Though it feels backwards to me, I am going to share my work in progress before telling you about what I completed. Writing about them in this order isn't totally backwards as the new one grew from the gelatin printing session I talked about in my last post. So it's sort of like finishing one story before starting the next.
Those who know me well, know that I always like to have a handwork project going. It's what I do in the evenings when we are watching TV. I need to keep my hands busy. If I'm not stitching, I'm playing solitaire on my tablet - but stitching makes me feel better. So I like to start something new as soon as I can after finishing a work. Since I'd just done a bunch of prints in my session with Sonja and Tyler, I looked at those first to see if one called my name. Thankfully an idea came together fairly quickly. I decided I liked one of my gelatin prints with a commercial print I've had for a long time.
The picture on the left shows the very beginning and the one on the right, my progress so far. (I got a lot of stitching done last Friday - while waiting at Sonja's for a plumber who never showed up.)
The "leaves" I've layered in so far are pieces of some dyed silk cocoons I bought in Vancouver last year. My current plan includes adding a few skeleton leaves as well, but those need to go on near the end so they don't get mangled from the stitching process. I also need to figure out just how I am going to attach them. ...more to come on this one. Looking at it here on the screen is giving me some additional ideas.
And FYI - my photography skills are not the greatest - the coloring of the picture on the right is more true to the work.
And the finished work
The piece I had just finished was a bit of craziness that I am calling "Let Your Light Shine." This one is a bit out-of-the-box for me, but good follow-on to the one I called "Fighting the Blues." (See my October post.) It started with a gift bag.
And I just kept going, adding stitching, and sequins, and the word "shine" over it all; having a ball with it. Then one day a song playing during my morning water fitness class gave me the title. Everything was coming together fine. I finished all my embellishing and was going to just press it and mount it when a bit of a disaster happened that almost sent it to the scrap heap.
I let the iron get too hot before giving it a final press and when I touched the iron to that papery backing, I melted a good chunk of the edge. It was really a stupid mistake.
Luckily the front fabric was fine, but still the gouge was readily apparent. I had so much invested in it at that point I sure didn't want to just scrap it without trying to fix it somehow. So I decided to try to a technique I hadn't used in a very long time--to use my heat gun to distress the edges of the backing material all the way around. It was a bit dicey to do because I needed a Teflon sheet underneath it to protect my ironing board and another between the sheer layer and the backing fabric. I didn't want to melt the sheer fabric. In the end it turned out to be one of those happy accidents. I think the distressed edges work very well, especially the patterning in the Helene Davis hand-dyed cotton that I'd decided on for the background.
The finished piece is wild and crazy, but it makes me happy to look at it.
I've mentioned several times now how happy Sonja and I have been with our weekly Art Nights. We meet at the library to stitch and share. Since Sonja had the day off yesterday we met at her house instead of the library. That meant we could do something more involved than stitching, but it also meant involving 3-year-old Tyler. So yesterday we introduced him to one of our favorite messy projects--gelatin printing. He loved it and we had a blast.
Mother & daughter, Ann Lee & Sonja Lee-Austin share their joys and struggles in their art and lives.