I added free motion machine stitching to the distant shore. Whenever I start FME on a landscape, I always think that the first few areas where I have stitched look like it’s too much. But I keep going and usually, once more stitching is added, the initial lines don’t feel excessive.
The next step was to stitch the rocks across from the tree. I considered adding some stitching into the foliage above the rocks but decided to leave it as is.
Then on to stitching the tree. I added the dark bits to the trunk and stitching through the felted paper was a breeze, no problems at all either by machine or by hand. The dark branches were added next and then decision time on how to add a few more leaves. I considered needle felting some smaller leaves on the dark branches but then decided I would hand stitch the leaves.
I then hand stitched leaves on to the dark branches using hand dyed lace weight wool thread and detached chain stitch. I added a few bits of grass at the bottom of the trunk as well.
The miracle is that I found a backing fabric, stitched the felt to that and then wrapped/laced the piece around matte board so it’s ready to frame. Since the piece is small (matte size 8″ x 10″), it went quickly and now I have two pieces ready to take to the framers. This piece counts for the year long tree challenge for spring. I have to think about the summer one as it wouldn’t really look different than spring, a few more leaves perhaps?
The winter birch piece is also ready for framing. I used a darker gray hand dyed fabric for the winter birch as it felt “colder” that way. Now on to the next landscape as the gallery wants me to replace the one that sold last month. (Doing a little happy dance!)
This is the piece that sold called Remembrance. Yay!
I have had this mulberry paper with leaves embossed on it for quite a while. I loved the paper but never used it for anything. It is fairly thick and the embossed portions are really thick. The question was whether it would felt easily to the surface. I tore out a single leaf and placed it over a small torn piece of green, short fiber merino batt.
The wool and paper were then wet down (sorry for the blurry photo) and I felted as I had on my previous paper samples, treating the paper as if it was fabric as in nuno felting. I wondered whether I would lose the embossed lines of the leaf, whether the paper thickness was too heavy to felt in easily and if it would felt differently than the thinner papers I had tried previously.
Here’s the end result. You can still see the leaf. It felted very easily and doesn’t seem much different than the thinner papers. I think if I had done a lot of wringing of the felt it would have distorted the leaf but I was careful to avoid fulling in that manner.
Hmmm… how can I use this leaf paper in a design? What would happen if I added ink or dye to the paper before felting? What if I dry brushed paint over the surface of the paper after felting? What else could I do to the surface to enhance the feel of leafiness? How would hand or machine stitching look on the surface? Will it be easy to stitch through? Any other experimental ideas for me? Obviously, more samples to follow.
Next on to experimenting with paper in my landscapes. This is the layout of wool and a paper birch tree. (This also works for my spring tree for our year long tree challenge.) The piece is pretty small and ended up about 7″ x 9″ after felting.
Here’s the piece after wetting down and curbing the edges a bit before felting. Again, I treated this gently to allow the paper to felt in.
Here’s the piece after felting. I plan to add some free motion machine stitching to add more interest in the tree and more branches as well. I will probably add a few more leaves to the tree as well and perhaps a bit of detail to the rest of the landscape. The tree worked well and the paper really stands out to make the tree the focal point of the landscape. I definitely need to do more experiments with landscapes and paper. How else could I use the paper besides tree trunks? How would scraps of green paper felt in to make foliage? What would a variety of colors of paper layered over each other and then felted look like?
I love asking ‘what if’ and trying out these ideas, which lead to new ideas and further experimentation. I haven’t even begun to scrape the surface with how paper and felt can be used together. I would love to hear your ideas for experimentation so please leave a comment with your “what if’s”.
I have been working on my winter birch landscape. Here are the posts for part 1 and part 2 if you missed them.
I finished appliqueing the birch trunks and adding the machine stitched branches. I’m happy with the trees, now on to foreground snow.
Most of the comments on my last post thought it would be a good idea to add some snow in the foreground. I found a piece of white prefelt which I tore apart and auditioned in the left photo. The middle photo is with wool locks and the right photo is with wool slubs and nepps. I’m not happy with any of them. The one I like the best is on the left but I don’t have a good way to adhere the wool. I could needle felt it in but I really don’t like to needle felt into the silk of the nuno felt. I am thinking the foreground snow is not happening.
Another suggestion was to add red twig dogwood bushes. That seemed like a good idea to add in a contrasting color. I made a sample here on another piece of the nuno felt background. I used wool thread in dark orange, red and darker red. I first tried two threads, mixing the colors. The branches felt too fat. So I switched to one thread and decided to use the red and dark red threads. I hand stitched the bush using stem stitch.
Next came stitching it on the piece. I do like the addition of the red. Now I am letting it rest for a bit to decide if I want to add the red in one other area of the landscape. I think it might look more balanced if I had a few bushes further in the background. What do you think?
I made more tulle trees in the same manner with dark green and navy blue tulle. In theory, it seemed like a good idea to overlay these over the black tulle trees. But then when I did that, the trees were just a mish mash and you couldn’t really see them. So I decided to just use the black ones.
Here are the black trees with the birch in place before I stitched them down.
I hand stitched them down with a dark variegated thread and used feather stitch. It added a little bit of green but nothing you could see from a distance.
Then I moved on to the birch trees on the left that are in the background. I hand appliqued the silk paper birch trunk in place and then free motion machine stitched the branches. I want the branches to overlap and not appear all on one “level” so that is why I am stitching each trunk and branches separately.
Here is the progression of the stitching on the background birch trees. This always takes longer than I think it should. But I did like alternating between hand and machine stitching.
Here I am auditioning the foreground trees over what I have stitched so far. I think I will probably stitch down the background birches on the right side first but I do like to see how the overlapping trees affects the piece. I am also trying to decide if I should attempt adding more snow to the picture. What do you think?
This is the nuno background I showed a while back. Surprise, surprise, I created another landscape!
I started by adding some yellow orange sheer fabric to indicate the sky and then started auditioning trees cut from dyed silk organza. The trees went through many forms as I went along auditioning colors, sizes and placement.
I began making the foreground trees darker and the background trees lighter. It felt like the sun was coming from behind the hill. So I continued to emphasize that light perspective as I went along.
I was getting closer, adding more shadows and light.
Then I decided that the ground felt too light in the foreground. So I auditioned some sheer scarves in this area. These are light nylon scarves, you can see the edge hasn’t been removed here. Once the edge is cut off, the scarf can be easily frayed to blend into the background. Then on to stitching everything down.
Here’s the piece after I finished hand stitching the applique pieces in place for the trees. I also use a very small seed stitch to stitch down the sheer scarf pieces.
I decided I need something more in the foreground. The darker marks in the middle foreground reminded me of these plants. I think these are a type of wild orchid. This is a photo I took on one of my morning walks in the woods.
Here are the foreground plants. They are a combination of torn black tulle, couched yarns and pistol stitch in perle cottons.
I felt that the bottom of the orchids was a missing something so I added in some grasses which were couched down.
Here is the final piece on it’s fabric background. I have decided to call it First Light. The coloring in this last photo is the closest to the original. Now all it needs is framing.