I mentioned the other day that I’ve been working on Ann’s Abstract Challenge. I had a folder full of ideas and photos that I’d worked on, but couldn’t quite see how they’d translate into felt or maybe fabric. After looking at the photos with me, my girlfriend suggested looking at something more simple and bold, like maybe a cup. So I started looking at different photos, found some with simpler shapes and lines, bolder features. One that I really liked was a simple photo of a shell. It was almost colourless so I gave it a blue tint.
I then played around with it until I was happy with an abstract design.
This seemed like a perfect picture to try with my idea of layering organza. So I worked out how many layers I’d need and what shapes those layers would need to be. I wanted a black background, so I thought it’d be a good idea to have a base layer of white felt the same shape as the first organza layer.
I then made the shapes into outlines, so I could print them out and trace the shapes onto the pieces of organza for cutting out.
I chose the colours of organza I liked and layered them together to see if they would work.
I then traced all the outlines onto the organza pieces and cut them out. It was then that I started to realise this wouldn’t be quite as simple as I’d first thought. Some of the organza was very thin and distorted while I traced, so I had to re-do a couple of pieces.
Layering the shapes together wasn’t easy either, they just wanted to slide about, so I started with sewing the first couple of layers together. That seemed to go alright. It wasn’t looking as tidy as I’d hoped-the organza was fraying, but the abstract design had outlines around the sections/layers, so I hoped these would hide the edges. When I started to add the 3rd and 4th layers, my sewing machine (hand cranked ancient Singer 🙂 ) started to make weird noises. When I looked at the back of the piece, it was a mess, all the thread from the spool had looped up underneath. I don’t know if there was a tension problem, but I decided to abandon it as a failure.
I left it on my work table and tried to think of other ways I could interpret the design with the supplies I’ve got, but all I could think of was using 5 shades of blue cotton fabric, which I don’t have. Looking at it in daylight this morning, it didn’t look quite as bad as it did yesterday, so I decided to put a bit of effort into finishing it. I had to patch up the second layer, as it had frayed so much it wasn’t attached at the edges. I also had to recut the top layer as when I was sewing it on by hand, the thread caught on it and tore it. It didn’t really turn out how I’d expected and hoped it would, (maybe some fabric stiffener and a bigger scale would help?) but it wasn’t the complete disaster I thought it was yesterday 🙂
How would you have interpreted the abstract shell picture differently? Would you have used different fabrics, or maybe wet felted or needlefelted the design? If you’d like to use the design, please feel free to do so. I’d love to see what you come up with.