Thursday, August 14, 2008

2008 Weekly Mixed Media Project

This is the front side of my 33rd Weekly Mixed Media piece this year. The back side is below.

My inspiration this week is a bush that I pass on my walk (when it's not raining!) each day. The bush is called a smoke tree (latin name: Cotinus). I find the feathery plumes very interesting.

To create this piece, I cut on 10" square piece of tan pre-felted wool fleece, and another light green, of the same size. I put the light green one on top of the tan one. Then I cut some loosely (barely) spun brown wool yarn, and some light green lengths. I arranged the brown like branches of the bush, and the green as a mass of leaves. I've had my sewing machine for I can't remember how long, and I've never used any embroidery stitches before, and I doubt I will many more times while it's in my possession. I commonly use only the straight and zigzag stitches.

Then I took the scraps of last week's shredded red pre-felted wool fleece, and I scattered them on top of the "bush."

To tone the color down, I placed a layer of purple silk organza on top of everything, and the started needle punching it from the top down, taking care to felt as much of it as possible.

Felting it from the organza down causes the organza to pull and tear a little, but that's OK. It all felts in nicely over time.

I did most of the felting from the back side up, trying to blend everything as well as possible.

Notice that the "bush-like" yarns are not at all noticeable on either side. Live and learn. I've been doing this weekly project is to learn about what is predictable and what isn't, and what does and doesn't work. Of course all of this experimentation depends on if you felt from the top down, the bottom up or both sides pretty much equally.

This piece wasn't working out at all as I thought it would. When I was at a loss as to what to do next, I decided to use my sewing machine to stitch many dark brown "branches." Then, using a leaf-like embroidery stitch on my sewing machine, using green top thread, and I stitched many many "leaves."

After that I tool a 6" square template, I chose the section of my design to crop, traced it with a pencil, and trimmed it to size.

I'm not thrilled about this piece. It's OK, but nothing to call home about.

You can see my 2008 weekly mixed media work (so far) on my website, and read about my process/progress here on my blog.