The First Leaf – Nuno Felt Landscape

The First Leaf – Nuno Felt Landscape

Before I get started on my new nuno felted landscape, I wanted to share the changes that I made to First Light, which I posted about several weeks ago.

This is what it looked like on the last post. I had a comment from Ann B. that it lacked shadows. I had hemmed and hawed about adding shadows. I had convinced myself that the marks on the background could serve as shadows as it was a bit abstract. But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with Ann that it was lacking something. So I decided I would audition shadows with sheer fabric. And once I saw it, I knew the shadows were necessary. How could I call it First Light if I ignored the shadows?

And here it is after adding shadows. What do you think? Better or worse? I would suggest that you don’t rush whether a piece is finished or not. It was a bit of a challenge stitching the shadows down after the piece was already laced to backing board 😉

Now on to this piece. It definitely had beautiful autumn colors, so I decided I would add some silver birch trees with their fall leaf color. You will notice that I turned this around so the darker area was closer to the top of the piece.

I cut out some tree trunks from silk paper that I had made a while ago in preparation for trees. I hand stitched these in place.

Then I added some branches so the leaves would have somewhere to live.

Next up, I needed some background foliage. I didn’t want it to be too dominant but just needed some texture. I decided to use nylon organza and then burn it back with a wood burning tool to give it a leafy feel. Then I stitched it in place. You can click on the photo to enlarge it so you can see the details better.

Next up was to cut out a bunch of leaf shapes in two colors of silk organza. I hand stitched these in place but the leaves were still too transparent and weren’t giving the effect I wanted to achieve.

I looked through my stash and had this bright yellow in silk habotai. That would perfect from a more opaque leaf. Once cut out, these leaves were stitched down. The photos above show the progression from left to right. Then, I put the piece up on the wall and studied it. That leaning tree trunk on the far left was bugging me. I didn’t like that it took your eye off the edge and it matched the same lean as the tree towards the middle. So I did a bit of unstitching and removed it.

So here is The First Leaf. I haven’t found the correct background fabric for it yet so I will have to go shopping for that. But that gives me a bit more time for it to hang in the studio and make sure that it is really finished!


26 thoughts on “The First Leaf – Nuno Felt Landscape

  1. What a difference the shadows make to ‘First Light’! Love it.

    ‘First Leaf’ looks perfect – glad you took away that tree on the left. The colours are magical and the yellow silk leaves are just right. I could look at that for long time and be happy doing so.

    1. Thank you! The shadows definitely improved the composition. The tree on the left of First Leaf was just wrong, so out it went 😉 Fall is one of my favorite seasons, I love this color palette.

  2. Much better with the shadows Ruth. I bet you did have fun stitching them down. Curved needle? I’ve some very fine curved beading needles which are ideal for this sort of use, but pigs to thread!

    The organza background leaves look good, but how did you manage to burn them back without getting black edges?
    I love the texture of the background nuno felt. It really looks like clumpy grasses and undergrowth. What was the fabric you used again? Was it silk?


    1. Thanks Ann, I appreciate that you told me about the shadows. It definitely made the piece much better. I used a small quilting type needle to stitch down the shadows. I do have curved needles but they are pretty clunky. The beading ones must be finer. I will have to look for those.

      In burning back the background leafiness, I had to keep cleaning off the wood burning tool tip. You have to keep wiping it off so it doesn’t build up the black melted plastic.

      The fabric on the nuno background was silk, hand dyed 5 mm, I think.

  3. Love the pop of yellow on The First Leaf. It truly can be the colour of freshly sprouted Spring leaves 🙂

    As for your other project, it’s interesting how the shadows really do give it more depth and fool the eye into seeing more in 3D!

    1. Thanks Leonor. It is always interesting how shadows/light/dark give depth to a 2D piece. I don’t usually use a lot of yellow but this piece definitely needed it!

  4. Absolutely beautiful work! Thank you for sharing your process as I always learn so much…such as be patient, take your time, let the materials tell you what they need, be open to feedback, and have fun!

    1. By the way, I love the one fallen leaf. I can’t articulate why, but it had the same effect on me as the shadows…I felt a sense of completeness or realness or just plain awwwww. Well done!

  5. They are both beautiful Ruth. I love your level of discernment. Knowing when to take things away. In my mind that’s really brave. Adding too. The shadows in first light are the icing on the cake. Thank you for explaining how you burnt back the fabric. I wondered too. Helene

    1. Thanks Helene, that is one of the things that my classes have taught me. How to look at a piece with an evaluating eye and seeing when it needs something added or taken away. And when something has been bugging me, it isn’t really that brave, I just have to remove it!

  6. Beautiful pieces, Ruth. When the shadows were first mentioned I didn’t have strong views but, like everyone else, I can now see how they enhance the picture.

    As for first leaf: gorgeous colours, that silk paper for the trunks is perfect and the delicate and thoughtful way you’ve added the leaves (and taken away the errant trunk) is brilliant. I love how your pictures are all inspired, all different, but all feel like your work. Fabulous.

    1. Thanks Lindsay! Yes, I thought I could get away without the shadows but I guess not 😉

      Thank you again for your kind words. I do love to make them all different but I’m glad that they are recognizable as made by me.

  7. The shadows really make for the raking light of early dawn. Somehow they make the picture lighter or maybe brighter. It definitely give it more emotion.

    First leave is great. Did you try the fallen leaf in different positions before sewing it down?

  8. First Light = Perfect….Ann might have suggested shadows but you have interpreted that your own way. Long shadows increase the feeling of depth, of the sun just rising & the stillness….inspired.

    First leaf – also a typical RL production, but very different. The paper, sheers & habotai really work well & the colours are beautiful.

    Your recent works show great skill, accomplishment & confidence, miles away from your earlier works. I’m sure they will be snapped up by appreciative discerning customers.

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