So in today’s post I update y’all on the progress of the waves! I am couching down lots of silver thread and will soon be overstitching splashes in various parts of the ocean. This work was inspired by the audiobook for Dorothy Sayer’s novel Unnatural Death – I really enjoy Lord Peter Wimsey’s detective skills. I think this dragon is going to require several more novels before I’m done. All these little curves take a lot of tiny work. The overall effect is going to be stunning though, see below! I couched more lines for the rest of the scales, too.
I also twisted up some special threads for the flames. They’re 2 or 3 strands of twisted silk wrapped around a half strand of silk to get a very dimensional twisted effect. It’ll be in various shades of red-orange blended into each other.
The crystal ball looked small and quick but it turned out to be a multi-stage process. All the talons were stitched first, then a foundation layer of flat silk in solid colors. Then all the boundaries and the flat silk had randomly placed accent/holding stitches added in tiny thread. I believe it’s supposed to have an additional spiral stitched on top, but it looks good now. So I’m still debating.
Here is is in the larger work!
Next week: Will the scales ever end? Seriously…
I added a second horn and a whole lot of scales and spikes. At the top right you can see that before stitching each scale or spike I have to outline first so the edges are padded and have a smooth curve. You can also see that I have an awful lot more scales to go.
And here is your closeup for a better view! Includes bonus ear-whisker.
This dragon has a gold tooth now. But only one! He’ll gum you to death.
Then I worked away on the waves at the bottom. They’re all in silver. I’m about to reach the splashes at the top now.
They all had to be carefully couched so they followed the swells and tapered off at the end. I knocked them out, though! Next week: Exhausted from all the swimming, I go work on stitching millions of scales.
What did I start next? A dragon! This one is also from Midori Matsushima. (I’ve been taking classes for it with Mary Alice at Bluebonnet Studio). It has a variety of multicolored metal threads and silks. I love all the whiskers and particularly the eyebrows.
The eyeballs are padded out enormously for a 3D effect (don’t worry, I’ll give him pupils eventually). Also padded is that giant horn at the back of his head. It has crinkly metal sparkle thread.
This guy is a lot of fun to work on, but good lord he has a lot of scales. Do you have any idea how many hours I’ve spent working on scales? I was very ambitious when I signed up for this! I’ve made a lot of progress since this picture, so there are many blog posts to come 🙂
The tail feathers on the second crane came out smoother. Those tight turns are a little tricky, even with tweezers. Then I stitched the puddle in. It’s called fuzzy effect, I think, because you don’t place the lines exactly next to each other. You skip a thread in between.
The grand finale! I got it framed with a beautiful blue suede mat.
Next week: I started yet another project! A very impressive project!
So, my next project (as announced in the last post) was this pair of cranes. They’re couched metallic thread. You start at the outside with a pair of threads (not true gold in this case) attached to spools and couch them together in concentric rings until you get to the center.
I really sweated the tail feathers on the first crane – sharp turns are hard to get right. And fitting in some tiny circles inside the head was fiddly work.
The next step was legs! They’re single-thread couching for skinny crane legs.
Next week: The puddle and crane number 2. I finished it! And framed it!
You can see this isn’t a very large piece – my hands are pretty small. The background is a special dyed silk. Here’s a photo of the whole frame:
I had it framed at We Frame It in Houston, TX. He did a lovely job. I think the matting and frame really work with the dyed silk background.
Next week: I started a new piece! It is a tiny pair of goldwork cranes designed by Midori Matsushima. In retrospect, I’m glad they were tiny because couching in circles is rather tedious. I know some people adore gold work but I start losing patience.
I haven’t been posting but I have been embroidering! My Number One Fan (Grandma) is making dire threats about what will happen if I don’t start posting, so the blog is back. I have pre-written one post a week for the next two months so I have a head start. See, Grandma, I have lots of photos! I’m writing away! I swear!
OK, so this design had four leaves at various stages in their life cycle. You can see in Wikipedia that as the plant dries, the skin of the “lantern” dries out and you can see the inner seed through the lace of the outer skin. The plant slowly changes from green to reds and oranges.
The veins on the outside are couched silk, and the lace of the dried plant-skin is couched metal.
Finally, here are all four of the finished leaves! Next week: I got it framed and started a new project!!!
I had the great good fortune of spending the weekend at the Houston Quilt Festival (winners photos). Wow, that was amazing! And exhausting! (Check out the Studio Art Quilt Association! I don’t quilt, but wow! Amazing fiber artists) As you know, I want to start working on my own embroidery designs, partly in Japanese embroidery. So I stopped by the booth for Saber’s Japanese Textiles and Tours and picked up some beautiful silks.
The white on the left has a beautiful water pattern and the red has some little houses. It’ll be interesting to work with those. The “yellow” fabric does not look quite so yellow in person. I will have to try again with better lighting. The green is also very beautiful.
Now for a few of the sketches I’ve done in figure drawing class! It is very hard to pick just one to start with. I will have to think about the fabric too, since I have options. Next step: get the chosen one scanned into the computer and turned into an outline so I can get it printed onto the fabric.