Second life

Second life

Anyone who tell you they don’t have a box, draw or even cupboard of failures or “ not going how I wanted to” is either in denial or hasn’t done enough yet. My tale is about one such piece. I don’t even have a full original photo to show you so dissatisfied was I. The picture below is the starting block. To explain the original context of the piece it was two logs of wood at the forefront with a tree and mountain scene as the back drop. The second picture is of the top of the piece. I am sure you can visualise them before the chop.

I already had in my minds eye where the piece was going ,as previously having done a rock pool scene ,I wanted to achieve something similar on a woodland setting.

Although in my minds eye I could see the finished piece getting there was unknown. The piece was a wet felt project using dyed silk to create the logs and silk and fibres to create the moss and ground. I then needle felted to create depth and texture.

After studying it for awhile I decided if I established the proportion in the top left hand corner the rest would flow from there. I knew I wanted it to be multi dimensional but wasn’t sure if it would work. I stand here honestly admitting I am not the best embroiderer in the world but best foot forward added grasses in wool yarn and stalk and leaves in silk yarn to the existing blue flowers which I added at the wet felting stage with nepps. Still at this point I wasn’t happy as it still felt “ flat”. I decided to see if I could have a play and make dandelions which I could sew on top separate thus creating the second dimension I wanted.

But how? Out came my trusty stash of bits and bobs where I found some green and yellow prefelt I had made. With my embellishing machine I added further wool in differing shades of green. I then made a template of a dandelion leaf and cut them out. A final run over with the machine to strengthen them and a trim up and they were ready. I did the same with strips of yellow which I sniped and rolled. Sewing the base tightly together made a very pleasing dandelion shape , well in my eyes at least. After positioning them on the piece I was happy and created the stem with string and couching stitch.

I was happy it was now taking shape. The only area I was unhappy with was the blue flower in the foreground was knocking the whole piece out of proportion. After a tentative test decided to remove part of it completely. With this area removed ( the area between the two logs) it made more sense.

I made more leaves on my embellishing machine in different shades of brown and green and along with stones ,which I had needle felted, I added to creat the woodland base. I also embroidered some clover with bullion knots ( don’t look to closely, I have already explained about my lack of skill and this was my first attempt at this stitch).

And so to the foreground. More leaves were made and added to the blue flower. I’m afraid this flower is not a true but made up flower but at least I had free reign to create. I added french knots to the nepps to add depth.

I must admit the piece is not yet complete as I am now adding french knots to create the moss and will be adding more stones and maybe another clover ( if I can master bullion stitch that is).

All in all I am quite pleased with the piece

My point is never give up on a piece. I find some times just moving a mount around a piece of work completely changes you appreciation of it and can send it off in a completely new and pleasing direction.

If anybody would like to see the finished piece I will give a quick update when next I post.

18 thoughts on “Second life

  1. Wow, such a realistic woodland interpretation. I can just imagine me stumbling on it during a walk.
    From my view your embroidery is perfectly suited to mother nature’s wonderful creations.

    How long was it actually in the ‘I never want to see it again’ box….the ones we all have buried deep out of sight. At least burying pieces allows us to ‘perhaps’ come back to them….unlike a friend who just throws it straight into the fire – no second chance allowed!

    I look forward to seeing the fully finished piece.

  2. I should add I love your mountain piece too, so evocative of distant views, and look forward to seeing how you fully complete it.

    1. Thank you Antje. It is nearly a year it was crumpled up in a draw. I needed work to put in a craft fair but didn’t have time to felt anything new so I delved into my rejects. So pleased I did as it was fun working out how to make all the different elements.
      Am already studying the mountain part weighing up my options.
      The woodland part is all finished but won’t be going to the fair as it has sold and is off to America on Monday. Looks like it’s back to the draw again!!!!!

    2. I wanted to try and use wool fibres in a more water colour way so out came my embellishing machine again. I already had a piece I had wet felted to work on. It is a heather moorland scene and has worked quite well. I am not adding any embroidery or beading I think, I may detract from the water colour effect.

  3. I think this piece is fantastic. Actually I liked it before you started adding to it, but now….!
    Your blue flowers may be made up, but they look like wild forget-me-nots to me. And please don’t worry about not getting your embroidery stitches exactly right, they probably wouldn’t look so good in this context as do the not-quite-right ones. It’s not as if you’re trying to do an embroidered doily or something for a competition.
    I too think the original top half of this picture would make a good mountain scene. Perhaps your next project?
    I look forward to seeing this one finished, so yes please give us an update.
    Ann

    1. Thank you Ann for the kind words. Yes already eyeing up the piece left to see what’s next.
      Jan

  4. It’s beautiful! Yes please do show us the piece again if you add to it.

    There is so much to look at – glad you gave us close-up shots as the details are wonderful – and your woodland scene ‘lives and breathes’.

  5. You did a great job saving this piece, and congratulations on it’s sale. I look forward to seeing the mountains as well as seeing the final added details of the forest. I often purposely make embroidery stitches messy to achieve the desired effect. Nature isn’t uniform so your stitches don’t have to be uniform either 😉

    1. Thank you. I’m pleased it worked out well. Hate giving up on a piece.
      You are completely right. Think if my stitching had been uniform it would of made it to stiff.

  6. A lovely heartening tale of an ugly duckling turning into a swan! I thought your woodland piece was glorious: I could almost smell that peaty fresh woodland aroma and its great you’ve found a buyer that really appreciates it. Your rock pool was also gorgeous and I’m sure you will do something equally fab with the mountain section.

  7. Great transformation Janet. I love all the leaves and flowers and stitches. A great save. It is always fun to look at old failures and see what you can do with them. Congratulations on the sale.

  8. Fantastic! You’re right, we can’t always make things exactly how and when we want to, but it’s nice to see where these things end up taking us.

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