Imagine if you will Inspector Clouseau with a huge magnifying glass….that’s me looking everywhere for my felting mojo! Nada. But I did find some ‘energy’ – woohoo! So with the recent good weather and this found bit of energy I have been in the garden….but still as Inspector Clouseau!
In my defence I have sewn a batch of 18 then a batch of 15 masks for our village (whoah, the folded version is fiddly, you just get going and then have to keep stopping the sewing machine, and particularly as at one point I’ve been sewing through 13 layers of fabric – in hindsight I wish I’d chosen the shaped masks!). I’ve also finally made lining covers for two large upholstered sofa cushions. A three year out-standing project now ticked off my to do list. The stuffing had expanded and was taking up so much room. Also, in my defence I’m mulling over how best to create the cushions I mentioned in my previous post (https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2020/05/12/a-yarn-and-preparation-experiments/), to make use of the waste yarn, (which I have rolled into hundreds of circles and now crocheted together). Sometimes my thought process has to filter through many layers!!! Although, even with my magnifying glass, I haven’t found my mojo, I haven’t really been idle.
So, I will briefly show you my recent endeavours – to find what once was….my former creative garden – hence Inspector Clouseau. Due to illness 4 years ago my ‘arty’ garden became lost and is only just emerging. Some plants that should only have been a metre high have been 4 metres high. Mother nature has had a field day, with green thugs smothering and killing so many beautiful ‘specialist’ plants. But I am determined to stay positive and see the bare soil as an opportunity for me to source new plants when we finally emerge from our lockdown.
Somewhere in here is a path, you can just see a watering can in the middle of the picture below. I’m about halfway into this corner of the garden (we have 7 corners!), having already macheted my through to this point several weeks ago.
Tadaa. A path, complete with the watering can! The rain we had weeks ago was welcomed by the weed seeds and the part area I had previously weeded is covered in weeds….again, shin high (by the watering can). It is true what they say about one years seeding = seven years weeding, because if you look closely these weeds are giving way to a fine carpet of yet more, over the very bare surface!
This corner is still a work in progress but the last two days of my heavy manual labour (good for removing bat-wings!) has seen the chest-high nettlesagainst the far wall and other thugs dug out and some creativity brought back. Before anyone inquires of the brown plant in the pot – it is dead!
This has all been current activity and not of the fibre kind, so I thought I would go back to some old creativity.
Many years ago I had a function to attend and I wanted to ‘jazz’ up a black dress. At that time burning through layers of organza/voile was popular.
I’m an avid collector of interesting images, whether from a magazine or my own photos and often reference and use these images to inform various pieces of work. The process is simple – trace the dominant lines. If the image is too small, or the colour confusing, enlarge it to a black and white copy. This can then be flipped, rotated, mirror imaged, cut and random pieced etc etc.
Thankyou Tesco – part of your magazine lives on as your photos will become more design inspiration!
For my dress embellishment I recorded inspiration from various places and finally traced the lines from 2 landscape pictures.
Using leaves and autumn leaf colour as further inspiration I selected appropriate pieces of organza/voile and cut some into snippets.
The above tracing for my sleeve embellisments is a portion of the Chinese terraced rice field picture.
A base layer of organza was laid down (there are no photos as this was done long before I ever thought to take ‘stage’ shots), the various coloured snippets were scattered over in sufficient number to build up about 3 or 4 layers, then another continuous piece of organza was laid over to ‘trap’ the loose pieces. On top of this sandwich a piece of clear, water dissolvable fabric was laid, onto which I had drawn the design. If any snippets were extremely out of place they were adjusted before everything was pinned in place.
Following the design, I machine stitched over the lines using a simple running stitch, ensuring that I also stitched the edges. The collar and sleeve leaves were all undertaken as one piece.
At this point I have to tell you I was creating this piece in my talented sewing buddy’s (SB) house who was also using the same method to create her own piece.
After completing all the running stitching, the dissolvable fabric was washed away and the piece was dried – easy with a hair dryer.
Then it was onto the fun element….using a soldering iron to burn away successive layers of the organza. On my traced design you can see the shaded areas that I used as a guide for the full cut-outs (the tracing is handed to the finished piece). This is delicate work, requiring concentration and a delicate hand….SB was not quite so delicate handed and gradually she ended up with a smaller and smaller main body of work until all that she was left with was a piece the size of a small mobile phone and lots of pieces. She kept burning through all the layers! We have recounted this memory many times and each time it produces fits of giggles.
Having decided I’d burned enough away I then reinforced the edges of the cut-outs and added decorative satin stitching over the running stitches.
The final flourish was to add beads to the collar and sleeve leaves.
The collar is still intact (some of the photos here were taken today), in fact I actually wore it this last festive season. I mention this because the model is sooooo much younger. It wasn’t until I checked the properties of the old photos that I realised I was 14 years younger!!!
I’m sure many of you tackled this technique – oh so many years ago – what did you produce?