

Very excited about you being the featured artist in April.