Roots and Leaves

Roots and Leaves

In my last post, Work in Progress, I wrote about the A4 challenge I was working on with my local group at Waltham. I was well underway with my planning but, as often happens once I start on a piece, part of my plan changed. I decided not to use the felted backgrounds I’d originally made and instead I created the forest floor using painted and heat distressed Lutradur hand stitched to a cotton background. I used 70gsm Lutradur from Spunart and painted it with tones of green, yellow and grey Inktense. By applying the heat tool you can make wonderful lace effects which are very effective when they are layered.

Once all the elements were ready to be assembled, i.e. the pebbles, greenery and leaves, I positioned the roots in order to decide where everything else would fit. The easiest option for assembling would have been to use glue but, as Waltham is predominantly a “stitch” group, I went with the more time consuming method and hand stitched it all in place. The final stage was to attach it to a canvas to make it more robust for transporting and hanging.


I’m really pleased with the finished piece, which I’ve called Roots, and looking forward to showing it at The Big Textile Show at the end of this month.

I was hoping to show you Jacky and Caroles finished A4’s but unfortunately life’s got in the way for both of them! Neither ladies have managed to do anymore to their work as yet so instead here are some images from a recent workshop I attended with Textile Artist Jan Dowson.

Jan’s Workshop Sample

Jan was teaching a technique made popular by Susan Lenz. Susan layers polyester velvet onto polyester felt, free motion stitches with 100% cotton thread and then hits it with the heat gun……what’s not to like!! This was right up my street but rather than using square shapes as Susan does I used a leaf theme for my overall design. I’m now waiting for my order of polyester felt to arrive so I can make a larger piece…..

Adding free motion stitch to my leaf design.
The stitching is easier to see from the back
Ready for turning up the heat!
The finished piece.

15 thoughts on “Roots and Leaves

  1. I love Roots. It is really textural and I want to reach out and touch it. The leaf sample from the class is also very nice. I like the colors and it is always interesting to see how these melt. Will you combine this process with your lutrador leaves?

    1. That question got me thinking Ruth so I will have to see how combining the two might work. I tend to make realistic leaves with Lutradur whereas I think the newer technique lends itself more to abstract forms. Thing is if we don’t try these things we won’t know how well they might work!

  2. Absolutely love ‘Roots’. It is really inspired. I love the various strata roots would go through. How did you come up with the concept? The leaf design is really nice as well. I must learn more and practice more free motion stitching. Both projects are really fab!

    1. Thanks Carol. If you click on the hyper link in the first paragraph where it says “work in progress” you should get taken to the post which explains how I developed the Roots concept.

  3. Love your leaf theme piece! And doesn’t it look good with the pink showing through from the heat mat.

    ‘Roots’ is beautiful and very apt for this time of year. Enjoyed following your process for it.

    1. I liked the pink effect too! Once I’d got it framed it looked quite dark so I ended up putting silver kitchen foil behind it….worked at treat!

    1. Thanks Ann. Roots was made for the Waltham groups Exhibition which takes place next August. In the meantime it’s going to others exhibitions and in between those it hangs on my wall at home.

  4. Love your roots piece Karen, it definitely evokes the layers the roots would travel through.
    Burning – right up your street! I can imagine you thoroughly enjoyed yourself. I like your resulting abstract lacy leaf design. The trick is knowing when to stop!
    And how clever of you to match your colours to your mat & heat tool – not the colours I normally associate with you!

  5. I’m just getting into Lutradur leaves and loving all this you are sharing. Can you advise on a good mask while using the hot tool and soldering iron please

    1. You’re in for a lot of fun Chris! Regarding masks I bought mine from Screwfix several years ago. I’ve just took a look on their website and the nearest I can see to mine is 3M 4252+ Half Mask Respirator A1-P2 They are not fun to wear so I ensure my room is well ventilated and aim to get as much burning done as possible in one go. Enjoy!

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