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.
Leaf Number 2 is started! All that’s left is couching veins on top of it. I also started leaf 3. The Japanese style has an interesting approach to blending. Below you can see the dark green and dark red are stitched right up to the line. They share needleholes, but there’s no long-and-short stitch overlapping. Then you take a tiny little blending thread (here I used yellow on one side and green on the other) and do little stitches over the line to blur the line.
Below is a closer look (also with some bonus larger yellow stitches in the green foundation). Up close, the tiny stitches over the line look peculiar. From a distance they break up the line so it looks like the green and red are overlapping.
I added a few green stitches to the red, then started couching the veins.
The current state of the project: