Thursday, 30 June 2016

Garden Embroideries from the Past.

 Having just recently enjoyed working the garden on and around the wall and gateway, it reminded me how much I have enjoyed sewing other garden scenes in the past. The one above was based on a lovely quiet corner in a large established garden, with huge pots dotted about, not all with anything growing in them.
 Another corner with pots, this time with plants growing in them, almost swamped by the nasturtiums and other flowers growing around the bases.
 This garden was purely imaginary, worked on a hand felted base, I just embroidered the flowers wherever the colours of the felt dictated.
 Another walled garden embroidered almost 20 years ago. Whilst all the other pieces in this post have sold, this one I have kept, as it was a breakthrough piece of art for me at the time that I made it. It was the first time that I had attempted to make a textural wall and the first time that I had embroidered vegetation on wash away fabric to be applied individually when washed and dried.

Monday, 27 June 2016

It Worked!

 Just a narrow strip to add to the side of the piece that was too small, but which of the many different green threads did I use in the original piece? By carefully matching I think that I've selected the colours correctly, good enough anyway, as the leaves are all different shades in nature anyway.
 Just by cutting around some of the leaves on the bigger piece and overlapping the smaller strip I have avoided a straight join line, and I think that it looks O.K. I also cut off one of the free standing flower stalks from the right hand side piece to add to the line up here, the left top looks a bit bare. Done!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Final Piece of the Jigsaw.

 This is the final piece of  the vegetation to go on the right hand side of the gateway. I've made it a bit larger than would seem necessary, as I'm sure that the left hand side piece is too small.
Here is the new piece of embroidery in place, and I'm wondering if the lower section in the shadow is too dark., but it might just have to stay that way! Yes, the left hand piece of the puzzle is too narrow, so I'll have to work another section to fill in the gap. Almost there.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

That's Better.

Trying to save myself work, I had placed some old bits of embroidered foliage from another project below the new piece at the top of the panel. It never looked very good, so I made some new strips of vegetation which are better colours for a start and even though nothing is attached yet, it already looks a lot better. It may not be the final configuration however.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Next Stage.

 Here is the next stage in the walled garden scene. Unfortunately I don't think that I was careful enough measuring the area that I worked on, a little wider would have been better, but I can always add some more leaves later if it still doesn't look quite right.

Monday, 20 June 2016

A Long Way to Go.

None of these pieces of embroidery are fixed in position yet, but this is more or less what I have in mind. The foreground comes next, which will be a bit of a challenge, as it will need to have bigger leaves and flowers to suggest that it's all closer to the viewer than the vegetation that is on the wall.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Grass Tree Lino.

This is the first print from the lino cut that I started work on last week. It still needs some more tidying up, but so far so good.

                                     As usual I couldn't resist playing around in Photoshop!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

New Lino Cut.

 Cut from a photo that I took shortly after the devastating Canberra bushfire some years ago, this Grass-Tree or Xanthorea survived with just a very black trunk and singed leaves.
 Even the tall flower spikes survived when almost all of the vegetation on the hills beyond were burnt black and destroyed.
As I want the trunk of the tree to print black, all the leaf spikes will have to be cut so that they print in the positive too. That might not be easy, especially in this cold weather. I am going to have to make sure that the lino is warm. The small red mark 2/3 of the way up on the right is a blood stain where I zoomed off the lino and just nicked the tip of one finger. The lino was not warm enough to prevent the cutter skidding off!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Yet More Stitching.

 This piece is to go along the top of the wall, but now that it's stitched and dry, I don't think that it is quite right. There isn't enough variation in the shades of green, and I think that it's a bit flat. Perhaps I need to add another darker layer underneath.



Thursday, 9 June 2016

More Flowers and Foliage.

 With the same set up as before I have used a different programmed stitch to embroider more leaves in various shades of green. My sewing machine is a very old Pfaff 1475 but it is a great work-horse and very reliable.
 This time the flowers are in clusters, so I have altered a stitch to compress the programmed flowers so that they stitch out more as a cluster and not individual flowers.
                                        Variegated thread gives the subtle shades of mauve.
Again I have washed out the soluble fabric, leaving the stitched supported by the green chiffon, which I have cut away from the edges to give free standing leaves.
Here is yesterday's foliage and flowers piece washed out and dried.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Now the Fun Part!

 I'm looking forward to making pieces of vegetation with different coloured flowers to go around the doorway in my wall. I've used the programmed stitches in varying sizes for the foliage, again on a piece of soluble fabric and because I wanted some of the leaves to hang over the edges of the doorway and off the sides of the canvas board, I also backed the piece with an old green chiffon scarf.
You can see the hemmed edge of the scarf on the right of the picture.
 I need to be aware of where the light is coming from in all these bits of embroidery. The shade is off to the right, so the leaves and the flowers will be darker in colour compared to those on the left
 That's about enough greenery I think, although I can add some more if it looks too sparse after the flowers are added.
                                             The flowers too need to be darker on the right.
Now to pin it all out and wash away the backing fabric.  The scarf of course will stay and I will need to cut it away from the edges very carefully to preserve the overhanging leaves.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

At Last Some Stitching.

 With a less frantically busy week, I was able to get some stitching done on one of my current pieces of work. Here I've started to make a leafy background to go behind the opening in my stone wall.

 I'm thinking that the wall would cast a shadow at the top and bottom of the vegetation, with the middle section being a brighter green in the lighter middle area. The stitching is all free motion embroidery with the feed dogs down and  with a darning foot on the machine
           With all the stitching done it is now time to dissolve away the backing water soluble fabric.
 I've carefully pinned all the edges out so that they won't shrivel up in the water, although I would expect some shrinkage. I use a piece of polystyrene covered in plastic wrap to pin the piece onto, the plastic film is to stop the glue residue from the fabric pulling pieces out of the polystyrene, as I have had happen on another occasion.
                                                               All washed out and dry.
Here I've glued it onto the previously painted piece of cardboard, and unfortunately, judging by the white pencil marks it isn't quite big enough, or in other words, it shrunk more than I expected. I'm sure that I have some left overs from another work that I can use to extend this up and down, as the width looks to be about right.

Friday, 3 June 2016

More Garden Art.

 I thought that I might be able to get away with stamping the foliage that would be seen through the open garden wall, but the result was too indistinct and didn't look right on the piece of cardboard that I have already painted green for the background.
 While going through samples for yet another project I came across these machine embroidered trees and I was hoping that they might give the look that I was after. I cut the trunk off the darker one at the top, but the colour was all wrong.
 No, not right! The trees are now too distinct and not what I had in mind. Back to the drawing board.
 Here I'm using 2 layers of water dissolvable fabric, marking out the size of the doorway and mounting the fabric into a cut-out cardboard frame with double sided sticky tape. I use a cardboard frame so that it fits under the foot of the machine easily and won't damage the needle if I go over the marked area that I need to embroider.
All ready to go, with approximate markings to show the various shades of green that I want to use. Darker at the top and in the distance, brightest in the middle, and fading away to the darkest again at the bottom right. Now to sort out the threads and get stitching. I'll use cotton threads rather than rayon or polyester, as I don't want a shiny look, but a more natural matt effect.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

A Visit to the Zoo.

 What a pensive face! This female Gibbon has seen a lot of visitors in her many years at Melbourne Zoo. It was a very cold morning when we met again after 2 or 3 years, and she was cuddled up in a warm corner trying to get out of the cold wind. She has shaved patches on both her forearms, so I presume that means that she has been having injections or tests of some kind. I hope that she is well!
 After the terrible accident overseas resulting in the death of a 17 year old silver- back gorilla, it was calmer just viewing these sculptures outside the local enclosure. I couldn't find a plaque with any details of the artist, but it was obviously some one who had observed the animals very closely.
               I just love this baby clinging tightly to it's mother's back even though fast asleep.
                                                         Beautiful work 'unknown artist'.