I showed you earlier the nuno backgrounds that I had created. I decided to try using the idea of the layered photos that I created in Photoshop Elements.
So instead of going with what the background suggested (pine trees), I thought I would try some fused machine applique over the nuno felt.
I printed out my service berry photo and got out my light box, tracing paper and a pencil. I completely ignored the background in the photo and just concentrated on the branch with berries and leaves. I simplified the design as I went.
Here’s the traced design that I came up with for my applique. Now I needed to choose a piece of fabric, get out my fusible (Wonder Under) and transfer the design to the fabric.
Here’s the piece of fabric that I chose on top of the nuno felt. The photo is not the best as the nuno felt looks black. I fused the Wonder Under to the back of the green fabric with my iron. It’s easy to do but if you haven’t used fusible before, make sure to read the instruction of the type that you have. All of them are a bit different.
Once I had the fusible in place, I transferred the pattern to the paper on the back of the fabric. I had to remember that the pattern would be reversed when cut out and applied to the background. I used the tracing paper to do this by flipping my drawing over on to the fusible paper and drawing on the backside of the tracing paper to transfer the pencil line. This works best if you enhance the original pencil line with a softer lead pencil, I used a 7B. Once the pattern was transferred, I cut it out with a pair of short, sharp scissors. I left the paper in place until after everything was cut out.
Then I applied the cut out fabric to the background by ironing it in place. The fusible melts and holds the fabric in place so that it’s easy to stitch down and add details.
Before I started stitching, I decided to add a little thickened water color to get a bit more definition and shading in the leaves and berries. Then on to the sewing machine.
Here it is after stitching (free motion) on the machine. I used three different greens and a couple of reddish brown threads. It’s hard to get an accurate color representation in the photos as the dark red seems to throw the camera off very easily. This was a fun project and different than most of my other nuno landscapes. Now to figure out what to do with the other backgrounds. More to come!
It’s amazing how my slow stitch project is moving along and almost complete. Twenty to thirty minutes of stitching per day definitely works for me and even though I have been working on this project for a long time, it has been a fulfilling project. I have enjoyed seeing the piece slowly fill in with thousands of stitches.
Here’s where I was the last time I showed you the piece in mid June.
I added a lot of foreground stitching. The bit on the top left shown here is still a little pale for me. It jumps forward in front of the foreground bush in my eye. So there will be a little more stitching there.
I added some running stitch in the distant trees with a “grey” thread. It leans very heavily to purple but really works well to give these tree trunks a bit more definition and to move them further into the distance.
Here is where I am now. It’s getting very close to finished. A few more areas of darkness perhaps. Lindsay asked me a while ago how I decide when it’s finished. What I do with a piece like this is to get to the point where I think it might be finished and then I hang it up on the wall in my studio so I can study it. I look at the piece from different distances and different angles. I give it some time to “rest” and then I add what I think is still needed based on the assessment I have done. Or I pronounce that it’s finished. What do you think?
I have been working on more nuno felt pieces to use as backgrounds for nuno felted landscapes. I usually create these and then decide how to move forward with stitching and embellishment.
Usually, I use white prefelt with dyed silk but I decided to use black prefelt with this one. I usually rotate and look at all possible ways to use the backgrounds. With the piece in this direction, I see pine trees. What do you see?
Here’s another background using black prefelt. I’m thinking about adding birch trees to this one but I haven’t made up my mind about any of these yet.
A lot of my landscapes end up being in the portrait orientation but this one is definitely in landscape orientation. It reminds me of the woods with pine trees and yellow flowers. The upper right hand corner looks like deciduous branches with leaves coming in from the side.
Green fields with flowers? Perhaps pine trees in the distance? What do you see?
Another floral landscape with bluebells and beargrass flowers? Perhaps the orange is bushes or trees with leaves turning colors in autumn? Or maybe it’s grasslands with flowers?
One way that I sometimes use to decide on a design is to put the background photo into Photoshop Elements and layer another photo on top of the background. This is the first background in this post with a photo of service berries and leaves layered over top.
And here’s the green background with a photo of a grass field with some white flowers in the foreground layered over top. I really like the “misty” feel of this one. But how to achieve this effect on the actual piece? Perhaps some layering of silk organza or sheer fabric?
So instead of my usual find a landscape in the background and enhance, this time I think I will try to use the layered photos as inspiration and work from that angle. It’s always good to try something new. I will show you my efforts in upcoming posts.
I recently sold several pieces of work at Bigfork Arts and Cultural Center in Bigfork, Montana and I took a new set of framed pieces down. But summer, the tourist season is upon us and I needed to stay ahead and create some new work. I found some pieces of hand dyed silk that I had in my stash and put a stack of prefelt and the silk together so they are ready to felt.
I started with this piece of silk which has been nunofelted to white prefelt. I fold over the edges and what doesn’t stick to the back with felting, I hand stitch in place so I have a nice edge. This piece is approximately 7″ x 11″. Once felted, I look at the piece from different angles and “find” my landscape.
Next up, I free motion machine stitched the background picking out the mountains in the background and some rocks in the foreground.
Next, I decided to add a foreground tree, my go to foreground. I used a variety of hand dyed cheesecloth layers for the main branches and trunk of the tree. But the result wasn’t what I wanted. The background didn’t have enough depth, I needed more change in value and contrast. So I peeled off the tree which luckily came up in one piece.
Then I used a thickened acrylic ink to add darker values and contrast to the landscape. That definitely adds more depth.
Now to look at the tree in place on the background. Much better! Now to stitch the tree. I tacked it down with hand stitching to keep the cheesecloth in place. You can skip that step but it is harder to keep the foot of the machine from moving the cheesecloth out of place. Once it was hand stitched and holding in place, I went back to the machine.
And here’s the finished piece. I am calling it Twilight as it reminds me of a sunset in the mountains. I’m happy with it and I’m glad that I took the time to add some depth to the background before I stitched the tree.
The last time I updated you back in early November about my slow stitching project, this is what it looked like. I had started adding some leaves to the foreground trees.
I have been continuing my slow stitching over the holidays and it has been nice to sit down for 15-20 minutes a day and just do detached chain stitch in different shades of yellow, yellow-orange and orange. Ignoring any drama of the holidays or other issues that arose for a few minutes, calmed my mind.
Here’s how the trees are looking. I think that I will be adding a bit more orange but than I’m going to go back to the yellow shades.
Here’s what the full piece looks like now. It is definitely taking shape as a landscape. As I look at it in a thumbnail format, I can see that it still needs more dark values for shadowed areas but I like the progression. It’s interesting to me how the slow progression makes me look at it more closely and how the different colors affect each other. It’s been an interesting project and I imagine it will continue through most of this year.
What are your thoughts on a slow moving project? Do you get a Zen feeling or perhaps you are impatient and want to move on to a different project?
Sorry for the short post but I have been busy with my Level 3 Stitch class this past week. We are continuing online and even though I don’t have to travel, it seems to take more time this way. But at least we are able to move forward.
I have still been stitching for 15-20 minutes per day on my autumn nuno felted piece.
The last time I showed you it looked like the photo above. I continued to add more dark values in the rows of “aspen” trees and also added more dark green to the distant pine trees. Ann had commented that she didn’t see trees in this piece. Hopefully, the additions I made will make them more “tree like”.
Here it is after those additions of darker value.
And here’s a close up that shows the difference in the distant pine trees before and after adding more thinner thread in dark green. The trees on the left are finished as compared to the ones on the right.
So what do you think? Did adding the darker values help the distant tree lines?
I hope you’re staying well and spending time being creative. Thanks for stopping by!
I updated you about my autumn nuno landscape project about one month ago in this post. I had been discouraged with the project and it was languishing. So I asked for suggestions and I appreciate all the support. I decided to go ahead and keep working on it but only doing about 15-20 minutes a day. (Click on any of the photos to enlarge.)
Here’s what it looked like one month ago. I decided to start filling more of the middle ground with a combination of neutralized red and green seed stitching.
Here you can see how much seed stitching can be completed in short spurts. But I was still dissatisfied with the piece. Why was that? After working on it steadily, I took some time to look back at my reference photo and see what I had missed. Then I realized that I didn’t have enough dark values to show the shadowed areas in the landscape. Aha!
I started by adding a more neutralized green in the area between the aspen trees. I used a much thinner thread (1 strand floss) and smaller stitching. It darkened up the area a bit but that wasn’t enough.
So then I started adding a dark brown in the same area. Again, I used one strand of floss and smaller stitches. I am still essentially doing seed stitch but piling it on top of other seed stitches.
So here is how far I have gotten with my slow stitching. I am happy that I figured out what was bothering me about the piece. There are still lots of more shadows to add in to give the impression of lines of trees. I also think that I will add a more neutralized green over the distant pines in places. The more stitching I add, the more it seems to need. But at least I am moving forward.
Can you see the difference when you compare the piece side by side, before adding darker values and after? Do you think about value contrast when you’re working on a composition? Do you have any tricks for seeing value contrast better?
I have been working on a set of nuno felted and stitched landscapes and I have finished another one. This one I am currently calling Summer Sunrise unless I come up with a better name.
Here’s how the piece looked after nuno felting. It reminded me of flowers so I thought I would go in that direction with the landscape. I googled Montana wildflowers at sunrise and found several photos to use as guidance and inspiration.
I started by free motion machine stitching a line of mountains and some tall, skinny pine trees.
I added a few lines of grasses so the trees didn’t feel like they were floating.
Then to add a few mid-ground lupines. I just kept moving down the piece as I created these from background to foreground.
Then the lupines needed a little greenery and leaves. Now on to the main attraction, the foreground flowers.
I created the foreground flowers and leaves with hand dyed silk organza. I fused them together and then fused them to the surface of the nuno felt. Here’s where I forgot to take many photos. I get involved in the process and forget all about taking any photos.
Here’s a midway photo. I used free motion machine stitching to add the details and lines. I kept layering and stitching the flowers and leaves.
After I got the two large leaves applied at the very bottom, I felt that they were too bright green and really drew your eye right to the bottom of the picture. So I decided to darken them up more. I added darker thread but ultimately, they were still too bright. So I used oil pastels to tone down the bright green. I also used oil pastels in the mountains just to give a little bit more definition of the mountains in the distance. So this one is complete and I’m still working on the slow stitch one. I will have an update on that one next week.
After doing lots of machine stitching on the last landscape that I showed you, I decided to try a more minimalist approach.
This is the starting point after nuno felting.
I then machine stitched the distant mountains as well as the lines on the water. I considered stitching heavily again to get the variety of colors in the mountains but thought, why not use paint? I hadn’t tried much painting on nuno felt but I decided to just go for it. I used Dye-Na-Flow paint that I already had. I watered it down a bit as it turns kind of plastic looking when dry used straight out of the bottle.
Here is it after painting. I had to be careful applying the paint as it had a tendency to spread so I carefully brushed it on and didn’t get very close to the edges of the stitching. Now it looks more like mountains and a lake. What to put in the foreground? I searched online for photos of Flathead Lake at sunset and found some that I liked and the photos helped with the foreground choice. Add trees, now why didn’t I think of that?
So I stitched in the outlines of the trees.
Then added the paint. I am still deciding if it is finished. I might add some hand stitching to the trees to give a bit more texture and variation in color. What do you think? Does it need more?
I showed you the start for this landscape last week. It’s based on a photo of the trees in winter on the Whitefish river. I really like the way the orange branches look against the sky and in the reflections in the water.
Here’s the photo I took and then the layout of the felt on the right. I used what silk I already had to represent the sky and the water and then added a little wool for the land and for the large tree trunk on the left. The felted piece ended up about 8″ x 11″.
I then started stitching the most distant background features. I forgot to add any support behind the felt at this point but later on added a heavy weight Pellon interfacing to support some of the heavier machine stitching.
Now to add some sheer orange fabric for the trees. I also stitched in dark brown along the edge of the river and the shore.
Then on to adding in the trees along the shoreline. I did baste down the orange sheer fabric to hold it in place while stitching. I added more stitching for the reflections of the trees.
I cut back some of the orange in the trees to show the sky in places and added a second layer of sheer orange over some of the branches. I then stitched more branches in orange thread. I did the same for the reflected trees.
Now on to the large foreground tree. I added some bark details with my darkest brown thread.
And then stitched in the large foreground branches. I started from the top dark branches and moved downward. I added one layer of sheer fabric over the yellow in the bottom left hand corner by the trunk to tone it down just a little. After looking at this for a while, I decided to make a few small changes. The right hand corner was drawing my attention to much with the background trees. There was too much contrast between the white clouds and the dark branches. Also, the shoreline wasn’t quite right.
Lighter brown stitching was added to the background trees and to the shoreline. I used a small amount of oil pastel to make a shoreline reflection in the water. And it was finished. Or at least finished for now. I will need to find a background cotton fabric for it’s matte and then get it framed. On to the next landscape!
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