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Creating Lutradur Leaves

Creating Lutradur Leaves

Before I get started on my topic for today’s post, I wanted to show you the finish of Sanctuary. I added some weight to the left hand branches and I like it a lot better. Ann had suggested that I add something to the right foreground but I don’t think I am going to do that. For me, this piece is all about the tree being a sanctuary in a lonely place, a place for birds to perch and rest. So I am leaving it as is.

The photo on the left is when I showed it to you last week. The photo on the right is after I added a bit more yarn to the left side branches. It feels more balanced to me and I’m happy with it so it’s done. (The photo on the left is much more true to the real colors.)

Now on to making some Lutradur leaves. I have been meaning to do this for a while. Ever since Karen L. posted about making Lutradur leaves here. Hers are certainly a bit larger than mine and much more fancy but the process is definitely a simple one.

I had a piece of Lutradur that my friend Sally kindly gave me. The leaves on the left are real leaves and my inspiration source. I have trouble telling the difference between birch and aspen trees/leaves. These are one or the other 🙂 I sketched the first leaf out with all the veins. But after that, I just drew the leaf and stem shape and winged it with the veins.

Here they are after free motion machine stitching. (If you’d like to learn how to do this, I teach on online class here.)

Then I colored the leaves in with a variety of colors using Inktense pencils and watercolor crayons.

I added water with a paint brush and a few more details with more ink and watercolor. I then let these dry completely.

Then I cut/burned them out with a wood burning tool. Then I zapped them with a heat gun. They don’t need much heat and the Lutradur melts quickly so you have to be careful. Karen wanted hers to be much more lacy and deteriorated than what I wanted. I did have a plan for these when I started.

Do you remember these pieces? I had made them quite quickly for an exhibition in September. They didn’t sell and I felt like they all needed something else. So I added the Lutradur leaves.

And here they are with the added Lutradur leaves. What do you think? I definitely think the leaves added is an improvement and it brings all three pieces together more as a group. Hopefully, when I exhibit these again, they will draw more interest and perhaps a sale or two.

Do you rework pieces that aren’t selling or don’t seem to work for you? I would love to hear your solutions. Just join us on the forum so we can all discuss or critique something that isn’t working for you.

Autumn Necklace

Autumn Necklace

Although we’ve got baking temperatures and scorched grass outside, indoors I’m amassing quite a collection of Autumn leaves made from Lutradur!  I’ve decided its time to start thinking about what I’m going to do with these leaves and incorporating some of them into new pieces of work.

This particular leaf has been painted with Dylan bronze fabric paint to give it a metallic look.

The leaf, top right, before painting.
Bronze painted Lutradur leaf

I decided to incorporate it in a very simple choker type necklace.  The leaf is quite intricate so anything fussy would distract from the detail.

I began by cutting out a 4cm wide crescent shape from a piece of white superfine Merino prefelt 20cm x 29cm.

This was overlaid with Oyster Merino on the left and Antique on the right.

I made the felt quite thick and really worked it hard to shrink it and firm it up which resulted in a very textural effect and a subtle change from one colour to the other.  The leaf was sewn in place using a bronze coloured linen thread.  There is a chain fastener across the back but for now you will have to take my word for that…….I didn’t think to photograph it and I’m writing this post sitting in my B&B in Scotland while the Necklace is back home!  I will take a picture and add the image when I get back.

Lutradur Leaves

Lutradur Leaves

In my last post I showed some of the brooches I’ve been making out of Tyvek.  This month I thought I would continue with the “man made” fabric theme and show you how I make my Lutradur leaves.

Lutradur is another exciting non woven product which was originally designed for industrial applications including construction substrates, landscaping materials, residential and commercial wallpaper, carpet backings, automotive floor mats and carpeting, and specialized filtration devices.  It is an incredibly versatile material which is available in various weights including 25gsm, 30gsm, 70gsm, 100gsm and 130gsm.  It does not fray, some weights are translucent, it can be painted with any paint medium, dyed, distressed with a soldering iron or heat gun, glued, stitched, layered and embroidered.  In fact, think of an application and you can probably use it!

Lutradur is available in packs of A4 size sheets or by the metre from various suppliers including Spunart in the UK.

My first attempt at using Lutradur was a couple of years ago when I made this leaf using 100gsm…..

I drew the shape directly onto the fabric, free motion stitched over the lines and then painted it with Inktense before cutting out the shape.

You can see how the colour altered once the Lutradur had been zapped with the heat tool.  I was pleased with the result but there was something not quite right which I couldn’t put my finger on…..until recently.

Its staring me in the face looking back at these photos, I shouldn’t have sewn around the edge of the leaf!  This is that same leaf after a little pruning of those edges and another blast of heat to curl the tips, it looks so much more realistic…..

The underside of the leaf

These are some of my more recent Lutradur leaf creations made from 100gsm…..

Lutradur provides a very stable surface for stitching into.

Each one is drawn first using a Frixion pen.  Next I use a heat resistant thread i.e. Rayon, Viscose or 100% cotton to add free motion stitching along the veins.

The fallen leaf which inspired the design.
Shaping with the soldering iron.

Once the stitching has been done the leaf is cut out using a fine tip soldering iron.  I wanted to retain most of the fabric on these particular leaves so I also used the soldering iron, rather than the heat tool, to target specific areas to cut holes.

The finished leaves painted with Inktense.

I wanted a more lacey look for this next leaf so after stitching and cutting out with the soldering iron this one was distressed using the heat gun.  I left it unpainted to suggest a frosty leaf in winter…..

The following photos show a selection of leaves made by students at my recent “forest floor” themed workshop…..

These leaves are fun to make but be warned, as with so many creative projects they can become very addictive once you get started!


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