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Sumac

Sumac is such a stately, regal plant and I think that certainly shows here in this print. I started this piece before I started Maples which I shared here. I dove back into my supply of fabrics that I created and added two silk pieces that I painted with acrylic paints in a surface design class in 2015. I am loving how these fabrics are finding their way together.

Again I turned to some hand-dyed variegated thread I purchased from Elin Noble many years ago.

I like to create one step at a time, making decisions about what I will use and how I’ll use it as each new step presents itself.  Here is thread painting done. Now — how to quilt the background surrounding the sumac.

I’ve been doing this a while. I have a lot of thread. And yet, I did not have the thread I wanted for this portion of the project.  It just arrived this week. Stay tuned.

Maples Done

The work in progress I shared here is now complete. It measures 12″ x 12″. Click on image for a larger view.

I quilted the bottom section using the marks left by the twine used to wrap the fabric bundles during the printing process. They made for a simple, effective design. Then I fussed and dithered about how to quilt the silk screened piece on the right side. Ultimately I decided that simplicity was in order. I had enough quilting design in the other two sections and the silk screened design was quite enough for the right side. So, simple lines is what I did. A detail:

I couldn’t resist adding the beads. And, interestingly enough, this work is created entirely with silk fabrics. The botanical print fabrics are silk noil, the screen printed fabric is a very light-weight silk and the binding is a raw silk. Each has its own signature look and texture. I am very pleased with the way they play off one another while creating harmony.

On to the next! I have a lovely sumac print that is waiting for me. What do you have waiting for you that has your creative juices running?

Maples

Cutting into a strip of the botanical prints turned out to be quite liberating. I’m certain there is a psychological term for it but I’ll just stick with ‘progress’ and be happy for it.

I love the shape of a maple leaf and isn’t it wonderful that there are many varieties? Here is a small grouping of very delicate leaves. I have joined them with the last scrap of silk fabric that reveals the twine markings from the cochineal dye bath — see this posting for more explanation — and, on the right side, a piece of silk that I silk screened ten years ago.  Click on the image for a larger view.

Note that these sections are not pieced in the traditional way with a quarter-inch seam. Instead, I overlapped the fabrics by one quarter inch (or less) and used a very narrow zigzag stitch to attach them. This allowed for maximum use of each of the fabrics.

I auditioned quite a few threads for thread painting the leaves and decided on using another variegated hand-dyed pearl cotton that I purchased from Elin Noble. I’m quite happy with the results.

The thread painting went a long way in brightening the leaves. To continue with that idea and bring more balance to the bright silk strip on the right, I chose one of the Nature Colors collection from Superior Threads.

Things are coming together so I am back to work. There are a lot more circles to stitch before this small piece is done. It will measure 12″ x 12″ when completed. Stay tuned.

Oakleaf Hydrangea III

In early July I took a 4-day class with Kristy Kun on botanical printing/dyeing. I got some amazing prints that I am just delving into now. Part of my conundrum was having so many choices. I finally decided to work small and use one of the prints from our last day of work. I share some details on this printing here.

As a refresher, here is the portion of the particular piece that I chose to cut a print from.

I also trimmed off the end of the fabric that was not covered during the immersion in the cochineal dye bath. I will use every scrap of this fabric!

The oakleaf hydrangea is such a beautiful plant. This leaf is 10″ tall and 9″ wide. The crisp print and detail of the veining is just so exciting. Even in this simple state, I love it. The silk noil strip is just 11″ tall so having the gradation of cochineal on weld was perfect for adding some interest. On the right side I placed the beginning of the color change and the bottom has the next few inches which was more openly exposed to the cochineal bath. The bottom right corner is a square to complete the piece. I stabilized the fabric with Pellon featherweight interfacing by arranging the 4 pieces of fabric on top and pressing them into place — I didn’t waste a morsel by piecing it. Click on images to enlarge the view.

I used a hand-dyed pearl cotton thread that I purchased from Elin Noble many years ago. It has a bold weight and presence for this large-veined leaf that I really like.

I couldn’t wait to enhance the markings created by the twine wrap. Simple stitches with cotton embroidery floss worked well for the bottom and a variegated pearl cotton was perfect for the side. Here I am auditioning embroidery floss and 3 different beads.

A good studio assistant is never far from creative activity. Here is Cooper keeping an eye on my progress.

And here is the finished piece. It measures 12 3/4″ x 12 3/4″.

and a detail.

If you are new here, you can see my posts about the botanical printing class here and here, as well as the link above.

Thanks for reading. Please share your comments about this new work — I’d love to hear from you.